A fitness instructor teaches his students how to lead healthier lives through improved exercise and diet. He is generally expected to motivate them and help them reach realistic, mutually agreed upon goals. He normally provides instruction and advice to groups as well as individuals.
In recent years, the position of fitness instructor has grown in popularity based on the public’s increased awareness of health and diet issues. A fitness instructor was once commonly found only in a health club or gym or worked as a personal trainer in the homes of clients. He is now employable in a variety of environments, including sports training facilities and on-site corporate fitness centers.
To achieve success as a fitness instructor normally requires a good understanding of human behavior and how to inspire different personality types. An instructor is normally expected to understand how and why each of his students developed unhealthy habits and advise on how to correct them. He is generally required to address each person’s situation with empathy and a personalized plan to help them achieve goals.
Popular culture often has a significant influence on what exercise programs are preferred by clients and what diet programs they perceive as successful. A reputable fitness instructor is traditionally expected to promote fitness and nutrition programs based on his expertise instead of fads and trends. His students’ respect for his guidance and the results it produces traditionally enhance his reputation in the fitness community.
The approach favored by many fitness instructors is to first evaluate each student’s needs and goals. This normally involves weighing the student, evaluating body mass and identifying problem areas. Assessing eating habits is also an essential part of the appraisal. Recommendations are normally made based on the goals and self-motivation of each student. Monitoring student progress is an ordinary part of the program.
Exercise programs led by the fitness instructor may be standardized or personally developed by him based on the needs of his students. He generally provides instruction at different levels to accommodate their ages and physical fitness levels. If he works in private homes for individual clients, the regimens he suggests are typically highly personalized.
Most fitness instructor positions require a high school diploma or equivalent. A significant number of jobs in this category provide on-the-job training. Instructors in some regions are required to have certifications to teach certain exercises or advise on health and nutrition. Though not normally a requirement, many fitness instructors have degrees in health education, physical fitness or related fields.