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Measuring for Success!

We have previously blogged about the importance of measuring your food for portion control. While food measuring is very important to keep diets and macros in check, measuring is important in other ways.

Client Goals

Every person at the gym has a goal or reason to be at the gym – especially if they are investing in a personal trainer or coach. For all clients and trainers gym goals are important because goals shape client programming. If clients do not provide a goal or reason for working with a trainer, they have no units of measure to work towards. Without units of measure, the tangibility of a trainers program is nonexistent.

Losing Weight

When it comes to establishing goals, the most common client goal is weight loss. This is probably the easiest goal to track – clients either lose weight or they don’t. Right? Not quite. Just because weight loss is the main reason many people workout, it doesn’t mean it’s the easiest to measure. While the majority of the US is morbidly obese, most of those people unfortunately are not at a gym. So how do you measure weight loss for a client with nominal weight loss goals? Take body measurements using calipers or a measuring tape. While the scale might not be extremely helpful for small weight loss goals, taking various body measurements will help. 

Leaning Out or Getting Toned

For clients indicating they want to lean out or get toned body measurements will help, but might not be enough. For clients only seeing subtle changes in body measurements, other methods of progress or improvements can be used. For example, tracking increases in weights or improvements in ranges of motion can be used. If a client is looking for improved cardiovascular or endurance, establish monthly exercises for the client to perform, such as a timed run or timed push ups. Document the results and share the changes with the client.

Making Gains

For clients simply wanting to lift more weight and gain muscle, progress or success will be reflected in the amount of weight they move in the various exercises. If clients feel as though they are plateauing or progressing too slowly, tracking their progress over time is most helpful.

When to Measure

Measuring client progress will vary depending on the client goal. For weight loss clients, monthly measurements (scale weight and body measurements) are recommended. This gives the clients enough time to show changes and also establishes a pattern for accountability.

For clients with less noticeable goals, such as leaning out or gaining muscle, monthly body measurements could be used. If body measurements are not the chosen unit of measure, progress reports every 2-3 months showing weight increases can help. Alternatively, using predetermined exercises, such as a timed run for endurance or joint measurements for flexibility changes can be used.

If you are interested in becoming a certified personal trainer or would like to partner with PFTA Austin to help educate personal trainers, we would love to hear from you!

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Creating Successful Personal Trainers Through Classroom and Gym Training

At PFTA Austin, our goal is to create successful personal trainers through classroom and gym training. This is more than just a tagline for us. We believe that anyone can become certified online, but without the hands on experience and practice, personal trainers fall short. Every single student that enrolls with PFTA Austin is guaranteed hands on practice in the gym.

If you follow us socially on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, you will see what we mean. We know that what we offer makes us different. We know that what we offer is extremely valuable to new trainers. We know this because we’ve researched and lived it.

Why You Should Care About Us

We love what we do and we practice exactly what we preach. In addition to instructing new certified personal trainers, we are certified personal trainers with active clients. When we aren’t helping students in the classroom or gym, we are hands on with our clients at the gym or in their homes. Amongst the instructor team at PFTA Austin, we have approximately 20 years gym experience, the bulk of which has been as certified personal trainers. We have successfully worked in commercial gyms and run our own practices. We have worked with people from early teens to approximately 80 years old. We have helped people lose weight, become more function, regain mobility, get back the pre-pregnancy curves, recover from surgeries, and gain muscle for competition. 

Why Gym Training Matters

Have you ever joined a gym and been offered a free personal training session? How was the experience? Did the trainer follow a script and feel distant? Did it seem like the trainers knew what they were doing? This is the experience we don’t want any gym client to have – regardless of where they workout. We want people to work with trainers. We want people to want to work with trainers. More importantly, we want people to work safely with competent and confident certified personal trainers.

What PFTA Austin Offers

Regardless of the Certified Personal Training session that you take, you experience a mix of classroom and gym time. If you join our Tuesday and Thursday session, which runs for 12 weeks, you enjoy Tuesday in the classroom and Thursday at Gym One. Our 15 week long Wednesday and Saturday groups spend every 3rd session at the gym. While it might seem like the Wednesday and Saturday groups are missing out with fewer gym sessions – trust us – they are not. We maximize every class – especially at the gym. Students experience a true learning environment, where the instructors demonstrate and explain, the students then perform the work on each other, and finally the students practice on the instructors. We take our time and we practice, practice, practice!!!

To keep our content solid and industry certified, we have proudly partnered with the National Council on Strength & Fitness. As a result of this partnership, you get:

  • NCSF student and lab guides; online access to an NCSF account containing review content, sample exercises, practice quizzes, and practice tests; and an NCSF exam voucher.
  • PFTA provided student guide with additional student content and notes.
  • Strength Training Anatomy and Stretching Anatomy books.
  • Over 60 hours of classroom and hands on gym training.
  • A gym membership at Gym One for the duration of the course.
  • End of course study groups to help prepare you for the national exam.

Additionally – we are here for you when class wraps up and you have completed your 12 or 15 weeks in the class. We not only want you to pass, we want you to be successful, so we make time to help you study and become comfortable with all the content. Did we mention that we also have a Spanish class? Hit us up for more information.

If you are interested in becoming a certified personal trainer or would like to partner with PFTA Austin to help educate personal trainers, we would love to hear from you!

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Personal Training or Online Coaching

When students come through PFTA Austin, most of the time they have no idea what type of clients they want to train or even where or how they want to run their training business.

As previously mentioned, the health and wellness space has seen a significant increase in spending – with a mix of companies setting up programs or individuals taking control of their personal health. If you want to be a part of it, you simply need to find your way.

Personal Training

To become a personal trainer years ago, you simply needed to find a place to work and look the part. Over the past couple of decades however, gyms – private and commercial – have stepped up the requirements. The majority of gyms require personal trainers to have at least one industry certification. Additionally all personal trainers must be CPR AED certified and have insurance.

The reasons for industry certifications are plenty, with the main reasons being the educational background in:

  • Safe training practices
  • Relevant physical assessments
  • Adaptations for special populations including the elderly, children, and pregnant women
  • Proper programming techniques
  • The human body, including musculoskeletal and cardiovascular physiology; functional anatomy; and energy systems
  • Nutrition including carbohydrates, fats, and protein requirements; vitamins, minerals, and fluid requirements; and supplementation

Certified personal trainers must also complete continuing education to stay current and certified in the profession.

The Client Side

As a potential training client, if you join a gym and discover that the personal trainers might not be industry certified, find a gym with guaranteed certified trainers. If you are worried about the cost of a non-certified personal trainer to a certified one, think about the importance of your health. Should you get injured while working with an uncertified and unlicensed trainer, the costs will become more impactful to you. The best way to find a certified personal trainer at a cost that works for you is to shop around. The larger, commercial gyms will have certified personal trainers and proper insurance to protect you, the trainer, and the business. The cost to work with these trainers will more than likely be 50% or higher than working with a private personal trainer out of a smaller gym such as Gym One.

Online Coaching

The online coaching industry is still fairly new and going through a huge growth phase. Because of its rapid growth and unregulated industry, it tougher to know what you are getting. While manly online personas claim to have various credentials or certifications, unless they can prove it through a certification body such as the National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF) you might never know for sure.

There are many ways online coaches acquire new business – Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and websites seem to be the most common. How online coaching is conducted also varies. Unlike the personal training setting, online coaches rely on technology to work with their clients.

Some coaches provide basic programming using the shared capabilities of applications such as Google Sheets or training programming applications such as My PT Hub or PT Minder. Should the online coach want to be more hands on, applications such as Skype or Google Hangouts can be used so the trainer can watch and queue online.

The Client Side

When it comes to working out, you will need to find a workout space to support whatever your coach assigns. The costs for the actual online coaching services vary. To be competitive with in person training, you can find rates as low as $50 a consult. Most online coaches though charge a fee range. What all is included is difficult to tell unless you complete information and speak with the coach. Based on what is typically shared publicly, you get a program, nutritional support, and coaching as needed and based on your goals.

What to choose…

Personal Training might be best for you…

As a Trainer if…As a Client if…
You are a great motivator and like to push people in person
You prefer the hands on approach to training
Your personality is better experienced in person
You need someone physically present to help motivate you
You need hands on guidance to safely exercise
You need someone with you to comfortably move around the gym

Online Coaching might be best for you if…

As a Coach if…As a Client if…
You are ok being distant from your client
You are comfortable with clients working solo the majority of the time
You simply want to program and coach from wherever you are located
You can routinely workout, but lack a program
You are comfortable working solo in a gym
Are self motivated, but need occasional support or a check in

If you are interested in becoming a certified personal trainer or would like to partner with PFTA Austin to help educate personal trainers, we would love to hear from you!

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Finding and Working with a Personal Trainer

The following post was originally written by Keli Hay – one of the PFTA Instructors – a couple of years ago because she successfully lost over 100lbs in under a year while working with a personal trainer.

Back in 2017

Over the past few months, I have been asked about how to find a personal trainer because of how successful I have been with my health. While I have worked with various trainers over the years, I have been fortunate to be with the same trainer going on two years. There is obviously something very different about my relationship with my current trainer because I have never been this happy and healthy, and I never enjoyed working out at the gym before.

Where I Initially Went Wrong

When I joined the gym a couple of years ago, I simply knew that I wanted to lose weight and that I needed variety because I get bored in a routine. That was as much information as the membership advisor got from me.

The problem with this little information is that it doesn’t really help someone match you with a trainer. Why? It is too generic – anyone who is a certified personal trainer will get you moving to help you lose weight, but your success ultimately depends on you.

Know Which Personality Works Well for You

Here are my notes about why my trainer and I work very well together…

  • He’s a guy. Probably sounds funny to most, but I work best with men. I am guessing it is part of my competitive nature, but when I see a guy doing something, it gives me a mental challenge to not only do what he does, but push myself to do better. 
  • We talk. When I hurt – I tell him. When something isn’t working – I tell him. When I am frustrated with an exercise – he just knows. I have health issues – he knows them all.
  • He’s bringing the variety. We have completed over 200 training sessions together and every single one has been different. Other than one circuit we drop in occasionally as a test – he has never given me the same routine. Never! 
  • Personality. We are similar and have enough common interests that we can talk about different things in life – mainly sports, but also family and other interests.

Tips On What to Ask Yourself

  • If you are working with someone at the gym office, such as a membership advisor, to be paired with a trainer – be open, specific, and honest.
  • Think of your personal trainer as a business partner.
  • What type of person makes you happy? 
  • Do you want someone that is direct?
  • What do you not want?
  • What are you comfortable sharing with a personal trainer – and – would the gender of the trainer make a difference in your sharing comfort level?
  • Once you find a trainer, listen and talk to them. Seriously – do not be shy. Be honest with yourself – your diet, goals, and commitment. Share concerns so that the trainer can help you be successful in whatever your gym goals are.

Own Your Responsibilities

Personal trainers can only do so much. If you want to lose weight, they can get you moving. If you want to gain muscle, they can help you push and pull heavier weights. If you want to sustain general wellness, they can help keep you mobile, flexible, and stable. Personal trainers cannot follow you around or feed you. Anything you do outside of the gym, away from your trainer is on you – including eating, drinking, and anything else you put into your body. Regardless of your goals, nutrition is vitally important to your success. You must own this part of your business relationship with your trainer. As a team, when the trainer and client deliver, any goal is possible.

2018 and Onward

In September 2018, I moved from the Bay area of California to Austin, Texas. Before we even booked the movers, I went looking for a new gym and trainer. I seemed to have lucked out again and found a perfect match. While my city and fitness goals have changed, I have not. I know what I like and don’t – he’s getting to know that. I would say he knows my health issues, but thanks to my weight loss, they are few and far between. He’s delivering on the workouts, and I am owning my responsibilities to the collaborative fitness goals.

For information about the open enrollment for the June start of the Certified Personal Trainer course or any PFTA Austin workshops, contact:

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Certifying Personal Trainers In Austin

Last week, PFTA Austin was excited to announce the partnership with NCSF. We are still very pumped to bring this unique partnership to the Austin area and would like to tell you more about it.


Certified Personal Trainer

NCSF is now providing the backbone content to our Certified Personal Trainer course. In addition to the thorough content, students receive accounts with NCSF to the online education portal. Upon completion of the course, students also receive a voucher for the national exam.

To fully equip students for certification and success as personal trainers, PFTA Austin also provides students with copies of Strength Training Anatomy and Stretching Anatomy.

Finally, for the duration of the course, students also receive a gym membership at Gym One – the location for the hands on training portion of the class.


Sport Nutrition

NCSF is also the provider for the content to support a workshop on Sport Nutrition. Students attending this workshop also receive access to the online education portal and an exam voucher.


Strength Coach

NCSF is also the provider for the content to support a workshop on Strength Coach. Students attending this workshop also receive access to the online education portal and an exam voucher.


For more information about any of our upcoming courses, please contact:

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Calling All Personal Trainers!

PFTA is keeping busy in Austin! As previously announced, we are offering our updated, signature Certified Personal Trainer course starting in the month of April.


Also coming up in April, we have partnered with Brook Benton for Cardio Pump Kettlebell certification. If you are already a certified personal trainer looking for extra CEUs or simply want to know how to swing a kettlebell safely, this course is for you!


We are also pleased to announce that we are working on other courses for the month of May including:

  • Sports Nutrition Planning: In this course, students create nutrition plans to maximize the nutritional needs of various clients down to the fats, proteins, carbohydrate, and water macro level.
  • Program Design: In this course, students will split time between the classroom and the gym. Classroom time will be spent designing programs for different clients, while in the gym, students will have hands on practice leading clients through the designed programs.
  • Client Assessments and Engagement: In this course, students will be in the gym practicing face to face client interactions and initial assessments to help win clients and build a training business.

If any of these courses interest you or if you have any questions, we can be reached at:

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