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AustinCertified Personal TrainerHealthPersonal TrainerPersonal TrainingWeight Loss

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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Squatting with a Ball by the Horns for Fun

PFTA Austin was very proud to host the CardioPump Kettlebell Certification workshop with Brook Benton this past weekend. While most students were PFTA Austin former or current students, we proudly welcomed trainers and kettlebell enthusiasts from the area. Thanks to Innovative Health & Performance Austin for providing us the perfect venue with plenty of water to keep us hydrated on a very hot and humid day.

Grab the Horns

Class was promptly started at 9am and by 10am we were up! Brook started the day by educating the class on the kettlebell components, the history of the kettlebell, and the various exercises. Then she got us all moving – all of us! From 10am – 6pm, we were actively moving for 5 of those hours. Yes 5. This course keeps you moving and gets your heart pumping! 18 students squatted, swung, pressed, cleaned, and moved kettlebells of various weights in many directions. Justin Wecker – already certified – helped coach various students, Tulio Garcia helped with some Spanish translation and coaching, and Keli Hay was an active participant becoming certified in the Kettlebell.

You Want Us to Swing that How?

If you have ever wanted to get a fantastic workout that hits on cardio/endurance and packs a punch with added weight – then grab a kettlebell and start swinging. Well – not right away. Find a workshop or a certified professional to help you safely move a kettlebell inside of a 360 degree area. This modality can not only be used in the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes, it can be used solo or as a pair to workout every muscle group and hit every joint. 

For more information about open enrollment for the Certified Personal Trainer course starting in June or any of our workshops, please contact:

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Setting Yourself Up for Success

The personal training occupation, similar to others, is what you make of it. What makes the profession somewhat distinct from others, is that personal trainers (PTs) must be self motivators and lifelong learners. Regardless of whether Its work in a public gym or as a sole proprietor, this job is an earned investment.

Personal Trainer versus Certified Personal Trainer

When deciding to become a PT, you can become certified or not. If you choose to not follow the path of certification, your employment options will be limited as will your client base. By-law or company policy, most gyms require PTs to have active national certifications. If you choose to work at a private gym or independent, you will require PT insurance, which also requires an active national certification.

Which Certification?

While there are various certification options, including NCSF and NASM, they all have a similar concept – trainers must recertify every couple of years. As part of recertification, trainers must earn and complete continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain their certification. A CEU in the world of training includes an active CPR/AED certification, time spent on the job, and various training options. The biggest investment for PTs is in the training options because these investments help shape the clients for the PT. For example, PTs can become certified in:

Money and Time

Many people become PTs because they “love working out, so why not get paid for it” – but they fail to realize the investment they are making. While many courses and CEU options are not very expensive, you need to plan for and set aside time to earn them. If you want to become a successful PT, then certification is the route to take to make sure you can work anywhere. The investment you make in the ongoing certification ultimately makes you a well rounded investment to clients that pay for you to help them.

For information about PFTA Austin, please contact:

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Understanding Movements Before Training

Every personal trainer has a unique approach to working with clients. As soon as trainers meet clients, the trainers need to learn many things about the person they are about to train. In addition to understanding client goals, they must take the time to learn how the client moves – regardless of prior client training.


Assessment Methods

The client assessment takes many forms and possibly many sessions to complete. The initial meeting with trainer and client typically includes non-exercise assessments and some form of movements. Depending on the condition of the client, additional movement assessments might be required.

Non-exercise assessments involves skin fold and/or girth measurements. The measurement selection depends on client comfort and goals.

Movements, or exercise, assessments consist of the following:

  • Cardiorespiratory tests, such as a 1 mile walk, a 12 minute run, and the YMCA bike test
  • Muscular strength tests, such as the YMCA bench press, 5 RM squat, and a pull up
  • Muscular endurance tests, such as push ups, modified pull ups, and curl ups
  • Muscular power tests, such as a vertical jump, a chair stand, and an anaerobic power step
  • Flexibility tests, such as the sit and reach, back scratch, trunk extension, and hip flexion
  • Movement tests, such as the overhead squat, single-leg squats, and a push/pull

Which To Use

Ultimately the assessment exercises selected are at the discretion of the trainer, however the client goals play a major factor. For example, an obese client focused on weight loss, doesn’t need to perform a 5 RM squat, but every client should be assessed for movement patterns using an exercise such as the overhead squat.


What to Look For as a Client

As a client meeting with a trainer for the first time, listen to the trainer, take notes, and feel free to ask questions. While trainers are experienced in what they are doing, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about what you are doing and why. If you are not satisfied with the trainer approach or have concerns, speak up or move on.

For more information about PFTA Austin, please 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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Perfecting Certified Personal Trainers Through Partnership in Austin

PFTA Austin is excited to announce our accredited partnership with the National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF) for certified personal trainers. 

What the Partnership Means to Austin

PFTA Austin believes the most successful personal trainers are not only nationally certified, but provided thorough hands-on training before working with clients. In this partnership, PFTA Austin and NCSF provide PFTA-enrolled students access to the best online resources and gym facilities at Gym One for hands-on training. Students completing the PFTA Austin Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) course receive more than just a weekend workshop of training. In this course, students complete over 60 hours of combined classroom and hands-on gym training covering everything on the NCSF exam from human and functional anatomy, to client assessments and program design.



About NCSF

NCSF is an international member-driven organization of exercise professionals headquartered in Coral Gables, FL. The NCSF board for certification oversees the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited credentialing programs and advocates on behalf of exercise professionals around the world. NCSF is a fantastic organization providing various course options and workshops in various cities.



About PFTA Austin

PFTA Austin is located in North Austin as follows:
Classroom training is held at:
8500 Shoal Creek Blvd
Building 2, Suite H
Austin, TX
78757

Gym training is held at:
Gym One
2545 Brockton Dr
Austin, TX
78758

For information about our upcoming courses, please contact :

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Getting Personal Trainer Certified in Austin

PFTA Austin is pleased to announce updates to the PFTA Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) offerings. The CPT course is our signature class providing classroom and hands on gym training to better prepare you for national exams. This course is designed to help you understand the human body and functionality, including working with people of various ages and health issues. You will begin by learning about human anatomy including the joint actions, primary movers, and exercises for various body parts. You will also learn about functional movements, the various systems that comprise the human body, and bioenergetics. After learning about the body, you will then learn about planning for clients including special populations, sports psychology, and nutrition. The understanding of clients will help prepare you for the next phase of program planning and design, as well as client health and fitness assessments. Finally, with an understanding of the human body and the various clients you might encounter, you will learn how to become a personal trainer in the fitness industry.

Continued Dates

We are continuing our current offerings of:

  • Tuesday and Thursday from 10am – 2pm
  • Wednesday 6pm – 10pm
  • Saturday from 10am – 2pm

Locations

Our classroom location is 8500 Shoal Creek Boulevard, Bldg. 2 Ste. H, Austin, TX 78757 where you can learn from our oldest instructor “Bones”!

For your hands-on gym training, we will be at Gym One located near Braker and Burnet in the Domain.

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

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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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