A personal trainer is someone who helps their clients achieve certain fitness goals, including but not limited to weight loss, strength training, toning, or overall health management. Each client's fitness level can be extremely different, so a trainer may be introducing one client to basic exercises, helping a second one with a weight loss program, and assisting a third in advanced training goals.
Unlike an athletic trainer, a personal trainer does not need a bachelor's degree to work with clients, although the majority of gyms and fitness centres require their trainers to hold general PT certifications.
A personal trainer will work with clients, either in a small group setting or one-on-one, on their fitness goals, which includes improving a client's muscular endurance, strengthening a client's cardiovascular capabilities, and increasing a client's physical flexibility. A personal trainer may also be asked to create or revise specific workout routines for their clients, in order to achieve extra weight loss, speed, or muscle toning. In some cases, personal trainers will also help clients with health and nutrition plans, such as recommending a food diary, or working with a nutritionist.
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Becoming a personal trainer requires a combination of physical strength and psychological awareness. After all, a trainer may play multiple roles with a client, alternating between coach, mentor, teacher, cheerleader, or even drill sergeant as the situation demands. Outgoing, positive people with attention to detail and a capacity for improvisation will likely flourish in this career. On the other hand, the strongest person in the gym may not be a good fit for this career, if he or she isn't able to connect with and inspire clients.
Time management and the ability to multi-task are also essential in this career field. A personal trainer should be comfortable using an organizer to schedule clients.
In addition to general PT certifications, most gyms require trainers to be CPR certified, and be able to run an AED, or an automated external defibrillator. In most cases, a high school diploma or GED is also required.
The look of a trainer's workplace can vary widely. Although the majority of personal trainers work out of a specific gym or fitness centre, some trainers specialize in house calls or even travel with their clients. Other trainers work for large companies, offering customized services to that company's workforce. Still other personal trainers work within a college or educational arena.
In general, expect to work with a variety of exercise equipment, including free weights or nautilus machines, cardio machines like stairmasters or treadmills. Trainers may also be expected to teach or coach their clients through floor work, including stretching, toning, or pilates work.
A trainer generally dresses in neat, professional clothing that may or may not be workout wear. A tucked-in shirt with a collar and khakis will give a look of authority in the gym. Personal trainers who choose to dress in workout clothes should keep them fresh, neat, and clean. Remember that a personal trainer presents the image of fitness and health that the client wants to emulate.