Monday, September 08, 2008

What’s it like to be a…Personal Trainer?

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If youíve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
The life of a personal trainer changes from day to day depending on the time of the year, the day of the week, and also the responsibilities you have for the day.  Summers for personal trainers can often be slow due to the nice weather and summer vacations.  During the fall the gym picks up and people are more into being fit for the next few months to come (which makes no sense to me when you’re all covered up in the fall and winter).
On a normal day I will arrive at the gym 15 minutes before my first client.  When I arrive, I normally check the client’s file to go over what we did during the last session and plan for the next one.  For the most part, you know what you’re going to do with the client but you need to get it down on paper so the workout has a flow to it.  The times when your clients schedule their training sessions will determine if you have breaks in your day or if you’re seeing people back to back.
During down time you can workout, run errands, or just prep for the next client. 

On some days the trainers are required to work on the floor at the gym, doing a variety of tasks.  Things like cleaning the gym and equipment, assisting others, and just hanging out in the gym for help if needed.

Now when I first started out at the gym, my biggest thing was trying to meet new people and introduce myself so that people could get to know me.  This was a time for me to show them what I could offer them as a personal trainer.  Once I started working with clients, the people that I trained started to refer clients to me and that is how I get most of my business now.  As times goes on, you no longer work on the floor as often due the fact that most of your time spend at the gym is with clients. 

What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
Before working as a trainer I held internships in two physical therapy practices and, besides, personal training was something that I always wanted to do.  When I was done with college, I contacted a friend who worked at my present place of employment and she got me an interview.  I have worked as a trainer for over 2 years now and it is a very fulfilling job.

What kind of training/education did you have? What would you suggest? What qualifications/skills/attributes make someone successful in this position?
I have a degree in Exercise Science and I also have my personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Along with that I also am AED and First Aid certified through the American Red Cross.  If you are looking at doing this out of college, I would suggest taking your certification exam for PT right when you get done with school because a lot of the information is still fresh. 
Also if youíre considering this field, there are a few things that this job requires.  You need to be very well educated in what you do, plus you must also be different from other trainers.  You are in a competitive field and everyone who works with you can do the same thing as you can. So you need to offer something that they canít do as well as you can.  In addition, you need to motivate others as well as yourself. Nobody wants to train with someone who looks like they eat pizza for breakfast everyday!!!

What are the rewards in your position? Challenges? What makes a good day for you?
There are tons and tons of rewards that this job offers.  You have the potential to change a personís life!!  There are people out there who come to you because they know that the way they live from day to day is just going to lead to a shorter life.  People have the chance to change appearance, body conditions, and also prevent diseases that kill people every day.  Not only that but they can also educate children and other young people on the advantages of exercise and how being active can make a difference.  Now not everyone can make these changes over night but it is possible.

Challenges in this job involve trying to get to people to believe that what you tell them will truly make a difference to their body.  Also, everyoneís body is different and some donít change as quickly as others, so it can be frustrating when you canít get a client to meet their desired goals.  When you work in a industry like this you should come to work with the mentality thatÖ. 
Every Day is a GREAT DAY!!! 

What trends or changes do you foresee in the next 5-10 years?

There are changes that are made every day in training.  It is a science; therefore, you need to keep up with current research being done to improve knowledge and make advances in the field. 

How could a person find out more about your field?
To find out more about this field I would suggest shadowing a personal trainer.



Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 09/08 at 01:56 PM

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