Personal trainer

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A personal trainer is a person who helps people exercise. The scope of practice for a personal trainer is to enhance the components of fitness for the general, healthy population. The five classic components of fitness are muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility, although there are other subsets like power, skill, and speed. The general population is defined as an age range of 18 to about 50 (45 and younger for males, 55 and younger for females). The definition of healthy in this context means an absence of a disease that would affect one's ability to exercise. Anyone outside that scope of practice should be placed in a trainer's scope after a visit to the doctor to see what kind, if any, exercise they are capable of.

In contrast to an athletic trainer (AT), a personal trainer may not have higher education in the health sciences, may not be required to obtain any particular kind of professional certification for purposes of the job, or may be "certified" by one of any number of organizations that only require minimal coursework or the most basic of competencies, and that is not recognized nationally or internationally. For athletic trainers, all must have at least a bachelor’s degree specifically in the athletic training health profession, must pass a comprehensive exam before earning the athletic training credential, must keep their knowledge and skills current by participating in continuing education in the field, and must adhere to the specific standards of professional practice set by one national certifying agency. (1)


Job overview

Many personal trainers work through local fitness centers such as personal training studios and health clubs, assisting clients within the facility. Others may be available for sessions in a clients home, or serve as instructors for fitness classes. Trainers are generally needed to demonstrate various exercises and help clients improve their exercise techniques. Due to the more interpersonal contact between a trainer and a client versus a general gym setting, a trainer is more readily able to provide motivation and support to an individual in an exercise program, in addition to proper technical instruction. A trainer can keep records of their clients’ exercise sessions to help monitor progress, and may also advise their clients on how to modify their lifestyle outside of the gym to improve their fitness.

In the United States, stats show that by 2006 fitness workers in general were employed in about 235,000 jobs, with a portion of those being trainers. Almost all personal trainers and group exercise instructors worked in physical fitness facilities, health clubs, and fitness centers, mainly in the amusement and recreation industry or in civic and social organizations.[1] One of the fastest-growing fields of fitness training is corporate fitness. Many large companies are beginning to offer corporate fitness packages for employees wishing to create or maintain a healthy exercise program. Personal trainers are now often going into offices to train office staff at their desks in their lunch breaks using tables and chairs as gym equipment.[citation needed]

Regulations and training

Trainers usually are advised to have certification before beginning work in a club or facility in the United States.

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