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Personal trainer

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A personal trainer demonstrating use of a Bosu ball.

A personal trainer is an individual certified to have a varying degree of knowledge of general fitness involved in exercise prescription and instruction. They motivate clients by setting goals and providing feedback and accountability to clients. Trainers also measure their client's strengths and weaknesses with fitness assessments. These fitness assessments may also be performed before and after an exercise program to measure their client's improvements in physical fitness. They should also educate their clients in many other aspects of wellness besides exercise, including general health and nutrition guidelines. It is very important that a trainer takes their time to evaluate a clients personal life outside of the gym. This way, personal trainers can figure out what kind of stress their client may be putting on certain areas of the body during their every day lives.

Qualified personal trainers or certified personal trainers (CPTs) recognize their own areas of expertise. If a trainer suspects that one of their clients has a medical condition that could prevent the client from safe participation in an exercise program, they must refer the client to the proper health professional for prior clearance.[1]


Employment characteristics[edit]

The profession is generally not restricted by venue, and personal trainers may work in fitness facilities, in their personal homes, in client homes, over live video (also called "virtual personal trainers"),[2] or outdoors. Almost all personal trainers and group exercise instructors work in physical fitness facilities, health clubs, and fitness centers located in the amusement and recreation industry or in civic and social organizations.[3] Personal training is not regulated in any jurisdiction in the United States except for Washington D.C. which adopted registration requirements for personal fitness trainers in February 2014.[4] Some employers, such as gyms require personal trainers to be certified. However, this is not always the case and some personal trainers are able to find work without certification. Overall, personal trainers must possess certain skills, such as a passion for fitness and helping others achieve their goals, industry knowledge, leadership, and the ability to communicate effectively with their clients.

Personal trainers may specialize in a certain training type, training philosophy, performance type, exercise modality, or client population. In general, most personal trainers develop exercise prescription plans for aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, and/or flexibility training. With aerobic exercise prescription, personal trainers determine the type of exercise, duration of exercise, and frequency of exercise. For resistance exercise prescription, the type of exercise, total session volume, rest period, frequency, and intensity are determined.[5] Personal trainers may also be involved in prescription of stretching routines or other approaches. Personal trainers help clients to perform exercises with correct technique, minimising the risk of injury. While some discuss nutrition, ergogenic supplementation, and spiritual practices with clients, there is debate within the industry as to whether it fits within their scope of practice and training qualifications.[6]

Purpose of personal training[edit]

Personal trainer assessing a client's goals and needs as they write a fitness program

The scope of practice for a personal trainer is to enhance the components of fitness for the general, healthy population.

Proper exercise prescription may result in improved body composition, physical performance, heart condition and health outcomes.[7] The decision to hire a trainer may be related to a perceived ability to facilitate these factors through proper prescription and instruction or factors related to motivation and adherence. A trainer pays close attention to their client's exercise form, workout routine, and nutrition plan. Personal training in men and women has been shown to exercise behavior patterns, improve perceptual benefit-to-concern ratio for exercise (decisional balance), and increase confidence to choose exercise in the face of other time demands (scheduling self-efficacy).[8] Personal training results in higher strength, higher workout intensities, and higher perceived exertion during exercise.

  1. Earle, Roger (2004). NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training. NSCA Certification Commission. pp. 162, 617. ISBN 978-0-7360-0015-4. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Diaz, Johnny (August 30, 2013). "South Floridians giving webcam workouts rave reviews". Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-10-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. Herbert, David L, DC Opts to Regulate Personal Trainers, The Exercise, Sports and Sports Medicine Standards & Malpractice Reporter, March, 2014, Volume 3, No. 2.
  5. Kraemer, WJ. Exercise Physiology: Integrating Theory and Application. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Chapter 12. Ahead of print, March 2011.
  6. Frances H. Q. (2009). "Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics". 12 (3): 375. doi:10.1080/17430430802673726.
  7. Kraemer, WJ. Exercise Physiology: Integrating Theory and Application. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Ahead of print, March 2011.
  8. Fischer DV, Bryant J. Effect of certified personal trainer services on stage of exercise behavior and exercise mediators in female college students. J Am Coll Health. 2008 Jan-Feb;56(4):369-76. PMID 18316279.