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Posts Tagged ‘personal training’

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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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Learning New Things

As the summer wraps up and school resumes, PFTA Austin continues to provide several courses and workshops for the personal training community.

If you are looking to become newly certified as a personal trainer, we have our signature Certified Personal Trainer class as follows:

  • Tuesday (classroom) and Thursday (gym) – 10am – 2pm – 12 week duration
  • Wednesday (every 3rd class in the gym) – 6pm – 10pm – 15 week duration
  • Saturday (every 3rd class in the gym) – 10am – 2pm – 15 week duration

Included with your course tuition are the following items:

  • 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.

If you are already certified and looking to augment your skills, we offer various workshops including:

NCSF Sport Nutrition
Client Assessment and Engagement
Program Design

Recently added to PFTA Austin are the American Heart Association Heartsaver courses. If you need to become certified or recertified in CPR AED or First Aid, reach out to Keli for more information!

For information about any of our courses or workshops, please reach out! 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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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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Nourishing Your Body Properly – Part 2: Carbohydrates

Of the three macronutrients – or macros – carbohydrates (carbs) are probably the least understood by most people. When trying to lose weight or cut calories most people immediately think they need to remove or reduce all carbs from their diet. Carbs are blamed for obesity and many health issues such as diabetes. In reality, when it comes to healthy eating and living, carbs are the most important part of the human diet.

The Importance of Carbs Not All Being Equal

Carbs are classified as simple (carbohydrate with less than 10 carbon/water units) or complex (carbohydrate with more than 10 carbon/water units).

Simple carbs are low in nutrients and fiber, making them quick digesting carbs. Because of the quick digestion, appetites aren’t satisfied for long so people want to eat again sooner, resulting in overeating. Simple carbs include: 

  • fructose – honey and fruit
  • galactose – part of lactose
  • glucose – blood sugar
  • lactose – dairy sugar
  • maltose – rare
  • sucrose – table sugar

Complex carbs contain more nutrients than simple carbs, are higher in fiber, and digest more slowly making them more filling, which is important in weight control. Complex carbs are also ideal for people with Type 2 diabetes because they help manage post meal blood sugar surges. Cellulose, glycogen, and starch (grains, wheat, and rice) are examples of complex carbs.

How Many Carbs Do You Need

NCSF recommends a daily carb intake of 55-60% of the diet, while NASM has a larger range of 45-65%. Most Americans average 40-50% carbs with half of those calories coming from simple carbs such as sugar. 

Diet Examples

When determining how many carbs you should be eating, there are many variables. If you know your daily caloric intake, then you simply need to work backwards and determine how many grams you should consume.

1600 Calorie Diet

Assuming a 50% carb-based diet, a person eating 1600 calories a day would consume 800 calories worth of carbs. There are 4 calories in 1 gram of a carb, so on a 1600 calorie diet, a person would consume 800 calories or 200 grams of carbs per day. A simplistic approach to breaking this down across the day would be splitting the carbs across 3 meals and 2 snacks, for 50g per meal and 25g per snack.

2500 Calorie Diet

Assuming a 60% carb-based diet, a person eating 2500 calories a day would consume 1500 calories worth of carbs. 1500 calories of carbs is equal to 375 grams of carbs per day.

Don’t Be Scared of Carbs

As previously mentioned, complex carbs are more nutritious and contain fiber helping slow digestion – helping in weight control. Carbs also help insulin levels for diabetics. If you want to be more active or already are active, carbs are the primary fuel source for intense work and are required for the formation of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is used by the central nervous system. Simply put, if you workout, you need carbs for energy. If you want to be healthy, you need carbs. You simply need to pick the right carbs.

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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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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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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