© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Personal Trainer

The Real Poop

An alert sounds on your cell phone. "Friday 4:00—gym." Hmm. You did tell yourself you were going to start taking better care of your body. But right now, your body really needs to remain sitting, and feast on this meal of Big Mac, large fry, and a chocolate shake. Surely your cell phone will understand.

It isn't always easy motivating ourselves to do the things we know we should be doing to stay healthy, wealthy and wise. Laziness is just so much easier than effort, dagnabbit. On the other hand, it would be nice to live past 50. And it would be swell not to be diagnosed with every heart, colon and liver dysfunction under the sun should we make it that long. So, sadly, getting fit—and staying that way—should be a pretty high priority for all of us.

For those of us who can’t drag ourselves to the treadmill three mornings a week, there are trained professionals who will do the dragging for us. A Personal Fitness Trainer helps those who are desirous of an enhanced physical well-being. Not only will they light fires under their clients’ poorly toned patooties, but they will also analyze their strengths and weaknesses, outline personalized fitness plans, and provide valuable words of encouragement and reassurance (i.e., "Just five more sit-ups and you’re done for the day!" or "I can see those biceps bulging already!" or "No, your butt absolutely does not look enormous in those biker shorts!").

Bicycle shorts built for two.

If you're interested in becoming a Personal Trainer, you will first want to make sure that you are physically fit yourself. You wouldn't get a haircut from a hairdresser who looks like they got their head caught underneath a lawnmower, would you? Same concept. You want a gym-goer to look at you and think, "Man, I wish I looked like that." In a sense, you are not only selling your abilities as a trainer—you are selling yourself. You are a preview of the final result…a brochure advertising the potential benefits of stick-to-itiveness.

However, if the prospect of training people intrigues you, chances are good that you are already a bit of a gym rat anyway. Take this quick quiz to see if you qualify:

1. A typical question you might ask on a first date is:

A. "Where are you from?"
B. "Do you like animals?"
C. "How much do you bench?"

2. You feel good when you are:

A. Soaking in a bubble bath
B. Helping an old woman cross the street
C. Drenched with sweat

3. You use your aluminum water bottle to:

A. Feed your plants
B. Hold down loose leaf paper that might otherwise blow away
C. Drink water

If you answered "C" to two or more questions, you might be a gym rat. Congrats. You have the makings of a wonderful Personal Trainer.

One of the great things about this career is that you don't need to spend eight years in school preparing for it. There is no "Masters of Personal Training" to be had. A gym member isn't going to ask to see your accreditations before signing up with you. All you need is an acute understanding of physical fitness, and the ability to motivate your clients.

The clapping probably helps.

But beware—even though you don’t mind doing 3-4 hours of cardio a week doesn't mean you’ll enjoy being a trainer. The occasional visit to the gym isn’t the same as practically living there. Can you handle that funky smell attacking your nostrils all day, every day? Will you tire quickly of hanging out with a bunch of meatheads? (Not everyone in a gym is a meathead, but it will certainly have more than its fair share.)

There are benefits, of course. You won't be stuck behind a desk all day, and you won't have piles of paperwork to go through or messages to return. It can be a liberating, rewarding occupation as well—you are able to visually see your clients' progress as they keep pushing. They will be healthier and happier, and they will owe a lot of their success to you. You're like a teacher, but without all those tests to grade.

And hey—it's not a bad place for people-watching either. Or people-meeting. You could do worse than to spend all your time surrounded by young, energetic individuals, many of whom are fanatic about the firmness of their abdomen muscles and the tautness of their glutes.