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Becoming a Personal Trainer in Colorado

One of the finest places in the United States to pursue a career as a personal trainer is Colorado. The Colorado Springs Gazette proclaimed Colorado to be “The fittest state in the nation”. With the state boasting a very active population, this claim is hard to argue with.  

Colorado has a storied tradition of athleticism including being the home of the US Olympic Training Center, and has produced elite athletes from many different sports. Skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing participants often seek out the help and advice of personal trainers to stay at their best and achieve new personal performance goals.

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Personal Trainer Career Diploma

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, one of the top fitness trends of 2015 was working with personal trainers. Regardless of what sport athletes are involved in, personal trainers are considered an important part of achieving goals. It’s not just elite athletes who are seeking personal trainers; in fact, seniors, beginner athletes and people just looking to stay in shape are all looking for assistance in getting and staying healthy and fit.

For personal trainers, Colorado represents a state where earnings are strong. Corporate employed personal trainers can expect to make around $43,000 annually along with perks like gym memberships and in some cases equipment allowances. Independently employed trainers can make even more.

Becoming a Personal Trainer in Colorado

In order to land the best jobs as a personal trainer in Colorado, you are going to require a national certification, a relevant educational background, and you will need to be able to keep up with a very athletic client base. An Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree will go a long way toward helping establish your value as a trainer. Completion of those courses of study will provide you with knowledge in nutrition, fitness and coaching. In some cases, you may also have the opportunity to obtain some experience working under a personal trainer in a gym or rec center to further your resume.

Personal Training Degree Programs

Should you decide to pursue a career as a personal trainer in Colorado, you might enroll in one of the following programs:

Two-year associate degree program in:

  • Exercise Science

  • Fitness and Health

  • Sports Studies

Four-year bachelor’s degree program in:

  • Exercise Science (including courses in Health and Wellness, Physical Activity Throughout the Lifespan and Advanced Wellness Programming)

  • Kinesiology (including courses in Physiological Basis of Resistance Training, Health and Fitness and Exercise Physiology)

  • Sports Medicine (including courses in Exercise Testing and Instrumentation, Exercise and Chronic Disease and Neuromuscular Aspects of Human Movement)

  • Physical Education

  • Nutrition

  • Biology

  • Exercise Physiology

Generally speaking, these programs will include classes in the following range of subject areas:

  • Strength and conditioning

  • Fitness theory

  • Human anatomy

  • Weight management practices

  • Biomechanics

  • Health analysis

  • Sports nutrition

These classes will help provide you with the skills you need to meet the needs of a diverse clientele. Whether it be helping soccer moms tighten and tone, seniors stay limber or honing the core strength of a finely tuned athlete, you will be prepared. You will have the ability to develop a plan to help each client you take on meet their needs and goals.

The other benefit of completing a relevant educational program is that you will become more employable. The fact is, the kind of discipline to start and complete a course of study that graduates have demonstrated tells potential employers that you have what it takes to succeed. In Colorado, employers want personal trainers who are the total package. You need to be able to deliver on all fronts.

National Certification for Personal Trainers

Being nationally certified is necessary for almost every job you will apply for as a personal trainer. The testing to be certified can be quite comprehensive and many will require you hold an undergraduate degree and are certified in CPR to even be considered for inclusion.

The Livestrong Foundation highlights the following ten certification organizations for their recognition among employers and their accreditation status through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies:

  • National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) - requires a 4-year degree

  • National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) - must have at least two years of fitness experience

  • National Endurance and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA)

  • International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA)

  • The Cooper Institute

  • The American Council on Exercise (ACE)

  • The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

  • The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

  • National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT)

  • American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA)

Additional Preparation

As is true in any profession, the more certifications you hold, the better. Take a personal and professional inventory of what areas of being a personal trainer you enjoy the most and then consider pursuing further education in those areas. Popular certification programs include water safety, Pilates and yoga.

The following are some additional certifications you might consider:

  • Cycle Instructor Certification

  • Clinical Exercise Specialist

  • Sports Nutrition Certification

  • Certified Health Fitness Specialist (requires a 4-year degree)

Starting a Career as a Personal Trainer in Colorado

If you are curious as to what employers in Colorado are looking for in a personal trainer, we have collected some job listings from March of 2015 from various fitness clubs to help you form an idea of what positions could be available and what is desired in potential employees.

Personal trainers at RockStar Fitness in Castle Rock conduct fitness assessments, develop individualized fitness programs and provide nutritional guidance for clientele. Trainers must be nationally certified and have three to five years personal training experience, and expertise in Spin, TRX and Circuit Training is preferred

Trainers at Colorado Athletic Club in Denver and Boulder must be certified by one of the ten organizations above and a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology or a related area is preferred. These fitness professionals enjoy earnings potentials of over $50,000 and can also participate in professional development programs

When choosing a place of employment, take into consideration what types of classes and fitness styles each club or gym has and whether they fit your skills and desires. The following rotation of classes at Old Town Athletic Club in Fort Collins provides an excellent example of the classes you might be called on to teach:

  • BarreFitness: the ballet barre is used for support while participants use balls and light weights to strengthen muscles

  • Body Sculpt: a weight training class using dumbbells, steps, mats and body bars

  • Full Body Circuit: a 60 minute, instructor-motivated weight training circuit that can be adapted to various levels of fitness

  • Hatha Yoga: a flowing sequence of poses synchronized with breathing

  • Boot Camp: a high-intensity cardio workout combining weight training and calisthenics

  • TRX Circuit: similar to Boot Camp, but cardio reps are replaced with intense, 30-second intervals

  • Cardio Interval: A class focusing on low and high intensity cardio intervals, followed by toning exercises for the core and lower body

Regardless of whether you choose to work one-on-one, in large classes or with a specific type of client, your efforts to develop health and fitness plans for your clients will help Colorado as a whole become a happier and healthier state.

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