What does a certified personal trainer (CPT) or fitness trainer do?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fitness trainers and instructors lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular exercises (exercises for heart and blood circulation), strength training, and stretching. They work with people of all ages and skill levels.
Fitness trainers and instructors typically do the following:
- Demonstrate or explain how to perform various exercises and routines to minimize injuries and improve fitness
- Watch clients do exercises to ensure that they are using the correct techniques
- Provide alternative exercises during workouts or classes for different levels of fitness and skill
- Monitor clients’ progress and adapt programs as needed
- Explain and enforce safety rules and regulations in sports, recreational activities, and while using exercise equipment
- Give clients information or resources about nutrition, weight control, and lifestyle issues
- Give emergency first aid, if needed
Both group fitness instructors and specialized fitness instructors plan or choreograph their own classes. Classes may include cardiovascular exercises, such as aerobics or dance; strength training, such as lifting weights; or both. Instructors choose music that is appropriate for their exercise class and create a routine or a set of moves for participants to follow. Some may teach pre-choreographed routines that were originally created by fitness companies or other organizations.
Personal fitness trainers design and carry out workout routines specific to the needs of their clients. They may work with individual clients or teach group classes. In larger facilities, personal trainers often sell their training sessions to gym members. They start by evaluating their clients’ current fitness levels, personal goals, and skills. Then, they develop personalized training programs for their clients to follow and monitor the clients’ progress.
Fitness trainers and instructors in smaller facilities often do a variety of tasks in addition to their fitness duties, such as tending the front desk, signing up new members, giving tours of the facility, or supervising the weight-training and cardiovascular equipment areas. Fitness trainers and instructors may also promote their facilities and instruction by various means, such as through social media, by writing newsletters or blog articles, or by creating posters and flyers.
Gyms and other types of health clubs offer many different activities for clients. However, trainers and instructors frequently specialize in only a few areas. The following are examples of types of fitness trainers and instructors:
- Personal fitness trainers work with an individual client or a small group. They may train in a gym or in clients’ homes. Personal fitness trainers assess the client’s level of physical fitness and help them set and reach their fitness goals.
- Group fitness instructors organize and lead group exercise classes, which can include aerobic exercises, stretching, or muscle conditioning. Some classes are set to music. In these classes, instructors may select the music and choreograph an exercise sequence. They may lead classes that use specific exercise equipment, such as stationary bicycles.
- Specialized fitness instructors teach popular conditioning methods, such as Pilates or yoga. In these classes, instructors show the different moves and positions of the particular method. They also watch students and correct those who are doing the exercises improperly.
- Fitness directors oversee the fitness-related aspects of a gym or any other type of health club. They often handle administrative duties, such as scheduling personal training sessions for clients and creating workout incentive programs. They may also be responsible for selecting and ordering fitness equipment for their facility.