Personal trainer

A personal trainer


Personal trainers design, implement and evaluate exercise or physical activity programmes for one or more individual clients by collecting and analysing client information. They strive to ensure the effectiveness of personal exercise programmes. A personal trainer should also actively encourage potential clients to participate in and adhere to regular programmes, employing appropriate motivational strategies.

The duties of a personal trainer typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Consulting with clients to understand their goals and current fitness levels.
  • Creating comprehensive workout and nutrition plans for clients.
  • Motivating and guiding clients during their training sessions.
  • Ensuring clients train safely with proper form and technique.
  • Leading regular group workout classes.
  • Using in-depth knowledge to answer clients’ questions.
  • Providing clients with regular feedback and accountability on their progress.
  • Working with management and fellow staff to ensure the gym functions effectively.
  • Soliciting new clients to sign up at the gym.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to personal trainer:

personal coach
personal trainer and sport therapist
personal trainer & sport therapist
personal trainer & nutritionist
personal fitness trainer
well-being personal trainer
personal progress manager
personal trainer and nutritionist

Working conditions

Personal trainers can work in a variety of settings, including fitness centers, health clubs, gyms, and sports facilities. They may also work in clients’ homes or in outdoor settings. Personal trainers typically work flexible hours, including early mornings, evenings, and weekends to accommodate clients’ schedules.

Minimum qualifications

To become a personal trainer, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required, as well as a certification from an accredited organization. Certification programs typically include coursework in exercise science, anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and program design. Certification requirements may vary, but candidates typically need to pass an exam to become certified.

Some employers may also require an associate or bachelor’s degree in exercise science or a related field. In addition to certification and education, personal trainers should also have strong communication skills, an outgoing personality, and a passion for fitness and helping others. Experience working in a fitness setting or as a personal trainer assistant is also beneficial.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Personal trainer is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Personal trainer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to personal trainer.

sport therapist
fitness instructor
Pilates teacher
leisure attendant

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of personal trainer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of personal trainer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

stand-up comedian
complementary therapist
admissions coordinator
social pedagogue
artistic painter

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of personal trainer.

  • Prepare exercise session: Prepare equipment and facilities for the session ensuring compliance with industry and national guidelines for normal operating procedures. Plan timings and sequences for the session.
  • Inform clients of healthy lifestyle benefits: Provide accurate information about the role of physical activity and stimulate exercisers with controlled health conditions to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle behaviour. Inform clients on principles of nutrition and weight management.
  • Identify customer objectives: Identify individual motives resulting in short, medium and long term fitness goals.
  • Demonstrate professional attitude to clients: Demonstrate responsibility and professional duty of care to clients which will include communication skills and a focus of customer care orientation.
  • Ensure safety of exercise environment: Select the correct training environment and assess risks to ensure it provides a safe, clean and friendly fitness environment and that it will be the best use of the environment in which clients are exercising.
  • Analyse personal fitness information: Carry out fitness assessments to establish fitness and skill level and analyse information relating to individual clients.
  • Show professional responsibility: Ensure that other workers and clients are treated with respect and that appropriate civil liability insurance is in place at all times of instructing.
  • Adapt fitness exercises: Suggest relevant exercise adaptations or options to allow for individual client differences or needs and provide participants with advice on intensity and how to progress their individual performance and results.
  • Prescribe exercises: Provide a range of exercise programmes in accordance with the needs of the clients by applying principles of exercise programming.
  • Integrate exercise science to the design of the programme: Design movements and exercises according to the functions of the musculoskeletal system and biomechanical concepts. Develop programme according to physiological concepts, the cardio-respiratory and energy systems.
  • Promote healthy lifestyle: Provide information to clients about the role of physical activity, modes of exercise and related services and the importance of healthy activities for daily living.
  • Integrate principles of training: Apply components of health related fitness to the design of an individual programme in order to meet client’s abilities, needs and lifestyle and exercise preferences.
  • Motivate fitness clients: Positively interact with and motivate fitness clients to participate in regular physical activity and promote fitness exercise as a part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Collect client fitness information: Collect fitness information relating to individual clients; Identify client information which is to be collected and advise clients of correct procedures, protocols and risks prior to commencing physical assessment and exercising.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of personal trainer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Children’s physical development: Recognise and describe the development, observing the following criteria: weight, length, and head size, nutritional requirements, renal function, hormonal influences on development, response to stress, and infection.
  • Older adults’ needs: The physical, mental, and social needs of frail, older adults.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of personal trainer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Evaluate older adults’ ability to take care of themselves: Assess the condition of an older patient and decide if he or she needs assistance in taking care of him- or herself to eat or to bathe and in meeting his/hers social and psychological needs.
  • Communicate with youth: Use verbal and non-verbal communication and communicate through writing, electronic means, or drawing. Adapt your communication to children and young people`s age, needs, characteristics, abilities, preferences, and culture.

ISCO group and title

3423 – Fitness and recreation instructors and program leaders

  1. Personal trainer – ESCO
  2. Personal Trainer Job Description –
  3. Personal Trainer Job Description – Betterteam
  4. Personal Trainer job description sample – Workable
  5. Featured image: Image by 5132824 from Pixabay
Last updated on April 26, 2023

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