Creating a Niche Market as a Fitness Professional

As seen in NASM Training Edge Archive – Taking Control of Cancer

Working with cancer patients and survivors to rehabilitate, get fit, and take
their lives back is natural for Andrea Leonard. After surgery for thyroid cancer as a teenager, she struggled with weight and a sluggish metabolism, which eventually led her to become a personal trainer.
Today, Leonard is president of the Portland,Ore.-based Cancer Exercise Training Institute (CETI), an NASM-approved continuing education provider. CETI offers the Cancer Exercise Specialist Advanced Qualification, which certifies fitness and medical professionals to work safely and confidently with cancer patients and survivors. The program can qualify practitioners to work with medical providers, many of whom bill patients and then pay trainers or therapists. CETI also has a new Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU Specialist certification. “At CETI, we are training and credentialing boost your skills Specializations Help Learning how to train special populations can set you up to focus on market niches.

Consider specializations like the Senior Fitness Specialist or Weight Loss Specialist from NASM, or continuing education programs like those from the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. “It’s a way to separate yourself, to let people in those populations understand that you know what you’re doing,” says Cody Lingelbach, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, GPTS, FNS, SFS, a senior education advisor with NASM. “I talk to a lot of people, and specializing works.” Check out all of the NASM specializations at or call 855-375-4395 to consult with an educational advisor. Nurses; physical and occupational therapists; personal trainers; and yoga, Pilates, and group exercise instructors,” Leonard says. The niche is huge yet underserved. “We had 25 trainers at a recent workshop in New YorkCity, but there are nearly one million cancer survivors in the state of New York,” says Leonard. “Everyone’s been touched by cancer in one way or another. It’s an untapped market.” In fact, the National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 13.7 million Americans were living with a history of cancer in 2012, and it’s expected that more than 1.6 million were diagnosed in 2013.

Leonard started working with cancer patients in 1996, then set out, with the help of a medical advisory panel from Washington, D.C.’s leading hospitals, to co-author Essential Exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors, first
published in 2000. She has since penned ten editions of the Cancer Exercise Specialist Handbook and started the nonprofit Breast Cancer Survivor’s Foundation, which transitioned into CETI in 2004. “It’s my personal evolution,” Leonard says. “I’ve gone from serving a limited number of individuals as a personal trainer to educating other fitness professionals to become Cancer Exercise Specialists. This has given me a much broader reach, indirectly allowing me to make a difference in so many people’s lives.” That, she says, is the beauty of focusing on the cancer population. Many clients are beaten down, their lives stripped away. And they have very specific
needs, based on the disease and treatment they’ve received.

“You get the opportunity to give them their life back,” Leonard says. “It’s powerful, it’s rewarding, it’s wonderful. Even if you lose someone to the disease, you know you helped make their life better in the short term.” When Leonard started out, she “had a lot of doors slammed” in her face, because cancer rehabilitation was such a new concept. She’s had larger organizations try to steal her ideas and methods. And it’s been a ton of work, especially keeping up with the surgeries, protocols, and exercise regimens for the many forms of the disease. “But if you persevere and truly believe in what you’re doing, you will be successful,” Leonard says.

Finding your niche in the world of FITNESS can be difficult.

Cancer Exercise Specialist training is one of the most rewarding, and growing markets in the industry right now. By taking the next step, you can advance your career, while making a difference in the lives of others. Often health and fitness professionals put off certification because it can take a lot of time and money. At CETI, we aim to make certification as easy as possible through our live workshops and webinars as well as self-paced home study programs.

If you are a Pilates instructor looking for PMA CEU’s, join us in
Philadelphia, PA April 2-3 from 9-5 each day

If you are a health or fitness professional seeking CEU’s for NASM, ACE, AFAA, ISSA, YMCA, Canfitpro, Yoga Alliance, etc…. join us in:

Reno, NV March 19-20 from 9-5 each day
LIVE webinar workshop April 2-3 from 9-5 each day
Cherry Hill, NJ April 9-10Th from 9-5 each day
Kansas City, MO May 14-15 from 9-5 each day
Baltimore, MD May21-22 from 9-5 each day

Check out the link below to read more…/