A message to the Entry Level Trainers

By no means is this blog an attack on you. If anything, this blog entry is one of hope.

I hope you reach your full potential.

I hope you become a better coach than I ever was, or better yet, be the coach I wish I had.

I hope that through your daily actions you represent the best of what we can be in this profession.

I am certified through Westside Barbell along with several other agencies and a large part of what I do is train new trainers. I take great pride in this role, and quite frankly enjoy the hell out of it.  It’s not something that I consider “work.”

In my coaching  and teaching practice I often cross-reference both the ACSM and NSCA texts and READ DAILY on a broad selection of topics central to means and modes in which I deliver training. I have numerous books I’ve re-read at least six-times and have freely given books to other trainers, only to wind up replacing them later on. (Oh how I love you Amazon.)

HISTORY. When I first started out the field of personal training was in its infancy. In fact, my entry into the field predates the formation of my credentialing bodies.

The first goal was actually learning how to coach another person that was noting like me. Training another young male of similar build and goals wasn’t at least on the surface, a very difficult thing.   This goal evolved into being able to apply the scientific principles of exercise, create client defined training programs and developing others into improved versions of themselves.

These are the intents of the coach, at least they are for those that take that title to heart.

Through the years I learned how to take a heart rate and blood pressure readings, how to assess clients through a battery of different testing measures and how to control and monitor load for strength training.

I learned that clients presenting certain medical or orthopedic problems need to be referred out (unless they were medically cleared or referred.)

I learned that the overload principle doesn’t mean injuring clients, and that a given exercise can be manipulated numerous to create a different experience and response.


Over the last several years, I and many of my colleagues have watched our professional calling roll off the road. The production and commonness of substandard, and in some cases outright dangerous non-professionals grows at a rate far faster than qualified coaches.

Although not fully responsible, the agencies that certify personal trainers have contributed to this problem despite otherwise good intentions. Personally I believe we’ve gotten away from too many things that shouldn’t have been left aside.

For the worse, we live in a time where Instagram births a new “fitness guru’s” daily and science is ignored or openly scoffed.
– Literally, anyone can become a trainer. They don’t even need to know how to exercise themselves.
– Those that actually did earn a certification may not stay updated on matters relevant to what they do,or possess certifications that have longed since lapsed.
– Cardiovascular Health and Strength assessments are unseen, despite the fact the typical client isn’t getting younger or thinner.
– Emphasis on the practical application and performance in the fundamental human movement patterns is not instructed by a high-percentage of “trainers”. Some don’t even know how to perform these movements themselves.
– Client entertainment and suffering seem more important than actual fitness.

I keenly read the results of trials involving client injuries involving trainers. In far too many cases trainers have caused serious injuries by making average or older clients attempt exercises that would be difficult for athletic populations. I honestly don’t want to read about anyone I know having to defending themselves in court.

– Take a health history.
Require medical clearance,it will make you look professional.
– Learn how to screen via the methods of one of the credible agencies.
– Assess the clients relative strength and flexibility.
– Don’t be afraid to start with the basics. There is nothing wrong with this.
– Act like a professional and you’ll be treated as one.

I challenge you to bring TRAINING back to being a recognized profession and not simply something where the primary skill involved is counting to ten three times and client exhaustion and soreness are the indicators of “Awesome training.”


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