James FitzGerald: How Fitness Has Changed in 20 Years

James FitzGerald: How Fitness Has Changed in 20 Years

OPEX Fitness is celebrating its 20th year of business this year. 

For those who do not know, I started my fitness career as a soccer player (football if you will), then proceeded to go to study Exercise Science in university. As I began my career I pursued every avenue of fitness possible, ending up in functional fitness. In 2007 I was the inaugural CrossFit Games winner and from there started working with functional fitness athletes which transitioned to educating fitness coaches. 

Today, I still work with a number of clients ranging from athletes to general population clients. But my main focus is educating coaches through the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) and bringing honor back to the coaching profession.

To celebrate OPEX Fitness’ 20 years of business I came up with 20 ways the fitness industry has changed since it’s conception. 

1. Today, there are more options for fitness than ever, but most people are still weaker and less fit.

2. The term “professional fitness coach” means 30 different things.

3. 315 pounds on a barbell is still 315 pounds.

4. There have been 4 new ‘sales’ names for low carb diets, one every 5 years.

5. Resistance training and sustainable aerobic work are still the best ways to live long and prosper.

6. Exercise intention has changed dramatically towards tribalism and away from self-improvement.

7. Fitness education in public schools is being removed from the curriculum.

8. In-person relationships are still the only true fitness relationship.

9. A 75 pound per hand dumbbell chest press for 5 reps is still a 75 pound per hand dumbbell chest press for 5 reps.

10. There is now a term for people known in the fitness industry – “influencer”.

11. There is now a sport where people try to exercise better than others.

12. People still believe that gaining lean mass is easy.

13. There have been 4 new sale names for core training, one every 5 years.

14. Micro-gym now means something after 20 years.

15. Most know that the personalization of fitness programs is the answer.

16. Technology has improved fitness delivery 10 times, at the same time making fitness choices 10 times as confusing.

17. The creativity of programs has overtaken the importance of assessment.

18. We are living longer but obesity and rates of lifestyle-based diseases are higher than ever.

19. Anyone can be a personal trainer, strength coach, or fitness instructor today.

20. A 6:59 Helen is not as impressive as it used to be.

There we have it, 20 things I have learned during the 20 years of OPEX Fitness. Not as exciting as you hoped? Well, that is the current state of the fitness industry and the reason I am striving to educate as many fitness coaches as possible to change the paradigm. 

Want to do your part? I have made a free Professional Coaching Blueprint for coaches just like you that highlights my coaching methodologies and how I believe everyone should experience fitness. Download it for free and join me in changing the paradigm.


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