Tag Archives: personal training certification


“The shortage of adequately trained strength specialists in local gyms renders the incorrect use of supplementary resistance training as a real possibility for for serious athletes.”  Supertraining 6th Ed (Expanded)

Translation: There are many trainers out there instructing others in methods that they themselves don’t know.  The downside is that the limitations of these trainers may only be obvious to well-qualified and experienced trainers. Degrees,titles or number of letters following a persons name provides no guarantee of their actual quality.

No trainer started off their career perfectly, nor does any know all there is to know.  The good ones grew over time to become what they are today, and many would openly state they are still students and far from where they hope to ascend. This is the importance of continued education, reading broadly, mentorship,asking questions and the practical application of time under load.

100% of my business is through referral from a current athlete, they were a previous athlete or they come to me on the gym floor, often after by being referred by another gym member. My business relies on several key things; (1) Honesty and Transparency (2) Not getting anyone injured (3) Results.

I spend a significant portion of my income addressing #2 and 3, and I always ask myself “How can this be made better?”

Over the past 48hrs I’ve come across an article on a trainer hospitalizing a man after a singular workout (1) and witnessed a feeding frenzy of MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) Personal Trainers trying to recruit a prospect. The former I have linked below, in the latter case, an individual simply asked if an MLM product was an effective business tool or waste of energy.

Interestingly, not one MLM trainer responded to my counter-post showing that when tested by a third-party, the product fails to live up to anecdotes and sales pitches.

FACT: In the online presence of qualified trainers, the MLM trainers typically get roasted when they try peddling their products.

Can an MLM trainer be good? I suppose they could,after all a non-MLM trainer isn’t always good themselves, but I am suspicious of those that are in the sales and recruiting portion of MLM.  To me it is a violation of professional ethics and breeches the typical trainers scope of practice. Its bad when I know details of their product BETTER than they do.

For example, the last sales pitch I received told me that by drinking their special concoction my body would be in near instant ketosis (2).  I asked “How would I know that?”  I was told I could pee on a special urine strip and it would show my level.

FACT: Don’t bring anecdotes to a science fight.

Science problem:  I could take a big dose of  ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) and it would render the same results while my blood panels would remain unchanged.  The urine strip would only show I pee’d out what I drank, as once in ketosis my body would be ketones as fuel, and not peeing them out.

If the trainer is strictly a consumer of the product then I’d have no issue.   That said, I believe it has been historically well-established that those who actually know nutrition and have an ability to interpret actual research tend to avoid from MLM products.  The reasons should be crystal clear.

(1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4680708/Man-sues-Snap-Fitness-personal-trainer-injury.html

(2) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/180858.php




How to fail as a Personal Trainer.

Three trainers lasted only two months at my gym. Two failed to gain or retain a minimum number of clients and the other got into a series of arguments with the owner. I didn’t bother introducing myself or making small talk with them as I was that sure they would gone within a month or two.

I based my prediction simply by watching how they conducted business, and that they lacked any particular talent for the job. Essentially they were relying on good looking physiques. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Getting someones attention is easy, Keeping their attention is another matter.

Do the following and I can nearly guarantee you will fail as a trainer.


Routinely show up late to your clients appointments. The “I’m stuck in traffic text, be there a few minutes late” five minutes before you are supposed to meet with the client will work only so many times, even if it was the truth. 10-15 minutes early is on time., or at least ON TIME IS ON TIME

Boldly advertise dubious claims of results that could be achieved in an hour. Ideally do it in a gym full of strong people, it gives us something to laugh about.

Eat in front of your client DURING the clients paid for time.


Constantly make/take calls or texts phones during the clients session.  Don’t use your phone for something actually relevant to the client.

Sidenote on eating and phone using: None of the trainers schedules were SO packed that this could even be a consideration. Remember, two of them failed to maintain a minimum client load.

Spend more time talking to the client than actually training them, especially on topics that have nothing to do with their training/goals.


Use uninspired cookie cutter workouts. Back to back clients do the same workout in the same manner. Don’t adjust any exercise to the client,make the client fit the exercise.

Give no corrections to the clients form (if incorrect) or tweak things to optimize it. Literally just go through the motions.

Don’t write (or have the client write) anything down to record the session.


Do not use a PARQ/Health History questionnaire or conduct any form of a movement screen.


The Trainer Continuum


Clients signing up for personal training come from a wide variety of fitness backgrounds, from those that are starting a fitness program for the first time (including those starting late in life) and those for whom fitness has been a way of life and are looking to improve.

I devised the trainer continuum one day when I was bored (oh the shenanigans I get into!) as a training tool when I am working with newer trainers or educating my clients on why training with me is such an awesome deal.

The top half of the continuum shows the knowledge, skills and abilities of the entry level certified personal trainer. CPT’s are typically trained to handle clients that are medically cleared, healthy, under 300 lbs and under 55 years of age. They can generally help a client develop muscle and lose weight.

To maintain a current personal training certification the trainer must complete a specified amount of continuing education per cycle, which is anywhere from every 1-4 years, 2 years being the most common and current CPR/AED certification through a live clinic.Independent trainers must also maintain current liability insurance.

The top three well-regarded CPT licensing agencies are the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA.) Other major agencies include NFPT,NCSF,ISSA and ACE.

The gray area represents the clients that fall between “Medically cleared, but has a risk factor” to the “Fit person with competitive athletic goals.” Erring on the side of caution, I could reasonably speculate there are more trainers capable on the athletic side of the continuum than on the medical side, however this is not always the case and not all risk factors are equal.

For example, a male having a >40 inch waist is considered a risk factor. If the client presents no other major risk factors (I.E. Diabetes, A-Fib etc) and is medically cleared and otherwise healthy then diet is the primary concern and training can commence.

Similarly, a 60 year old client with a lifetimes worth of experience in non-competitive training or a master class athlete is quite a different animal from a 60 year old sedentary client.

Speaking from personal experience, some commercial gyms will assign clients to whichever trainer is available. Whether or not the trainer is actually equipped or capable of training the client is not considered, therefore you could have a trainer that is ill prepared to develop a performance or medical based program to suit your needs.