The Role of a Personal Trainer

A good personal trainer delivers safe, effective, fun and interesting workouts to all fitness-training clients.

A good personal trainer delivers safe, effective, fun and interesting workouts to all fitness-training clients. The training programs you develop should be varied and progressive, and geared toward improving your clients’ health and wellness. As a trainer, you should be enthusiastic and supportive, so that your clients remain interested and stimulated, which helps ensure they stick with the program — and with you.

What Personal Trainers Should NOT Do

While personal trainers often assume multiple roles with their clients — which sometimes includes being a coach, cheerleader or confidant, there are some responsibilities that personal trainers should avoid. Note that these can be subjective topics, but, as a general rule, these recommendations are in your best interest as a certified professional:

  • DO NOT Give medical advice, physical therapy advice or attempt to make a medical diagnosis.
  • DO NOT Create specific meal plans and/or dietary recommendations that include portioning and/or timing of meals and/or supplementation
  • DO NOT Provide body massage to clients, or any similar service that can be construed as inappropriate touch.
  • DO NOT Serve as a psychological counselor to clients or become intimately involved in personal client relationships.
  • DO NOT Have a romantic or inter-personal relationship with a client.
  • DO NOT Push your own preferences for fitness goals on clients who do not seek out those same goals.
  • DO NOT Allow your credentials, liability insurance and other trainer business standards/practices to lapse.

Check out the detailed Codes of Conduct for NFPT personal trainers, these are professional standards that are required for starting the course and maintaining the certification.

Why be a personal trainer?


Personal trainers are typically driven by a passion for fitness and a desire to share their experiences and knowledge with others. They’re not keen on desk jobs or sitting alone in cubicles ‘pushing pencils’.

Here are common reasons that people decide on becoming a personal fitness trainer. Do any of these sound like you?:

I want to help people live a healthy lifestyle

I want to make my own lifestyle into a career, or have another stream of income doing something I enjoy

I want to teach people about the body and what it’s capable of

I want to love my job

Personal trainer education and other requirements

Start by learning the basics, but know that success requires more. If you’re really going to make it, then you have to be willing to go above and beyond. First things first, the qualification of your skillset and knowledge. This is where personal trainer certification comes in. Being a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) tells potential clients and employers that you have been officially assessed and qualified to work as a trainer.

Education and certifications: An educated trainer makes for happy and successful clients. Certification is the foundation for your long term career (and usually your short term or part time job too). Personal trainer certifications, specialty certifications, and CPR/AED are the places to start.

Those with an NFPT-CPT credential are certified to design and implement fitness training programs for apparently healthy individuals in one-on-one or small group settings. (An apparently healthy individual includes those with no significant disease or physical condition or impairment which prevents them from engaging in physical fitness activity.)

If you already know that you want to pursue this path towards being a qualified and certified personal trainer, then take a sneak peak of the training manual so you’ll to know what to expect. NFPT’s personal trainer manual provides comprehensive teaching for safe and effective training services, complete with step-by-step consultation guidelines and screening assessments. Get your free preview of the first 3 chapters of the trainer manual:

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