This is a unique article that I have written to carefully review the two most common titles in the fitness world today.

You’ll learn the following:

  • How personal trainers inspire healthy lifestyle habits
  • Personal Training certifications are the “only certifications.”

In the end, you’ll get to know if there is a difference between the two job titles.

Let’s set sail, shall we?

Fitness Coach vs Personal Trainer [year] - I'll Break it Down! 6

Introduction

I have been helping friends and acquaintances get started in the personal training industry.

As much as fitness coaches/instructors and personal trainers are the same, we shall be looking at their differences, if any.

Certified personal trainers/ fitness coach is saddled with the responsibility of offering exercise science in a training session with a specific fitness goal.

The common question is, what is the difference between fitness coaches and personal trainers.

Keep reading to learn more about fitness instructor vs. personal trainer or personal trainer vs. group fitness instructor.

I also suggest checking my article on the top nutrition certifications which exercise specialist offering fitness nutrition training session has done justice to, because they can greatly help you make more money working on your own.

The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to your personal training.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours).

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers


Gold Standard Cert
NASM Gold Standard Personal Trainer Certification - Save 25&percnt off
Most Popular Cert
ISSA - Most Popular Online Personal Trainer Certification 3 Certs for
Best Study Materials
TA - Trainer Academy - Best Study Materials for Personal Trainer Certification Online - See MVP discount
A Good Option
ACE Certification- A Good Fitness Course Online Option - 25&percnt off
A Good Option
NCSF Certification - A Good Option - Save 25%
Best CPT for you?
Best CPT For You? Take the Personal Trainer Certification Online quiz and Get a Personalized Recommendation Just for You

Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

If you’re looking to become a trainer, or how to be a fitness coach, take the quiz to find out which fitness certification is the best for your training style as there are a lot of online coaching programs that talk much about group fitness, fitness nutrition, behavior change, and others.

I also highly recommend that you take the quiz and find out which certification is best for your career goals.

What certification is right for you?

We developed this critical quiz to help you find the best certification for you and your goals.

One of the most common questions that I have been asked recently is, “What is the difference between a fitness coach and personal trainer?”.

Another very common question is, “How much do personal trainers earn?” this question is asked in almost every industry and well-known career.

Well, the answer to this question is in detail in another article; you can find that out for yourself if you are new to the field of personal training.

It is not uncommon for new names to pop up for individuals in the fitness industry.

Often, these names mean the same thing, while other times, the profession is slightly different.

In this article, I will be talking about the differences between a fitness coach and vs personal trainer.

I have heard some of my fellow personal trainers I work with call themselves fitness instructors or fitness coaches.

There is a wave of new people that are saying that fitness coaches are different from personal trainers.

I am here to prove them wrong and show you why this is just a new name made for personal trainers.

The personal trainer certification exam is a requirement for the two nomenclature, as this also qualifies the fitness coach, corrective exercise specialist, or celebrity personal trainer.

It is okay if you call people fitness coaches or if you call yourself a fitness coach but I want to get across that these individuals are merely personal trainers with a new nickname.

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers


Gold Standard Cert
NASM Gold Standard Personal Trainer Certification - Save 25&percnt off
Most Popular Cert
ISSA - Most Popular Online Personal Trainer Certification 3 Certs for
Best Study Materials
TA - Trainer Academy - Best Study Materials for Personal Trainer Certification Online - See MVP discount
A Good Option
ACE Certification- A Good Fitness Course Online Option - 25&percnt off
A Good Option
NCSF Certification - A Good Option - Save 25%
Best CPT for you?
Best CPT For You? Take the Personal Trainer Certification Online quiz and Get a Personalized Recommendation Just for You

Let’s jump right into my fitness coach vs. personal trainer article!

So, what is a fitness coach?

Personal Trainers Inspire Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Some individuals that I have been talking with the claim that these new “fitness coaches” primarily get paid for inspiring their clients and changing lifestyle habits.

As a certified health coach providing the services of health and fitness training and a certified personal trainer (with multiple certifications), I can tell you that I do both of these things daily with every single one of my clients.

Personal training is not just about putting your clients through a tough workout in the training sessions.

It is about making friends with your clients, inspiring them in all aspects of life, and helping them make healthier choices on a day-to-day basis.

This is a good quality of a fitness instructor.

For some reason, some of the information that I was running into online was claiming that these new “fitness coaches” were somehow better than personal trainers.

I don’t understand this because I, as well as every personal trainer I have worked with, do a fantastic job at helping clients reach their goals, look better, and feel better with a behavior change.

What they claim fitness coaches do is exactly what personal trainers do.

They copied and pasted the definition of a personal trainer.

“Personal Training” Certifications are the Only Certifications

As I started to get more frustrated about this article that I was reading, I dug deeper into “fitness coach” certifications to find out that I could not find a single one.

I could not find one certification that is labeled as a fitness coach certification.

When I googled fitness coach certification, I came across the various personal training certification options I talk about on PTPioneer, such as ACSM, NASM, and ACE.

All of these certifying agencies are highly reputable and recognized within the personal training industry.

If the fitness industry wants to create something called a fitness coach, by all means, go for it. Make sure you correctly identify the differences between the two, build an active and original curriculum around it, and ensure the NCCA accredits it.

This article is getting out of hand. I should stop, haha.

Conclusion on Fitness Coach VS Personal Trainer

From the research that I’ve done, I have not been able to find anything with a “fitness coach definition.”

I have no problems with having this as an alternate name for personal trainers.

I have even heard some of my fellow personal trainers call themselves fitness coaches occasionally.

Make sure not to fall into any scams that claim you will get a job as a personal trainer by getting a “fitness coach certification.”

I could not find any such certification.

If you want to get into the fitness industry and start helping clients reach their goals, I highly suggest getting one of my favorite personal training certifications that I talk about.

Fitness Coach vs Personal Trainer [year] - I'll Break it Down! 10

Sorry, this was a post where I had to rant about something frustrating.

Let me know what you guys think if you have had a similar experience with people questioning the difference between personal trainers and fitness coaches.

An interesting read: How much does a personal trainer make?

Well, that is the end of my fitness trainer vs. personal trainer article!

Happy personal training (or, shall I say, fitness coaching! Haha).

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


All Posts

PTPioneer Editorial Integrity


All content published on PTPioneer is checked and reviewed extensively by our staff of experienced personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and other Fitness Experts. This is to make sure that the content you are reading is fact-checked for accuracy, contains up-to-date information, and is relevant. We only add trustworthy citations that you can find at the bottom of each article. You can read more about our editorial integrity here.

Ask me a question and I will reply ASAP

6 thoughts on “Fitness Coach vs Personal Trainer 2024 – I’ll Break it Down!”

  1. Tyler, great post. As a retired fitness professional from both military and civilian sectors, I use to argue and debate this many years ago, especially in an UNREGULATED, that’s right…..the fitness industry is still after the 50+ years ACSM has been around, followed by NSCA and NSAM. It doesn’t matter what anyone says, what any degree you have or any certs. You know why, because it’s all self-regulated by the Golden 3 I just mentioned, followed by the other certifying bodies. The only time anyone, I mean anyone should call themselves a “COACH” of any type, is based who gives you the title. Think about it. Let’s take competitive sports or professional, along with MMA and Boxing. You never heard during your times as a youth playing sports of a football trainer, it was “COACH”. When you get into MMA, you have coaches that focus on fundamentals and the sport and then you have MMA trainers, that focus on conditioning, followed by a nutritionist. Unless you are actually “coaching” someone like with the Olympics, Powerlifting, competitive sport, etc….then a person that gives fitness advice, is either a “personal trainer”, a “fitness professional”, “fitness trainer”, “group trainer”. Even the the CSCS is a “specialist”, even though you hear folks say “strength coach”.

    At the end of the day, “titles” are given or earned, we don’t call ourselves “coaches” unless we have some ego-driven, narcissistic personality and on the other hand, I guess it’s the same as when you have a Adjunct Faculty person with a Master’s Degree who wants to call them “professor”, but never earned tenure or given the title from the college.

    Thanks again for posting the article and glad someone values education, along with
    certs based on what you earned by going to college and also believes PT’s are not coaches.

    Reply
    • Hey Tom,
      I’m glad that you liked my article and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I totally agree with what you are saying and coaches are definitely different than personal trainers. Don’t hesitate to leave more input if you are sticking around my website. Thanks for your perspective.

      Reply
    • Tom,
      WELL SAID! It’s staggering to see the number of people calling themselves Coach in social media. Not one legitimate fitness coach certification exists. The folks calling themselves coaches are NOT studied or certified with one of the top tier Fitness Training certifications.

      Reply
      • Hey Michelle,
        This is totally true, the age of social media, steroids, surgeries etc. is more influential on people’s decisions unfortunately for the viewers. A lot of these people don’t even have the proper credentials to be able to give training advice.

        Reply
  2. The fitness industry [especially in Australia] is, however the only place where these terms are completely and consistently confused. In all other industries – especially knowledge industries – people get trained in a system first, so that they know what to do. Then they get a coach, who knows how to individualise – tweak, change and perfect- the practise for them and their particular situation alone. The coach, is so much of an expert at all training systems in his industry, that he can do this many times over, for other people, also. Trainers on the other hand, do not have enough experience in their industry to change their delivery methods for each person they train and deliver only a one-size-fits all solutions. Australian personal trainers who are able to deliver bespoke solutions for various clients should always have called themselves coaches, not trainers. The mis-use of the old term trainer completely stuffs up the understanding for everyone else.

    Reply

Find the best Cert for you

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Exam

18749

Before you spend your money on the wrong personal trainer, nutrition, or other fitness certification. 

Which Certification Is Best For You?

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The CSCS Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACSM Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Nutritionist Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NCSF CPT Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CNC Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM PES Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CES Exam

18749

Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the ACE CPT

18749

Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the NASM CPT

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NSCA CPT Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACE Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM Exam

18749