Training people to achieve their fitness goals while also helping others to feel confident and strong can be a very rewarding career. But it’s not as easy as just hanging up a shingle and declaring yourself open for business. You need to take certain steps to become successful in this field.
Here are some tips on how to become a fitness coach and help others achieve their fitness goals.
1. Earn a Degree
Many people assume that you don’t need any kind of formal education to become a personal trainer, which is true in some cases. However, the majority of states require that personal trainers be certified by taking an accredited course or earning a sports management degree.
Why do you need a degree in the first place? Having a degree in a related field will increase your chances of getting hired as a fitness coach. Additionally, having a degree gives you the knowledge and skills you need to help your clients achieve their fitness goals safely and effectively.
2. Get Your Certification
A year-long course in an accredited program is usually required by most states if you are just starting out. Check with your state’s sport and fitness association for details or contact a local gym that employs personal trainers to see if they offer anything.
While some certification programs allow you to work as a fitness coach right after completing the course, others require you to work under supervision of a certified trainer for several months before they will consider your application.
3. Build Up Your Resume and Get Experience
Once you have some kind of formal training, look for ways to build up your resume and gain real-world experience. A great way to do this is by working as a personal trainer’s assistant at your local gym or signing up for an exercise class and offering to help one of the trainers there.
You can also ask any fitness instructors you know if they would be willing to let you work with them as a volunteer. Fitness boot camps and other outdoor classes are usually always looking for enthusiastic, motivated people who can work with a group. Even if you don’t get paid, you can still prove your dedication and commitment to the field.
Take every opportunity you have to network with other trainers, coaches, or instructors in your area. This should include joining any local fitness organizations (such as the YMCA, the local gym, and your college’s fitness association).
If you attend classes, seminars or conferences that focus on the industry, be sure to go to the social events and meet people.
Networking with other people in the industry will make it easier to find an opening at a place where you can get more training and experience. It could also open up opportunities for future work or help you find clients if you decide to start your business.
5. Keep Your Knowledge Up-to-Date
As a fitness trainer, you need to stay current with all the latest information coming out about health and fitness. For example, if someone wants to lose weight by running more often than they already do, providing evidence and supporting details will give them much better results than simply telling them to run more often because everyone knows that will help someone lose weight.
Fitness trainers also need to learn new exercises and routines. Researching the most up-to-date information online is a great way to keep your knowledge fresh.
6. Go Back to School
Not all trainers choose this path, but if you want a career as a fitness coach, going back to school for a master’s or doctorate is definitely something worth looking into.
Some states require that your master’s degree be in exercise physiology or kinesiology, while others may accept an accredited bachelor’s degree with a minor in one of these areas instead.
In addition to learning about anatomy and biomechanics, continuing education courses can also provide insight into how to work with different populations such as youth athletes or the elderly.
7. Consider Becoming a Certified Specialist
Specializing in a certain aspect of training will allow you to develop unique skills and expertise in a particular area. This often opens up more opportunities, including the possibility of working with a gym or employer that caters to a specific clientele.
For example, a personal trainer who specializes in nutrition and weight loss can work with an obese person to help them change their lifestyle habits by developing healthy eating behaviors and staying within a safe calorie range for their height and body type.
Specialists can advise on how much cardio is necessary during this process as well as what kind of resistance training would be beneficial from a fitness standpoint while still being realistic about achieving weight-loss goals.
Pursuing a career in fitness coaching is an exciting and rewarding choice, but it’s also not one that you should take lightly. While all the above tips are important, don’t forget to always do your research beforehand so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.