What strengths are important to becoming and being a personal trainer?

I have a friend who is super interested in fitness and really has a talent for learning about how to keep himself in shape. Unfortunately he also has some brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome. This affects everyone differently since different parts of the brain can be harmed, but in general, people with FAS tend to have trouble with memory, math, reading, and organizational skills. However, like anyone else, people with FAS often have a few natural talents and if you go with strengths and support weaknesses properly, they can be wildly successful in their lives!

My friend is definitely not stupid. He has a quick sense of humor, and is good interacting with people. And he has been memorizing fitness routines, following up on shoes and gadgets and all kinds of different things for years now and also pays close attention to his diet...the proof that he has mastered the information is his body. He is in remarkable shape and really has a passion for it.

So far, this is just a hobby for my friend but today I asked if he had ever looked into being a personal trainer...he is currently working at Walmart in an entry level position, and he has really never thought of himself able to move beyond that because of his disability. But with proper support, he can do a lot more than push carts and move meat. He lit up when I asked him about being a trainer and I know he started looking into it. I told him I would also help find some info.

So without insulting the profession at all...I want to ask, how mentally demanding is this as a career? Are there academic classes? How long? Is it hands on learning and certification? Do you have to keep up credits? Does it lean heavy on math and reading skills? He can do both, but not lightning fast...you know? I think the goal would be working with clients in a health club and he probably would need some mentoring and some accommodations for his deficits, just like someone with any other disability. He would need to be in a really supportive setting.

Does this sound like a proper career choice for a guy with his skill set?

Answer on What strengths are important to becoming and being a personal trainer?

I think he would be great! One of the biggest skillsets for this position is the ability to work with people. It's crazy, I've seen plenty of trainers who aren't even in shape. It really blows my mind that they don't believe in their profession enough to actually practice it. There's little to no math and reading involved and there ARE community college courses you can take. I think there are even online classes you can take. I believe it is less than a year long program. Not so sure about that. You have DO have to get certified though, this involves a test. Most people either take a course which prepares them for the certification exam or just read the book and then take the exam. It is somewhere between like $150 - $250 just to take it, so you want to be sure you're prepared for the test. There about a million different certifications out there. There are some bigger ones that are nationally recognized like ACSM and ACE. For the most part it is not a big deal which certification you have, as long as you are certified. Personal training is a tricky business. Most good ones can make $30 - $50/hr and obviously the great ones make much much more, but there are the overwhelming majority who make less. You either have to find your own clients and build up your clientale which could take a really really long time, but after that you're pretty set because you have all these regulars. Or you can work at some large corporation like L.A. Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness and get paid like crap. And it's tricky because you almost have to start at a place like that to get experience and build up clientale. The hardest parts of the job for me are varying my routines semi regularly, which gets easier and easier with time. Gauging what weight my clients might need and making sure they're not going to hurt themselves (form). And actually finding clients. All these things get much easier with time, and is very very much not a math or english heavy field. It is very laid back, very very hands on. It's very fun and interesting. I love working with people. It can be very difficult if you're not a people person. Oh and you do have to renew your certification every 2 years or so depending on your certification. This can be done by continuing education which takes so many forms. It can be attending a conference, taking a class online, taking a class at a school, retaking a certification exam, and more. Good luck! I think he'll love it

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