Before I dive straight into the personal trainer job description, let’s talk about some prerequisites that you will need before you start your very first personal training session!
By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of what I do day-to-day as a personal trainer, and specifically, what my personal trainer duties are.
I will just be naming a couple of prerequisites in this article, but I have a much more in-depth report on how to become a credentialed personal trainer that is 5000 words long.
There is no doubt about it, this is one of the most enjoyable jobs anyone can wish for.
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Since you are most likely looking to become a personal trainer, take the quiz to see which personal training certification matches your training style the best.
Personal Trainer Job Description
A personal trainer is certified by a legitimate certifying body to help people get fit and lead healthier lives. They are responsible for creating workout routines, taking measurements and providing motivation. It’s a personal trainers job to help the 76 Million Americans that are overweight.
If you are starting out, I recommend you read that! Before you start training you but you need to be certified through a reputable certifying agency in the fitness industry such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or the National Academy of sports medicine (NASM).
There are plenty of other reputable certifying agencies out there, but these two are a couple of my favorites. The only thing I would recommend staying away from is online scams such as “get certified over the weekend“ courses.
Another great article to read is my article on the top personal trainer organizations where I talk about my top 10 recommendations! To get certified through in the reputable certifying agency, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and currently be a CPR/AED certified.
The last prerequisite before we jump right into the job description is that you be employed by a gym or self-employed. The very last thing that I recommend is that you obtain some form of personal training insurance.
Helping people to meet their health and fitness goals is not joke – it means you have to be competent in exercise science or sports medicine and work on improving yourself on the way to carving a career path in the health industry.
If you are working for a large corporation, they most likely provide insurance for you. If you are working for yourself, on the other hand, this is necessary to prevent a potential lawsuit.
As a personal trainer, you can make a high salary while doing something that you love to do! Let’s get right into the personal trainer job descriptions so you can learn precisely what the job consists of.
Assessing the level of Fitness of Clients as well as Understanding their Goals
After you have gone through all of the prerequisites that I mentioned above you are ready to start working with your first client as a personal trainer. Most people start off by working at a corporate gymnasium such as 24-hour fitness because it is an excellent way to get their feet wet. Most likely this client will be handed to you from one of the salesmen (learn how to sell training).
The first steps that you will need to take with your new clients are to assess their current level of health and fitness as well as take initial measurements such as body fat percentage, circumference measurements, and weight.
There are typically three assessments that you need to make to understand their level of fitness. You will want to assess their cardiovascular health, level of strength as well as their posture and any muscular imbalances that they may have.
Fitness assessments are a large part of my article on the PT job description.
Said otherwise, your job, if you want to be one of the best personal trainers in local fitness centres, is to contribute to the holistic health and wellness of the client. It is much more than muscles and weight loss!
In summary, this is the foundation of all my personal trainer responsibilities. Every other duty is built on a proper understanding of the individual client and the goals they want to achieve in the end.
Assessment of their Cardiovascular Health – One of The Key Personal Trainer Responsibilities
There are dozens of cardiovascular tests that you can use to assess your clients level of cardiovascular health. Each certifying agency typically has its way of determining cardiovascular health.
I typically use two different cardiovascular stress tests with my clients. The two tests I use are the 3 min. Step up test and the mile walking test.
The first test requires your client to use a 12-inch step two-step up-and-down on for exactly 3 min. After the analysis is complete, you will monitor their heart rate and measure how long it takes for them to get down to their resting heart rate.
Depending on how much time it takes their heart rate to come back down to normal is a good indication of their cardiovascular health.
Understanding this crucial aspect of the personal trainer duties goes a long way to determine if one would succeed in this career or not.
The mile walking test, on the other hand, requires your client to walk 1 mile as fast as they can without starting to jog. Your cardiovascular health is based on your sex, age and how quickly you can walk that mile.
In my opinion, I like the 3 min. Step test more because it doesn’t take as long and I feel like it is a better indicator of cardiovascular health. The 1-mile walking test is viral as well, and I know a lot of trainers that use it.
In other words, a trainer’s work during training sessions at health clubs, in the gym or outdoors is beyond achieving fitness goals, you need to understand the client and work with them on a one-on-one basis.
That makes the role of a personal trainer deeper than a high school sports coach. Thus, personal fitness programs, as career options, involves knowing how to use emergency first aid tools, and many more medical gadgets and tools.
Assessment of Client Strength
The second test that you should perform after the cardiovascular test is a strength assessment tests. Most personal trainers including myself typically perform three different strength assessment tests before the real fitness training commences.
You should perform two separate upper body strength assessment tests as well as one lower body test. The two upper body strength assessment tests will measure their push and pull strength.
To measure your clients lower body strength is typical to use an upright machine for leg press strength. Make sure you start with a little enough weight so that you do not injure your client.
Make sure that your clients can perform at least 15 repetitions on the first set. Every set afterward, keep increasing the weight by approximately 10 pounds until your client cannot reach 15 repetitions. This should give you a great idea of how healthy their lower body is.
The first upper body test that I like to perform is the chest press strength assessment test. I want to do this on an upright chest press machine. Once again you need to start at a lower weight so that your client can reach 15 repetitions.
Instead of increasing the weight by 10 pounds, you should raise it by 5 pounds. Once again keep on improving the weight until your client can no longer perform 15 repetitions.
Make sure to give between two and 3 min. in between each set so that your client can fully regain their strength. The reason I like to use a machine is that the chance of injury is much smaller.
For the pulling assessment test, I like to use a machine similar to the upright chest press machine. I love upright rowing machines because they stabilize the body very well with your client’s chest resting against a pad.
The instructions are the same as the chest press machine. Increase the weight by 5 pounds until your client can no longer perform 15 repetitions. You should now have a great idea of your clients starting strength level as well as fitness and health needs!
One of your key jobs as a personal fitness trainer is to know the fitness levels of the client before offering a program they need to pursue.. Thus, a trainer’s work is as physical as it is mental too.
Assessment of Client Posture – A Major Core of Personal Trainer Duties
I use multiple postural assessments to pinpoint any muscular imbalances in my clients. If some muscles are too strong or other muscles too weak, they can cause problems and potential injuries for my clients.
Probably the most critical postural assessment test is the overhead squat test.
To perform this test have your clients put their hand straight up in the air with their feet shoulder-width apart (toes slightly pointing outwards).
Instructs your client to squat down as low as they can while keeping the weight on their heels.
You need to observe the body position from the side as well as from the front. Do their knees cave-in? Do they bend at the lower back to squat down?
This test will show you a lot about what muscles are too tight in which muscles are too relaxed. When beginning any exercise routine with your client, correcting muscular imbalances should be your priority!
If I learned a lot about muscular imbalances from the corrective exercise specialist certification from NASM!
Being Able to Design the Appropriate Program to Help Clients Reach Their Goals
All right so now you have an excellent idea of your clients level of fitness. The next step is to have a good understanding of their goals to design a personalized exercise program for them!
This is the fun part because you get to help your clients progressively get better. It is exciting to see them reach their goals!
The most significant tools at your disposal for creating a successful exercise routine are the three assessment tests that I talked about above. If your client has multiple muscular imbalances, then this is something that you need to address first and foremost.
You can do this or the combination of flexibility training techniques and gentle resistance training. Functional training should be the primary focus of this client.
There is an infinite number of workout routines that you can create for your clients to help them reach their goals! There are thousands of different exercises, and new ones being built each day.
There are also millions of different workout routines including variables such as exercises, rest time, intensity, repetitions and much more.
The more you work as a personal trainer, the better you will be implementing proper workout routines for specific clients. You need to understand the limitations of your clients.
For example, if your client had an ACL tear at some point in their life, you need to avoid exercises that may put too much stress on the ACL. You should start slow always so that you lower the risk of injury.
Once you understand your client’s limitations, it will be easier to create a balanced and progressive exercise routine so that they can smoothly achieve their goals! The program design is a HUGE part of the job.
Although you are the expert here, it is, however, advisable to carry the client along as you design the program, explaining every single step in details and why such a step is important to achieving the overall goal.
This critical area, among other personal trainer duties of mine, is serious business, indeed and I do not take it lightly.
Without a definitive program that is time-specific and correctly segmented, it would be virtually impossible to keep track with the progress – or otherwise – of the client.
Another reason why such a program is indispensable is that different clients have different needs and come from different backgrounds. In this business, there are no one-size-fits-all training programs; each client must be treated independently.
Being Able to Effectively and Safely Progress Clients Through the Program
After you have been working with a client for a while, you will have seen them reach many short-term and possibly long-term goals. As they keep on getting stronger and more flexible, you will need to continuously change their exercise routine to push them farther and make them even fitter.
If you do not progress them, they will eventually plateau. You need to adjust the factors that I talked about above. Some ways that you could increase the workout intensity to lower the rest time, increase the repetitions, increase the weight or give them more strenuous exercises.
You need to make sure you do not progress them too quickly. If they’re not ready for the next level, it is better to keep them at a lower intensity to prevent injuries.
An injury is much worse than a plateau for a short period, so stay on the side of caution. In this game, slow and steady wins the race. It is your duty to explain this factor to the client and make them see that there is no need to rush the process.
It is essential to measure the progress of your clients as it will also help you determine when you should increase the intensity of their workouts and offer more difficult tasks.
The very first meeting with your client you should have taken initial measurements as I mentioned at the beginning of the article.
At the very least you should retake these measurements every month. It is incredibly beneficial to your client as well as yourself to know how much progress they have made to plan out future workouts.
It is also one of the most significant motivational factors for your clients to be able to see the progress that they have made!
Being Able to Reassess Clients Goals and Fine Tune Accordingly
Sound simple, but is indeed a very important aspect of my personal trainer responsibilities. You don’t want to push too hard when the client is not ready yet or go too slow when they should have started the next stage.
Besides progressing your client through more and more difficult routines to achieve their initial goals, it is also important to step back sometimes and reassess goals. It is very possible that your client may change their overall purpose and may want to change directions.
If your client’s initial goal was to lose 30 pounds and you have already achieved that, maybe their new goal is to maintain that weight but work and other aspects of fitness such as endurance, strength training or even sports performance.
This is the time to fine-tune different goals and work out strategies for your client. You have most likely been working with this client for a very long time so you should know how their body responds to specific exercises as well as how well their body adapts to the stressors that you place on it.
By the way, ensure you take pictures along the way. Looking back at their once not-too-attractive body and how much progress they have made over the course of the program is a huge motivating factor to keep that client going.
In effect, progress should be measurable and verifiable – not just to boost the commitment of the client, but to also help you confirm that you are doing the right thing, helping the client get fitter!
The fluidity in the process also helps you, as a trainer, to assess your mastery of different kinds of bodies and physical exercise needs. Since all clients are different, reassessing their goals at different stages of the program makes you more flexible and able to adapt to diverse kinds of situations.
That is how you become an expert in the field. Indeed, this fine-tuning process is enjoyable as you offer personal training solutions to needy clients at the fitness center or elsewhere doing your job as a personal traner!
Conclusion on Personal Trainer Job Description
I hope you enjoyed my article on personal trainer job description.
So, you see, while some like to put on a suit and tie and sit behind a desk, people like you and I prefer to be active, helping other people lead a healthier life. The joy of my work lies in seeing hitherto flabby and lazy folks get fitter and stronger after completing a regime of exercises. Nothing beats that feeling.
If you are trying to get into the industry, this should give you a good idea of what the day-to-day tasks are like.
This job is gratifying, and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else for a living. It is gratifying to see your clients reach their goals!
You also get to live the healthy lifestyle that you would like and are in an environment where everybody is trying to better themselves.
This type of work environment is much healthier and exciting compared to sitting in a cubicle staring at a computer screen all day. Surely, I do enjoy every bit when carrying out my personal trainer responsibilities.
Let me know in the comments section below if you want to know anything else about my day-to-day routine as a personal trainer! Also if this article was helpful please share it using one of the social media buttons.
If you are serious about becoming a personal trainer, I highly suggest you check out my guide on becoming one here! Also make sure to check out some comparison articles such as NASM compared to ACE, NASM vs ACSM, ISSA vs NASM and NSCA vs NASM if you are looking for a certification1