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Posts Tagged ‘certified personal trainer’

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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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Standing Upright

At PFTA Austin, in addition to teaching students hands on learning with equipment in the gym, we teach students how to fix or correct common conditions that can lead to pain, discomfort, and injury.

Previously, we discussed the importance of breathing and how without a proper tight core, you can create repetitive strains and injuries.

Are You a Sloucher or Do You Stand Tall?

When standing or walking, does your posture look more like left or right Justin?

Ninety percent of personal training clients we meet, have a variation of upper crossed syndrome because of their daily activities. The majority of these people experience this syndrome because of working with technology – sitting at a desk or with a device in hand – for extended periods of time.

The Sloucher

In the image of Justin slouching, you can see how disengaged the posterior, or backside, is and the resulting effect on the body. If we had another angle, you might also notice knees and ankles turning in.

What Does it Mean?

Depending on the person, the results of a slouched body could include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Core discomfort including the ribs
  • Back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Upper body weakness
  • Knee pain
  • Foot pain
  • Lower body weakness

In addition to the items above, a sloucher is simply going to be prone to injuries. Injuries will occur because their backside is dormant and their core is weak. Anyone with this posture, will have difficulties doing basic things, such as getting up and down, picking things up, reaching, walking, or assisting others.

Standing Tall

In the image of Justin standing tall, his shoulders are pulled back and his chest is up, helping straighten his neck. His glutes and core are also engaged pulling his hips into neutral.

By making these changes while standing, Justin has taken the pressure off his anterior, or frontside. This change in posture means that his entire body is engaged. If he were to trip or lose his balance, he is less likely to strain a muscle or hit the ground because his body is not anterior dominant or dealing with a forward momentum situation.

How Can You Stand Tall?

If you happen to have a desk job, get up! Get a standing desk to straighten your hips, but also get moving. Find ways to stretch your chest, activate your back, and loosen up.

The Effect at the Gym

If you don’t take the steps to fix the poor posture, you are guaranteed to experience problems in the gym. While it might not be obvious, in addition to the back-focused exercises of rows and pull downs, your back is extremely important for the following exercises:

  • Shoulder press
  • Shoulder raises
  • Front raises
  • Chest press
  • Push ups
  • Bicep curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Front squats
  • Back squats
  • Goblet squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Planks
  • Step ups

Does this surprise you? If you think about the focus of an exercise and how the body is used, a strong back is required. For example, if you don’t have a strong back, how can your shoulders support weight above your body? If you don’t have a strong back, how can your rotator cuff act safely as a stabilizer for anything chest, shoulders, or back?

Notice the inclusion of the lower body exercises? Many lower body exercises involve placing weight on the upper part of the body or lifting it off the ground. If you don’t activate your back and core for squats, then you are likely to tilt forward and get injured. When executing a deadlift, if you don’t engage your back/lats to get the weight posterior focused, you run the risk of anterior strain because your chest is bearing the weight of the bar, pulling your shoulders and everything else forward.

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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Continuing Personal Trainer Education in Austin

When students complete their Certified Personal Training certification with PFTA Austin, we want to continue to help them succeed in their personal training careers.

As a result, we continue to improve ourselves and expand our educational offerings for the personal training community. We are excited to share that Keli Hay will become fully certified as a CPR/AED instructor next week with the American Heart Association. With this new certification, PFTA Austin will be adding monthly CPR workshops – stay tuned for the exact dates!

Provider for Continuing Education

In addition to the CPR courses, we are creating workshops to help personal trainers hone their skills in different areas. Where are these workshops coming from? We have created them based on our first hand experiences as personal trainers (working in corporate gyms and as private trainers) and from feedback in the field.

To make sure certified personal trainers receive credits for our workshops, we became an approved provider of continuing education with the National Council on Strength and Fitness. Our inaugural workshops are:

  • Client Assessments and Engagement
  • Program Design

If you are interested in becoming a certified personal trainer or are interested in our continuing education workshops, we would love to hear from you!

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Sharing A Passion for Training

Over the past few years, the health and wellness industry has continued to see an uptick in consumer spending. While the investing areas vary, the results are conclusive – people are starting to take better care of themselves.

With consumers investing $702.1 billion on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss and an additional $595.4 billion on fitness, personal trainers need to find their piece of the market.

Making Your Mark

On June 25th, PFTA Austin was proud to welcome Justin Mihaly and Megan Davis from Team Mihaly to the school to share their lessons learned with the upcoming graduates. If you haven’t heard of Justin and Megan, you might not be into body building or use online coaching. Since 2015, Justin has successfully built a very successful online coaching product and service. The company works with clients in 9 different countries and 50 states. 

Justin and Megan shared their previous life and work experiences contributing to their current successes. Additionally, Justin shared his beliefs around what makes a great trainer. Top of the list was passion. He believes, as we do at PFTA Austin, that you must love personal training. Whether that passion means helping create the perfect physique for competition, helping people lose weight, or simply helping people move better, you must have a passion for it. 

His second and third items on the list were knowledge and networking. In a previous post, we discussed how personal trainers must be self motivators and lifelong learners, so we were very happy to hear Justin reiterate the importance of continued learning. He also emphasized the importance of networks – whether it be in person contacts or networking groups.

Finding Partnerships

We really want to thank Justin and Megan for spending time with us at the school. As the health and wellness industry continues to evolve through technology and people continue to invest in their health, we want to make sure that all PFTA Austin graduates have the tools to succeed. 

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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Client Assessments and Engagement

PFTA Austin is proud to announce our inaugural workshop. On July 14th from 10am until 3pm we will be running the Client Assessments and Engagement workshop – split between the school on Shoal Creek Blvd and Gym One.

In this course, students will practice meeting with new clients and conducting fitness assessments. Starting in the classroom, students review and practice completion of client screening documents, including the informed consent, the Par-Q, the health risk appraisal, medical history questionnaire, the health status questionnaire, and the behavior questionnaire. With this collected information, students then discuss how to interpret the information and what to do with it.

After the screening documents are complete and the data analyzed, students move to the gym where they practice client fitness tests including resting tests – circumference and skinfold measurements, postural assessment, and flexibility tests. Upon completion of the resting tests, students then practice the other fitness assessments, including the strength and power tests (bench press and pull ups), endurance tests (push ups and modified pull ups), anaerobic tests (vertical jumps and power steps), and aerobic tests (1 mile walk and 12 minute run).

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

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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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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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