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.
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.
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 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.
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 description 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.
Assessment of their cardiovascular health
There are dozens of cardiovascular tests that you can use to assess your clients level of cardiovascular health. Each certifying agency typically has their 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.
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.
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.
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!
Assessment of Client posture
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 for 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! Program design is a HUGE part of the job.
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 to 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.
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.
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
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.
This fine tuning process is enjoyable!
Conclusion on Personal Trainer Job Description
I hope you enjoyed my article on personal trainer job description. 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.
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
Tyler Read has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. Tyler is also a certified personal trainer with NASM, ACE and CSCS. Tyler’s main goal is to help people get started in the personal training industry and to become successful personal trainers. Tyler is the owner of Personal Training Pioneer which helps people get started in the personal training industry and become successful.