What Does a Fitness Trainer Do?

Fitness trainers provide instruction and motivation in exercise to individuals or groups. Some fitness trainers specialize in specific areas like cardiovascular activities or yoga; most gyms require fitness trainers be certified.

Starting this career requires at least a high school diploma; an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in exercise science or physical education may make you more marketable as an applicant. Certification through various organizations is also available.

Education and Training

Fitness trainers assist clients in reaching their health and fitness goals, with most having at least an associates degree or postsecondary certifications or educations.

Fitness professionals typically possessing bachelor’s degrees in Kinesiology, Exercise science, sports and recreation management or physical education are likely to possess these programs that offer an in-depth look into the nutritional, psychological, physiological aspects of human fitness and performance.

Anatomy and physiology, which examines how basic body systems collaborate to produce movement, are key core competencies for any successful fitness trainer. Kinesiology and motor development courses help fitness professionals learn to incorporate biomechanics into workout planning while measurement and assessment courses give trainers tools for tracking client progress.

NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) provides a globally respected certification program. In addition to exercise techniques, students of NASM study the Optimum Performance Training model that offers a holistic approach for designing and programming workout routines to suit different goals.


Fitness trainers are adept in many exercise techniques and equipment. If you’re seeking new ways to challenge yourself with high-intensity workouts such as Tabata training, or different strength training methods such as supersets and pyramid training, a trainer can show you the ropes. Plus they can even help build balance, core strength, and stability if you suffer from chronic conditions or injuries.

Fitness trainers tend to specialize in one area of expertise such as weight loss, youth fitness, senior fitness or group fitness training. Some opt to seek certification through professional organizations in that field while also having other responsibilities such as creating fitness plans and monitoring client progress – they may also coordinate with physical therapists and nutritionists as part of a holistic healthcare team.


Fitness trainers collaborate with clients to devise workout plans, track progress and adjust accordingly so that they meet their fitness goals. Fitness trainers provide guidance on nutrition, lifestyle changes and stress management techniques as well. By learning more about their clients’ unique needs and abilities, trainers can develop programs designed specifically to address them – some even specialize in corrective exercises to assist clients manage specific physical conditions like back or knee pain.

Others may specialize in group exercise or yoga to provide classes that benefit multiple people simultaneously, or specialize in youth fitness training or DNA-based exercise and nutrition for specialized expertise in certain fields. By selecting an organization offering multiple specializations, trainers can find their ideal job to satisfy both professional and personal interests.


Fitness trainers help individuals and groups meet their health and fitness goals by teaching exercises with proper technique, counseling clients on nutrition and lifestyle factors that affect health and fitness, providing motivation and encouraging them to remain motivated throughout. In some instances, fitness trainers also perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training as well as first aid procedures when necessary.

Although most personal training degrees include internships and practicum courses, working at a gym or fitness facility is the best way to gain practical experience in the field. Furthermore, many fitness professionals take steps toward professional certification before beginning work with clients. NSCA CPT certification is widely renowned, as it provides a thorough framework for creating basic exercise programs to suit a wide variety of clientele. Additionally, ACE Certification stands out due to being offered through non-profits that offer study materials suited for multiple learning styles.

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