How to Pursue Fitness as a Career

Whether you’ve always been an athlete or you’re only enjoying fitness as an adult, you may have daydreamed about being the one at the front of the class, teaching others how to stay fit and healthy. The world of fitness can be a fun, exciting career -- and its prospects are pretty good. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in fitness training are expected to see solid growth through 2022, at least in part due to an aging population that will require more help in staying healthy.

If you’re considering a career in fitness, these tips might help you along the way.

Try out a variety of fitness classes

Even if you don’t aspire to be a group exercise instructor, trying out a variety of fitness modalities will give you an idea of what’s out there, and what types of fitness certain people tend to enjoy. Check out free introductory classes in aerobics, spinning, TRX or Pilates at local fitness centers. Also try the drop-in classes at your local community center or YMCA. Because it can take a session or two to get the hang of a new fitness routine, try each one more than once to really get a feel for what’s out there.

Work with a few trainers

Not every trainer offers the same level of service, or has the same set of tools in his toolbox, so if you’re aiming to be a personal trainer, you’ll want to work with a few different ones to experience a mix of styles. Take notes after your sessions about what you did and what you liked and didn’t like about it, so that you’ll have something to look back on should you be designing sessions for other people in the future.

Explore the options for certification

Whether you aspire to be a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, strength coach, or you want to work with special populations such as seniors or youth, you’ll find loads of different options for certification. Generally, trainers and instructors need only to pass a qualifying exam to be certified by various certifying bodies. Still, some programs might work better than others for you. Take some time to compare and contrast the programs offered by the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Sports Medicine and others before you settle on one.

Consider a formal program

While it is possible to study on your own and pass the tests to become a group fitness instructor or personal trainer, not everyone experiences maximum success by going that route. Some people find that they don’t study as hard or aren’t as diligent about staying on a timeline as they would be if they were in a formal program. The sticker price is generally higher for an in-person training program, but it will mean you’ll have lots more support and you’ll get your certification by a specific date.

Pursing fitness as a career will mean you’ll be a fitter, more active person yourself, not to mention that you’ll be inspiring others to be the same. Still, take the time to pursue all of your options before diving into one program.

Image courtesy Official U.S. Navy Page, Flickr




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