Personal trainer and former dancer
New York City, NY
Certification by one of the nationally accredited sports medicine organizations such as NASM or ACE and typically a background in fitness or athletics (sports, dance, or martial arts). Ability to work with people, motivate them to adopt healthier lifestyles, and teach them corrective exercise.
This can range depending on your interest in the field and your desire to specialize in a specific fitness area. I took an exam to certify with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and renew my certification with continuing education courses every 2 years.
I was a professional modern dancer in my early twenties, and trained for over twenty years in ballet, modern dance, and circus arts. Some personal trainers have college level BS or graduate level MS degrees in Exercise Science, but many gain expertise from their own experiences as athletes.
On a typical day, I will usually see 4-7 clients either at a fitness facility or the client’s personal home gym. Each session is an hour long and is individually geared towards the client. For example, Roberta is 72 year old woman looking to keep up coordination and balance, while Claudia is a 16 year girl old looking to do enhance her speed and stamina in volleyball. I make my own hours, so I usually see 2 to 3 clients in a row and then take a break for a meal or snack. I often start at 10 am and finish around 7 pm in the evening.
I have another job as a journalist and filmmaker so I work as a personal trainer part time. Making sure you have a constant flow of clients is a challenge and requires you to stay one step ahead of the game and always try to get new business. You make your own hours but when you are not working you are not making money, so you need to be proactive. Training is very physical – there is a great deal of demonstrating and talking and it can be tiring. You need to make sure you that you keep your own body healthy and fit in order to work with others by working out regularly and doing restorative exercise.
I love working with people. It is fulfilling that I make a difference in their lives by helping them develop a healthier relationship to exercise. I was never a big fan of sitting behind a desk, so I love the interactive part of my job, and enjoy talking and relating to people. I also really enjoy the flexibility of my job, I am able to make my own hours and also work on my writing and film making.
Personal training is a great job – it is both lucrative and flexible, especially if you are trying to also work in another field at the same time. Even if you work at a fitness center, the job is very entrepreneurial , so you need to think about the position as your own business. Branding and marketing yourself and your particular fitness niche is important because you are always in search of more clients.
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.
Martha Graham, choreographer
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