Personal Trainer Job Description: What Do Personal Trainers Do?

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Oct 29, 2018

Oct 29, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are almost three hundred thousand personal trainers in the United States.

These qualified individuals instruct and motivate other people or groups to do exercises properly. This can include strength training, training for wrestling, cardiovascular exercises, and proper stretching.

But that explanation just scratches the surface of the personal trainer job description. Read on for an in-depth look inside the life of a personal trainer.

A Basic Personal Trainer Job Description

People have different reasons for hiring a personal trainer. Some want someone to guide them through the most targeted exercises for their goals. Others want to lose weight as quickly and safely as possible.

A personal trainer can show you routines that will lead you to your desired outcome by monitoring your progress, holding you accountable, and adapting their program to your individual needs as you go.

They can also teach you how to use workout equipment properly. Read more now about the most common and important types of gym equipment.

There are also specialty personal trainers. Some personal trainers work specifically with professional wrestlers. They typically work in smaller facilities with independent owners and get their clients from referrals.

Beyond the Basics

Personal trainers take you beyond the basics to bring your workout to the next level. They learn about the muscle groups of the body and can specifically target a workout to lead to your success.

Some personal trainers double as a group fitness instructor and lead large groups in aerobic exercises or conditioning. Often these classes are choreographed by the instructor themselves.

Full-service personal trainers also can give you nutritional tips and help you with lifestyle advice. For many, a personal trainer becomes a sort of therapist.

What Education Do You Need to be a Personal Trainer?

Becoming a personal trainer requires you to obtain a certificate from an accredited program, and take two years at a community college in health and fitness studies.

This training gives you the background you will need to design custom exercises for your clients. They will also teach you about building a customer base, marketing your services, and ensuring clients keep coming back for more.

To get started in personal training, you can get a basic certificate from one of these organizations:

  • American Fitness Training of Athletics
  • American Council on Exercise
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association

After you receive your certificate, you will be able to start accepting clients. But you will want to continue your education.

Fitness, like everything else, changes with the trends and recommendations change as new scientific discoveries about our bodies are made. It's important that you take the time to research the latest advancements so you can provide the best information to your customers.

Career Paths Within the Personal Training Umbrella

When you become a personal trainer, you will have to decide what kind of career path you want to take. These are some of the common options.

Employment with a Fitness or Recreational Center

One of the most common places to find employment as a personal trainer is at a gym or fitness center. This is a steady way to have a stream of new customers and stability in your business.

Often times when you try out a new gym, they will give you one or two free personal training appointments to get you started.

If the client you are working with feels the session had value for them, then they can choose to book another appointment.

In those cases, you would have to come up with a short-term plan for each client you see, even if it's only going to be that one time. By giving someone good advice in a single session, you can affect the way they exercise for the rest of their life.

Know your role as a personal trainer is to bring success and relief to others that are struggling and make that your priority.

Civic and Social Personal Training

Another steady stream of work, though maybe not as lucrative as working in a fancy gym, is working for a social organization like the YMCA or a school system. These organizations hire personal trainers for their clients and often offer lower-income people in the community access to them for free.

If you have a lot of passion for helping people in your community, then taking one of these positions can be a very rewarding career path.

Training in Hospitals for Patients

While physical therapists have to go to school for a doctorate, a personal trainer can also help rehabilitate patients who have recently undergone a surgery or had an injury.

In this scenario, the hospital would hire you to assess what the patient is capable of doing and come up with a plan for how they can begin to build muscle and regain their mobility. While you won't be able to give medical advice, you can have a major impact on someone's treatment plan for the better.

Self-Employment Options

If you are truly dedicated to your calling as a personal trainer, then you should consider starting your own business. While this is a risky choice, if you are solid in your methods and have a good following, you should be able to take your clients wherever you go.

Start your career by working in a gym and building up a clientele, then move to your own place so you can reap the full value of your hard work.

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Now that you have read this personal trainer job description, you have a better sense of whether or not this is a good career path for you.

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