What Does a Health Fitness Specialist Do?

B. Miller

A health fitness specialist's job duties can vary depending on his or her education and training, as well as the environment in which she works. Typically, a health and fitness specialist works either one-on-one with clients, or in small groups, assisting them with everything from dietary advice, to personal training sessions or group fitness classes. Someone who wants to pursue a career as a health fitness specialist might choose a particular specialty that requires additional education. For instance, working as an athletic trainer typically requires a master's degree, so this is something to keep in mind when planning for the future.

A health fitness specialist often works one-on-one with clients.
A health fitness specialist often works one-on-one with clients.

The most common area for a health fitness specialist to work is within a fitness center or other health center. This person might work both as a personal trainer and as an instructor for fitness classes. As a personal trainer, he or she will meet individually with clients to assess their existing physical fitness abilities, ask them about their fitness goals, and then design a personalized program to help them meet these goals. As an instructor, the health fitness specialist will design classes and programs ahead of time, and then teach these classes in regularly scheduled group meetings.

A health specialist may help seniors with fitness therapy.
A health specialist may help seniors with fitness therapy.

This type of health fitness specialist typically requires at least a two- or four-year college degree in order to be eligible for a job. Additional certifications are available for certain areas of expertise, and many fitness centers will require these of their instructors or trainers. Sometimes, individuals with these degrees or certifications will also work in other settings, such as rehabilitation facilities, senior centers, or even hospitals. These types of environments may require additional education in areas such as physical therapy or nutrition to ensure that the advice they are providing is backed up with medical and health training and knowledge.

A fitness specialist may excel in teaching students about yoga and controlled breathing exercises.
A fitness specialist may excel in teaching students about yoga and controlled breathing exercises.

Higher level health fitness careers, such as those of a registered dietitian or athletic trainer for example, require additional education. This is typically required at a master's level or higher, because the amount of knowledge required to perform these jobs is much more extensive. There are many different career opportunities for someone interested in a career in health and fitness; it is important for anyone in this field to legitimately enjoy working with and helping other people. In addition, those in health and fitness careers should be committed to maintaining their own levels of health and fitness to serve as positive role models for their clients.

Some fitness instructors teach aerobics or Pilates workouts that strengthen muscles while improving cardio fitness.
Some fitness instructors teach aerobics or Pilates workouts that strengthen muscles while improving cardio fitness.
Health fitness specialists help clients meet weight goals.
Health fitness specialists help clients meet weight goals.
Fitness specialists may work with people on an individual basis.
Fitness specialists may work with people on an individual basis.
A health fitness specialist often designs personalized health and wellness programs for clients.
A health fitness specialist often designs personalized health and wellness programs for clients.

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Discussion Comments

Sara007

@Mae82 - You should speak with the staff at your gym about their prices for personal training sessions and nutritional sessions. At my gym it doesn't matter the credentials of the trainer, they are all the same price.

Our gym also has set packages. If you want to see a trainer, you can buy a single session, or a package of several sessions at a reduced price. Nutritional counseling is also offered, and has its own price list. Another interesting thing about our gym's system as that popular trainers have waiting lists, so you can always get to see the "best" one, even if you have to wait a bit.

Mae82

Our gym recently hired a health fitness specialist to work as a personal trainer and to teach some classes. She has a pretty impressive background. She not only studied physical fitness in college, but took extra training in nutrition as well.

Does anyone know if you have to pay more to see a personal trainer that has additional training beyond the initial certificate?

I would like to book some sessions with the new trainer but with her background I am afraid she's going to be really expensive. It would be nice though to have some who can give both fitness and nutrition advice.

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