What is a Fitness Trainer?

Also known as: Group Exercise Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor, Fitness Instructor, Aerobics Instructor.

Fitness trainers lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular exercise (exercises for the heart and blood system), strength training, and stretching. They work with people of all ages and skill levels. Fitness trainers work in health clubs, country clubs, fitness or recreation centres, gyms, hospitals, universities, yoga and Pilates studios, resorts, and clients' homes.

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What does a Fitness Trainer do?

Fitness trainers typically do the following:

  • Demonstrate how to carry out various exercises and routines
  • Watch clients do exercises and show or tell them correct techniques to minimize injury and improve fitness
  • Give alternative exercises during workouts or classes for different levels of fitness and skill
  • Monitor clients’ progress and adapt programs as needed
  • Explain and enforce safety rules and regulations on sports, recreational activities, and the use of exercise equipment
  • Give clients information or resources about nutrition, weight control, and lifestyle issues
  • Give emergency first aid if needed

Both group and specialized fitness instructors often plan or choreograph their own classes. They choose music that is appropriate for their exercise class and create a routine or a set of moves for a class to follow. Some may teach pre-choreographed routines that were originally created by fitness companies or other organizations.

Personal fitness trainers design and carry out workout routines specific to the needs of their clients. In larger facilities, personal trainers must often sell their training sessions to members. They start by evaluating their clients' current fitness level, personal goals, and skills. They then develop personalized training programs for their clients to follow, and they monitor the clients’ progress.

Fitness trainers in smaller facilities often do a variety of tasks in addition to their fitness duties, such as tending the front desk, signing up new members, giving tours of the fitness centre, writing newsletter articles, creating posters and flyers, and supervising the weight-training and cardiovascular equipment areas. In some facilities, a single trainer or instructor may provide individual sessions and teach group classes. Gyms and other types of health clubs offer many different activities for clients. However, trainers and instructors often specialize in only a few areas.

The following are some types of fitness trainers:

  • Personal fitness trainers work with a single client or a small group. They may train in a gym or in the clients’ homes. Personal fitness trainers assess the clients’ level of physical fitness and help them set and reach their fitness goals.

  • Group fitness instructors organize and lead group exercise sessions, which can include aerobic exercise, stretching, muscle conditioning, or meditation. Some classes are set to music. In these classes, instructors may select the music and choreograph an exercise sequence.

  • Specialized fitness instructors teach popular conditioning methods such as Pilates or yoga. In these classes, instructors show the different moves and positions of the particular method. They also watch students and correct those who are doing the exercises improperly.

  • Fitness directors oversee the fitness-related aspects of a gym or other type of health club. They often handle administrative duties, such as scheduling personal training sessions for clients or creating workout incentive programs. They often select and order fitness equipment for their facility.

What is the workplace of a Fitness Trainer like?

Fitness trainers work in health clubs, fitness or recreation centers, gyms, country clubs, hospitals, universities, yoga and Pilates studios, resorts, and clients' homes. Some fitness trainers also work in offices, where they organize and direct health and fitness programs for employees.

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