SAN DIEGO, CA—July 8, 2021—Today, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) furthers its commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion with a first-of-its-kind course on how exercise professionals and health coaches can build a more inclusive fitness industry. The course, Taking Action with ACE: Practicing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as an Exercise Professional, is the first step on a journey to ensure all physical activity participants have equal access and feel welcome in every environment.

This course will better equip exercise professionals and health coaches to support diverse communities, use an inviting environment to boost client engagement and retention, and be a better advocate for the fitness industry.

“For too long, inclusion just hasn’t been a priority of the fitness industry,” said ACE Chief Executive Officer, Scott Goudeseune. “This course will help exercise professionals and health coaches provide effective services to communities that have felt left out of health and fitness spaces.”

ACE collaborated with Jessica Jackson, MBA, M.Ed, instructional designer and racial equity strategist at TorranceLearning and subject matter experts in equity, diversity and inclusion to produce the course’s six modules. Upon completion of Taking Action with ACE, which is free for ACE Certified Professionals, health and exercise professionals will be able to:

  • Consider how social determinants of health and health disparities affect access to health and fitness resources.
  • Mitigate implicit bias in interactions with diverse peers, clients and members.
  • Strengthen communication with people from diverse backgrounds using person-centered language.
  • Demonstrate empathy and understanding as a health coach and exercise professional.

“In order to make meaningful change of systemic inequities, we need to ensure everyone has equitable access to health and fitness resources,” said ACE President and Chief Science Officer Cedric Bryant, Ph.D. “There are clear data about the health disparities among populations who are medically underserved. We hope this new course works toward ensuring all communities have the support they need to live healthy, balanced lives.”

“The fitness industry is just beginning the work of addressing its inequities,” said Goudeseune. “To that end, ACE aims for one-fifth of exercise professionals and health coaches to take this course within its first year of availability.”


One year ago, ACE strengthened its commitment to the role it could play in contributing to the much-needed change of structural inequities. Since then, ACE has hosted dialogues on issues within the health and fitness industry that affect diverse populations. ACE also partnered with the Women In Fitness Association (WIFA) to create the WIFA Growth Grant, a scholarship providing current ACE Certified Professionals the opportunity to build and grow their careers with a 1-year WIFA membership.

Taking Action with ACE is built upon ACE’s continuous effort to Get People Moving, and reflections from the past year. Access to support within the fitness industry has not been widely available to underserved communities.

  • Inactivity levels vary among U.S. adults by race/ethnicity and location (CDC, 2020).
  • U.S. teens, adults, and older adults do not exercise enough. Only 25% of U.S. adults and 20% of high school students fully meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and nearly 31M adults 50+ don’t get physical activity beyond their daily living (CDC Active People, Healthy Nation).
  • Physical activity levels are also influenced by cultural values. In most countries, girls, women, older adults, underprivileged groups, and people with disabilities and chronic diseases all have fewer opportunities to access safe, affordable and appropriate programs and places to be physically active (WHO GAPPA).
  • Predominantly Black populated areas are less likely to have a gym and recreational center and that people in those areas are 51% more likely to be obese compared to non-Hispanic Whites (Fit For Us).
  • The majority of Black people in America don’t have access to quality health- and fitness-related resources (Fit For Us).
  • Gay, lesbian and bisexual-identifying adults can be 12% less likely to be in excellent or very good health compared to their straight peers (CDC National Health Interview Survey).

About the American Council on Exercise 

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization with global reach that works to improve physical-activity levels by certifying exercise professionals and health coaches, publishing original research, convening experts on physical activity and health, working directly with community groups, and advocating for policies to get people from all walks of life moving. The 90,000 exercise professionals and health coaches certified by ACE are among the most respected in the world of fitness, helping people embrace physical activity and adopt a healthier lifestyle. For more information, call 800-825-3636 or visit AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE, ACE and ACE logos are Registered Trademarks of the American Council on Exercise.

Media Contact:

Patrick Grieve
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