Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Sociology and Anthropology
The fitness industry is a multi-million dollar business engaged with enhancing or changing the personal appearance of an individual; that is, what Goffman (1963) called with regard to the embodied self, occupations engaged in identity tinkering trades. The muscle and fitness industry's occupations are engaged in tinkering with ones physical identities (Tan & Brignole, 2012). Personal trainers have been acknowledged in social science literature as "customer service" representatives and "emotional laborers" in the fitness industry (Maguire, 2001). This research is a two-part qualitative study: first, I examine the actions, purpose, and roles of the personal fitness trainer and secondly, I examine the connection between this "protoprofession" and other professionals, para-professionals, and allied health care professionals that comprise the medical landscape. I show various tactics and techniques used by these fitness workers to seize legitimization and take control of their occupation (Abbott, 1988; Collins, 2004). Based on my workplace interviews of them, I attempt to portray the nature of the "contested terrain" related to this occupation's claims of professionalization.
Foster, Lara M., "Professionalization of Personal Trainers in the Fitness Industry" (2012). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 4853.