According to the National Federation of Personal Trainers, personal trainers apply fundamental exercise science principles to design fitness programs that help meet health and fitness goals in public and private settings. These trainers teach you how to reach your individual fitness goals and they are responsible for using and promoting safe exercise prescriptions. Personal trainers keep up to date with current industry standards and practices by completing periodic continuing education requirements.
Personal fitness trainers must screen a potential client to determine if he can be physically trained. Trainers must identify health risk factors such as diabetes or obesity. Trainers collect information about a potential client’s personal medical history, chronic illnesses, biomechanical problems and current medications. Trainers must obtain clearance from a client’s physician if the client is on blood pressure, cardiac or blood glucose medications.
Trainers must collect general client information, which includes the client’s age, gender, height and weight. Information about a client’s occupation can help the trainer determine her daily activity level. Trainers should inquire about a client’s sleeping and dietary habits, water intake and the most recent exercise program she practiced.
Personal trainers are responsible for performing a fitness assessment of a client to structure his training regimen. Trainers administer a body composition test to determine a client’s percentage of body fat. Muscular strength and muscular endurance tests help determine the intensity of the client’s exercise regimen. A “step-test” helps a trainer evaluates a client’s cardiorespiratory ability. A “sit-and-reach” test assesses a client’s flexibility with minimal equipment.
Personal trainers are responsible for providing the client with general dietary advice. Trainers may provide a client with literature or recommend foods that provide nutrients that help the body recover from exercise or meet the client’s fitness goals. Trainers should explain how a client’s daily activity determines her dietary caloric requirements and provide charts and tables to help a client make informed meal and meal timing decisions. Trainers may recommend dietary supplements that can help a client meet her specific fitness goals such as protein shakes for lean muscle gain or vitamins for exercise recovery.
Trainers should structure an exercise regimen according to a client's fitness level and specific goals such as weight loss, lean muscle gain, endurance or muscular strength. Fitness trainers provide instructions about specific resistance movements and the number of sets and repetitions a client should perform during an exercise session. Personal trainers demonstrate the appropriate technique for completing exercise movements and evaluate progress. Trainers must ensure that a client has enough recovery time between workouts. Recovery time depends on the intensity of an individual workout session.