Calling all personal trainers!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 13, 2008 3:24 AM GMT
    This may or may not have been covered before, so forgive me if it has.icon_biggrin.gif

    I've recently thought about getting certified as a personal trainer once I'm done with school in May. It's not a set-in-stone decision, but fitness has really started to become something I'm passionate about.

    I've done some research (God bless Google), but was wondering if any personal trainers out there have any advice/tips.

    These are the certification programs I've found so far.

    1.) American Council on Exercise,
    2.) Aerobics and Fitness Association of America,
    3.) The American College of Sports Medicine,
    4.) The National Academy of Sports Medicine,
    5.) The National Strength and Conditioning Association,
    6.) The International Sports Sciences Association, and
    7.) The American Dietetic Association.

    Any suggestions/opinions/comments on them? Are the home and on-line exams effective in educating you? Are any of these a fraud/complete waste of time?

    Any kind of advice is welcome!
    Thanks, guys!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 13, 2008 4:39 AM GMT
    I'd go for NASM or NSCA as they're the most respected certs in the industry. You can still get by with ACE as it's recognized just about everywhere. Good luck!
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    Mar 13, 2008 11:11 AM GMT
    In South Africa we have a recognised cert from IIFT, International Institute of fitness trainers. This is also highly recognised and very popular. This is done at the university of Pretoria, but do not know if other countries have this certificate available.

    Cheers and good luck.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 13, 2008 11:22 AM GMT
    I think SDTrainer's remarks are true, and I have NSCA certification myself, but ISSA is very good and very practical.

    There is another point worth considering. Personal Training is a luxury item. The economy sucks - and will probably continue to suck for some time. Most of the trainers (24 of them) at World Gym in Palm Springs are down to a fraction of their usual client load. My partner and I have a training company and we are at about half the normal number of client sessions.

    If you are passionate about fitness, as you say, then you might want to investigate other fitness-related opportunities, or look for a non-traditional way of getting into training. You might look into more schooling and approaching physical therapy, for example. You might want to look for a group exercise program or "boot camp". You might even look into working for a retail store with a fitness orientation, like SportMart.

    If your income expectations are low, and your enthusiasm is high, and you're prepared to wait out the bad times in order to be well-positioned when the economy improves, go for it!

    On the other hand, if you're expecting to enter the field and quickly fill up your client list with highly motivated people who want to train hard, I do not believe your expectations are reasonable.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 13, 2008 1:56 PM GMT
    I'm retesting for my ACE Personal Training cert this summer. I have AFAA right now. I'll eventually go for NASM which is the ultimate cert goal for the moment.

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    Mar 13, 2008 4:38 PM GMT
    PSBigJoey is right. Many people get involved in personal training because they see it as a potentially lucrative endeavor. It can be, however the process takes a LONG time and the majority of new trainers quit within the first year. As PSBigJoey said, expect that you won't have a full client load right out of the gates; actually you probably won't have a full client load for a long time. This isn't to dissuade you against getting into the profession, it's just to help you understand the implications of it. The only thing that's saved me is having a good paying part-time job that covers the basics of what I need. I would have been up s*!t creek if I dove head first into training.
    I know this isn't what you asked for in this thread, but this is the type of knowledge I wish I had going into it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 13, 2008 5:18 PM GMT
    Thanks, guys. This has all been really helpful!

    It's definitely not something I'm planning on pursuing 100% right away, or as a way for me to make the "big bucks". I have a degree and job in a totally different field, so it'll be something I pursue part-time.

    Thanks again for the help!
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Mar 13, 2008 5:46 PM GMT
    In the UK we have the Register of Exercise Professionals and also a national register of personal trainers...but it is only advised one joins, not compulsory.

    However, a lot of gym chains are now looking at using NASM and other bodies for validation of PTs.

    Here its a case of there being several training providers, but the course content and quality varies. Indeed, one company which I shall not name, does all its trainin by distance with a final practical exam which is not recognised at all by REPs, but given t hat there is no requirement to join REPs then it all gets a bit wooly.