Crisis and Opportunity in Fitness

Jack Barnathan, B.B.A., D.C., F.A.C.C., CFT, MFS, MSS, CET, SSN (ISSA)


The fitness professions are going through a period of transition. The massive growth of the 70’s, 80’s and first half of the 90’s has stalled, and in some cases, dropped tremendously.

The need for fitness and the allied “physical training” professions is needed more than ever if national and international health statistics are taken seriously. Our health is in peril, and a community of professionals is necessary to stem the tide.

It’s not that there is a loss of recognition of the need for physical activity. Studies demonstrate that the public readily acknowledges they have challenges in getting the recommended time committed to their fitness.

The challenge comes in our “unsocial" social media society, which would rather do almost anything on our phone if given a choice. Food markets are all now required to create delivery options at sometimes prohibitive expense because of the Amazon / Whole Food’s acquisition. And health care advice is often sought first on “" or similar sites before speaking to a licensed professional.

What the markets are discovering is that the public is looking for a new “experience” in all “brick and mortar” experiences - visiting a store, gym or doctors office.

For some, it requires a new “setting” for the service. Others, the addition of entertainment or unexpected additions (shopping mall modifications as an example).

For the gyms, it’s a tricky situation, but some adaptations are beginning to show changes in venue for fitness might be in order.

As of August 2017, there are 30,500 health clubs in the United States with 58,000,000 million members (statistics brain research institute). The numbers have been stagnant since before the start of the recession in 2008 and haven’t ultimately returned to the growth it achieved in the past.

So if the number of health clubs, and type, are changing (small, specific studio’s with classes are now the most profitable) then the areas where people seek out fitness opportunities can also be more significant than before; if we provide that new venue.

Including yoga, pilates and other forms of “bodywork” into the list, there are opportunities for the doctor's office to provide a setting for classes, and a new concept, fitness “consulting.”

Providing educational programs separate from the specific training offers the doctor an ability to create a community center for information that is dynamic, and involving both specialists in Fitness, and health care to support the fitness programs.

With 273,500 fitness trainers (statistic brain research institute Aug 2017) in the United States, there is an excellent opportunity for the doctor of chiropractic to invite these experts to share insights, and perhaps offer services, to the chiropractic patient.

With so many confusing messages presented by the "sales" end of “fitness”, it becomes a challenge for the patient to feel both safe and confident in a fitness pro-choice. The addition of the doctor of chiropractic can add exceptional knowledge, understanding of need and authority to the message, and means by which the patient chooses a fitness path.

Transition in financial markets always presents an opportunity, and with health and fitness, it’s no different.

President John F. Kennedy shared a powerful truth in sharing: “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity.”



  Jack Barnathan, B.B.A., D.C., F.A.C.C., CFT, MFS, MSS, CET, SSN (ISSA)  created the National Symposium on Natural Fitness with annual keynote Arnold Schwarzenegger and the International Chiropractors Association and currently serves as President Emeritus / Board Member.  As a Doctor of Chiropractic, and now President of his own educational and consulting firm he has served gold medal-winning legends in sports, fitness, the arts, healthcare, lifestyle, fashion, space exploration, charitable organizations, Native American nations, the world’s most exclusive spa's, sports, fitness and fashion editors, entertainment, entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 CEO’s, President’s of the United States, their families and more.  


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