Alex De Lyon

Alex De Lyon

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

PhD Title: The role of fitness professionals in ‘performing’ contemporary health agendas: a critical analysis of professional training, development and practice

Supervisors: Professor Kathleen Armour and Dr Kyriaki Makopoulou


  • MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology (Loughborough University)
  • BSc (1st Class Hons) Sports Coaching and Performance (The University of Hull)
  • Diploma in Personal Training (Premier Training International)


Alex is an ESRC-Funded Doctoral Researcher at The School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at The University of Birmingham. His research is concerned with the professional training, development and practice of fitness professionals and its impact on the lives of fitness/exercise participants. This research is founded on over five years of experience working in the fitness and leisure industries as an Advanced Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor and Sports Massage Therapist. Alex has presented findings from this research on both a national (UK) level, and worldwide at countries including Poland and Australia. In the context of sport, he has contributed to professional development research projects for the English Football Association (FA) as well as the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), and worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Rugby Super League club, Hull Kingston Rovers. In addition, his other projects include organising a ‘Meet the Scientist’ public engagement event based on human anatomy at Thinktank science museum and serving as a fitness and exercise advisor, employed through a partnership between the Norfolk County Council, European Union Social Fund and World Skills London.

It is envisaged that findings from Alex’s research will inform the development of new forms of professional training and education that will, ultimately, allow fitness professionals to better meet the needs of the millions of people who rely upon their services and improve the health of the population.


Research Interests:

  • Professional development 
  • Sport and exercise pedagogy 
  • The fitness industry and its workforce
  • Qualitative research methods

Other activities

Current roles and responsibilities: 

  • Teaching Associate (part-time) 
  • Convener of the Sport Pedagogy informal group meetings 
  • Postgraduate student representative 
  • Register of Exercise Professionals’ (REPs) accredited Personal Trainer

Alex is also a proud member of the ‘UBSportExR’ 6-a-side football team.


Journal papers – academic journals

De Lyon, A.T.C. & Cushion, C.J. (2013). The acquisition and development of fitness trainers’ professional knowledge. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 27(5), 1407-1422.

Professional publications 

De Lyon, A.T.C. & Armour, K.M. (2013). The role of ‘fitness professionals’ in improving public health: swamps, sands and careering juggernauts! Available from: .

Conference Presentations

De Lyon, A.T.C., Makopoulou, K., Armour, K.M. & Cushion, C.J. (2013). ‘Fitness professionals’ and their development: toward a new research agenda. Physical Education and sport: challenging the future, AIESEP 2013 International Conference, July.

De Lyon, A.T.C. (2011). The acquisition and development of fitness trainers’ professional knowledge. Sport and Exercise Psychology Annual Student Conference. Loughborough, August.

Invited Presentations

De Lyon, A.T.C. (2012). Fitness trainers’ learning and professional development: Where are we now, and where can we go from here? The University of Queensland, May.