Physical Fitness Trainers — A New Profession

It's becoming increasingly popular for the serious fitness enthusiast to hire a physical fitness trainer. Sometimes a person in this profession is referred to as a “personal” trainer because he or she gives one-on-one personal attention to each of his or her clients. People in these professions can become certified and then refer to themselves as “certified” fitness trainers or “certified” personal trainers. So, there are a lot of names for the same individual. In addition to all this confusion about different types of “trainers,” there are also fitness “coaches” and a host of variations on the coaching idea. But, this is a less popular name for the same thing. The important point is that I'm referring to a person who deals with his or her clients on a personal one-on-one basis.

The concept of a physical fitness trainer or personal trainer is a fairly new one. I suppose it developed hand-in-hand with the increased awareness of the relationship of fitness to health, longevity, and, of course, the way a person looks and feels. All this began in the 1970's and 1980's and became full-steam-ahead by the year 2,000. In part, this surge in interest in fitness trainers might have been fueled by the “baby boomer” generation as they reached middle age and realized that they might be a bit (or quite a bit!) Out of shape and that they are, in fact, not immortal. Often these older people were getting involved with physical activity for the first time in their lives — or at least the first time since they ran and played as kids. Here, it was quite natural that they would seek assistance. So, a new profession was born.

Fitness trainers are usually associated with a health club, fitness center, of YMCA. They might be employed by the institution or they might simply be using the institution's facilities on an independent basis — or somewhere in between. Rarely do fitness trainers work at a client's home, although this is not out of the question. The reason is simply that it's a great help to the trainer to have the variety of equipment found at these institutions at his disposal to work with.

In Part 2 of this article series I will discuss exactly what services you can expect from a physical fitness trainer. This, of course, is the key to determining whether or not a physical trainer will be helpful to you.