Lawrence Biscontini by Lawrence Biscontini

The personal trainer job description is lengthy and varied. Personal trainers of today must learn, recall and implement a vast amount of technical knowledge. Ultimately, however, the most important trait of personal trainers is an authentic desire to support others in becoming the best possible owners of their own bodies.  

Technical Knowledge

Technical Knowledge

Studying for the ACE Personal Training exam is a comprehensive process, and fortunately, ACE provides more preparatory resources than ever before. This particular program takes an extremely practical approach to learning, which makes studying engaging, interactive and thorough. You must possess enough discipline for this job to be able to read, retain and react on a daily basis. Understanding muscles, movement patterns and methodology for training different types of clients is one key to success.

People Skills

People Skills

Of course the knowledge you gain from the manual is important, but people skills are equally as important. Not only do you need the ability to recall personal information about each client, but you also need to be able to create a plan for working with each type of client, and develop a way to track their progress. You also need to be able to react to the mindsets and motivational needs of various types of people. Ultimately, today’s personal trainer needs to be able to bring the world of fitness to life on an individual level in a compelling way, each session.

Sales & Marketing

Sales and Marketing

Being a personal trainer means more than getting certified with the appropriate credentials. Whether you’re working in a traditional gym environment or working on your own, a career in personal training is competitive. To be truly successful, you’ll need to have the right price point, the ability to help clients realize realistic goals and the motivational strategies to help them achieve these goals. Ultimately, personality can help you attract and maintain clients.

With all of this in mind, some of the most successful teachers of future personal trainers shed light on what it takes to make it in this competitive industry, across cultures and continents.

  • “If you really enjoy being in a position of active service to other people, as an active listener, and have strong mental and emotional composure with the demands of putting constant energy out there with a positive attitude and self-motivation, then you’d make a great candidate for this exciting profession.”
    - Manuel Velázquez, group fitness instructor at Rancho La Puerta Resort & Spa in Baja California, Mexico

Jessica Matthews

  • “You know you'd make a great personal trainer if you genuinely care about people. Personal training is just that—personal. It's so important to truly listen to, empathize with, and genuinely understand and value each individual you work with; and respect where they are in their personal health and fitness journey because there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Like former President Roosevelt said, ‘Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care,’ and I feel this describes personal training. Before worrying about ‘wowing’ your clients with cutting-edge exercises and using the newest training tools, make sure they truly know just how genuinely vested you are in their health and happiness.”
    - Jessica Matthews, master trainer for the American Council on Exercise, San Diego, California
  • “You will be remarkable in this profession if you truly care about helping people make a change in their lives in a way that you also do for yourself.”
    - Valerie Grant, PILATES and Feldenkrais teacher and personal trainer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • “If you undertake this career choice, you have to do more than just show up. You must be prepared and ready to work. It's a 50/50 relationship. You expect that from your clients and you need to do the same.”
    - Rachel Lee Sibony, regional director of group fitness and national group fitness operations for Equinox Clubs throughout the U.S.
  • “Consider each future client as a trilogy of concepts to train. You must be willing to take a holistic approach to their training and help them evolve on all three levels—physical, mental and emotional.”
    - Paul Galloro, Divine Wellness Coach, Richmond Hill, Canada
  • “You would make a great personal trainer if you delight in helping others, are a good listener, believe in movement and good nutrition to get healthier and more fit, and, most importantly, revel in continuing to develop yourself for the sake of others.”
    - Suzanne Hosley, managing director, Fitness Innovations (Thailand) Ltd in Bangkok, Thailand

Lawrence Biscontini, MA, has been working as an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and continuing education specialist for ACE since 1986. He works with personal training clients in person and via social media/other technologies. He enjoys contributing to ACE’s textbooks, online resources and blogs. Lawrence received the ACE Instructor of the Year Award in 2002, and recently wrote a book of fiction (Stories of Color) for his charity. Find Lawrence at

Help people lead healthier, happier lives as an ACE Certified Personal Trainer