How to Become a Corporate Fitness Instructor

Overview

Many companies believe that employees are happier and more productive when they are healthy (i.e. physically fit). These companies invest in corporate fitness trainers to improve the health and well-being of employees. The goal of these trainers is to boost employee productivity, limit absenteeism, reduce healthcare costs, and lower the turnover rate. Although only a high school diploma is required to become a corporate fitness trainer, many companies prefer employees that have a bachelor’s degree and certification as a fitness trainer. If you enjoy helping others attain healthier lifestyles (i.e. a healthy diet and regular exercise), this just may be the best career for you.

What are the Job Duties of a Corporate Fitness Instructor?

Corporate fitness trainers typically perform the following job functions:

  • Demonstrating how to perform various exercises and routines.
  • Observing employees as they perform the exercises.
  • Teaching employees how to correctly perform exercises, in an effort to lower the risk of injuries, and increase fitness levels.
  • Providing alternative exercises for employees (of various fitness and skill levels).
  • Monitoring the progress of employees, and/or adapting programs, as needed.
  • Explaining and enforcing equipment and physical activity safety rules and regulations.
  • Providing employees with information and/or resources about lifestyle changes, nutrition, and weight control.
  • Providing first aid during emergency situations.

Where Does a Corporate Fitness Instructor Work?

Corporate fitness trainers typically work in workplace health clubs, workplace fitness/recreation centers, Workplace yoga/pilates studios, resorts, businesses, and large enterprises.

As a corporate fitness trainer, you will more than likely follow regular business hours (i.e. 9 to 5). It is important to note that you may need to work a part-time job, in addition to your full-time job, to make ends meet. Consider teaching fitness classes, and/or offering personal training sessions, during the weekends, evenings and holidays.

What are the Requirements to Become a Corporate Fitness Instructor?

Education

As mentioned previously, a high school diploma is required to become a corporate fitness trainer; however most companies prefer employees with a bachelor’s degree in a health or fitness field (i.e. kinesiology, exercise science, human services, physical education, nutrition, exercise techniques, or group fitness), and certification as a fitness trainer. The common path to becoming a corporate fitness trainer begins with taking classes to become certified as a: Yoga/Pilates Trainer, Master Personal Trainer, Aquatic Trainer, or Fitness Specialist. If you decide to earn a bachelor’s degree in a health or fitness field, you will learn how to help employees improve their health and work performances through exercise. More specifically, you will learn how to instruct, and motivate employees (individuals and groups) in exercise activities (i.e. cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and stretching). In addition, you will learn how to work with diverse populations (i.e. employees of different ages, genders, and health statuses). Furthermore, you will learn how to provide coaching services to employees.

Related: How to Become a Fitness Manager

It will take you approximately 4 years to earn a bachelor’s degree in a health or fitness field. If you are not interested in returning to school for a degree in this field, consider taking fitness training or certification courses from the American Society for Training and Development, Training for Excellence, or National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association. A certification may boost your credibility amongst employees, and solidify your position as a corporate fitness trainer. Corporate fitness trainer courses, both at the training and the undergraduate level may include: Activities for Special Populations, Recreational Management, Biomechanics of Movement, Athletic Training Techniques, and/or Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries. You should be able to complete a fitness training program within 12 to 18 months.

Training

Additional training in the field may help you prepare for a career in the corporate fitness field. Volunteering at: gyms, hospitals, clinics, private practices, country clubs, businesses, companies, organizations, client residences, offices, Yoga/Pilates studios, health clubs, resorts, fitness centers, or recreational centers may help you become accustomed to interacting with adults at various levels of health and physical fitness. If you are unsure where to look for a volunteer experience, ask fitness instructors, check the websites of organizations, newspaper volunteer sections, and/or college career sites.

Also, contact the human resource departments at fitness centers, and ask the contact person about volunteer experiences. Lastly, post your resume/cv on job boards like: Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com. You may also want to consider joining the American Society for Training and Development or American Management Association in an effort to stay-up-to-date on industry news, acquire clients, and access continuing education training opportunities.

Certification

In order to provide services to employees, you may want to consider obtaining a certification. Research your state’s certification requirements to see if a certification is required to provide services to employees. Most employers prefer corporate fitness trainers that have a bachelor’s degree, and a certification; however some employers allow these fitness trainers to work at their facilities, without a certification. In order to become certified as a fitness trainer, you will need to pass your state’s certification exam(s).

What Personal Skills are Required for a Corporate Fitness Instructor?

  • Communication Skills: Corporate fitness trainers must be able to work with a variety of people (i.e. various races, cultures, families, health conditions, religions, lifestyles, genders, ages, etc.). You will need communication skills to develop and nurture positive relationships with employees, colleagues, and business executives.
  • Listening Skills: To be a successful corporate fitness trainer, you will need to have good listening skills. Employees need to feel comfortable sharing their innermost fears, and problems with you, so you will need to actively listen to what they are saying, in order to help them improve their physical conditions, and improve their productivity at work.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: You will also need strong problem-solving skills, if you want to be an effective corporate fitness trainer. These skills are important for helping employees improve their health and work performances.
  • Speaking Skills: You will need excellent speaking skills because you will need to clearly explain various exercises and movements to employees. You will also need good speaking skills to verbally encourage employees during exercises.
  • Motivational Skills: Good motivational skills will be needed to keep employees engaged in their fitness regimens. These skills will also be needed to motivate employees to return to workplace gyms, health centers, and fitness centers.
  • Physical Fitness: Most importantly, you will need to be physically fit because your job tasks will require you to continuously teach exercises to employees.

What is the Salary for a Corporate Fitness Instructor?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014 data), as a fitness trainer or instructor (i.e. corporate fitness trainer), you can expect to make approximately $34,980, per year, on average, depending on your location, education, and experience. If you fall in the lower 10%, you can expect to make approximately $18,110, but if you fall in the upper 10%, you can expect to make approximately $67,560 or more, per year, on average.

What is the Job Outlook for Corporate Fitness Instructors?

Corporate fitness training positions are expected to increase by 13% by the year 2022. This increase will stem from an aging population. In other words, as people age and remain in the workforce, they may need corporate fitness trainers to help them prevent work-related illnesses and injuries. In addition, as more and more companies realize the value of having healthy employees, the need for corporate fitness trainers may increase. Good health is essential for boosting work performances (i.e. quality and production).

Related: Becoming a Wellness Counselor

Lastly, the growth may also stem from an increased awareness on health and fitness, especially amongst younger employees. These individuals want to improve their health, so many have started joining gyms and taking advantage of workplace fitness centers. The hope is that over time the obesity rates in both young and older adults will decline. The career outlook for this career field is fairly positive (it could be better).

Further Reading

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