Gainesville, Florida. While the American Massage Therapy Association reports projected income for the massage therapy industry has been lowered due to the economy, one organization in Gainesville, Florida, sees this as an unparalleled opportunity for business growth. Vincent Cambrea, director of the Cambrea Institute, has been training massage therapists to integrate fitness and personal training into their practices, giving these professionals a decided edge in the market.

“The transition from massage therapist to fitness coach isn’t so much a career change as it is a progression in skills and a way to recession-proof a practice that might be in jeopardy in this tough economy,” says Cambrea, the coach who developed and conducts IMAP Training, an integrated massage, fitness and lifestyle program that requires coursework in Gainesville, including physical training, workout design, supervised coaching and business planning.

The timing for personal training couldn’t be better. With the massage industry pulling back slightly, in April 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report: “Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. As businesses and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other fitness facilities will increase the need for workers in these areas.”

Cambrea says, “IMAP Training moves seamlessly from the classroom to the gym because massage therapists already are knowledgeable in anatomy, physiology and working with clients. When lifestyle, fitness and orthopedics are integrated with bodywork, the combination creates a uniquely skilled personal trainer.”

The Cambrea Institute and IMAP Training are in partnership with the most prestigious fitness credentialing organization in the country, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Graduates of the institute’s coursework not only receive certification in IMAP Training, but also are invited to sit for the NASM certification exam.

The next 2012 IMAP Training course is offered in Gainesville on Oct. 19 to 21. The November IMAP Training course meets Nov. 24 to 30. For more information or a full calendar of courses including IMAP Training, go to or e-mail