Personal training is a type of fitness instruction that helps clients build strength and achieve other health and wellness goals. A personal trainer can work with one client at a time, or they may lead groups of clients through workout sessions. In addition to exercise knowledge, a personal trainer needs good interpersonal skills in order to keep clients engaged and motivated during their workouts. A career in this field requires a bachelor’s degree, personal training certification and liability insurance. Those looking to enter this field can gain experience by working as a personal assistant for a trainer or by volunteering at local fitness centers.
Most personal training certification programs require candidates to pass a written exam and complete coursework. Most also include CPR and first aid training. Applicants should check with potential employers to see which certifications they accept, as some gyms have specific requirements for their personal trainers. The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) is a popular choice among trainers, and has been in business since 1988. Its certification program covers topics including exercise and wellness programming, designing and delivering sessions, and motivational techniques. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) both offer certification options as well.
Before you pursue a personal training certification, spend time in the gym learning how to use equipment and perform exercises. Observe other trainers and ask them for their best tips and advice. A good trainer can motivate even the most unmotivated exerciser, so consider asking a trainer to help you set goals and train you for a few sessions before pursuing your own personal training certificate.
Less than 25% of Americans get enough physical activity, and a lack of enjoyment is often cited as the biggest barrier to getting exercise. A personal trainer can help by designing varied workouts that target multiple muscle groups and making exercise fun. They can also teach clients healthy habits like eating nutritious meals and hydrating properly.
Setting a realistic goal is the best way to stay on track with exercise. A good goal should be measurable, attainable within a set period of time, relevant and elicit an emotion. A good example would be setting a goal of running a mile in under 10 minutes or increasing a weight you can lift over time. Make a list of the reasons why you want to accomplish this goal and hang it somewhere you will see it every day, such as on your fridge or on your mirror.
A trainer should always be knowledgeable about current research and trends in the industry, as well as how to apply these concepts to their clients’ fitness goals. In a study, researchers found that people who hold ACSM and NSCA certifications answered the most questions correctly on a test designed to evaluate their knowledge of exercise science. Those with other personal training certifications scored significantly lower.