Master of Education in Applied Human Development Graduate Projects


Personal trainer’ duties are to assist clients with proper form, motivate, provide a sense of accountability, create individualized work out plans, and help clients achieve an overall healthy lifestyle. Oftentimes, personal trainers are judged base on physical appearance rather than certifications, education, and level of experience. The purpose of this study was to better understand how potential clients view personal trainers based on appearance. In an effort to assist and enhance the careers of personal trainers in the future, this study provides guidance regarding perceptions and opinions of potential clients. An Exploratory Design was used to lay the groundwork for future research, since there were few earlier studies to rely upon in order to predict an outcome. Qualitative data was collected through a survey consisting of fifteen questions that was administered to twenty random, anonymous participants at the Bowling Green State University Student Recreation Center. The survey consisted of semi-structured questions - with both closed and open-ended questions. The results show that nineteen out of twenty (95%) of participants indicate that a personal trainer should appear physically fit. Surveyors perceived that if a personal trainer was out of shape or deemed unfit, his or her training program may be ineffective. The results compare favorably with earlier studies regarding appearance in the fitness industry and body image. Previous studies have shown that certain levels of trust and respect are placed upon fitness instructors when judging solely based on appearance. Since fitness professionals are frequently known as leaders and role models in gym settings, potential clients may view the trainers’ physique and lifestyle as an ultimate goal.


Amanda Paule-Koba

Second Reader

Ray Schneider








Sport Administration