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Who was the first personal trainer ever?

As a personal trainer myself it's only natural to wonder where and when it all started. Already knowing that personal training in Zurich is quite different than what I was used to in the UK before moving to Switzerland I could only imagine what it was like and how much different it was to train clients in the beginning.

Fitness training Participating in sports for the purpose of fitness and wellbeing began long time ago. For example, yoga was practiced in Middle and Far East Asia as early as 3300 BC. This is 5300 years ago! Most yoga styles focused on mental and spiritual wellbeing, but some (for example Hatha yoga) focused on fitness as well.

At other places around the world such as Ancient Greece in the Mediterranean region and the Mayan empire in Central America fitness training was strictly reserved for warriors. The exercises which the appointed warriors did were supposed to make them ready for battle. For example, at the peak of Sparta's power and influence (800 BC - 600 BC) children as young as 7-year-olds had to undergo physical fitness training to prepare them to be warriors. Imagine being a personal trainer then and there!

Personal training as we know it today is quite new. Hiring someone to coach you for your own personal fitness, health and aesthetic purposes started gaining popularity in the 1930s. Who was the first personal trainer? Jack Lalanne. Jack Lalanne

The "father" of personal training was born in 1914. He lived to be 96 years old which means he probably did what he did right. When Jack was a child, he had quite the sweet tooth.

Being "addicted" to sugar was what he said made him "mean and weak". After attending a lecture about nutrition he decided to change. He stopped indulging in sugar, began exercising regularly and apparently realised that he felt much healthier, fitter and in better shape. Not long after he graduated high school he opened the first ever health club. This was in 1936 in Oakland, California. He then began approaching people telling them that if they trained with him they would get into the best shape of their lives. Those were his first clients. Lalanne also invented a few exercise machines which are still used today in most gyms - the cable pulley machine and the leg extension.

In 1954, 18 years after the first health club, the American College of Sports Medicine was found. It was the first organisation to certify personal trainers. Soon after that, personal training became an admired career path. Some decades later one personal trainer in Zurich sat down and wrote about it. As always, thanks for reading!


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