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How To Become A Personal Trainer

The fitness industry is an ever growing one, and if you are into fitness and health, and have enough passion to want to share your lifestyle with others, then becoming a personal trainer is a sound career move.

As opposed to an office job or that of a labourer, your choice to be a personal trainer is a lot more stress free and you get to dress up in some fashionable sportswear as part of your everyday uniform.

With millions of people working under the watchful eye of their personal trainer, as this style of keeping fit gains in popularity, you can be sure that the salary that goes with this job will steadily increase.

Is it the Right Job for You?

Basic fitness movements are anything BUT basic and not only do you need to know how exercising and weight training is done, you also need to know the best way for your client to be doing it. Every person is different in body shape and the way they move, so if you like showing people how to master the techniques and to make small adjustments to maximise their benefit, personal training might just be your best fit career. Everybody is unique, everybody is different, so setting them the standard routine of exercises and weights may not be suitable, and worse still, may result in injury.

Your job is to keep your trainee motivated and wanting to please you as well as hoping to see some changes in themselves physically and emotionally. You will be working one-on-one with clients so the training must be customized to suit each individual. Initial evaluation of the client to assess the fitness level and weight must be recorded as well as identifying what the client’s goals are.

Do they wish to lose weight? From where do they want to be able to lose the weight? Do they want to increase aerobic capacity? Do they have any previous injuries or physical limitations that will need to be considered when setting the exercises? Do they just want to build muscle?

After the evaluation and setting the exercises, weights and even diet, the personal trainer must then monitor the progress and make whatever adjustments are needed along the way. This is the true science of being a personal trainer.

You don’t have to be a genius (IQ) to figure out that most people seeking the help of a personal trainer are doing so for a special reason. These reasons can range from medical, physical to psychological. Most of your clients will probably be middle aged, and in their 40’s, unless you have been lucky enough to be personal trainer for an elite team.

Bearing that in mind, you will be more than likely be teaching newbies and explaining basic technique to people who are just starting out on their road to fitness.

Amateur Psychologist?

If you become reasonably successful at this profession, you are going to have a range of different people with different personalities attending your gym. Are you a people person? If you’re easily upset, have a quick temper, not empathetic to the needs of your client and don’t like company, this job is NOT for you.

Your clients are making a commitment both physical and mental to make significant changes to their bodies and their minds. They will need babying along at times. They will need a sympathetic ear to listen to stuff happening in their lives because all these things are linked. It’s not that you are required to be an amateur psychologist, but…you do! (EQ)

Walk the Walk…

Is it an advantage as a personal trainer to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well, it wouldn’t hurt but there is no need to have a body that your customers know they will never achieve in a million years. On the other hand if you’re a slob that smokes, eats at McDonalds, shaves irregularly, has bad breath and wears faded, holed gym uniform, then it’s probably you that need the personal trainer.

Jokes aside, your physical presence should be a model of motivation for your clients, and if you’re going to be showing them specific exercises and weight training, you’re going to have to do them yourself. Your client is hardly going to listen to somebody who ‘talks the talk’ but doesn’t ‘walk the walk’.

Continuous Improvement

The science of fitness and wellbeing is an ever-changing one and it’s to your benefit to keep up to date with what’s happening in your industry. Your client may want to try something he/she has heard about and your awareness and understanding should be able to discern between a fad and a trend. Does research support or dispel the effectiveness of novel types of exercise?

What Qualifications are required to become a Personal Trainer?

Requirements probably vary from country to country but based on the ACE, the American Council on Exercise, you need to be over 18 years old, have completed High School, hold a current CPR / AED certification with a live skill check, and present a government-issued photo ID.

The best paid personal trainers appear to be those with associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sports medicine, exercise science, kinesiology or physical education. It’s not a pre-requisite, just a good idea.

There’s a whole range of levels that are nationally accredited, starting from Personal Trainer, group Fitness Instructor, Health Coach to Medical Exercise Specialist. The costs of these qualifications vary but it seems that somewhere between $400 – $800 is the norm.

Salary and Benefits

With different levels of certification, there will obviously be levels of expected salary that go with them. There is also a variation of salaries as a result of geography. Do you live in the north or the south? Being in America, Canada, SE Asia, the Pacific all affect the amount of money you can be paid as well.

The salary range is from $53,000 to as high as $76,000 but if you can somehow, luckily, pick up the job of PT for a celebrity then you’re going to be rich. The most obvious benefit for a Personal Trainer is the resultant healthy lifestyle you will live. Health is wealth. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) not every muscle bound health fanatic ends up a movie star, a governor and a Terminator!