What Do Personal Trainers Do?

Personal trainers help individual clients meet fitness goals by designing exercise plans and advising them of lifestyle and diet changes. Prospective personal trainers typically must graduate from an accredited program and be certified by a professional organization in order to find a job. Careers similar to personal training include coach, athletic trainer, yoga instructor, and physical education teacher. Schools offering Fitness Trainer degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Personal trainers assess their clients' unique fitness goals and then design and implement personalized fitness plans. They often provide lifestyle and diet advice. Personal trainers may either work in a gym or visit their clients' homes. Personal trainers often have a four-year bachelor's degree in exercise science, nutrition, or a related field.

Important Facts About This Occupation

On-the-Job Training Short-term training may be available with experienced trainers
Professional Certification Professional certification strongly recommended; many organizations offer certification
Key Skills Ability to motivate, listening skills, problem-solving (for fitness plans), politeness and courtesy in customer service
Similar Occupations Athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, physical therapist assistant

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Assess the Client's Goals

When a personal trainer first meets with a new client, the trainer assesses the client's current level of physical fitness and discusses the individual's fitness goals. The goals may include losing weight, gaining muscle, improving overall health, or any number of other goals. Once the personal trainer knows the client's current fitness level and future fitness goals, it is possible to design a custom exercise plan that will help the client attain these goals.

Design and Supervise a Fitness Plan

Personal trainers design exercise plans that address a client's goals. The exercise plan typically includes lifting weights, cardiovascular exercises, yoga routines, or even some forms of dance. Personal trainers may demonstrate the activities included in the fitness plan to the client and supervise him or her to make sure that the routine is completed correctly.

Track Client Progress and Make Changes to Fitness Plan

Once the client has started the fitness plan, personal trainers track the client's progress towards the goal and make changes to the plan if needed. For example, if the client's goal is to build muscle, it may be necessary to increase the amount of weight lifted or the number of times the weight is lifted periodically.

Advise Lifestyle or Diet Changes

Many personal trainers also advise their clients about lifestyle or diet changes that can help them meet their fitness goals. Personal trainers often advise their clients to quit smoking, cut back on alcohol consumption, or eat more nutritious food.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by a faster-than-average pace, about 10%, between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The BLS also estimated that in May 2018, the median salary earned by fitness trainers and aerobics instructors was $39,820 a year. Trainers employed in individual and family services earned the most money, averaging about $57,370 annually.

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