In Part 1 of this article series, I provided an overview of terminology associated with the idea of ​​a physical fitness trainer, made a quick review of the history of the profession, and indicated where you might be able to find this type of professional. In this part of the article series I will summarize what a fitness trainer (or personal trainer) can do to help you along in your quest for fitness and health.

What does a physical fitness trainer do?

Before you can decide whether you need a fitness trainer or not, you first have to be clear on exactly what services these professionals provide for their clients. In general, you can expect the following:

  • An assessment of your physical condition. This assessment might be very detailed including a variety of tests yielding quantitative results or it might be nothing more than taking a look at you and measuring your bodyweight. If you are middle-aged or over, your trainer may recommend an exam by your physician.
  • A discussion of your fitness goals — both short and long range.
  • Guidance as to how realistic your goals are — possibly suggesting that you cut back or expand on them.
  • An exercise course to help you achieve your goals.
  • Personal supervision as you use this course, including teaching and assisting you with exercises where necessary, and providing moral support. This is the meat of fitness training. It's a one-on-one relationship between client and trainer for the duration of a training session, typically an hour long.
  • Revisions of your goals as you make progress, along with corresponding revisions in your exercise course.

In summary, after determining your present physical condition, a physical fitness trainer will design an exercise course to help you achieve your fitness goals. Next, and most important, he or she will give you one-on-one advice and encouragement as you utilize this course. Finally, a good trainer will update your exercise course as you make progress and your goals change.

Often a fitness trainer will become involved with giving a person dietetic advice. Typically, this advice will be aimed at assisting a person with reduction of fat and / or maximizing muscle growth.

A package like this, especially if it includes testimonials along with spectacular before and after photos of happy former clients, is hard for the person who might be desperate to do something about his or her physical condition to turn down. As a result, the fitness trainer business is booming! This is wonderful, I suppose, as it looks like people are finally taking a serious interest in their fitness and health. But, the question remains: does a person really need a fitness trainer? Well, it's easy to answer this when you're aware of the alternatives. I'll begin to discuss them in Part 3 of this article series.