What is a personal trainer assistant? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What is a personal trainer assistant?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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Get the Basics...
  • A personal trainer assistant may provide support to a primary trainer or to gym management in any number of capacities.
  • An assistant could also work as a fitness coach trainee.
  • Assistants should look into acquiring a full personal training certificate if they lack one.

Personal trainers garner the respect of people in the gym. A talented personal trainer draws on many skills to help people achieve their workout goals. In addition to possessing strong knowledge of exercise science, a trainer must have strong people skills and other supporting abilities to run a session effectively. Personal trainers get a lot of accolades, but what about their assistants?

In truth, even people in the fitness world might not be able to provide a definitive explanation as to what a personal trainer assistant does, and that’s probably because an assistant handles a variety of responsibilities based on what a trainer or other employer wants.

The job of an assistant is open to a lot of interpretation. Even so, while an assistant may be in a secondary role, they serve an important one.

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What are the ways a personal trainer assistant helps?

Most personal trainers run classes without using an assistant. However, there might be sessions in which an assistant could prove valuable. Sometimes, the assistant may work for a trainer outside of the session.

Here are a few general ways a personal trainer assistant lends valuable support:

Demonstrating Exercises

Depending on age, physical condition, or other factors, it may be best to provide a client with an unfettered view of how an exercise should be performed.

Allowing an assistant to perform an exercise allows the trainer to discuss fine points without the burden of performing the exercise themselves.

This way, the client benefits from seeing a clear demonstration while also receiving equally clear instruction on performance.

Handling Clients when a Primary Trainer is Incapacitated

Personal trainers understand one important aspect of the career. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. A trainer who is ill cannot run a session and may need to cancel a session, which undermines income potential. A trainer could also suffer, say, a broken arm, which could undermine booked sessions for weeks.

A personal trainer assistant may be able to step in and handle sessions in which the trainer cannot attend. If the trainer is physically unable to lift weights or otherwise perform duties during the session, the trainer could run the session with the client while the assistant handles certain physical tasks.

Taking Over Customer Service Duties

Responding to emails and text messages or returning phone calls must be done in a timely manner. Handling booking duties can also be time-consuming. Trainers may find their one-on-one sessions cut into the ability to properly respond to any customer service-related tasks. Someone has to do the work, though. Paying an assistant to do these duties might be a highly worthwhile investment.

All these delegated assistant duties play a vital role in decreasing the potential for clients to leave a personal trainer. Cancelled sessions and poor customer service could, sadly, drive clients away. With an assistant lending a hand, clients may not experience any problems that drive them away.

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Train Anyone, Anywhere in the World.

Working for a Gym or Other Facility

Any position that lends support to personal trainers may receive the moniker of an assistant. A gym or even the physical education department of a school could hire someone as a personal trainer assistant to handle administrative duties.

For example, the assistant could work at the desk of a gym and handle bookings, payment issues, phone inquiries, and more. This way, the personal training staff need not be burdened with those same duties.

Assistant Equals Trainee

The personal trainer assistant may be a fully certified personal trainer. They might possess solid experience training others. However, a fitness facility — particularly a large commercial gym — may require a probationary period for all new hires.

In this case, a personal trainer might need to go by the job title of “personal trainer assistant” and work alongside another trainer until they receive an in-house promotion to become an official personal trainer there.

Build Experience and Seek Certification

Working as a personal trainer assistant in any capacity provides valuable experience. The experience provides much more than a résumé boost.

Working in an assistant capacity allows for becoming a better trainer.

Building up experience is a positive. So is seeking out an accredited personal training certification. A full certification will assist with landing jobs and clients.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which personal training certification is the best one?

All of the various personal training certifications have different requirements, costs, study materials, exam details, recertification requirements, and continuing education credits (CECs) or units (CEUs). It’s important to do your homework and review all of the details before deciding on which one is best for you. The certifications that have been NCCA-accredited are more reputable than others that are not accredited because they have met a certain level of standards for the certification.

How long should I study for a personal training certification exam?

It varies among individuals. If you recently finished a degree with courses covering most of the content in the exam, you might be able to take it more quickly than someone who does not have that background. With NESTA, once you register for the exam, you have 90 days to complete the exam. Other organizations will vary on their timelines.

How much money do personal trainers make?

This varies depending on location, experience, and how many clients you are training.

Where can I train my personal training clients?

There are a number of places where you could train your clients like a gym, a park, your home, their home, or your own studio.

Once you’re ready to start your training business, you’ll need a software platform to manage your clients and schedule. Request a demo for our fully-customizable, All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software to get your business up and running today.

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