Knowledge, they say, is power.

In today's competitive environment, it is also a requirement for fitness professionals who want to stay on top of their game by expanding their influence and effectively helping clients to reach their goals.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently surveyed its extensive network of personal trainers, exercise scientists, group fitness experts, allied health providers, and lifestyle and weight management coaches to determine the most significant trends for 2012. As 2011 comes to an end, it's time to make plans for a New Year. Whether you want to pursue an advanced degree, enhance your business skills, strive to make a bigger positive impact on society or better utilize technology to increase your reach and services, look toward ACE's top fitness trends for 2012 and ring in the New Year with the knowledge you need to succeed.

Among ACE's 2012 Fitness Trends to Watch

Obesity Awareness: Losing weight will continue to be the primary reason consumers seek personal training support as the public responds to the expanded messaging concerning the dangers of physical inactivity and obesity. The recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report showed a modest improvement in the nation's obesity rates for the first time in more than three years, which is a very encouraging sign. However, three out of five Americans are still overweight or obese, requiring more work ahead. ACE remains committed to its 25-year vision to reverse the obesity trend through involvement of communities, businesses, and government.

Behavior Modification: While great strides have been made in health education, the average consumer still believes the best way to lose weight is by following a restrictive or fad diet. The recently introduced ACE Integrated Fitness Training (ACE IFT) Model incorporates tools personal trainers can use to help them identify appropriate strategies for working with each client to enhance goal-setting, motivation, adherence and rapport. Educational campaigns and programs such as the ACE IFT Model, Personal Training. Reinvented, and the ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach certification will prepare fitness professionals to help consumers better understand that there are no shortcuts to lasting results.

Community Collaboration: Access to fitness services and education will continue to expand in local communities, including activities in gyms, parks and recreation centers. In line with the key objectives ACE presented in its 2011 Vision, local leaders are taking a more active role to address health issues in their communities. This includes proactive measures through school-based education programs and engagement with low-income and at-risk families.

Workplace Support: Due in part to several years of declining economic conditions for business owners, employers will look to outsource wellness programs to local fitness facilities and health clubs that can provide total health management while seeking out employee discounts and reduced membership fees to increase access to workers.

Read the full list of ACE's 2012 Fitness Trends to Watch in the December issue of ACE Certified News at