A fitness trainer helps people exercise and increase the level of fitness for the general, healthy population. They work at local fitness centres and health clubs, assisting clients. They also take sessions in a client’s home or even in corporate settings. Apart from providing technical assistance, a fitness trainer is also supposed to constantly provide motivation and support to an individual in an exercise program. They also advise clients on how to adapt to a healthier lifestyle to improve their fitness levels.
What do they do?
Pumping iron and doing pushups, once part of the daily routine only of people known as ‘bodybuilders’, are now on the to-do list of many young and even not-so-young urban Indians. As people increasingly take to gymming to keep lifestyle diseases at bay, the ones who help them stay on track are fitness trainers.
One such trainer, Vesna Pericevic Jacob, 33, is a familiar name among fitness addicts in Delhi. She came into this profession by a twist of fate — on the verge of becoming a pro basketball player in Germany, she broke her knee in an accident, and that put paid to a sporting career, though in time she regained use of the leg.
She then studied nursing, anatomy and fitness coaching and returned to Bosnia, her native country. While working there as a translator for the US army, she got a request to train soldiers, and Vesna Pericevic the fitness trainer was born.
Moving base to India after her marriage to Anurag Jacob, she became a full-time instructor and is the founder-owner of the first Power Plate Studio in India.
Jacob is an example of how a fitness regimen can deliver “magical results”. Doctors told her she could never walk using her right foot; she has proved them completely wrong.
But just as exercise can reverse much of the damage done to one’s body, imperfect training can cause severe injury. A trainer needs in-depth knowledge of the body, and injury prevention must be covered in detail within any certification course that an aspiring trainer enrols for, says Prashant Sawant, owner of Body Sculptor gym in Mumbai and the man who helped Shah Rukh Khan develop six-pack abs.
Sawant sums up the trainer-client relationship: “People give their body to you to handle.
They respect you, especially when you change their body.”
Jacob adds, “The trainer has to touch a client’s body to explain the postures, but this should never make them uncomfortable. A trainer should be well groomed and must use deo.” S/he may also need to work on social graces. “With high-profile clients, you must be refined yourself,” says Sawant.
A fitness instructor who wants success like Sawant’s has to be more than a teacher. The good news is: finding clients is the easy part. The bad news is: setting up one’s own gym is quite complicated.
Sawant, who started gymming at 19 as a “fat boy” and then became a trainer in Bandra, has this to share: “Start your career working with a gym, don’t go solo at first. If you are dedicated, clients will come, as you get word-of-mouth publicity.”
Jacob has similar views. Starting a fitness centre needs entrepreneurial responsibilities like managing costs and staff.
And do not imagine that being a trainer means no studying. Apart from doing certification courses — they are not strictly compulsory, but they do help, says Sawant — a trainer needs to read constantly about new techniques, new research.
Source: HT Horizons
. A high level of personal fitness
. A sound knowledge of the human anatomy and kinesiology (science of movement)
. Willingness to improve throughout the career
. Knack for communicating, as clients need precise instructions
How do I get there?
Doing a certification course is not mandatory for finding work as a fitness trainer, but it is advisable to study the techniques in detail. As the market gets more crowded, a well-known certification course or a diploma programme in health and fitness boosts your chances of getting a job. After you career takes off, you should stay informed with the latest studies, journals and books. The reading never ends