How to Become a Fitness Trainer in Michigan

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As home to one of the country’s longest running and most prestigious college athletic programs and an incredible diversity of natural terrain, working as a personal trainer in Michigan means being part of a rich athletic culture where clients have a unique appreciation for an active lifestyle in the great outdoors.

Still – Michigan is not without its faults when it comes to weight-related health issues. Diabetes and Hypertension rates are rising, and 31.5 percent of adults in Michigan are considered obese according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). For some clients, committing to a consistent routine in the gym would suffice, but others may come to you seeking innovative ways to address their fitness needs through diet planning, a highly customized fitness regimen and careful monitoring.

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While there may be something of a health crisis among Michigan’s adult population, obesity rates among teens and children have leveled off, while kids aged 2-4 saw obesity rates drop in 2013. Also – more young people in Michigan than ever are engaging in the recommended minimum of at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

Whether educating kids on the importance of personal fitness and promoting healthy habits that could last a lifetime, or helping an overweight client work to correct the effects of years of not-so-good habits, as a personal trainer in Michigan you’ll enjoy working with diverse clients that have equally diverse fitness needs.

Steps to Becoming a Personal Trainer in Michigan

Certification through one of a number of accredited personal training organizations will be all but mandatory when seeking employment as a personal trainer in one of Michigan’s gyms, fitness centers or specialty studious. However, you’ll find that specialized degree programs and knowledge of unique training methods can quickly send your resume to the top of the pile.

Education and Formal Training

The science of fitness is constantly evolving as technology has allowed us to make new discoveries about the human body and how it responds to exercise. Michigan’s colleges are at the center of much of this research, hosting some of the world’s premier research programs.

An associate’s or bachelor’s degree will augment the knowledge you’ve gained though experience and allow you to provide a truly personalized experience for your clients.

Relevant majors for a career in personal fitness include:

  • Health & Fitness
  • Movement Science
  • Sport Management
  • Kinesiology
  • Exercise Science: Personal Training
  • Nutrition

Programs like these are available at many of Michigan universities, each providing a unique perspective on personal fitness that will benefit you in your career.

If you’re considering graduate studies for personal or professional reasons, options for Masters in Sports Management, Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Movement Science as well as matching doctoral programs abound in both public and private universities. As a part of these programs, you’ll be engaged in progressive research into the human body, work and train directly with amateur and professional athletes, and become a true expert in the field.

Personal Training Certification

If you have done any research into becoming a personal trainer or are already working in the field, you have likely already noticed that there are many organizations to choose from when considering your certification, and it can be hard to tell them apart. Membership dues and required credit hours are often the primary concern for trainers, but careful consideration should also be given to the unique services these organizations provide.

Many offer unique certifications in specialized training methods, usually at no additional cost. With gyms looking for everything from martial arts to Zumba instructors, any additional training knowledge will help to set you apart.

Be sure to verify that the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) has accredited your certification agency of choice. Accredited organizations accepted by Michigan’s employers include:

  • The American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • The American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
  • The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • National Council on Strength and Fitness(NCSF)
  • National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA)
  • National Exercise Trainer Association (NETA)
  • National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Starting Your Career as a Personal Trainer in Michigan

The market for fitness professionals in Michigan is diverse, with options ranging from instructors and personal trainers, to gym managers and health educators. Here are a few current postings to illustrate what employers are looking (Taken from a survey of job ads in May 2015, these examples are shown for illustrative purposes only):

  • URSA Academy, a Martial Arts and Jiu Jitsu Academy in Anarbor, is looking for a group fitness instructor. Martial arts and personal training experience are a plus but not a necessity, and martial arts training will be provided.
  • The Biogenesis Group, a senior fitness facility in Ypsilanti, is seeking a health coach with an Associate or Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Exercise Training, or Exercise Science, or that is a certified nursing assistant or a certified personal trainer.
  • Life Time Fitness in Canton is looking for a Personal Training Department Head to manage, recruit, and train their training staff. They require:
  • A four year degree in kinesiology, sports medicine, or a related field
  • At least two years of experience as a Life Time Personal Trainer
  • A minimum of two accredited personal training certifications
  • A minimum of one year of supervisory experience

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