Differences between a fitness trainer and a health coach - FitWell Content

What are the Differences Between a Personal Fitness Trainer and a Health Coach

Blog Business tips Reading Time: 8 minutes
BY: jacob wildman

Do you want to take your passion for sports and health to the profession but don’t know where to start?  There are different types of sports trainers. Among them, there are only two main – health & fitness coaches. Maybe you want to help people eat healthier and exercise more, but you don’t know what steps to take to become a pro. If that sounds like you, you are a great candidate for a certified athletic trainer. 

Our article will help you understand each profession. We will share important information with you, telling you about the subtleties and peculiarities in the work of a health and fitness trainer. You will be able to decide which profession suits you best. 

If you want to succeed in your scope, join FitWell Content. FitWell Content is an assistant for fitness trainers, coaches, nutritionists, wellness professionals, and others. Interest among your clients will grow at the speed of light, and you will not have to spend time creating content yourself.

How a personal fitness trainer helps his clients?

A fitness coach – is an instructor who directs training and monitors the correct execution of physical exercises. Fitness activities can be ineffective or even harmful to health without proper guidance. It is especially true for beginners, so they are advised to use the help of a personal fitness trainer. The trainer selects suitable exercises, shows how to perform them correctly, and monitors the client’s progress. The first training sessions are considered the most responsible when a beginner masters the basic exercises.  

In short, a fitness trainer usually performs the following duties:

  • Search and attraction of a client, assessment of his physical form and state of health;
  • Setting a goal to be strived for, together with the client.
  • Motivate him to regular purposeful exercises.
  • Drawing up an individual training program and its constant adjustment depends on the results.
  • Setting the correct technique for performing activities, including through their demonstration.
  • Development of personal recommendations on daily routine and nutrition.
  • Providing the necessary equipment and observing safety precautions when performing exercises.
  • Supplying first aid if necessary.

A fitness trainer needs knowledge in physiology, anatomy, and biomechanics. It is necessary to consider not only the client’s wishes but also the state of his health to prepare a workout program for him. Also, the trainer should be aware of new fitness trends and technologies. He can train with a group or individuals specializing in classes such as aerobics, aqua aerobics, Tai-bo, pilates, fitness yoga, etc.

personal wellness coaches

What does a health trainer do?

Wellness training as a field has roots in psychology, behavior change theory, life coaching, and the general health industry. The main task of a health instructor is not to build an ideal body with well-developed muscles but to change a person’s lifestyle. The functions of a health instructor are varied:

  • Help choose the type of sports training – strength training equipment, yoga, step aerobics, and Pilates.
  • Find the ideal daily routine – someone will be happy to practice in the morning, and someone can stir themselves up only in the evening.
  • Change the nutrition system – not only weight but also well-being depends on the composition, quality, and time of eating.
  • If necessary, refer a person to a massage therapist for sports, relaxing, and wellness courses.
  • Determine the need for a visit to the doctor – in case of indirect clients’ signs – complaints of fatigue, pain, etc.

An experienced health coach collects all this and much more into an individual program. Its goal is not just to convey information to the client but to motivate them to carry it out. Also, a health coach will help clients identify and comprehend self-destructive behavior patterns. But ultimately, it is their choice to put the coach’s advice into practice to create lasting behavioral change. Thus, the main benefit of working with a healthy lifestyle coach is gaining confidence in your ability to achieve your goals.

health & fitness coach

Personal wellness coach vs. personal fitness trainer

So, we have analyzed each profession separately, and it remains only to compare them. For example, health and wellness coaching is ideal for discussing five essential topics: fitness, nutrition, weight loss, stress management, and overall health. However, health and wellness coaching should not be confused with the work done by nutritionists or personal trainers. One way or another, they are in contact with each other.

Personal wellness coaching is ideal for the following health concerns:

  • Weight loss.
  • To give up smoking.
  • Reduced stress levels.
  • Improving interpersonal relationships and your relationship with yourself.
  • Recommending healthy food.
  • Achieving a better balance between work and personal life.
  • Increased life satisfaction.
  • Practice personal goal setting and following them to the end.
  • Improving self-perception and self-esteem.
  • Priority self-care.
  • Balancing health with a busy schedule.
  • Practice positive thinking.

A fitness trainer’s responsibilities include:

  • Carrying out testing of the state of health, preparation of the client, contraindications, and complaints.
  • Drawing up a training program from the most effective exercises focused on the goals and capabilities of the student.
  • Maintain a variety of fitness workouts periodically.
  • Changing the program depends on the result of the training.
  • Helping clients make the proper diet during workouts.

He can advise which diet is better to follow, how to distribute loads outside of classes, etc. – the coach becomes a real mentor for the gym visitors. With a fitness trainer, not only ordinary people who want to tighten their figure are engaged, but also professional athletes. Fitness allows them to distribute physical activity more harmoniously and increases endurance.

Summing up, we can say that a health coach helps ordinary people more, developing them spiritually and at the same time physically, where the latter is not the primary goal. At the same time, a fitness trainer is an expert in training and a healthy lifestyle.

Who can succeed in personal health coaching?

Do you find it rewarding to help others as a health coach? Ask yourself the following questions to determine if this choice is the right career move for your life.

Becoming a health coach may be suitable if:

  • Would you like to advise how others can move forward and improve physically and spiritually?
  • Do you want to develop individual comprehensive wellness plans for clients?
  • Do you desire to help others cope with stress?
  • Do you strive to help others succeed in achieving their health goals?
  • Do you want to help others optimize their strengths and talents?
  • Do you aim to help others maintain work-life balance and prioritize their health?
  • Are you willing to help others make the right changes when unsure where to start?

If you fit these ideas, it’s time to consider becoming a health coach instead of a fitness coach.

personal health coaching

Who can become a fitness trainer?

To become a fitness trainer, you first must love sports and work with people. In addition, the advantages of good coaches include the following qualities:

  • The ability to position a person to yourself.
  • Perseverance and patience.
  • Kindness and communication skills.
  • Energy and optimism.
  • Resilience and willpower.
  • Discipline and responsibility.

Of course, the coach must be in great shape. He must be able to find an approach to each client, explain his requirements, and convince them they are capable of doing everything. Otherwise, people will not believe in his ability. A leading example is lesson planning.

It is also essential to have extensive knowledge of physiology and anatomy, nutrition, and biochemical processes that occur in the human body against the background of stress. In addition, a mentor is a personal teacher and psychologist who can understand the fears and concerns of the client.

Health and fitness coach job difficulties

First of all, a coach is a profession of social orientation. Every day you have to communicate with different people for hours, proving to them the need for a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, it is worth having pedagogical skills. It is also not enough to show how to do this or that exercise. It is necessary to teach a person to do the right thing, to take care of the quality of the products that he consumes, to support customers on time, and sometimes to insist on his own. In addition, you will face:

  • Irregular work schedule and frequent business trips when it comes to international cooperation.
  • Since sports results and the clients’ health are important, they depend on the coach.
  • Fatigue from daily physical exertion, stress from communicating with dissatisfied customers.
  • Need to have a good body shape. It is not necessary to have muscle tone. The main thing is to show by example what can be achieved with any physique.

Our FitWell Content experts could provide beneficial fitness advice to make coaching more effective for your clients.


A health trainer is responsible for educating and encouraging people in many areas of wellness. It includes work-life balance, meal planning, exercise, and self-esteem.

Fitness coaches use their knowledge of physiology, anatomy, and biomechanics to ensure the safety of clients’ exercise techniques. They also organize proper nutrition and rational training programs.

According to the law, employees with a state higher or secondary specialized education in the fields of kinesiology or exercise science should be taken to a fitness club. Specialists who graduated from a medical university are also highly valued.

Today, the average national salary for a personal trainer is $26.39 per hour. However, wages may increase due to advanced training and the number of clients.

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