Becoming a Personal Trainer – How and Why?
Are you a great motivator? Do you love maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Are you a positive influence on others? Then a personal trainer could be the job you are looking for. This type of job is possibly one of the most rewarding ones out there. When training with your clients you are able to watch them grow and evolve through your assistance. Whether their goals are to lose weight, get fitter, run a marathon, take up the sport professionally, you too will receive an outstanding level of satisfaction as well as them when they reach their end goals. So, if personal training is something you would be interest in, then keep on reading.
General Job Description of a PT
Whether you are applying for a position or are exploring your options, within this section of the article we are going to look into the requirements for a PT in general. This therefore will be able to provide you with a rough idea of what qualifications and experience you need for the job role.
These are the general elements needed to be obtained by a Personal Trainer while they are working:
- Be able to demonstrate exercises and routines
- Exercises you choose must promote fitness but minimize injury
- You need to be able to modify exercises to your clients requirements
- Keep track of your clients progress during every sessions
- Adjust workouts where necessary if progress is not seen
- Be able to keep clients fully informed on general fitness and health issues as well as providing them with resources for reference or further help
- You would also need to be able to follow emergency first aid if required
- Be able to motivate your clients and manage them
- Ensure that you are organized in terms of diaries of clients, schedules etc.
Where to Get Started – Courses and Classes
In terms of which qualifications are needed, you can have any or a combination of these listed below depending on where you are practising your training:
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- American Fitness Training of Athletics (AFTA)
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA)
- National Academy of Sports and Medicine (NASM)
- Emergency First Aid
- Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing – Gym
- Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness and Exercise Instruction
- Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness
- Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training
- Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training
You are able to take part in these courses through your local university or college by contacting the relevant departments. Some gyms and fitness centres may also offer an apprenticeship option whereby you can earn experience on the job by shadowing a trainer while you complete your course studies too. So depending on what path you choose, we highly recommend that you do your research first to find the best fit and route for you.
Finding What Areas You Prefer
Now you have gathered the correct qualifications needed to become a personal trainer, the main thing you would need to look into now is what area you want to hone your skills in. Some trainers choose to switch between these roles not only to expand their knowledge in the fitness world, but they also want to expand the different variety of motivational skill sets. Below are a few areas in which you could choose to adapt and grow your skills in:
- Outdoor Boot Camps
- Classes i.e. Spin, Yoga, Boxing
- Gym Instructor – One on One
- Self Employed
- Home Visits
A great way to increase the awareness of your brand as well as the quality of your teaching, you can take things outside and put together a boot camp. These camps are designed to test your clients’ strength and determination while ultimately helping them reach their end goals of weight loss or increased strength. By holding boot camps outside you will be able to receive outside attention from other potential clients too as they are able to have an insight into your methods before committing to the course.
Also by holding your classes outside you can reach a number of additional benefits too. By swapping the claustrophobic gym room for the park or field, you are able to breathe in fresh air while working out. This feeling will also motivate your clients too as they are able to enjoy the beauty of the world around them while they are training.
Another great way in which you can hone your skills is to host classes at a local gym. This is great for those who find a fitness regime which they prefer and can devote themselves to improving their knowledge on. For example if you enjoy the bike at the gym, why not cater for classes and clients who want to be on the bike but don’t know how to get the best out of it? By teaching spin you are able to interact with your clients and guide them through structured classes which will help them improve their fitness with ease. This is the same for those who prefer the calming and stretching techniques shown in Yoga or the agility and strength needed for dodging your opponents in Boxing. Once you have found a fitness activity which appeals to you greatly, you are able to put together insightful and successful classes at your local establishment.
However if you love the aspect of one on one coaching with your clients but you don’t want to have to stay under the umbrella of a gym, you can choose two alternate ways. You can opt to go self-employed which means that you can host sessions at home or outdoors like the aforementioned boot camps. Also, some establishments may also let you rent out some of their rooms or gym equipment for a small fee.Or if you’d rather stay in the gym environment but dedicate our time to one client at a time, you can choose to be a PT. You will find that by spending time one on one with your client you will be able to cater their regime for exactly what they want to achieve. You are also able to gauge their current fitness levels and capabilities during each session and motivate them directly, whereas in a class you would need to boost the morale of the whole group, which could be tricky as everyone has a different level and way in which this can be effective. Therefore, by creating a closer connection with your client you are able to give them quality teaching.
Alternatively, you can also choose the route of attending clients’ homes instead. This gives you the creative freedom of taking your own equipment with you on the day or using what is at the home such as stairs or chairs etc. Home visits are a great way to show off your initiative by creating quality workouts for everyone using a few key items which you can travel with easily or utilise in the home. These types of workouts are great for those who prefer training at home and would be great for people with recovering injuries which stop them from attending the gym or simply those with lower self-esteem who would rather stay in their house.
And finally, you can choose to specify in nutrition, personal trainers don’t necessarily have to have expertise on workouts. They can also be there to advise you on which food and drinks would be best to help you get the most out of their routine. This could be more beneficial for your clients as you will be able to provide them with a structured meal plan along with their workouts to help them achieve their optimum results. As we all know, fitness and nutrition goes hand in hand when it comes to adopting a healthier lifestyle or wanting to lose weight, so ensuring you can calculate the correct intake needed for each routine and customer, is vital.
Have You Recently Become a PT?
Above we have explored the requirements and knowledge needed to become a personal trainer, but now we want to get your opinions. Have you recently signed up with a trainer or become one yourself? Let us know over on social media and we would love to know you experience with the whole process.
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This article was written exclusively for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury