Feeling the money burn, personal trainers go plural

Mon May 18, 2009 6:27am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Even in times of plenty personal trainers had the whiff of indulgence about them, coddling actress Sarah Jessica Parker back to her pre-natal abs or enabling Madonna to bypass her last 10 years.

But not all personal trainers have celebrity clients and with the economy in free fall their non-essential service is feeling the same pain as their belt-tightening clientele.

So to cope, many have made the journey from exclusive to semi-private.

"Business is down across the board," Neal Pire, an exercise physiologist and president of Inspire Training Systems, said in an interview.

"Small group training has been growing over the last five years, but exponentially in the past year," Pire, who trains personal trainers, said from his office in Bergen, New Jersey.

"Price-point has been a real consideration for the client."

Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise (ACE), agrees.

"As discretionary income shrinks, personal trainers try to accommodate by working with two-to-four individuals at a time," he said from Seattle, Washington.   Continued...

<p>ACE personal trainer Sabrena Merril and client Camisha Burks-Walker in San Diego, California are seen in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/American Council on Exercise (ACE)</p>