Before the 70s, in the U.S. there weren’t many people interested in gym memberships and most were uneducated about health and fitness. Societal concepts of what training was about and why to become fit began to slowly become less unknown and more common knowledge after 1970. Still, most were confused about the correct methods to get fit and stay healthy. The “expert” was the person who had been training the longest, or the biggest guy in the gym. This resulted in asking for answers to personalized questions from someone who might have a completely different set of personalized goals.
Rush on in to the present. It is estimated 30% of adults are obese with about 16% of teenagers being overweight. (Katz DL, O’Connell M, Yeh M, et al. Public health strategies for preventing and controlling overweight and obesity in school and worksite settings.) It is also more common for people to live longer while experiencing musculoskeletal pain. People who include physical activity in their daily lives experience a lower incidence of chronic disease as well as lower frequency of musculoskeletal related issues (back & knee). Strong caution should be taken for inactive individuals beginning any new exercise and training regimen until they become completely and fully conditioned within proprioceptive enriched daily activities. A proprioceptively enriched environment is one that challenges the internal balance and stabilization mechanisms of the body. (concentric, eccentric, and isometric muscle contractions)
Due to the mindset and environment of the individuals of today, it is important to specialize and individualize training programs to uniquely fit each person. Personal trainers are challenged to design and implement intelligent programs tailor fitted to meet the needs of the deconditioned to the needs of the ultra fit. It is on this premise that the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has come up with its own concept called the Optimum Performance Training (OPT) model. The foundation of the OPT model is based upon appropriate forms of flexibility, increasing strength and endurance, and training in different types of environments.
Information referenced found at: www.nasm.org