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Career Profile: Recreational Personal Fitness Trainer

Why Is Fitness Training a Job of Tomorrow?
Physical fitness should be an important part of everyone's lives. Staying healthy will not only keep people looking and feeling better, it will likely also add years to their lives and cut down on their medical expenses. Nearly 108 million American adults are either obese or overweight, and many develop cardiovascular disease or diabetes as a result of excess weight taking a toll on their bodies, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Fitness trainers will see a rise in demand as more people realize the importance of staying fit and healthy. The increasing cost of health care may also motivate more people to hit the gym to avoid doctor's visits. Employment opportunities for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors are expected to increase 27 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fitness trainers earn an average salary of $25,910 annually.

What Does a Fitness Trainer Do?
Fitness trainers assist people in lifting weights, weight management or getting ready for a specific sporting event such as a marathon. Trainers can either work one on one with clients or as group exercise instructors. In personal sessions, trainers meet with clients and design a customized fitness plan for them depending on their goals. For example, a personal trainer may develop a boot camp-style workout regime for an individual looking to lose weight quickly for an event, or develop a leg-intensive workout regime for an individual training to run a marathon. Personal trainers track clients' progress, offer advice to help them reach their goals and teach them exercises to perform. Group exercise instructors, on the other hand, create a general workout plan for many people to follow. Group exercise instructors often conduct classes that focus on cardiovascular health, such as dance or step classes. They must design classes that are challenging, yet easy enough for beginners to join in.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Fitness Trainer?
Fitness trainers must obtain certification before working with clients. The requirements vary among certification programs. Most programs, however, require that prospective fitness trainers have at least a high school diploma and successfully complete an examination. On-site training is rare, as many facilities expect trainers to already be well versed in fitness training techniques. Trainers who specialize in specific exercise arts, such as Pilates or yoga, must become certified to teach. Programs for Pilates and yoga instructors last several weeks to two years.