What is a Personal Trainer?
Personal trainers are fitness experts who help clients attain greater awareness and understanding in the areas of fitness and health. Personal trainers also provide clients with motivation and challenge as they work towards improving their physical fitness through exercise. In a nutshell, personal trainers provide valuable information to a client. They are a fitness “coach” or “mentor” that helps to guide a client to becoming the best physical being they can be.
Personal trainers do this by:
- Motivating clients by setting goals and providing consistent feedback
- Measuring a client’s strengths and weaknesses
- Providing advice on cardiovascular exercise, resistance exercise, stretching exercises, nutrition and general health matters
- Guiding clients on the proper exercise technique
- Developing exercise programs to help clients improve their fitness and overall health
- Evaluating client progress, modifying existing programs and keeping them on track to reaching their personal fitness goals
- By being there every step of the way … and holding clients accountable to the work they need to complete
Personal training is also … PERSONAL! Each client is different (strengths, weaknesses, needs, goals and expectations). No two people are alike and the same holds true for a physical fitness program. An effective fitness program is ever changing and evolving to match the needs of the client as they change over time.
Why Choose a Career as a Personal Trainer?
The Fitness Industry is Growing
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of fitness instructors and personal trainers will increase by 24% between 2010 to 2020. The demand for “proactive” health and fitness solutions is on the rise and certified personal trainers will have a wide variety of opportunities moving forward.
Diversity of Workplace
Personal trainers can provide their services in a wide variety of locations. As long as the environment is safe and provides adequate space and the proper equipment, a personal trainer can do their job. Common locations for personal training include:
- Fitness club or recreation facility
- Specialty studio or wellness facility
- Sports performance training facility
- Medical facility or hospital
- Corporate head office
- In home training
Diversity of Client Population
To be honest, the client population for personal training pretty well includes those who have two feet and a heartbeat. To be more specific I would include clients who are at least old enough to walk, can communicate effectively and have a maturity to comply to the program. The various client populations to service encompass a broad spectrum including:
- Pre/Post Natal Fitness
- Senior Fitness
- Children’s/Youth Fitness
- Chronic Disease & Disabilities
Not all personal trainers choose a specialty in their education and certification. It is highly suggested as specialized training gives a personal trainer a way to differentiate themselves from others where they can focus their expertise and create a higher value of service.
Personal training can happen at any time during the day (365, 24/7). In the end, personal training sessions are at the discretion of the personal trainer and the client (at a time agreed upon between the two parties). Because of the wide variety of locations a personal trainer can offer services the schedule is wide open. For example, personal training can be accommodated at a fitness club in the morning, at a corporate head office in the afternoon and at a client’s home in the evening.
Ongoing Education and Training
The fitness industry is fairly new and has a lot of opportunity for growth and expansion. With the growing need for proactive health care solutions there is also growing interest to learn more and to evolve the industry in a positive way. With that being said, new research findings are being published on a regular basis, new training techniques are being introduced to the market and new tools and technologies are constantly being introduced that are designed to make it easier to get physical results in a safe and effective way.
In order to stay competitive in a career field like personal training it is imperative to stay ahead of the pack and truly become a “fitness expert”. There are a wide variety of fitness education and certification providers with varying areas of expertise. There are also opportunities to learn from other personal trainers and fitness experts at their studios, clinics, research labs and training facilities. Regardless, successful personal trainers should be “eternal students” as is is highly unlikely that there will ever be an end to the variety of tools that can be included in their personal training tool box.
Next Steps …
If you feel that personal training is the right “fit” for what you are looking for in a career the next step would be to understand the roles, responsibilities and requirements to become a personal trainer. For more information check out the next article, “Becoming a Personal Trainer – Roles & Responsibilities”.