Fitness and health consultants assess the physical health and fitness levels of clients and, on the basis of this assessment, offer advice on lifestyle changes to improve fitness, general health and well-being.
Fitness instructors help people improve to their general fitness or train for special events, through individual programmes or classes.
At the initial evaluation, fitness and health consultants will conduct physical tests such as measurement of pulse, heart rate and weight.
Fitness consultants also evaluate the client’s general state of well-being by inquiring into such matters as stress, eating habits, illnesses and physical activity. Following this, a lifestyle plan is then recommended for the client which addresses aspects such as diet, an exercise programme and stress management.
Fitness instructors may do some or all the following: discuss lifestyle and fitness goals with fitness centre members; assess members’ fitness and body types; design fitness classes or individual fitness programmes; explain and demonstrate exercises, weight training or class routines; take clients for personal training sessions; supervise fitness centre members to ensure exercises are done safely and using the correct technique; give advice on preventing or recovering from injuries; give basic nutritional and lifestyle advice; lead fitness classes; cleaning and tidying duties; reception and clerical duties.
Fitness workers instruct or coach groups or individuals in various exercise activities. Because gyms and health clubs offer a variety of exercise activities such as weight-lifting, yoga, aerobics and karate, fitness workers typically specialise in only a few areas.
Fitness trainers help clients to assess their level of physical fitness and help them to set and reach fitness goals. They also demonstrate various exercises and help clients to improve their exercise techniques. They may keep records of their clients’ exercise sessions in order to assess their progress towards physical fitness.
Fitness instructors may also specialise in areas such as physiotherapy, nutrition or massage. Fitness instructors need to know about: anatomy and physiology; health and fitness; first aid; fitness assessment techniques; how to use gym equipment; how to prescribe and demonstrate safe, effective exercises and routines; basic nutrition principles.
Equipment fitness instructors work on: fitness and body composition testing equipment including stationary cycles, scales, tape measures and heart rate monitors; gym equipment and weights; office equipment; and stereos or tape recorders.
Fitness instructors work in gyms, recreation centres and fitness centres. Conditions at fitness centres and gyms vary, and can be noisy and crowded at times. Some fitness instructors do freelance work which may involve local travel to different fitness centres or outdoor training venues. Travel may also be required to attend training.
Most fitness instructors do shift work. They may work early mornings, evenings and weekends. Fitness instructors have contact with the public, fitness centre members and other fitness centre staff.
Fitness directors oversee the operations of a health club or fitness centre. Their work involves creating and maintaining programmes that meet the needs of the club’s members.
Many fitness workers become personal trainers, in addition to their main job in a fitness centre, or as a full-time job. Some workers go into business for themselves and open up their own fitness centres.
Personal trainers work with clients on a one-on-one basis in either a gym or the client’s home. As personal trainers often work as self-employed contractors, they need sales skills and the ability to develop and maintain their own client base. Business administrative skills are thus also useful.
Bindura University of Science Education, Bishop Stuart Universities, Boland TVET College, Centurion Academy, Exercise Teachers Academy, Health and Fitness Professionals Academy, Kenyatta University, Kumasi Polytechnic, Kyambogo University, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Mauritius Institute of Education, National University of Science & Technology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, North-West University, University of Botswana, University of Johannesburg, University of Pretoria, University of Stellenbosch, University of the Western Cape, Walter Sisulu University