What Does a Personal Trainer Do?

Personal trainers work with individuals and groups to create, maintain and update physical exercise routines.  In individual training, these routines are customized to the individual’s personal goals, weight, health and abilities.  In groups the routines are usually developed around a skill level such as beginners or advanced.

First, a review of the more detail responsibilities of a personal trainer working with an individual, then group oriented responsibilities and finally some broad duties that apply to both.

Individual Training

When starting with a new trainee, the personal trainer must first evaluate individuals’ abilities, needs, and physical conditions then develop suitable training programs to meet any special requirements.  It is critical to set up an initial program that challenges the new trainee but is not so hard that they become sore or discouraged that they don’t commit to the program.  After the initial routines are established, the personal trainer must continue to monitor the participants’ progress and adapt programs as needed.  As the participant gets stronger, the trainer must adjust weight levels and repetition cycles, again to insure the trainee continues to see benefits and results without being overwhelmed.

Training sessions can be tailored to the participants needs as well.  It is not always necessary for a trainer to oversee every workout session.  A plan can be developed where the trainer and the participant agree on a couple routines to be done 3-5 times a week for four weeks.  The trainer can take the participant through all the exercises on the plan to make sure they are being done correctly; the participant can then implement the plan.  After four weeks, the participant can schedule another session with the trainer to evaluate and update the plan.

This is a great way to work with people who can’t afford a personal trainer for every work out.  But there are also always those individuals who like the one on one motivation every session.  In addition to the workout routines, a trainer often provides students with information and resources regarding nutrition, weight control, and lifestyle issues, anything that will help them achieve their overall fitness goals.

Group Training

When a personal trainer is instructing a group of people, there are several things they must keep in mind.  Besides being responsible for planning routines and choosing appropriate music a trainer need to choose different movements for each set of muscles, depending on participants’ capabilities and limitations.  While the class or group training is underway, the personal trainer must observe participants and inform them of corrective measures necessary for skill improvement.  Additionally, though a class may be geared for a certain skill or ability level, a trainer will often find participants who either exceed or don’t meet the skill level of the class and must then offer alternatives during classes to accommodate these different levels of fitness.

Comprehensive Training

Whether training an individual or a group, there are certain duties that are always the responsibility of the trainer. Teaching proper breathing techniques to use during physical exertion is very important in making sure the participants don’t hyperventilate or pass out.
Explaining and enforcing safety rules and regulations governing sports, recreational activities, and the use of exercise equipment also falls upon the trainer.  Whether it’s an exercise machine or the yoga balls, it’s up to the trainer to make sure the participants know how to correctly and safely use the equipment.  Should an injury occur, the trainer must be able to administer emergency first aid, wrap injuries, treat minor chronic disabilities, or refer injured persons to physicians.

Being a personal trainer can be a very rewarding career as the trainer gets to help people achieve their fitness goals, improve their lives and generally be happier overall.

Learn more about becoming a personal trainer!