If you're passionate about working out and helping other people achieve their fitness goals, consider becoming a personal trainer. It’s one of the fastest growing professions, and for good reason: personal trainers have flexible hours, they get to do what they love, and they inspire people to be at their best. This article discusses the ins and outs of the profession, the qualifications necessary for becoming a personal trainer, and the steps you’ll need to take to excel in the profession!
Make sure you can walk the walk. Personal trainers are responsible for educating their clients on physical fitness and self-motivation. In order to be effective, personal trainers must demonstrate that they have mastered these areas in their own lives. As you consider becoming a personal trainer, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you in optimal physical shape? Clients look up to their personal trainers as examples of what it means to be fit and healthy. Even great educators and motivators may have trouble finding clients if they don’t seem to be in shape. This does not mean meeting status quo standards of physical beauty; every body type is different, and being “in shape” means different things for different people. But personal trainers must be able to demonstrate a range of exercises and train just as hard, or harder, than their clients in order to help them succeed.
- Do you believe in the power of fitness? Personal trainers don’t just exercise because they want to stay slim. They see physical fitness as a powerful force that fundamentally enhances people’s lives. It is this strong belief in their work that enables personal trainers to be so motivating to others.
Understand human anatomy. The best personal trainers have a deep understanding of the way the human body works. It’s a big responsibility: advising clients to perform exercises unsuitable to their abilities can lead to injuries, sometimes severe ones. Clients also work with machinery and weight equipment that could injure them if it’s used improperly. Personal trainers learn much of what they need to know in the courses they take to receive certification, but it’s important to have an interest in working with people’s individual bodies and needs to figure out how to help them get as fit as possible while staying safe.
Develop your skills as a leader. Personal trainers must be inspiring, trustworthy, caring leaders. After all, they lead clients through exercise sessions that can evoke pain, frustration and sometimes tears. Personal trainers keep clients’ eyes on their goals and share in the satisfaction and happiness that comes when they’re achieved.
Hire a personal trainer. To truly understand the personal trainer/client relationship, hire a trainer to help you achieve your own fitness goals. Note how your relationship with that person develops, and what traits make him or her effective at the job. Every personal trainer has a different style: some operate like boot camp instructors and others take a gentle, intimate approach. Think about what approach you would take if you were the one helping other people on their path to fitness. See Part 3 plus Tips and Warnings below for more about defining your approach to working as a personal trainer.