If you aspire to be a fitness trainer or instructor, you may wonder what your job will look like after you graduate from fitness school. With the skills and knowledge you will learn, you will be able to take on all the responsibilities required of you and become a personal, group, or specialized instructor.
As a fitness trainer or instructor, part of your job will be to demonstrate to clients how to use workout machines and perform specific exercises. You will then watch them do the exercises so you can make sure they are doing them properly, and correct form if need be so that they stay safe and keep their muscles protected. You might also modify your workouts between clients or groups of clients according to their skill, strength, and ability level. You might help them develop weight loss or fitness goals and monitor their progress as they move closer to them. Part of your duties might also include educating clients on specific aspects of fitness, such as nutrition, weight loss, or lifestyle changes. You might also need to have some basic medical knowledge in order to be able to give emergency first aid if needed. Depending on where you end up employed, you might work with people of all ages and skill levels, and you might also train people individually or in groups. You might specialize in training people in one type of exercise, such as cardiovascular or strength training, or you might do some of everything.
Different Types of Instruction
Regardless of the type of instructor you become, you will be responsible for choreographing exercise moves and motivating your clients to follow them. Personal trainers work with a single client at a time, sometimes by meeting them at a gym and other times by setting up an appointment at their house. They start by assessing the person’s fitness needs and then tailoring an exercise plan directly to their needs. Group fitness instructors lead exercise classes, often at health clubs. These classes might include anything from high-intensity aerobic exercise to moderate muscle conditioning to light stretching. Gym-goers often like classes because they involve social interaction and are often more fun than working out alone. Specialized instructors are similar to group instructors, except they specialize in a certain workout method, such as yoga or Pilates. They help participants perfect the moves and demonstrate different positions. If you are also interested in management, you might one day become a fitness director. You would oversee all aspects of a gym or health club related to fitness and exercise. You might have administrative duties, such as scheduling training appointments or creating promotions or specific programs, or you might be responsible for ordering new equipment.
Fitness trainers and instructors work in many different environments, including country clubs, universities, yoga and Pilates studios, hospitals, offices, and in clients’ homes. The majority (about 60%) work in health clubs, gyms, or at recreation centers. A small percentage work as self-employed personal trainers. If you become a trainer, your schedule could look a lot of different ways. You may work full-time for a health club, or you might have another job and simply teach classes at a studio during the evening or on weekends. Chances are you will have to spend some time working outside the typical 9-5 schedule, and may even work on holidays.