As Americans generally live longer and are more concerned about their health and physical fitness than ever before, the demand for fitness trainers is exploding. The field is expected to grow 27% through 2016. The average annual salary of a fitness trainer was $34,310 in 2008, but there are other non-monetary benefits to becoming a fitness trainer. Many fitness trainers work as much or as little as they want to by piecing together class instruction at different facilities with working in clients’ private homes. Some go on to management positions, and all have access to free workout equipment and classes, which can save a lot of money in gym membership fees.

Fitness trainers develop workout routines for clients.
The main job of a fitness trainer is to develop workout routines that are both interesting and challenging for their clients. Some come up with and lead whole class lessons, while others design activities catering to an individual client’s preferences and needs.

Most fitness trainers have specialties. The workout routines they design are usually for clients who want to use a particular form of exercise like aerobics, yoga, tae bo, spinning, weightlifting, or kickboxing. Fitness trainers who work with individuals who are concerned primarily with weight loss may develop a personalized fitness plan that incorporates several forms of exercise.

Fitness trainers can work in a variety of places.
In addition to gyms and clients’ homes, fitness trainers can find employment in many venues, thanks to the growing trend of people seeking help to get fit and the aging population in the United States. Fitness trainers are sometimes employed by large companies to help their employees stay active. Some find work in nursing facilities helping the elderly retain mobility and muscle mass. There, they might lead water aerobics, stretching, and other low-impact exercise groups. Hospitals employ fitness trainers to help long-term patients. Still others work in resorts and country clubs.

Fitness trainers need to be certified.
To be an effective fitness trainer, you must understand how the body works and responds to various exercises. While aerobics instructors and personal trainers used to get their jobs by working out at gyms with their own fitness trainers until they were ready to teach classes or take on clients, many gyms now require more formal certification. Some forms of exercise like yoga and Pilates can be particularly dangerous if not taught correctly, and certification is almost always required to be a fitness trainer for certain populations like children or the elderly.

A good fitness trainer certification program will teach you about how different systems in the body functions and how to effectively work each of the major muscle groups. In addition, fitness trainer programs also teach general health and nutrition to help their graduates be that much more effective in helping clients achieve fitness goals.