Are you a fitness enthusiast? Have you just completed a certification program; are you now trained at Level 3 or 4?

Are you looking to combine passion with work?

If so, the competitive market of personal training or group fitness coaching awaits you!

To stand out from all the rest of the trainers and their gimmicks, you'll need to think about how to market your skills; not offer tired, trite replicas of what other trainers do.

Designing workout programs that reflect your personality and philosophy is perhaps the very best way to make your mark on the world of personal training.

Through this article, we will guide you on how to distinguish yourself, both in your approach to coaching and in your teaching methods.

We'll do our best to help you find your niche in the world of personal training and guide you in fulfilling your vision of what a fitness professional should be.

Personal Trainer Specialisms

Like most industries, you can't suddenly qualify to work in every area of that subject. You have to pick a specialism and, well, become specialised in it. It is no different for personal training - if you want to be taken seriously and build a reputable business then you should consider focusing your interests on one or more of the following areas of fitness:

Obesity and Diabetes

With a growing number of people becoming obese and/or suffering from weight-related diabetes, lifestyle changes are welcome for a large percentage of the population. Medical treatment for such conditions can only do so much, and it is up to the individuals to change their habits and look at introducing healthier eating and exercise into their everyday routine. These attitude changes are vital for both preventing and curing such illnesses.

Advice and training for obese or diabetic clients have to be carefully thought out and prescribed because there are some movements and positions that they may not be able to perform as a healthy person could. In addition, the conditions often come hand in hand with other secondary medical issues that will need to be considered before an exercise and eating plan is produced.

Specialists in this area work closely with medics, including doctors or registered dieticians, and following the findings of scientists working within the medical sector. We, as a population, are aware that this is a growing problem and this is why opportunities to work in this field are so abundant and vital to our overall wellbeing.

Find recently posted online teaching jobs here.

Pre and Postnatal Exercise

Pregnant women were for a very long time advised against doing any sort of exercise, even just wearing heels was frowned upon. Recently, however, expectant mums are encouraged to keep fit and the medical profession has changed its views. It now recognises and promotes the value of light exercise during pregnancy and after the birth to return to fitness sooner.

If you are a trainer, the chances are that some of your clients will be women who may, at any time, fall pregnant and need advice on how to alter their exercise regime as their body begins to change. Without a pre and postnatal exercise qualification, you may have to refer your client to another fitness expert which might leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It is always worth qualifying in this area because there will always be pregnant women looking for expert advice in this area.

Some trainers, whether male or female, choose to specialise in this area due to a strong interest in the discipline. This normally happens when they have started a family themselves and can put themselves in the shoes of their client.

Exercise Referral

Exercise can often be used to alleviate and manage many chronic symptoms, thus improving the person's quality of life. Exercise can even be prescribed as a means of therapy. However, the exercise prescribed should be specifically related to the condition in question and not be harmful to the problem. Exercise referral specialists are trained to offer advice to sufferers of many conditions including asthma, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, obesity, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and lower back pain.

Exercise specialists can, with the right help, play a major role in the management of chronic illnesses and recovery from them. Medics are now more aware of chronic conditions and how to diagnose them, so trainers with a qualification in this area are high in demand.

Exercise for Older Adults

As we get older, we tend to slow down. But we are starting to recognise the benefits of staying active into old age with regular exercise. Of course, ageing comes hand in hand with many chronic conditions, particularly arthritis and osteoporosis, leading to a loss of fitness, strength, mobility and thus makes many people lose their independence. These declines are, however, made worse by our lack of physical activity, as has been proven by experts.

To help prolong people's lives and the quality of them, being a fitness trainer for older adults can be very rewarding. You can have a lasting and meaningful impact on both the health and happiness of clients.

Lower Back Pain Specialist

Lower back pain is a huge... pain in the bum! With an estimated 1 in 10 people suffering from mild to severe back pain, millions of us are losing whole days of our lives cooped up in bed, not to mention the number of days sick that workplaces have to try and find cover for. But can this be avoided?

Lower back pain specialists can work as part of a multidisciplinary team working with physiotherapists, chiropractors, and osteopaths to prevent and manage the all too common condition. Jobs are available in back pain clinics or on a 1-to-1 basis in a fitness centre.

The Field is Wide Open!

Achieve your goals as a leader in fitness training!
Through diligence, you could lead the pack as a group fitness instructor! Source: Pixabay Credit: Skeeze

Becoming a fitness instructor requires a great deal of personal reflection and introspection.

Among other questions, you should ponder:

  • True, you're passionate about fitness. But can you make a viable career of it?
  • What, exactly, does personal training mean to you?
    • Is it about a healthy lifestyle, or just losing weight and following proper nutritional guidelines?
  • What are your favourite branches of sport: strength training? Resistance training? Perhaps corrective exercise or functional training is more your bailiwick.
    • You might also consider leading senior fitness classes, or group fitness classes in Zumba or Pilates
  • How would you assess your interpersonal skills?
    • Do you work well with the public, or are you more of a one on one type of person? Are you patient; generous with your time and explanations?

Above all, you will want your personal training sessions to reflect you: the visible parts and those not readily seen.

One way to make a difference in fitness training is to make your focus on fitness clear:

  • Are you all about one particular aspect of fitness training, such as weight loss through cardio, or are you all about performance, coaching high-level athletes?
  • How are you at conducting a fitness assessment for your client?
  • Do you prefer designing an individualized exercise program or leading a small group?
  • Would you rather dispense your expertise in clients' homes, or are you open to leading, say, corporate fitness retreats?
  • If you particularly admire children's enthusiasm, might you consider specializing in youth fitness classes?
  • Are you prepared to explore your and your clients' mind-body connection during fitness sessions?
  • What about fitness training online?

Clearly, these few choices among the many illustrate the sheer diversity of career opportunities in personal fitness.

Discover more reasons to select a career in personal fitness!

And, while it is possible to become adept at leading several fitness programs, it would be impossible to master everything you could possibly teach about fitness.

In fitness education, specializing is key.

Offering a distinct range of services will make you more credible when it comes to consultation with prospective clients.

One error you should never commit is to take on a mission that you are not qualified for.

As an example: a group of accident victims wish you to help their recovery but you have little knowledge of corrective exercise or physical therapy...

To accept that assignment would be to risk disappointing yourself, your clients and, worst of all: you would lose credibility in the fitness field.

Designing Customized Fitness Programs

Once you have declared your speciality, it will be important for you to create your own training programs.

Whether you are a yoga teacher, specialized in stretching and toning, leading aerobic classes in a gym, or designing exercise programs targeted to rehabilitation: every programme's moves and methods will be substantially different.

Within your particular brand of fitness training, proposing innovative or little-used exercises can be a great way to stand out as a personal trainer.

Distancing yourself from the classic LBT – legs, bum and tum workout; bodybuilding or core training will prove to your clients that you are indeed taking things to the next level.

You will be thought of as original in program design and innovative in individualized fitness initiatives.

Those are testimonials that will make your business grow!

Adaptability is key to success in personal fitness training. Not only must you consider clients' expectations and conditions, but there are also environmental factors to consider.

For example, it would be impossible to engage in a strength and conditioning routine at a client's home if s/he lives in a tiny bedsit and has neither kettlebell nor weight bench...

Only catch healthy new waves, not faddish ones!
You don't have to catch every new wave of fitness, only the non-faddish ones! Source: Pixabay Credit: Kanenori

Mind the New Waves of Fitness

The fitness industry is constantly evolving. To remain relevant as a personal trainer, you must keep yourself on the cutting edge of exercise science, always adapting your methods to reflect current trends.

Let us broach the topic of fad diets for an instant.

Your client, determined to lose weight and get back into shape, has heard of this new, wonderful diet plan where strenuously working out is not necessary to shed pounds.

Fad diets can be detrimental to a client's overall well-being, and some are even downright dangerous!

How would you educate him/her?

You must first educate yourself: on any new workout programs, of nutritional claims and diet programs – even those that seem outlandish!

Why not invest in your personal development?

If you agree that personal fitness is equivalent to a healthy lifestyle, we contend that it is important to always stay at the forefront of developments in the field.

That is the best way to address your customers' needs and queries!

You can also be a force for change in your chosen discipline by refining your workflow.

Mix things up a little! Set each client's routine up so that least favourite parts mesh seamlessly with most favoured ones, and incorporate new elements as soon as your client is ready for them.

This will allow you to keep one step ahead of any competitors offering the same services as you!

All these characteristics make it possible to differentiate a motivating personal trainer from others that might be less original.

In terms of popularity and image, such tactics make your case as a personal fitness trainer of merit!

As with many industries, there are trends that come and go in the world of fitness. Of course, we aren't going to drastically change the way we exercise, but there a number of gadgets and styles of fitness that weave their way in and out of the industry. Below are just some of the most common trends of 2019 so far:

Wearable Technology

Wearable technology, such as the use of smartwatches, pedometers, fitness trackers, heart monitors, and more, has become increasingly popular since 2016. The merging of fitness and tech in such a way shows no signs of slowing down, either. Expect, therefore, to see even more ways to track and monitor your fitness in 2019.

Currently, tech includes gadgets like built-in fitness trackers or pedometers in smartphones (check your fitness app on the Apple iPhone to see how many steps you have taken today, including how much flights of stairs you've climbed!) and smartwatches with built-in heart monitors (such as the Samsung smartwatch or Fitbit).

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT took off in 2018 and has played a big role in the industry this year. A HIIT workout is said to involve short bursts of high-intensity workout followed by a short period of rest. Each class is usually 30 minutes or less, though can be longer. The main motive of doing a HIIT workout is to get a quick and very efficient workout and this can be done practically anywhere - in the gym, whilst doing a class or by exercising in your living room.


Yoga has been a popular form of exercise for a while now, but it is going from strength to strength. Not only is classic yoga still undertaken by many fitness lovers, but new branches are also emerging such as hot yoga which involves following the yoga poses but in a very hot environment, with the aim of making the workout more intense, as well as aerial yoga which has people swinging from the ceiling and performing yoga poses whilst lifted off the ground.

Twenty years ago, everyone was into aerobics (think back to all those cringe-worthy 80s music videos like Olivia Newton John's 'Physical'!). Ten years ago, everyone was doing Zumba. What will be the unforgettable exercising trend of this decade?

Evaluating Clients' Progress

Every fitness program must be treated to periodic evaluation and, if necessary, revision.

As you assess your clients' progress, you will better be able to determine when s/he is ready to take things to a more challenging stage or, conversely, where a bit more work is needed.

Your trainee won't fail to notice your attention to detail and the rigorous standards your hold yourself to by paying such close attention to his/her progress.

The evaluation methods you adopt depend on what area of fitness you specialize in.

They might be:

  • Measurable goals, such as weight loss, a decrease in body mass; even speed or distance if you coach running
  • Qualitative improvements, such as form and endurance
  • Establishing a formula wherein both qualitative and quantitative gains proclaim trainees' progress.

Keeping a workout diary for each client will ensure your proper tracking of their development from session to session.

We would suggest that s/he too keep such a record, without absolving you of the duty to do so.

Besides, you could compare notes at the end of each training session, to see how your entries match up!

As a personal trainer you should be original, not trite!
Your personal trainer certification will teach you how to motivate your clients without using clichés! Source: Pixabay Credit: Geralt

Adapting Psychology to Each Trainee

Each of your clients has their own set of motivators. That is why building an effective, individualized training program cannot be done without your client's input.

It is not a question of completely changing your methods, but of adapting them.

For example, designing a strenuous workout meant for maximum weight loss for a client who has been sedentary for years will most likely not make him/her want to get off the sofa at all.

An effective health and fitness coach counts interpersonal skills such as empathy, understanding and listening as primary tools for developing the optimal trainer-client relationship.

Never stop questioning your teaching methods: always seek ways of improving your instruction delivery and motivation tactics.

Refining your skill as a trainer will invariably lead to a profound ability to relate to every client and fitness hopeful, making you an indispensable guide on their journey to fitness!

Changing Lives, One Workout at a Time

Focusing your methods on the success of your students will empower them, not just as athletes, but as psychologically healthy individuals.

It would be contrary to the philosophy of personal training limit coaching to mere physical performance.

If your client is a novice athlete, the psychological impact you have would be all the more important and his/her progress, that much more visible.

It is common for beginners who work with a certified personal trainer to put up barriers to their own success.

“I'll never get there!” is a common refrain which you, his mentor, should motivate him beyond, so that s/he exceeds what had, till then, been thought of as impossible.

Showing your trainees, in words and deeds, what they too are capable of will keep them motivated, such that even on off-days, when there is simply no desire to squirm into Sweaty Bettys, they will nevertheless get a work out in.

And then, surprise, surprise! They will find themselves handling non-sports related challenges much better!

With your personal training certification, you are not only providing a personalized coaching service but a real lifestyle revolution.

Witnessing changes in your clients' workouts is great; hearing about changes they've made in their lives – in attitude, fitness goals, choices in nutrition, better sleep, should also be an extraordinary achievement for you.

In a nutshell: to become a personal trainer means to convey the famous precept of "Mens Sana in Corpora Sano”: A healthy mind in a healthy body! to every client, every day!

A holistic approach to personal training will help your clients improve faster
Becoming a personal trainer means being in touch your yourself and knowing your capabilities Source: Pixabay Credit: GDJ

Winding Down:

  • The key to remaining vital and in-demand in the health fitness field is to stand out from your peers
  • You should decide at the outset of your fitness certification venture where you want to focus your efforts: on cardiovascular health or developing core strength; working out of gyms or in clients' homes, conducting group training such as Pilates or make a 1 on 1 commitment with individual clients.
    • Diversifying your services can come later, once you've established yourself as a fitness specialist.
  • It would be wise to not overshoot your own expectations as a trainer, or in any personal training program, you design.
    • Aiming high, on the other hand, is advisable!
  • Being well-grounded in whichever discipline(s) you choose will allow you to better coach and motivate your clients.
  • You should always keep an ear to the ground for new philosophies and developments in the world of wellness and physiology. Who knows where your next inspiration could come from?

Your personal training business will be more successful if you shun copies of copies of well-known exercise programs and routines.

Doing so may cause you to invent the latest high-intensity cardio workout everyone will go mad for!

Start each day by reviewing training techniques you've covered with scheduled clients, and outline new exercise activities to broach with them.

Finally, be rigorous in your approach to coaching and establish a relationship of trust and exchange with your clients.

This will make you progress in your methods at the same time that they will get fit.

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