A fitness professional is a professional in the field of fitness and exercise, most often instruction (fitness instructor), including aerobics and yoga instructors and authors of fitness instruction books or manuals. Fitness topics may also include nutrition, weight-loss, and self-help. Fitness careers are distinguished from exercise science careers such as athletic training, however the various types of fitness certifications have more and more in common: the, “distinctions…have become blurred, with more similarities than differences given the common background that all fitness professionals must possess.” Fitness professionals screen participants for exercise programs, evaluate various fitness components, prescribe exercise to improve these components, and may also help people with specific or chronic conditions. Fitness professionals help challenge an individual by increasing their performance, as compared to when a person would workout on their own. They also teach a person new workouts and how to improve their form, performance and help achieve goals.The key roles and duties of a fitness professional are to: motivate, assist clients and measure your heart rate and body fat levels. Trainers need to be patient, be well organized and have time management as well as interpersonal skills.“You are in a helping profession. Although you are not a social worker, psychologist or guidance counselor, neither are you simply a technician with advanced training in exercise science, biomechanics, program design and assessment methodology.”(Jim and Nettie Gavin) Notable fitness professionals or former fitness professionals include Richard Simmons, Susan Powter, John Sitaras and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (”Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Body Workout”). Certified fitness professionals must maintain up-to-date on all certifications in order to instruct at particular health clubs and gyms. Often, fitness professionals will have some education in kinesiology, anatomy, and biomechanics to aid in their fitness career. In Canada, Canadian Fitness Education Services (CFES) provides national fitness leadership program modules to take candidates through the steps in Aquafit, Group Fitness and/or Weight Training Instructor and Personal Trainer national certification. Personal training, Athletic training, and physical therapy are all technically distinct specialties with different processes and requirements for certification. In the United States the main certifying agency for personal trainers is ACSM (the American College of Sports Medicine), while the main certifying agency for athletic trainers is NATA (the National Athletic Trainers’ Association). Obtaining certification or licensure as a physical therapist requires that you attend and graduate from a masters or doctoral program in physical therapy.
A coach can help amateur and professional athletes to be successful in a particular sport by teaching them the required skills needed. However, they can coach more than one sport to multiple people.Their role involves identifying an athletes strengths and weaknesses as well as their opponent. Coaches also improve the physical condition of an athlete to help increase their full performance; improve form, techniques, skills and stamina. A coach must be ready to work long and irregular hours and these can include evenings, weekends and holidays. Typically, coaches are required to be 18 years old or older and have a Bachelor’s degree.
A fitness instructor in the USA can make an average annual salary of $43,930. The highest paid college coach in 2017 was Nick Saban (University of Alabama) who earned $11.1 million. Fitness professionals receive benefits that can include healthcare, paid time off, a pension. There is also the opportunity to accelerate personal achievements and the option to work full-time or part-time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.”
Fitness professionals need to at least have a high school degree and in some fields, a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Additionally, they must learn CPR (cardiovascular resuscitation) which can be learnt American Red Cross offers classes that allow people to get a CPR class, First aid, and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) Certification. They also offer lifeguard training, swimming and water safety. Other qualifications depending on the specific field can include: