Fitness trainers are passionate about health, wellness and exercise and use their skills to help motivate others in reaching their fitness and weight goals. Fitness trainers, or personal trainers, work with people from many different backgrounds and abilities, from professional athletes to elderly people. A job as a fitness trainer can be rewarding and fulfilling as trainers help others to improve their health through exercise and nutrition.
The definition of fitness trainers and aerobics instructors as explained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is to “instruct or coach groups or individuals in exercise activities and the fundamentals of sports. Demonstrate techniques and methods of participation. Observe participants and inform them of corrective measures necessary to improve their skills.” Fitness instructors play a significant role in the lives of those who wish to lose weight, get and stay in shape and, in some instances, recover from injury.
Fitness trainers have a number of job responsibilities. They should be well-educated in the areas of human anatomy and physiology. Trainers perform physical assessments on new clients and decide on specific goals that the client should accomplish over the course of the training period. Some trainers may suggest ways that a client can adjust his diet to meet his weight or fitness goals. Trainers design and direct workout programs that are tailored to the client's needs and goals, teach and demonstrate the use of gym equipment, observe the client as he exercises and correct any improper techniques, maintain equipment, administer first-aid if necessary and, in some cases, advise the client in improving lifestyle and diet choices.
Personal trainers can become certified by preparing for and successfully taking the Certified Personal Trainer exam offered by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Other certifications are offered through organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine, National Sports and Conditioning Association and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that more employers are requiring fitness workers and trainers to have a degree in a specialized health field, but this requirement varies with employer. Fitness trainers are typically required to be CPR-certified.
Fitness trainers should be self-motivated, energetic, organized and responsible. They should be good communicators and attentive to their clients' needs, being willing and able to adjust workout programs at the last minute. They should be apt at coordinating schedules and managing time wisely and effectively. Being able to utilize and implement new technology, equipment and techniques is also an essential aspect of the fitness trainer.
Fitness Trainers have the option of working in commercial gyms, fitness centers, health clubs and day spas or in private businesses. Some trainers can even work as staff members at community centers, recreation facilities and college fitness facilities.
Trainers should have flexible schedules in order to meet the varying schedules of different clients. Trainers in managerial positions may have more consistent or set schedules. Scheduling may vary depending on the place of employment, the employer and the employee's experience and education or certification level. Some appointments with clients may last as short as 15 minutes up to two or more hours, depending on the needs of the client, but many commercial gyms have policies regarding allotted client-trainer time.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 fitness workers and trainers earned an estimated average wage of $24,570 in a year. This average may vary for trainers with more experience and training, as well as the place of employment.