What is a Personal Fitness Trainer?
By definition, a personal fitness trainer is a fitness professional that provides individualized exercise programming and client instruction. Programming and client instruction has changed dramatically over time and will continue to change for years to come. Your NESTA education and continuing education courses are designed to keep you at the forefront of the latest developments in exercise science applications within the fitness industry, allowing you to position yourself as a professional in this important field.
Evolution of the Personal Training Industry
Personal fitness training has evolved significantly over the past 30 years. It is no longer only the rich and famous that have personal trainers. Health and fitness programs have increased in popularity and personal training continues to be among the fastest-growing of all careers. People from almost every demographic are willing to retain professional fitness advice. Why is personal fitness training becoming so popular?
Primarily due to our rapidly changing society, modern medicine and technology have combined to lengthen the average lifespan. However, many of these technological advances have made our society very sedentary and unhealthy. People sit in front of computers, spend more time on their cell phones and drive their cars more than ever before. This causes some muscles to be overused, weakens others, and increases the average person’s body weight, girth, and body fat percentage.
Although the food itself is overly abundant in most areas, it was not long ago that our ancestors had to work for their food on a daily basis just to keep from starving. We are now faced with high quantity, but low quality processed and chemically altered food choices.
Our bodies were designed to move and eat natural foods. While individuals in our society are living longer, we are actually “dying” longer due to our habitual tendencies to lead sedentary lives and the staggering trend to consume convenient and processed foods. These convenient and processed foods lack the nutrients our bodies need on a daily basis.
Fortunately, people are also becoming more informed about safe and effective ways to attain a healthy and fit lifestyle. Consumers are becoming savvy about the exaggerated claims of quick fixes and “magic pills” offered through infomercials. True health and fitness is neither quick nor does it use magic. Many people now recognize that they need direction and professional guidance.
More than ever, personal fitness trainers are in demand; and the need will only become greater as Certified Personal Fitness Trainers seek to bridge the gap between fitness and medicine. You will play an integral part in this movement toward fitness and health.
Traits of a Successful Personal Trainer
What does it mean to be a professional Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (PFT)? What does professional personal fitness training entail? Does professional personal fitness training simply involve loving to workout and the enjoyment of teaching others to do the same? The answer is yes…and no.
Being a personal fitness trainer versus being a “professional” personal fitness trainer takes a lot more than most people think. While it does take a love for fitness and a willingness to help others, a personal fitness trainer should have a solid understanding of the movement and functions of the human body.
Looking the part of a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer by appearing fit and healthy is important, but this is only an image. Image is external. But more importantly, a professional Certified Personal Fitness Trainer understands that fitness and health have a strong internal component as well. This understanding must include foundational knowledge of human anatomy, exercise physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, exercise programming, and nutrition. Many Certified Personal Fitness Trainers base most of their programming upon experience rather than science. The professional Certified Personal Fitness Trainer bases decisions first upon science. Personal experience and anecdotal evidence (information passed on by word-of-mouth) are secondary.
A Certified Personal Fitness Trainer is a coach and teacher, who provides not only motivation, but the right amount of program supervision and appropriate exercise progression to assist clients in reaching the goals they desire. To accomplish these tasks, a trainer must have excellent communication skills. Remember, a professional Certified Personal Fitness Trainer is not just a motivational coach or physical education teacher; they are also a guide who directs the client toward the destination of increased health and well-being. Being a great coach and teacher is helpful, but does not solely make an individual a great personal fitness trainer.
A professional Certified Personal Fitness Trainer must have effective business and sales skills. Most trainers do not like to think of themselves as salespeople. However, the world’s most knowledgeable personal fitness trainer, from a scientific standpoint, is destined to be unsuccessful without a strong business sense and effective sales skills. Other than education level, this is perhaps the most crucial aspect in differentiating Certified Personal Fitness Trainers from personal fitness trainers. Without these skills, there will be no one to train.
With increasing advances in technology and research, a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer must possess the capability and willingness to learn continuously. Mastering the art of selling must be one of the main learning priorities to catapult the fitness professional toward continued success. As with many things in life, you will only get out of it what you choose to put into it.
How to Start a Personal Training Career
This article is originally published in the NESTA Personal Fitness Trainer manual.
Check out what it takes to start a career in personal fitness training. This is your most affordable and fastest way to become a highly qualified personal trainer.
Is your recertification coming up? Learn more about earning your CEU credits. You can find the full list of CEU courses here.
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There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.
NESTA and Spencer Institute coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.