woman with red top and black shorts on purple yoga mat

The personal fitness industry has been growing for decades and shows no sign of stopping – and why would it, given that people are always going to be looking for that little bit extra? This means that if you have a particular interest in physical fitness, there are certainly opportunities out there that could represent a long and fulfilling career for you. What could be better than turning one of your own pastimes into a way of making a living?

With that being said, simply having an interest in physical fitness (primarily your own) isn’t all you’re going to need in order to make a career as a trainer. There are a few others that it’s worth cultivating, and emphasizing when it comes to getting hired. Among those, we’re going to look at a few of the most important right now…

Emotional intelligence

The idea of a personal trainer as some kind of drill sergeant might make sense if you’ve never observed a fitness class this side of the millennium, but it’s not a good way to get hired as a fitness assistant today. You need to be able to listen to the needs and ambitions of people who take your classes, recognize which ones need a quiet word of encouragement and which ones need a bit more cajoling. For that, you need to be able to listen and empathize; after all, you were once in the position these people are in right now.

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Technical expertise

Anyone can recognize that an exercise works; as a fitness trainer, your job is to know how it works and why. After all, it won’t necessarily work for everyone – we’re all different and have different bodies. If you’re running a group fitness class, the routine or diet sheet you compile for a class of ten might only be appropriate for eight of those. Your technical expertise will allow you to create alternatives for the other people – it may mean changing part of their menu to gluten-free options, or modifying an exercise to take account of an injury they have. This type of versatility is essential in a trainer.

Professionalism

It’s perfectly reasonable to have a friendly and cordial relationship with your clients – indeed, it’s preferable – but there needs to be an ability to move between chummy conversation and offering instruction. While warming up at the beginning of class, you can chat about weekend plans or recent weather, but it can’t ever get in the way of running through routines properly. After all, people are paying you for results, and if they aren’t getting them they’ll stop coming to classes. So it pays to be able to shift focus when the situation demands it.

People are never going to stop thinking about their fitness, and you can assist so many of them in achieving their goals in the gym. It is essential that you bear in mind the advice set out above, as it can make all of the difference between being someone who is fit, and someone who’s fit for a career as a fitness trainer. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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