What is a Personal Trainer?

The idea of having a personal trainer is one that most people who are losing weight or want to lose weight love. In fact, publications regularly post articles on what tools trainers use for their clients so their audience can replicate the trainer’s moves at home. But personal training is not what is written about in articles; it’s an entire profession that bears a little understanding.


A personal trainer is defined as an individual who has the experience and education needed in order to help their clients become fitter by instructing them in exercises. Personal trainers help their clients by creating a physical fitness program for their clients and assessing their progress during the program. They also may provide information to their clients on wellness and disease prevention, depending on their specialization. At times they work with a client’s doctor to ensure their fitness program will not harm their overall health, especially if the client is recovering from surgery, an injury, or another medical condition.

Education and Certifications

A personal trainer will ideally have at least an undergraduate degree in kinesiology or a related field as well as be certified as a personal trainer. It is, however, possible to earn certification without having a degree in kinesiology or sports training; certifications in the United States are conferred by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and there are more than a dozen such certifications available throughout the country. Professionals often choose to earn the National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer Certification, which is one of the most prestigious qualifications available. These certifications are awarded after completing the program that precedes the certification exam. It is important to note that not all personal training settings require a degree or a certification, although the most competitive positions tend to require both.


There are a variety of specializations available for personal trainers. These specializations will vary by certification program, but as the National Academy of Sports Medicine is the most popular, this article will use the specializations listed on its website. Some options include women’s fitness, weight loss, fitness and nutrition, MMA conditioning, and performance enhancement specialization. Some personal trainers also work in sports-specific areas, including basketball, swimming, running, and more. Earning a specialization in one or more areas will make that professional a valuable candidate for a variety of positions.

Related Resource: 50 Best Bachelors in Sports Science Degree Programs

Trainers in Different Settings

Specializations help personal trainers work in a variety of settings. They can be found in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, gyms, schools, and working with athletes or sports teams. They can work just about anywhere, even online. In fact, many certified personal trainers build their own businesses, creating workout plans and apps that people from around the world can use to further their own fitness journey. A personal trainer can provide people with a variety of benefits, including increased personal health and a better attitude about their own wellness. While many people believe that it is not necessary to hire these professionals, the profession helps more than just people looking to lose weight; they are active in rehabilitation, special population, and clinical disease prevention settings as well. This quick primer will help individuals understand what personal trainers do and why different populations may want to consider hiring a professional for their health needs.

Related Resource: What Does A Sports Nutritionist Do?