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How to Become a Corporate Fitness Professional

Reading Time: 5 minutes 15 seconds


Date: 2023-03-14

Ask a group of people where a fitness professional works. Most will say a gym, health club, or fitness center. Some might even mention that exercise professionals also work in training facilities for pro sports teams. While all are correct, there’s another setting that few think about. It is a business environment. And this is where you’d likely find a corporate fitness professional. 

What Corporate Fitness Professionals Do

Corporate fitness professionals help companies create and deliver employee wellness programs. The goal is to help employees boost their overall health. Of course, this provides a benefit for the employees. When you’re healthy, you feel better mentally and physically. There’s a payoff for the company too. It benefits via reduced absenteeism rates and increased productivity. Healthier employees can also contribute to lower healthcare costs.

A corporate fitness coach helps provide these benefits by developing an exercise plan for employees to reach their fitness goals. This plan is adaptable to each employee based on their fitness level and needs. A coach also shows employees how to do every exercise safely. Some companies may even want the person in this position to lead a regular group fitness class. 

If the workout facility is on company grounds, the fitness trainer would also likely be responsible for equipment maintenance. 

Benefits of Working for a Company

Working for companies provides many benefits for personal fitness trainers. Perhaps the most notable is that you don’t have to work as hard to grow your client list. Instead, all your clients are supplied by the company that hired you. 

Working for companies can also boost your personal trainer salary. The median pay for an exercise trainer or group fitness instructor is $40,700 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1). Yet, ZipRecruiter puts the average salary for a corporate fitness trainer at $63,072 annually (2). 

This makes sense as companies often have bigger budgets. They also have more at stake. Research connects greater employee well-being at work with increased company profitability. That makes this a good return on investment (3). One study also found that the more employees participate in their company’s wellness program, the better their performance ratings, the more satisfied they were, and the more likely they were to stay (4). This equates to lower turnover rates.

If you prefer leading a group fitness class over training individuals, you might also enjoy a corporate fitness role. Yes, you may still have to instruct single employees from time to time. But a large portion of what you do is directed toward groups. 

You have to be prepared to deliver group fitness education and training. This might involve teaching a group of employees about the importance of exercise, for instance. Or you might lead a group fitness class each morning before they punch in. That makes this role a good option for group fitness instructors who want to work in a corporate setting.

How to Become a Corporate Fitness Professional

If this sounds like a good career path for you, you may be wondering how to get started. Here’s what you need to know.


You generally only need a high school diploma to become a personal fitness trainer. Although, some companies prefer or require their corporate fitness trainer to have a bachelors degree. This degree may be in exercise science, health science, sports medicine, or a similar field. 


Depending on the company, you might also need some experience. The employer might require you to work as a trainer for 3-5 years before hiring you to lead their wellness program. This provides some assurance that you know how to create and deliver a fitness program.  If you’ve been doing this for years, they may be more comfortable bringing you on board.


Many corporate organizations prefer trainers who hold at least one certification. Having your certification tells the company that you passed a competency exam. It says that you know what you need to know to work in the fitness industry.

To earn your trainer certification, you must have knowledge of human anatomy and exercise physiology. You also need an understanding of exercise safety and program design. The latter involves creating a program that includes all three components of a complete fitness plan—aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training. Having your certification represents a certain level of knowledge in these areas.

Continuing Education

Once you have your personal training certification, you don’t stop learning. Instead, you must complete the required continuing education hours to keep your certification current.

Continuing education classes are designed to help you stay up-to-date in the fitness field. They also offer the opportunity to specialize in certain areas. You can learn more about supplements or nutrition, for instance. Or you might take a course that teaches you how to work with certain demographics, such as seniors or youth.

Some continuing education courses cover business-related topics. These may be of interest if companies hire you as a freelance personal trainer or independent contractor. You could learn how to market more effectively to these clients, for example. Or you could take a course that teaches you how to create a more appealing website.


Certain skills can help you become a more successful corporate fitness trainer. One is communication. You have to be able to clearly explain how to do a specific exercise, for instance. Part of communicating is also listening. It’s important to understand what the employees’ goals are for their health, fitness, and wellness. Until you know this, you can’t devise an effective training program.

Another skill important when working with fitness clients centers around motivation. Your training program must inspire regular participation. The employees need to feel compelled to take action. Your program should motivate them to raise their physical fitness levels. If it doesn’t, you’re going to have an empty fitness class.

Ways to Get Your First Corporate Client 

Once you meet a company’s minimum qualifications, the next step is to apply for the corporate fitness role. Take the time to put together a thorough resume. Outline your education, experience, and any certifications you have. 

If applying online, some employers request a video versus a cover letter. Practice in front of your computer first to get used to speaking to the camera. Record yourself and play it back. Do you come across as knowledgeable in fitness? Is your demeanor friendly and approachable? Continue to modify your approach until you create the impression that you want.

Also, let your passion for fitness shine through. If you are excited about physical activity and exercise, that excitement becomes contagious. The more energy you have, the more you can pass that energy along to their employees, creating a healthier workforce.

Current personal training clients can also be good resources for getting your first corporate gig. Maybe you have a business owner who trains with you regularly. Or perhaps you work with a high-level executive or supervisor. Talk to them about your desire to get into corporate wellness. If they don’t have a program in place, they may hire you to create one.

Talk to your other clients too. They might not own or operate a business themselves but know someone who does. By sharing your career goals, they may be willing to make an introduction. Having their referral can go a long way, especially if you’ve been able to get that client good results.

Ready to Pursue a Corporate Fitness Specialist Role?

If you’re ready to become a corporate fitness specialist, International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) offers Personal Trainer certification. This online training course teaches you how to design and implement a complete fitness program. You are also given a personal success coach who can help you prepare for and pass your certification exam.

This course is self-paced, so you can go as fast or slow as you like. Or you can follow the guided study option and take your personal training certification exam in 10 weeks. There’s also a Fast Track option, which takes four weeks to complete.

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  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022, September 8). Fitness trainers and instructors: Occupational Outlook Handbook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 13, 2023, from 

  • Corporate Fitness salary. ZipRecruiter. (2023, February 6). Retrieved February 13, 2023, from 

  • Krekel, C., Ward, G., & De Neve, J.-E. (2019). Employee wellbeing, productivity, and firm performance. SSRN Electronic Journal. 

  • Ott-Holland, C. J., Shepherd, W. J., & Ryan, A. M. (2019). Examining wellness programs over time: Predicting participation and workplace outcomes. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 24(1), 163–179. 

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