Personal training is a job associated with glamour. Many television actors, movie stars, professional athletes and even the president have personal trainers. These trainers make enough from one or two clients to live very comfortably. This is not the case with most personal trainers.
A personal trainer may work for a fitness center at a college or university, a private health club, a wellness center as part of a holistic health group, or independently for individual clients. Trainers who work independently can make more money and have a more flexible schedule but the task of finding clients is solely the responsibility of the trainer. Another benefit to working independently is that you will be able to work with the same clients. A personal trainer in a club or fitness center can count on regular clients scheduled at the convenience of the clients during their shift. Unfortunately, you may see different clients and the other trainers may work with the same clients you do if they come at a different time.
A personal trainer must be knowledgeable in all areas of fitness including strength training, aerobic training, flexibility, exercise selection and training intensity and duration for various goals. Additional knowledge in specific sports skills and conditioning can help as well. Nutrition is yet another area that a personal trainer must have a good knowledge base. A trainer does not need to be an expert in any particular sport or in nutrition but must have a good understanding in basic concepts. A certification is usually required for a job in a club or gym and is also a good idea for an independent trainer.
There are various organizations that offer certifications for personal trainers. Most certifying organizations do not require a college degree. Some offer a training course before testing. These courses may be in a classroom somewhere or could be correspondence or internet courses. A web search of "personal trainer certification" will turn up thousands of hits and numerous organizations offering certifications for personal trainers. The cost of certification ranges from $75 to $500 or more but should pay off in the end with more clients.
Personal trainers are called on to develop programs for weight loss (more specifically, fat loss), muscular gain, rehabilitation, anti-aging, health and/or aesthetic maintenance, improved sports performance or even bodybuilding and powerlifting. It is important to gain the trust of clients by being honest if you don’t have the answers or if you can not help a particular client. When this happens it helps to have a network of other trainers to refer those clients to. It is important to continue researching new techniques and supplements. A stale trainer doesn’t get many new clients, and will eventually lose the regulars.
A personal trainer must be flexible with scheduling to accommodate the largest number of clients. A trainer may work in a clients home with equipment the client has purchased. In these cases it is a good idea to have some dumbbells, theraband, Powerrods, or other equipment to supplement what the client has available. Some clients may not have equipment of their own and wish to have a program using bodyweight resistance and "around home" equipment. A client may ask to be trained at the health club where they work out. It is important to make sure the club allows this before agreeing to do it. When training athletes the training venue will be varied depending on what areas of conditioning are expected. Using community resources such as the high school track, the local swimming pool, and the less traveled streets can be a great way to extend the training and gain exposure. This exposure will lead to questions and ultimately the possibility for new clients.