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Personal Trainer Education

Updated on January 25, 2014
Want to start a new, rewarding career? Become a Certified Personal Trainer!
Want to start a new, rewarding career? Become a Certified Personal Trainer! | Source

Personal Trainer: "A personal trainer is a fitness professional involved in exercise prescription and instruction. They motivate clients by setting goals and providing feedback and accountability to clients."

Start your rewarding career as a personal trainer!
Start your rewarding career as a personal trainer! | Source

Want to be a personal trainer?

Have You Ever Thought About Being a Personal Trainer?

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Why Personal Training?

Simply put, being a personal trainer can be one of the most rewarding careers there is. You get a chance to change peoples lives daily! As the American obesity issue is becoming an epidemic the job opportunities for personal trainers and salaries alike are expanding rapidly as well!

For instance, CNN listed being a personal trainer as the 18th best job in the Untied States with with an amazing 24% growth industry in the next ten years! Not only that but the salaries are increasing as well! Since 2005, the average personal trainer salary has increased by 19%. Here is a breakdown for your viewing pleasure on some typical average salaries in a few states:

Personal Trainer Salary in New York: $41,000
Personal Trainer Salary in Missouri: $35,000
Personal Trainer Salary in California: $39,000
Personal Trainer Salary in Florida: $33,000

When you think about the bare requirements (18 years old, high school education or equivalent; more below) that is quite a nice salary!

The ever expanding waist line of America and the ever growing opportunities in the fitness industry make being a personal trainer the perfect career for people wanting to make a difference in this world!

For more information on how to become a certified personal trainer and answers for any personal trainer certification questions you may have, visit the Become a Personal Trainer HQ.You can get the breakdown on many organizations and tips and tricks for passing the certifying exams!

Are Trainers Nutritionists?
Are Trainers Nutritionists? | Source
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Why Should I Become A Personal Trainer?

There are many reasons to be a personal trainer! While there are a ton of advantages of being a trainer here are 3 of my favorites:

1. You can change lives - Hands down this is the biggest benefit of being a personal trainer. There is no better reward then seeing someone get interested in becoming fit, putting their mind to it, and accomplishing their goals.

2. Decide your career path - Another benefit of being a trainer is that you literally get to work on your own terms and take your career as far as you want. For instance, being a trainer allows you to choose whether you want to work for a gym, work at a gym as an independent trainer, work from home, work at client's homes, etc. The choices are endless.

3. You stay fit - Lastly, a huge advantage of being a trainer is you get to place your own personal health on a high pedestal. For one thing, you are constantly around the proper equipment and atmosphere to get great workouts in. Another reason to hold yourself to the highest health standards is not only to motivate your client's but to also bring in new clients.

The advantages of being a trainer are many! You get to change the world, be your own boss, and it gives you the time to constantly work on your own fitness! This is the tri-fecta, it's motivating, and it can be one of the most rewarding careers on Earth!


Be conscious of dietary recommendations
Be conscious of dietary recommendations

Can Personal Trainers Prescribe Diets?

Let's get this out of the way, a personal trainer is not a dietitian or a nutritionist. To be a nutritionists you need to have a completely different degree or certification (becoming a nutritionists would greatly increase your marketability). Although trainers aren't dietitians and should never prescribe diets, trainers still should be able to guide their clients by following the Government dietary recommendations.

According to the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA),

“…trainers have the a responsibility to provide educational information about the fundamentals of appropriate diets. Clients with special dietary needs and problems … must be referred to a registered dietitian or similar professional (trainers must not “prescribe a diet”). Otherwise, information that is educational in nature and in the public domain, such as that from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid, can and should be shared with clients.”

If you decide to become a personal trainer, during your program you will learn about nutrition such as macro-nutrients. The program you chose (as long as it's accredited) will walk you through the entire process until you are a pro! When it comes to nutrition, you should be educated enough to answer any nutrition questions that your client may have and point them in the right direction. Trainers are not nutritionists and should not prescribe diets but it is great to be able to help you client buy guiding them via Government recommendations. Trainers need to do anything they can to help a client achieve the results they deserve!

Being a personal trainer can be a rewarding career
Being a personal trainer can be a rewarding career | Source

Personal Trainer Program Requirements

Maybe you've thought about becoming a personal trainer but you have no idea where to begin! First of all, you need to meet some simple requirements to get into most certifying programs (colleges and university programs aside). Before you can get in most programs to become a trainer you need to meet some simple requirements:

-18 years of age or older
-High School diploma/GED
-CPR/AED certified
-Previous gym experience

All programs require their students to be 18 years of age and have a CPR/AED certifications (I will fill you in on that below). There are also many organizations that require a high school diploma or equivalent to begin the program. For each specific organizations requirement check out their respective site or check each out individually at Become A Personal Trainer HQ: Organizations. Finally, many programs require some previous gym experience. Well actually, this isn't necessarily a requirement but it is strongly encouraged. The programs recommend that you have gym experience so you know what you are doing and have a better chance of making it through the program; makes complete sense. Gym experience will just make the entire program easier due to your knowledge of exercises, equipment, and probably physiology.

One common requirement among certifying programs is that you need to be CPR/AED certified. Taking a course through the American Red Cross is the easiest way to become CPR/AED in a timely fashion. Finding a course near you is as easy as going to Red Cross<Take a Class and enter your zip code. Under Category select: First Aid, AED & CPR for Lay Responders. When the list of courses appear at various locations and times. Find classes called "Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED" (~$90). Choose the course that best fits into your schedule. Put it in your cart and checkout. Many times you can find a promotional code at Google to take off a substantial amount of the total price.

When it comes to the actual CPR/AED course, there are two parts. The first portion is online and has to be completed before the 2nd part live workshop. The online part will take you an evening to do if you are new to this stuff. You must print off the certificate indicating that you completed the online part and bring that to your instructor before your live class. The live class usually takes 4-5 hours to complete and covers all of your CPR/AED questions. Upon completion of the course you will be given a Red Cross CPR/AED certification card that is valid for two years. As long as you have a high school education (or its equal) and are 18 years old, you now meet all the requirements to enter many personal trainer certification program!

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Picking A Trainer Organization

From my own personal experience I know that choosing a a potential certifying organization to get your trainer certification through can be incredibly hard and confusing. I simply choose one, which was not the best way to go (it worked out but I wouldn't' recommend it)! Keep these five questions in mind when choosing a training program and you can save yourself a ton of confusion:

1. How long do you want the process to take? - Programs range in length from live courses that are 3-4 days to self-study programs that give you up to a year to complete. Make sure you know yourself and how fast your learn and go from there.

2. How much will it cost? - Let's be honest if you can't afford it you might as well look elsewhere, but that's okay because there are programs out there for every budget! Costs can range from $300 to $2,000. You can get all the materials you need and an exam voucher for $500 (you'll make this back once hired of course).

3. Is the program accredited? - Straight up, you want an accredited organization. It needs to be accepted by any gym you try to get employed at! If it isn't accredited it's up to the clients and gyms discretion to hire you or not.

4. Do you want to take a live course or self-paced? - Live courses are great because you get all of the information in a couple of days and get it over with. Plus you can talk to an instructor in person regarding the materials and exam. On the other hand, you do have to travel which can be expensive! Self-study online courses can be amazing as well. They allow you to work at your own pace and offer the ability to contact certified staff with any questions you have. Some of the problems associated with these self-paced courses is that procrastination can creep in causing you to rush to get all the materials digested before your exam voucher is up and you don't get a in person exam review either.

5. For live courses, are there any near me? - Live workshops are great, but not if they are 300 miles away. Find out which programs are near you and when they are! Plan it where you can sign-up, study before hand, ad be ready when it comes near you!

Trust me, choosing a program can get confusing. Keep these question in mind to make the process a little easier for you!

Not only can you improve your client's lives, you will be improving your own as well!
Not only can you improve your client's lives, you will be improving your own as well!
Don't be stingy. Buy the study materials that give you the best chance of passing!
Don't be stingy. Buy the study materials that give you the best chance of passing!
Follow our exam tips to crush the exam!
Follow our exam tips to crush the exam! | Source

Exam Tips

Some people are great test-takers and can recall everything they studied. Use some of these trainer exam tips to help you ace your exam!

  1. Read instructions carefully
  2. Slow and steady wins the race
  3. Answer the ones you know first
  4. Analyze don’t skim.
  5. Eliminate the wrong answers
  6. Answer everything
  7. Use your best judgment
  8. If you have extra time, double check your answers

Do You Need Study Materials?

When it comes to getting certified to become a personal trainer and study materials you have many options. After picking a certifying organization you want, you will get the chance to pick what study materials you want. Options range from : no materials (not recommended), web-based materials, study guides, and practice tests. What to choose?

For some certifying programs you have the option of only purchasing the exam. Please don't do that, that is not recommended! When it comes to study materials, it depends on how experienced you are at exercising and your background knowledge of physiology. A major part of the exam and certifying program covers muscles, stretching, and nutrition. You may have learned all of these things in high school or even college; chances are you’ve had it before. The more experience you already have in these areas, the easier those sections should be for you. I believe in either case it is better to have more study materials then needed.

It is highly recommended to purchase study guides or at least the practice test; these things can be critical and invaluable to your success in the program. These materials give you a feel for the difficultly of the questions on the exam and provides insight into the areas of the program that you are weak on. This experience and knowledge can literally be invaluable. When it comes to practice exams, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) says that their practice test is very similar to the live exam in design and difficulty and this probably holds true for all certifying organizations. Buy the practice test, it will be worth it!

Over the course of your life you have learned your own optimal learning style. Do you need flash cards? Are you a visual learner? These are questions you need to ask yourself when determining what study materials to buy. Buy whatever you need to allows you the best chance of passing the final exam, don’t be stingy here. You will make your money back after you land your first job with the way the fitness market is, it won’t take long!

Finally, if you have been working out at the same fitness facility for awhile you probably have become friends with many of the fitness professionals that are employed there. Talk to them about their certifying process and what study materials they purchased. Actually if you are close enough to them ask them if you can borrow their study materials, it will save you a good amount of money!

Becoming a Personal Trainer is a great way to start a career or make extra income on the side!
Becoming a Personal Trainer is a great way to start a career or make extra income on the side! | Source
Stay informed on the latest in resistance training!
Stay informed on the latest in resistance training!
Stay informed on the latest in cardiovascular training!
Stay informed on the latest in cardiovascular training!

Improving Your Own Fitness

Being a personal trainer, you get to spend a lot of your free time around exercise equipment this means you can get in the best shape of your life. This is highly recommended to retain and get new clients. Client's want to be motivated by you and one of the biggest motivational tools is being in shape giving them something to strive for and also making them want to train with you!

Here's a quick breakdown on how to get in shape quickly:

-Start briskly walking at least 45 minutes a day if you are a beginner
-Start a full-body weight lifting regiment at least 3 times a week
-As you progress, start some high intensity interval training sessions (HIIT) to increase your metabolism
-Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night with a consistent bed and wake up time
-Stay properly hydrated
-Eat so many quality foods (vegetables, high quality proteins) that you aren't hungry for crappy foods

Implement some of these tips into your healthy lifestyle and you will start to see results before you know it. This will help you get new clients but also keep you healthy mentally and physically! For more information on at-home fitness and nutrition visit Always Active Athletics for a full breakdown on all your health questions!

Do You Know Your Personel Trainer Certifying Program Requirements?


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Step Up and Change Lives

Being a personal trainer can be one of the most rewarding occupations there is with a comfortable salary which is constantly increasing. The most rewarding part is that you literally get to change peoples lives by introducing fitness into their lives and in the process you can increase your own fitness! Motivating others is literally one of the most empowering acts a person can do. As Booker T. Washington said,

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”

Step up and take the challenge. Become a personal trainer and leave your mark on the world get started at the Become a Personal Trainer HQ today!

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