How to become a fitness trainer

Becoming a fitness trainer requires dedication, a great deal of patience, and the ability to work well with others. It requires the ability to motivate others, set expectations for the workout session, and plan workouts around the participants’ needs. Fitness trainers generally work out of gyms and personal training studios, and may also work at schools, corporate offices, and community centers.

Working as a fitness trainer requires a great deal of dedication, as you’ll be training others to become the best that they can be, and you won’t make any money doing so. The work is also challenging, as you’ll be working with a variety of clients, all of whom have different levels of fitness and may have medical conditions.

What Is a Fitness Trainer?

A fitness trainer is someone who helps individuals strengthen and lose weight by teaching exercise and nutrition. They might also help individuals improve their golf, running, or swimming skills, reduce their risk of developing a certain condition, or improve general health.

Depending on the type of fitness training you do, you may call yourself a personal trainer, fitness instructor, or exercise instructor. The skills and knowledge required for these roles are very similar, though you’ll need to complete additional training to license as a professional.

A fitness trainer can teach a variety of types of exercise, including cardiovascular activities, muscle-strengthening exercises, yoga poses, and more. A fitness trainer can also help clients determine the correct intensity for their exercises, as well as provide proper instruction for all types of exercises, including the correct form for movements such as the bench press, rows, pushups, situps, and more.

The Job

A fitness trainer’s job is to help people achieve their health and fitness goals through a variety of exercise and nutrition programs. Trainees may work solo or in a group, and the number of sessions a week and the type of exercise taught can vary.

Trainees can expect to work out 4 to 6 hours per week, 5 days per week in some cases.

Power of Motivation

Many people feel motivated to get fit after watching or participating in workout videos, reading articles, or hearing stories from others who have successfully lost weight or improved their health through fitness. Motivation often comes from within, as you might wake up every day motivated to do your best.

You may also be motivated by peer pressure, the desire to be recognized for your efforts, or a sense of duty. You might want to show off your new fitness gear, or compete with your friends in a fitness club.

What You Need to Know

If you don’t know how to teach exercise, you can usually find training classes in your neighborhood or online. Look for classes taught by certified fitness trainers, or by former professional fitness athletes.

Most classes will have exercise forms and charts to help you get started. Before starting a workout program, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor to determine if you have any medical conditions that might make you unable to exercise.

Individuals with disabilities may find it useful to attend some classes with qualified fitness instructors. Most fitness centers have activities for the disabled, as do many gyms.

Setting Limits

Just like with any type of exercise, intensity is key to having an effective workout. You don’t want to be doing sit-ups, pushups, and planks for the entire duration of your workout, but you also don’t want to be doing anything at all, either.

The key here is moderation. You don’t want to be doing so many exercises that you end up hurting yourself. Instead, you want to choose exercises that you can do for about 3 to 5 minutes at a time and then switch to another one.

You may notice that some clients are more interested in using machines or using more machines than others. This is perfectly normal. Some clients enjoy using machines more than others and finding out why can help you create a program that works best for your clients.

Bottom Line

As a fitness trainer, you’ll spend the majority of your time alone or with a few other people. You’ll spend your off-days in the studio, on the field, or at a pool.

Exercising can be very rewarding, but it’s also important to remember that exercise does not make you fat. If you’re not losing weight, you’re not working out hard enough, or you have other medical conditions, then cutting down on exercise may be the solution.

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As a fitness trainer, you’ll spend the majority of your time alone or with a few other people. You’ll spend your off-days in the studio, on the field, or at a pool.


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But remember, physical activity doesn’t have to be boring or torture. It can be something as simple as walking to the store or taking the stairs instead of an elevator when you can walk, or taking your daily breaks when you’re doing exercises such as doing planks.

Keep in mind that fitness does not have to be expensive. You can find classes in parks, libraries, and the grocery store. If you can fit it into your busy schedule, the payoff can be huge.

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