Personal trainers typically become personal trainers out of a passion for being healthy, fit and active. They're not normally the type of people who could stomach a desk job or sit alone in a cubicle ”paper pushing“. It's a job that starts out with heart, motivation and a love for all things fitness...the trick is, keeping it that way!
If you want to keep yourself on track for a successful long term career, you should understand the role of the personal trainer. What does a personal trainer do? But, before we look at the ”what“, let's recognizing the ”why“.
Why do you want to be a personal trainer? Maybe it's a combination of things — there's not a whole lot of ”wrong“ reasons that you may be motivated to be a personal trainer, other than ”I just want to hang out at the gym all day, lookin' good and making easy money“, if that's your reason then we encourage you to seek another profession; just don't lose the motivation to keep fit, which is certainly a much easier proposition than working to keep others that way.
So, the ”WHY“? Here's some common reasons (but not all, and in no particular order):
1) I want to help people to live a healthy lifestyle
2) I want to make my own lifestyle into a career, or supplement my income with something I enjoy
3) I want to teach people about the body and what it's capable of
4) I want to love my job
What is a Personal Trainer expected to do?
By definition, a personal fitness trainer is a fitness professional possessing the knowledge, skills and abilities for safe and effective exercise and fitness program design, instruction and assistance for the purpose of reaching personal health and fitness goals. Now, thanks to tv shows and celebrities who hire trainers, this career path has a much higher profile than it ever has before — which comes with some good effects, but also some bad. The good: trainers are more and more recognized as being a real and active part of individual goal setting and achieving. The role that trainers play in the success of their clients is increasingly in the spotlight, not hidden in the thankless backdrop. But the bad: a lot of distorted views about what a personal trainer does and how a personal trainer should look.
Passion, purpose, caring and coaching — these qualities make a far greater impact than the size of a trainer's biceps. Not that there isn't something to be said for outward appearance and taking care of the ”cover“ but the book has many pages, and the cover only gets the reader to pick up the book, not to read it.
At the baseline, your scope of practice as a personal trainer should look like this:
- Knowledge of human anatomy and the concepts of functional exercise, basic nutrition and basic exercise science
- An ability to design individual and group exercise programs tailored to the needs and attainable goals of specific clients
- An ability to conduct and understand the need and importance of screening and client assessment, initially and progressively
- An ability to execute individual fitness program design in a safe and effective way
- A desire to help clients reach their health and fitness goals through appropriate cardiovascular, flexibility and resistance exercise
- An ability to motivate others to improve their overall fitness and health
- A dedication to maintaining personal integrity and your own health and fitness
A good personal trainer delivers safe, effective, fun and interesting workouts (in that order) to all fitness-training clients. The training programs you develop should be varied and progressive, and geared toward improving your clients' health and wellness. As a trainer, you should be enthusiastic and supportive, so that your clients remain interested and stimulated, which helps ensure they stick with the program — and with you.