How to Become a Fitness Coach

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A professional fitness coach is trained to provide personalized coaching and training to individuals who want to improve their level of physical fitness. Fitness coaches must have a varied skill set that allows them to understand where a person's level of fitness lies and guide them to where they would like to be. This includes proficiency in education, athletic training and exercise and health sciences. Professional fitness coaches can choose to work predominately with amateurs looking to improve their physique and overall health or with professional athletes seeking to improve their performance.

  • Begin an exercise plan, and take up a healthful diet. Preaching to others as a fitness coach while engaging in the same behaviors you would dislike seeing in your clients is the easiest way to lose credibility. The healthier you are, the easier it will be for your future clients to walk in your steps.

  • Hire your own fitness coach, if even for only a month or so. Seeing a professional trainer regularly will not only help you improve your own level of physical fitness, but you will also begin to absorb some of the techniques professional fitness coaches use to keep your motivation high and your growth steady.

  • Begin your search for local colleges or universities that offer fitness coaching programs to develop a solid foundation for your profession. Take classes in everything ranging from physiology to gerontology (how the body changes with age). Find an area of specificity that strikes you as interesting, and deepen your studies in this field. Also, consider taking adult education classes, which will provide you with the skills to coach others about fitness.

  • Begin offering fitness coaching services to your friends and family, and people around where you live, for a reduced cost. Check with professional coaches to get a feel for their prices, and adjust yours to about 50 percent to 70 percent of what they charge. This will provide your first opportunity to put your fitness knowledge into practice and will give you a feel for what it is like to coach an individual. You might also consider signing up as a coach for a youth sports league, which provides invaluable experience in what it takes to keep others motivated.

  • Once your program of study is complete, arrange for certification through the National Athletic Trainer's Association Board of Certification. Once you are a certified trainer, the next step is to complete your professional process by either working for a firm of fitness coaches or setting up your own coaching business. Contact the clients from when you were still learning, and let them know that you have been certified and are now a legitimate coach. They will likely understand your need to raise your prices, and often know friends who can be referred to you.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stay motivated throughout the process by maintaining a steady level of physical activity coupled with academic study. Being a fitness coach does not just involve being in great shape; you will need to know exactly how exercise effects different muscle groups and be able to explain these differences to your clients.

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