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What Does a Personal Trainer Do on a Daily Basis?

You see them hanging around the gym all the time. They often wear a specific uniform, so they are easy to find should you ever need a hand. They sometimes step in and advise gym-goers on their exercise form. Additionally, they are also there to provide helpful advice and guidance should someone need it. More importantly, clients can hire them to personally coach and guide the client through a fitness program. Personal trainers are a key part of most gyms. However, what does a personal trainer do on a daily basis?

You may be curious about what a typical day looks like or if you want to become a trainer. Either way, this guide will outline a typical trainer’s duties. All in all, this career is rewarding and well-paid once you break through.

Personal Trainer Responsibilities

Fitness Assessments

Fitness assessments with new clients are a key component of the trainer’s responsibilities. Basically, this is a consultation with a new client. Trainers need to be aware of the client’s fitness level, goals, objectives, and reasons for working out. This is probably the most important part of the training process. Specifically, it gives the trainer the insights they need in order to create a customized program. These insights are based upon specific details that are discovered during the consultation. 

There are several elements associated with a fitness assessment. One important and informative portion is the postural assessment. The trainer will also analyze the client’s movements, flexibility, mobility, and strength. Body measurements can also be taken to both understand client characteristics and set a baseline for the client’s fitness level. All of this information is critical because it dictates the characteristics of the program that the trainer will design.

Fitness assessments don’t just take place at the beginning of a client’s fitness program. They can be helpful in monitoring the client’s progress through the program. Trainers may have some existing client fitness assessments taking up part of their day.

personal trainer assessment

Training Sessions

Training sessions will typically take up the biggest part of the trainer’s day. This is where a lot of the action takes place. A personal trainer will typically conduct one on one training sessions with their clients. Some may also run group training or even lead group classes. These sessions typically last anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour. A trainer will typically have several of these training sessions per day with different clients or groups of clients.

The style of training sessions will vary by client. Each client is unique, but goals typically fall into the same general buckets. Weight loss, fat burning, toning muscles, building strength, or gaining muscle mass are all common goals. The client’s program will be built around one or several of those goals. It will contain specific workouts designed to help the client achieve those goals. Different goals require different fitness programs, hence the necessity of a detailed conversation and assessment before starting the program. In the training sessions, the trainer will guide the client through a workout suited for the client’s fitness program.

Depending upon where the trainer is training their client, they will need to think about the equipment that they will have access to. The trainer may be training the client in the client’s home. In that case, the trainer should plan to bring the necessary equipment or ensure the client has it. The trainer could even ask the client to have on hand easy things like resistance bands, kettlebells, battle ropes, or dumbbells. Or the trainer could bring those themselves. Multiple weights for dumbbells do take up space and high-end adjustable dumbbells can be costly. However, there are some nice yet affordable adjustable dumbbells.

what does a personal trainer do

Tracking Progress

Another key duty of the trainer is to monitor the client’s progress. Progress will inevitably come – sometimes relatively quickly but can be hard for a client to notice themselves. That’s why it’s important for personal trainers to track and highlight progress to their clients. It will keep clients motivated and trainers can use automated tools like FitSW to make it easy.

Healthy Lifestyle Advice

Lifestyle and nutritional changes can be very important to a client’s health. A good personal trainer will offer ideas and tips on these changes. However, the personal trainer is often not meant to provide detailed nutritional advice unless they are certified. If the trainer is not certified to give nutritional advice, they can refer the client to a nutritionist. A trainer can still offer simple tips to help clients come up with their own meal plans. A trainer’s lifestyle tips and advice will also help clients in their fitness journey.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, nutrition is a critical factor in fitness and recovery. Biomedcentral also agrees that exercise and functional foods go hand in hand. They are not just for the actual performance, but also for recovery from fatigue. Additionally, they can help with injury avoidance.

Planning and Program Design

A trainer also has a duty to create workout plans and design programs for this client. This is the preparation work that takes place before a workout. It helps a trainer ensure the workout sessions are productive. It can actually take up a lot of time. However, tools like FitSW can help streamline this process. This enables trainers to focus on doing what they love – helping people reach their goals.


Marketing and sales can also be a big part of the trainer’s duties depending upon whether they are independent or work out of a gym. They will need to sell and market themselves in order to acquire new clients. We have a whole topic on this website dedicated to fitness marketing.

Day-to-Day Trainer Activities

So what does a personal trainer do on a daily basis? Training clients is the main part of their day. Trainers will need to get clients’ workouts planned out, manage their client’s workout schedules, and also manage their own. Some clients might like to work out in the mornings and others might work out in the evenings. Client schedules will probably play a big role in the trainer’s schedule. This will be true early on in a trainer’s career. Eventually, a trainer may be able to set their own schedule.

Some training sessions might be booked at 6 AM, while others could be booked at 7 PM. Flexibility is a must, especially in the beginning. A certification and some skills will not turn a personal trainer into a celebrity. It takes time, clients, and results. Apart from the actual training sessions, creating personalized training programs is another task.

motivating clients to change

Trainer Duties

Most trainers will come up with unique training programs based on their clients’ needs in their free time. Got a few hours between two different clients? Fill them up with custom workouts for the next few sessions. Trainers should utilize their time between clients as effectively as possible. This is especially important if the trainer is going to be at the gym anyway.

Additional Tasks

Those who work in gyms – and most new PTs will – may also be responsible for gym introductions. These include meeting new people, showing them around, performing health and safety checks, and so on. Leading exercise classes may also be among the requirements also. Cleaning the equipment could even be a task as well.

A trainer’s work schedule can be very hectic. It may start at 6 AM and finish at 8 PM, with random hours in between with nothing to do. Again, it pays for the trainer to adjust their schedule to clients’ needs. But as a trainer gains notoriety and more people want to train with them, they will have more opportunities to set their own schedule. However, at first, you just cannot afford to refuse customers.

Skills required to be a personal trainer

A personal trainer requires certain skills. Some of them are innate, but the great news is that most of them can be trained.

The ability to motivate someone is critical. If you have always been good at motivating others, you are probably good at motivating your clients as well. Empathy and compassion are not to be overlooked either. A good trainer will be sensitive to their client’s emotions and adjust the training style to each client.

Communication is just as important. The personal trainer must build a connection of trust with clients. Clear communication is essential when showing a client how to do exercises. Guidance is part of the job. Other characteristics that could make a good personal trainer include positivity and interest in self-development. Additionally, commitment, reliability, and a friendly and approachable attitude are helpful.

Qualifications to be a Personal Trainer

personal trainer motivation

There are plenty of personal trainer courses out there. Some of them can be conducted online, but as always in-person courses also have benefits. Qualifications vary widely from one place to another, so it depends on where you live. In the UK, for example, there are level certificates. You will need at least a level two certificate for gym instructors plus the level three diploma in personal training.

In the USA, you must hold a CPR/AED certification. A live skills check is also important. Go through the local requirements and tackle them one at a time. Just because you may not need a certification, it can pay off to give yourself credibility. We recommend one from an accredited institution

3 Key Characteristics of Successful Trainers


Knowledge of how the body works is critical for you to help your clients. You need a deep understanding of body movement. The overall functionality is just as important. A bit of education in exercise physiology, workout programming, human anatomy, nutrition, biomechanics, and kinesiology will work wonders. As a coach, a personal trainer will need to blend motivation and education into a specific program.

Personal trainers should educate themselves continuously. There are new trends, training programs, and developments occurring on a daily basis. A trainer must stay up-to-date on the world of health and fitness.

Communication Skills

Communication is another important characteristic. The ability to communicate with customers can make the difference between a good interaction and a dull one. A personal trainer is a guide who knows the ideal path for a client to reach their goals. The client must be guided in that direction. At the same time, the trainer should also have a bit of business sense in order to retain customers. A successful personal trainer will be able to sell their skills accordingly. Additionally, they will provide a unique experience through guidance and visible improvements.

personal trainer guidance


Finally, the ability to adapt is extremely important as well. A personal trainer will deal with all kinds of clients. They will have different fitness levels, goals, and objectives. The PT must be willing to assist different clients, regardless of their needs. The trainer must identify the principles of a new training program and communicate them in a safe manner.

The power to adapt means two clients are less likely to be the same. It also means new trends will pop up daily – some of them are worth it, while others are useless. The trainer will need to know how to adapt to new research and adapt their fitness programs accordingly. Different situations may also occur with the same client at times. There are days when a client will be happy to push themselves, as well as days when they lack motivation. The PT must be able to adapt to all kinds of situations.

Final thoughts

Bottom line, becoming a personal trainer can be a great career, especially for those with a passion for fitness and the gym. It gives people the opportunity to do something they like. At the same time, personal trainers get to help others reach their long-term goals in an efficient manner. The career is not just fruitful, but also rewarding.

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