Fitness Consultant Job Description
For a fitness consultant the job possibilities are endless, as long as you've got the expertise. Fitness consulting is a broad term and can include everything from advising gym members on how to achieve their fitness goals to advising large corporations on implementing fitness programs. Your level of education, your experience and your goals determine the duties and responsibilities you will have as a fitness consultant.
No matter what sort of fitness consulting you do, your primary duties will revolve around familiarity with exercise science and exercise technique. More importantly, you must be able to effectively distill that knowledge for others; teaching requires much greater mastery than simply performing what you know.
You might be called upon to instruct or design an exercise program for people with special needs, such as pregnancy, obesity, injuries and chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. You might also be required to conduct group orientations or to speak in public about fitness and wellness.
If your expertise is in sales, you may be selling personal training packages at gyms, advising personal trainers on sales tactics or advising sales teams on how to reach their targets. Other fitness consultants may help develop or choreograph fitness videos and TV shows, consult on fitness-related products and supplements, implement fitness programs for corporations, advise schools on fitness programs for kids or test new fitness technology.
Whatever your duties, you must be professional, articulate and have a passion for health and fitness and helping people reach their goals.
A consultant in a gym must have experience with the fitness equipment around her and the gym's offerings. She may or may not be a certified personal trainer or have a college degree. Some gyms will hire high school graduates and train them on the job.
As job responsibilities increase, a relevant certification or a bachelor's or master's degree in a relevant field like exercise physiology, or both, may be necessary. The successful fitness consultant will make it a point to stay on top of the ever-developing field of exercise science, especially topics that relate to his or her area of focus.
Depending on your specific job duties, you might also have to demonstrate competence with a computer system, confidence in public speaking situations and the ability to manage employees.
Just as a fitness consultant's responsibilities vary widely, so does the salary. According to PayScale, a fitness consultant in the United States makes between $16,174 to $85,731, as of publication.
At the lower end of the pay scale are consultants working in gyms who have just a high school degree or a high school degree and a certification. At the higher end of the scale are those with bachelor's or master's degrees who run their own consulting business and have clients including celebrities and corporations. The latter could even make much more than PayScale's highest estimate.
Fitness training and consulting might be glamorous. In a sense, you're being paid to be fit and healthy -- an important part of establishing your credibility as a fitness expert. Although helping others work toward a healthy lifestyle can be extremely rewarding, it might also involve working early-morning and after-work hours when most people are free to exercise. High-level, problem-solving consultants might be required to travel, and the nature of a problem-solving job means that you will sometimes land in difficult, contentious or poorly managed situations.
Contractor vs. Employee
You can work as a fitness consultant in a contractor or employee capacity, although the term "consultant" often implies an independent contractor position. If you work as an employee, you may receive paid sick leave and vacation time, but your employer can dictate when, where and how often you work.
As a contractor, you enjoy greater independence and freedom to negotiate your own duties but no paid time off. You're responsible for your entire tax load and, depending on the contract terms, overhead expenses like private office space, liability insurance and any equipment you need to perform your job duties.
Lisa Maloney is a travel and outdoors writer based in Anchorage, Alaska. She's written four outdoors and travel guidebooks, including the award-winning "Moon Alaska," and regularly contributes to local and national publications. She also has a background in personal training, with more than 6,000 hours of hands-on experience.