Who is a fitness trainer? Who he really is? What does he need to know, what skills should he have and what are his duties? The given topic is so extensive that for its disclosure I will need several articles. Don’t miss them, but for now, let’s just find out who is a fitness trainer.
Fitness trainer is a teacher, a tutor and a mentor in one person. It is a specialist who has specialized experience, as well as knowledge and skills in building a training process, to which could be attracted both unprepared people and professional athletes. The trainer sets global goals, forms intermediate tasks and organizes on this basis the entire training process for his clients, with the goal of developing and improving their skills in a specific field of physical activity.
Within the frame of this article, I will try to familiarize you with all aspects of this profession. How people become trainers of a fitness club, how they come into the industry and how they grow and develop in it. Also, we will not ignore the flipside of the medal, to be more precise, the pitfalls of the profession. What problems fitness trainers face in their work and why does they quit, change the club or even leave the industry altogether.
Perspectives of a fitness trainer
Before you make the final decision for yourself about whether to go into the profession of a fitness trainer or not, you need to know what position you will have to start your career with. And it begins precisely from the position of a gym instructor. After it comes the position of a personal trainer, and then the position of a master trainer. At that point, you will have to decide, how to develop your career – vertically or horizontally. What does it mean? Let’s figure out.
EXPERIENCE. Each particular fitness-club or chain of clubs, builds a hierarchy of positions for its own conditions, which is often very differ from each other. However, in general terms, the basic model of the vector of career development looks exactly as I described it here.
- Vertical growth intends an aspiration to managerial positions. On this path, from the position of a master trainer, you can claim the position of a department manager, after – a fitness director and finally – a fitness club director or CEO. In some cases after, there is a position of regional manager (if it is a chain and if it is represented in several regions/districts/states), and even higher, the position of manager of the whole network (all of its clubs in all regions/districts/states). Above the network manager can only be a business owner. You cannot grow to the position of the owner, but in rare cases, you can become his partner and share business profits between yourselves. But that’s another kind of story.
- Horizontal growth means continuous progression solely in the field of training people. On this path, from the position of the master trainer, specialists grow to the teacher of fitness courses, which implies training newbies in this profession and conducting courses for a specific target audience. Even higher in this hierarchy there is a position of the presenter or speaker of industry conferences. This is level of skilled trainers with experience, the purpose of which is to share and exchange their experience with other professionals in the fitness industry. The highest level in a professional career can be considered a lecturer of international events. This is a professional who, thanks to many years of training practice, methodical developments, deep expertise, knowledge of foreign languages and wide recognition, speaks at industry events in various countries around the world.
A similar development path is ahead for trainers of group classes (yoga, pilates, callanetics, zumba, etc.), martial arts (boxing, karate, aikido, capoeira, etc.), aqua-zones (swimming, diving, water jumping, aquafitness) and not only. They all grow according to the same scenario described above. Growing up to the level of a master trainer, they choose one of two directions and continue their development either in the chosen specialization or in the management direction.
Career ladder of a fitness trainer
The instructor is mastering his professional skills, actively sells (his services) and conducts personal trainings, often works for several clubs and step by step gains experience, knowledge and authority. But this is just all over time, and to begin with, whatever path you choose, in any case, you have to go through three stages of the career ladder: a gym instructor, a personal trainer and a master trainer. Let’s talk about them.
- Gym instructor. This is the initial threshold for entry into the specialty. The employee of the club, whose level of initiative and responsibility is completely small. At this stage, the duties of the instructor are to perform the simplest actions, such as giving the introductory briefings for clients, being on duty in the gym, conducting trainings on the basis of simplest programs for clients without any disabilities. The instructor rarely writes a diet plan, he is not burdened with carrying out other types of training (for example, functional), also he advises clients on the level of basic concepts and definitions.
- Personal trainer. Experience, knowledge and skills at this level are already deeper enough. Responsibilities of a personal trainer usually involve working with any categories of clients, including those who have disorders of the musculoskeletal system and not only. The trainer independently determines the level of physical development of the client and his readiness for heavyweights and selected exercises. He changes training programs depending on the body’s response to them. He writes an individual training program. Also he gives advice on proper nutrition, as well as on the use of sports supplements.
- Master trainer. A specialist who has undergone a narrowly focused training and who’s able to work with various health problems of clients. The duties of a master trainer are much broader. Such a specialist is free to orient in the concepts of building training programs, as well as the diet programs. He is knowledgeable in the application of both sports supplements and various pharmacological preparations and can safely prepare athletes for competitions. At this stage of career development, the master trainer already has his own methodological developments, such as books, articles etc.
So, our goal in this article was to figure out who is a fitness trainer? Summing up the material covered, let’s try to summarize it and squeeze it down to several main points. First of all, a fitness trainer is a teacher and mentor who leads his ward by the hand from the very first steps to the final desired result. The prospects of a fitness trainer allow him to grow both to a manager or director of a fitness club, and to a world-renowned lecturer. Both the first and the second path will depend on his personal initiative. Finally, a career of a fitness trainer in the vast majority of cases requires going through positions such as gym instructor, personal trainer, and master trainer. In fact, the expression “fitness trainer” or “personal trainer” is generic and applies to all three of these positions. Now you know who a fitness trainer is and if you are determined to master this profession, I recommend reading other articles on this topic that reveal it from other, no less interesting angles.
Felix Palmer – author of the blog crusfit.com