If you’re stuck in the daily grind of your nine-to-five desk job and you find yourself dreaming about helping others achieve their health and wellness goals, it might be time for a career change. With your passion, drive, and commitment, now is the best time to pursue an education to become a personal trainer and start changing lives.
Here are four things you need to know as you explore personal trainer education and certification and work toward your end goal of helping others achieve health and fitness.
1. What a Personal Trainer Does
The health and wellness industry is booming—it’s a $3.7 trillion global market right now—and with so many certification options, it’s important to know what it means to be a personal trainer. A personal trainer works with clients to craft personalized fitness training programs to help them reach their health goals, including losing weight, getting stronger, reducing the risk of chronic disease, or improving athletic performance. Here are a few things a personal trainer does:
- Introduces clients to exercises catered to their specific skill level to meet their health and wellness goals
- Keeps up to date on health and fitness trends to provide the most current and relevant training and guidance for clients
- Conducts a full assessment of client lifestyle and eating habits to better customize training programs
- They help clients set goals and hold them accountable, ensuring they stick with their fitness routine and form better habits
In addition, personal trainers also work with groups and specialize in a fitness area they really love, whether that’s senior fitness, strength conditioning, or another niche.
2. The Basic Requirements
First, in order to pursue personal trainer certification, you must be:
- At least 18 years old
- Enthusiasm and self-motivation to complete the program
- A high school graduate (or have a GED or international equivalent)
If you happen to have postsecondary education in a relevant field, that can be incredibly helpful, but most certifying organizations only require a high school diploma or equivalent. Having the CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) certification is incredibly important, whether this be prior to or after completing your studies, because as a personal trainer, you may at some point encounter a physical emergency while working with a client. With CPR and AED certification, you’ll be able to:
- Recognize if and when a client is experiencing a medical emergency
- Handle a cardiac or breathing emergency
- Help a client until professional first-responders arrive
Once you’ve met the basic requirements to pursue certification, you’re one step closer to changing your life and becoming a personal trainer.
3. Consider Hands-On Education
Whether you have a background in fitness or you just love hitting the pavement and encouraging others to stay active and healthy, you can get hands-on education by hiring your own personal trainer. The more you understand how other personal trainers work, the better equipped you’ll be to formulate your own training style and approach in order to best help your clients reach their health and fitness goals. Better yet, hire a few different personal trainers, and take mental notes on the following:
- How do they treat clients?
- What type of approach do they take?
- What types of workouts do they focus on?
- What type of equipment do they use?
- How do they reinforce the workout after a session?
- How do they keep tabs on their clients’ progress?
- What type of digital tools do they use?
Meeting other trainers and exploring local gyms and fitness facilities are great ways to network and establish connections within the industry. Watching other personal trainers will also help you decide on a niche or specialization. Maybe you want to work with youths or teach group fitness classes to active seniors, or maybe you’d like to work one-on-one with athletes trying to re-up their career after a hiatus.
4. Learn More with Certification
Once you’re ready to dive in and register for a personal trainer certification course, it’s important to know what to expect. Becoming certified as a fitness professional means that you’ll acquire an advanced understanding of nutrition and exercise science, as well as human anatomy and physiology. Your personal trainer education will also include information on the latest science, trends, and professional recommendations for the fields of nutrition and fitness. Some of the skills and information your personal trainer education will provide include:
- How to use current, relevant data to craft personalized personal training regimens
- How to conduct client assessments, administer fitness tests, evaluate movement, and more to create the right training program
- The best exercises for increasing speed, athleticism, and endurance
- A library of exercises and programs with variations so you can help clients understand the best way to train
- How to tackle complex topics such as health, nutrition, and aging so that you can truly transform your clients’ lives
Once you’ve received your personal trainer education and are certified, you’ll be ready to launch your career and start changing the trajectories of countless lives. To learn more about how to jump-start your personal trainer education and turn your passion into a career, download our guide How to Make a Successful Career Change into Health & Wellness today.