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You Finally Got Your Personal Trainer Certification: Now What?

Getting your personal trainer certification is a big step toward a bright future as a fitness professional. Studying for and passing your exam and getting CPR certified demand a lot of time and effort, but certification is just the beginning. To make the most of your personal trainer certification and turn it into a sustainable career, you need to take some additional steps toward professionalism. 

Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Certification Professional holding a clipboard

5 Steps Toward Becoming a Successful Certified Fitness Professional

The following five steps will get you started on the right path toward a successful career as a Certified Personal Trainer:

  1. Get hands-on experience: Some newly certified trainers already have a background in fitness. Some have academic degrees in exercise science and related fields, and others have backgrounds in athletics or bodybuilding. Whether you have a background in fitness or not, working with clients requires additional skills. Consider enrolling in the W.I.T.S. internship program. As an intern, you gain experience working one-on-one with clients, and you get a glimpse of the fitness business from the other side of the front desk. 
  1. Purchase Liability Insurance: Physical activities of any type come with inherent risks for injury. While the benefits of fitness activities outweigh the risks, there is always the chance that something can go wrong. Even if you work in a gym or studio that provides coverage for its employees, it is wise to protect yourself with additional insurance. The good news is that liability insurance for personal trainers is remarkably inexpensive. After all, an important part of your job is to protect your clients from injury, so the risk is relatively low. Follow this link to find affordable liability insurance.
  1. Form an LLC: A legal liability corporation (LLC) is a legal entity that protects business owners and their families from lawsuits, creditors and other business liabilities that may arise. Unlike a sole proprietorship, with an LLC, only the assets of your business are at risk — your personal assets and those of your family are protected, should your business fail or fall on hard times. An LLC is easy to form and inexpensive to register. There are many online resources to help you form an LLC. 
  1. Define your niche: There is nothing wrong with taking on a broad range of clients, but narrowing your niche can help you establish a solid reputation as a fitness expert. Certain clients may be outside your scope of expertise, while focusing on a specific population can enable you to grow professionally while having a positive impact on the lives of your clients. Youth, older adults, pregnant and postpartum women, body builders and figure competitors — the list goes on and on. Choose your niche and grow a robust clientele to promote your business. 
  1. Establish your brand: Once you establish yourself as a certified fitness professional,  expand your client base and cement your expertise by branding yourself online. Professional posts on social media, a professional website and Facebook page and maybe even a YouTube channel are great ways to reach an ever-growing audience and expand your business. Use your imagination to create a solid brand image that reaches the masses. 

Find Your Niche and Build Your Fitness Career

Build your skills and knowledge and become a top personal trainer. Choose from any of our professional fitness courses for skills training and certification:

Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders today, and build your career as a fitness professional on a solid foundation.

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Nutritional / Dietary Certifications

Recently I had a club owner ask for assistance as he reviewed all of the Nutrition and/or Diet Certifications out there. He is looking to qualify his 100 plus trainers to provide nutritional counseling to clients.  Here is my response to him, which is what I have always believed. I hope this helps clarify the limits of your true scope of practice as a Certified Personal Trainer.

 

“Thank you for reaching out to us.  We do not have a dietary certification, nor do we intend to go down that path.  I realize there is a lot of money in it for both of us, and it is tempting to offer a Dietary Certification like a lot of other groups.  The reality is that Dietary Counseling is not truly in our industry’s wheelhouse.  We do have all kinds of nutritional workshops available with respected authors, to help educate trainers to work with all age groups.

“My reasoning is based simply on staying in our respected professional lanes.  Dietary Certifications from other groups are treading into illegal waters with weight loss credentialing, in my opinion.  There is huge liability in acknowledging trainers as credible prescribers of diets.  A Nutritional Certification is really out of the realm of a personal trainer’s scope of practice. It gives trainers false hopes of knowing  exactly what to do with a client in this area.  

“What we all should do is to network with Registered Dietitians who have the depth of knowledge and official license to be safe and effective.  Teaching trainers superficially to know just enough to prescribe a diet is dangerous.  I would respectfully share that it can get them/you sued.  There are so many variables to consider when prescribing a diet which include medications, medical issues, herb use by the clients and much more.  That is why a Registered Dietician is the safer business choice.  At that point you can network with many of them and send clients back and forth for the best results for the client.  

“Bottom line is that Registered Dietitians are not fitness professionals and they need you as much as you need them for clients’ results and business growth.

“I hope we can network and talk soon on many levels.

Jay”

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Lifecycle of a Personal Trainer: the high cost of low skills training

At one time, personal trainers had the coolest job around, and anyone who had their own personal trainer was ranked among the beautiful people. It was also a lucrative and viable career path for fitness professionals who had enough knowledge and charisma to attract well-heeled clients and help them reach their goals. 

That all changed when gyms began to put the hammer down on freelancers and hired their own trainers at low wages, keeping the lion’s share of revenues for themselves. Over time, that business model all but destroyed personal training as a sustainable career path and caused gym owners to shoot themselves in the foot with a costly cycle of employee training and turnover. 

The below infographic illustrates the typical Lifecycle of the average personal trainer:

Lifecycle of a Personal Trainer

The High Cost of Turnover

Low conversions, low client retention rates, dissatisfied customers and high trainer turnover all cost gym owners enormous amounts of money each year.

These important metrics should be applied to evaluate the performance of any gym’s personal training program:

  • The annual turnover rate for personal trainers runs between 80-90% on average: the optimal employee turnover rate is 10% or less.
  • The minimally acceptable sales conversion rate is 40%, and the optimal rate is 70%. To calculate this metric, divide the number of conversions by the number of prospects a trainer has pitched.
  • The optimal annual client retention rate is 80-90%. Divide the number of clients lost by the number retained.

Ironically, most gym owners don’t bother to track these metrics, and many are unaware of them. For trainers, having quantitative performance metrics would empower them to self-evaluate and monitor their own job performance. Yet in most cases, trainers have no idea what good job performance looks like. 

Factors Contributing to Trainer Turnover

Many people pursue a personal training career because they have a true passion for fitness and want to share it with others. Yet the actual demands of the job can quickly erode a new trainer’s enthusiasm, especially if they don’t feel valued or get the necessary training and support to succeed. 

Factors that contribute to high trainer turnover include:

  • Inadequate job training and poorly defined performance criteria
  • Erratic scheduling, with long hours and split shifts
  • Low pay, with minimal opportunities for advancement
  • Pressure to sell with inadequate sales training and support
  • Burnout from overtraining

The Importance of Skills Training

Most new trainers are hired based on academic credentials, or on a particular brand of certification. Yet during the screening and hiring process, critical skills training and experience is often overlooked. 

This problem partially stems from an antiquated business model that is still applied today. In the early days of fitness clubs, back in the 1970s, very few employees came to the table with any type of credentials or experience, and skills training took place on the job. In most cases, senior employees were responsible for training new hires. Then, as now, gym employee turnover was high.

The old-school model no longer works for several reasons: 

  • Personal training was not offered as a service by most gyms until the early 2000s, but the business model was never updated to include this new employee demographic
  • The job of Personal Trainer demands much higher levels of knowledge and skills than the fitness advisor of old
  • Personal training is a substantial revenue generator, and demands more attention from management to reach its potential
  • Asking a senior trainer to help on-board a new hire imposes an inherent conflict of interest, since trainers often compete for new clients

 

It makes sense to hire new trainers who already possess knowledge, skills and experience. Doing so will increase conversions, elevate client retention rates and reduce costly employee turnover, resulting in higher profits. 

Skills Training for Personal Trainers

If you are serious about building a successful and sustainable fitness career, don’t cut corners on your certification. Get the support, knowledge and hands-on experience you need to succeed with a fitness certification from W.I.T.S.

Advantages of a W.I.T.S. certification include: 

  • Fully NCCA accredited: The only practical skills competency exam in the industry, along with our written exam.
  • Recognized by employers nation-wide: Graduates that perform!
  • Available in colleges, universities and online.
  • Taught by qualified and experienced industry professionals.
  • Internship program available to cement your skills.
  • Friendly customer service and support.
  • Online continuing education at your fingertips.

Find Your Niche and Build Your Fitness Career

Build your skills and knowledge and become a top trainer. Choose from any of our professional fitness course for skills training and certification:

Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders today, and build your fitness career on a solid foundation.

 

 

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Personal Trainer Certification: Why Skills Training Matters

Not all personal trainer certification programs are alike.

Imagine needing emergency surgery to have your appendix removed. The hospital staff assures you that the attending surgeon has a degree from a prestigious Ivy League school, which happens to be the alma mater of the hospital’s surgical director. You feel at ease as the anesthesiologist prepares your IV. But just as you’re getting drowsy, the nurse comments that your procedure will be the doctor’s very first foray into the operating room, since he earned his degree online. 

Of course, this scenario is unlikely — although not totally unheard of — in the medical arena. Surgeons go through years of study, practical skills training and supervised practice before they are allowed to take the lead in a major operation. Sadly, that is often not the case with personal training. 

Personal Trainer Key Skills

Many people think that a personal trainer’s only job duties are to teach exercise, preach about nutrition and keep clients motivated. But a personal trainer’s key skills encompass much, much more. 

Here are just a handful of important personal trainer skills that require hands-on learning:

  • Record keeping and business management: Personal trainers have a lot of information to keep track of: client records, progress charts, workouts, account history and much more! Most certification programs fail to touch on this.
  • Conducting and interpreting each client’s health history: Personal training clients come to us with a plethora of health conditions and a broad range of medications. It is essential that you are able to ask the right questions and know how to interpret and use this information to protect your client and yourself. 
  • Measuring and monitoring vital statistics: It is impossible to accurately measure heart rate and blood pressure without hands-on experience, with a variety of different subjects. Online certification programs cannot help you with this.
  • Conducting standardized fitness assessments: Standardized fitness assessments for strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness give us a baseline against which we can measure our clients’ progress. This is another skill that requires hands-on practice and experience, which you cannot get online. 
  • Personalized goal-specific client programming: The secret to becoming a successful personal trainer is being able to help your clients reach and exceed their goals. Learning the basics of goal-oriented programming is an essential skill that requires hands-on practice.
  • Teaching proper exercise form and execution: There is a lot more to an effective exercise program than picking up weights and putting them down again. As trainers, we need to cue our clients on correct alignment and perfect execution, to prevent injury and attain desired results. 
  • Injury prevention and management:  Any type of physical activity comes with inherent risks. As a trainer, it is your job to teach your clients to exercise safely, and to provide guidance and support throughout each session. These are hands-on skills that cannot be learned from a textbook or video. 
  • Lifestyle counseling: Every client brings their own unique lifestyle history to the table. As trainers, we work with our clients to identify negative lifestyle behaviors and help them make better choices. Role playing gives you essential skills for communicating with your clients, in ways that help them evolve, without making them feel judged. 

How to Get Skills Training 

Sadly, the majority of certification programs do not equip you to apply practical skills as a trainer.  Most are self-study programs that certify you once you pass a written online test. Imagine walking into your new personal trainer job, being assigned a client on your first day, and not having a clue about how to proceed. 

Imagine walking into your new personal trainer job, being assigned a client on your first day, and not having a clue about how to proceed. 

Busy studios and big box gyms provide minimal training for new hires. They most often throw you into the fray, and let you sink or swim. As you can imagine, this leads to high turnover and a lot of discouraged and disillusioned trainers who spent their hard-earned money to get certified. It also leads to dissatisfied clients, and hurts our industry as a whole. 

World Instructor Training Schools is the only certification program that teaches and conducts research-based testing for personal trainer practical skills. 

Skills Training for Personal Trainers

If you are serious about building a successful and sustainable fitness career, don’t cut corners on your certification. Get the support, knowledge and hands-on experience you need to succeed with a fitness certification from W.I.T.S.

Advantages of a W.I.T.S. certification include: 

  • Fully NCCA accredited: The only practical skills competency exam in the industry, along with our written exam!
  • Recognized by employers nation-wide: Graduates who perform!
  • Available in colleges, universities and online
  • Taught by qualified and experienced industry professionals
  • Internship program available to cement your skills
  • Friendly customer service and supportOnline continuing education at your fingertips

Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders today, and build your fitness career on a solid foundation.

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Personal Trainer Certification: Your Top 10 Questions Answered

If you have been thinking about beginning a new career as a certified personal trainer, you probably have a lot of questions. Before making a commitment and spending money on a certification program, review theses answers to the most popular questions about personal trainer certification:

  1. Do I need a degree in exercise science to be a certified personal trainer?

    Although there are one or two certification providers who require a degree, most do not have an academic prerequisite.

  1. Am I too old to become a personal trainer?

    You can become a personal trainer at any age, and provide valuable services to people who need you. W.I.T.S. trainers range in age from late teens to late seventies. It’s never to late to make a positive difference in the lives of others. 

  1. Do I have to be super fit to become a personal trainer?

    Trainers come in all shapes and sizes, and not all have bulging muscles or a defined six-pack. Some of the best trainers have struggled with obesity, disability and health issues. They often have amazing testimonials and find it easy to empathize with their clients. A side bonus of working as a trainer is the opportunity to improve your own fitness. 

  1. How much money do personal trainers make?

    The national average according to fitness industry surveys is $29 per hour.  Obviously that amount varies by city and state, with some earning higher wages and some lower.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for Certified Personal Trainers and Group Exercise Instructors is $19.15 per hour. For some odd reason, they combined the two jobs into one statistic, even though personal trainers typically make much more.  In fact, many trainers who become business owners or independent contractors earn 6-figure incomes!!

  1. What is the job market like for personal trainers?

    To quote the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of Certified Personal Trainers and Group Exercise Instructors is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.” Gyms, studios and individuals are always looking for competent and professional trainers.  That shared, most certification programs qualify a trainer with a only a written exam. Inadequate training in part accounts for the  80% turnover rate in some gyms. In other words, in most clubs, if 10 Certified Personal Trainers are hired today, 8 of them will be out of a job in a year.  Written-only testing does not prepare most trainers for long term success. You need practical skills training as well.

  1. Do personal trainer jobs have benefits?

    Many employers, especially big box gyms and studio chains, offer a benefits package. 

  1. How long does it take to become a certified personal trainer?

    Many certification programs are self-paced, self-study programs that offer no structure, support or deadlines. You simply register to test when you are ready. W.I.T.S. offers live professionally taught courses at colleges and universities nationwide, along with online programs. All our certification options offer interactive support from qualified instructors. Our live classes include 5 weeks of labs and lectures, plus on-site testing, for a total of 6-7 weeks.

  1. How much does it cost to become certified as a personal trainer?

    Certification programs vary in price, but you can expect to get what you pay for. W.I.T.S. offers competitive prices with easy payment options. 

  2. Will I be ready to start working right after getting my personal trainer certification?

    If you do a self-study program and pass a written test, you will not necessarily be ready to work, and you will most likely need additional training. W.I.T.S. is the only NCCA Accredited certification with BOTH  a hands-on practical skills component and an internship option. Once you are certified, you will able to walk into any job, ready to work.

  3. Which personal trainer certification is best?

If you are serious about building a successful and sustainable fitness career, don’t cut corners on your certification. Get the support, knowledge and hands-on experience you need to succeed with a fitness certification from W.I.T.S.

Advantages of a W.I.T.S. certification include: 

  • Fully NCCA accredited: The only practical skills competency exam in the industry, along with our written exam!
  • Recognized by employers nation-wide: Graduate who perform!
  • Available in colleges, universities and online
  • Taught by qualified and experienced industry professionals
  • Friendly customer service and support
  • Online continuing education at your fingertips

Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders, and build your fitness career on a solid foundation.

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Personal Trainer Certification: 5 Things You Can Do NOW to Prep for Fall Classes

Fall is just around the corner, and that means back to school for kids and grownups alike. If you have been thinking of getting your personal trainer certification, now is the time to sign up for fall personal trainer courses! If you are already enrolled, don’t wait for the first day of class to dive in. 

Here are 5 things you can start doing today, to set yourself up for certification success:

  1. Hit the Gym: Leaning into your own workout is a great way to get your head in the game. Do some mental role playing to think about how you would explain each exercise to a new client. Think about the science beneath the surface as you do cardio or lift weights. 
  1. Pay Attention: While at the gym, take time to observe. Watch other members and evaluate their exercise technique. Pay attention to gym regulars and learn new exercises. Observe personal trainers in action as they work with clients.
  1. Crack Open Your Textbook: There is a lot more to personal training than just exercise. You need to understand core scientific principles and how they apply to programming. Reading up before class will help you grasp the challenging stuff as it is presented. 
  1. Access Other Resources: If reading isn’t your thing, search for key concepts online. YouTube has thousands of videos featuring everything from exercises, to workout tips, to science. Kahn Academy is an amazing free resource that breaks down scientific principles in an easy-to-understand way. 
  1. Start Spreading the Word: It’s never too early to build a client base. Tell your friends and family about your plans for an exciting new fitness career. Start searching the web for fitness trainer jobs. Talk to prospective employers about internship opportunities. Begin planning for your future today!

Ready, Set, Grow!

If you are looking for the best personal trainer certification, W.I.T.S. tops them all. After completing the course, our graduates are ready to walk into fitness trainer jobs across the United States and start making money. 

Benefits of a W.I.T.S. Personal Trainer Certification include:

  • Live classes at local colleges and universities
  • Qualified faculty with actual industry experience
  • Hands-on labs to prepare you for personal trainer jobs nationwide
  • NCCA accredited curriculum
  • Dozens of continuing education courses to keep you growing in your career

What are you waiting for? Join our W.I.T.S. family of fitness professionals and start living your dream!

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Does It Really Matter Which Fitness Certification You Get?

The answer is YES!

For most fitness professionals, national fitness certification is the first step toward launching a  successful career. Yet a simple web search will render dozens of certification programs with a broad range of credentials and requirements. Other important factors vary as well, including cost, investment of time, and recognition by potential employers. 

But while all those things deserve consideration, the most important question you should ask yourself is, “Will this program prepare me to succeed in the long run?”

What it Takes to Succeed as a Fitness Professional

Most personal trainers and group fitness instructors start out as fitness enthusiasts who know what a difference a fit and healthy lifestyle can make. We want to share our love of fitness with others and transform lives while working in a field we love. Yet only a handful of newly certified fitness trainers will attain long-term professional success. This is where your certification program makes a difference.

In order to succeed in the fitness industry, you need a solid foundation. A good certification program will provide: 

  • In-depth knowledge of core scientific principles of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and nutrition
  • A solid overview of key training principles and their applications
  • Exposure to tools for health screening and assessment
  • Knowledge of how to work with various populations
  • Basic principles of goal setting and programming
  • Hands-on practice to apply what you’ve learned

As you can imagine, learning and grasping foundational fitness skills takes more than just a weekend workshop.

More Than Just Exercise Programming

Some aspiring fitness professionals assume that working in fitness mostly entails prescribing and overseeing a variety of exercises. But training itself is only a small piece of the equation. 

Whether your client is trying to lose weight, improve their health or train for competition, it all begins within. It is up to the fitness trainer to identify obstacles, strengths and shortcomings, and help clients overcome physical, mental and emotional barriers to success. This often means in-depth communication, program planning and revision, and motivating your client to stay the course. 

Working as a fitness trainer also requires certain business and sales skills to maintain records, satisfy existing customers, and bring in new clients. 

Traits of Top Fitness Professionals

In addition to hard skills and knowledge, fitness trainers need to possess certain personality traits; 

  • Love of learning and a desire to share your knowledge
  • Empathy for the needs of your clients
  • Ability to show “tough love” to help clients succeed
  • Organization skills for programming and record keeping
  • Commitment to helping your clients reach their goals

While certain traits can be cultivated, it takes a lot of work and dedication to meet the needs of your clients and help them reach their goals while managing your business. 

To Be the Best, Choose the Best!

If you are serious about building a successful and sustainable fitness career, don’t cut corners on your certification. Get the support, knowledge and hands-on experience you need to succeed with a fitness certification from W.I.T.S.

Advantages of a W.I.T.S. certification include: 

  • Fully NCCA accredited
  • Recognized by employers nation-wide
  • Available in colleges, universities and online
  • Taught by qualified and experienced industry professionals
  • Friendly customer service and support
  • Online continuing education at your fingertips

Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders, and build your fitness career on a solid foundation. 

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Debunking Physical Activity and Training Myths

This blog post is courtesy of our guest blogger, Dr. Sheri Colberg. 

How often have you heard certain things about physical activity and exercise training that you thought sounded correct, but found out later were totally wrong? If you hang out at a gym or even talk with training coaches, you’ll hear just about everything, including contradictory statements about the right ways to stay active.

Should you work out in a “fat burning” range? Will weight training make you bulk up? Will your muscles turn to fat if you stop working out? Do you need to eat a lot more protein to get bigger muscles? Confused? Here is the truth about some of the more common myths you’ll hear about being active.

Myth: Exercising regularly makes you more tired.

Although you may feel somewhat tired during a workout, once you’ve recovered, you usually feel more invigorated, not less. Doing any regular physical activity is guaranteed to raise your overall energy levels and make you better able to undertake life’s challenges. If you’re having trouble concentrating at work or getting too stressed, it helps to take a short walk or do any type of physical activity to clear your mind, bump up your energy levels, and decrease your mental stress. Doing regular physical activity also helps you sleep better at night, leaving you more refreshed and energetic during the day.

Myth: If you want to lose fat, you have to work out within a “fat burning” range.

Exactly what is the “fat-burning” range you see on a lot of aerobic exercise machines? You have to understand which fuels your body uses during rest and exercise. Typically, during rest 60% of your energy needs are supplied by fat (stored or eaten), with the other 40% coming from carbohydrates. As soon as you start to do any type of physical activity, though, carbs become a much higher percentage of your total energy supply. In fact, when you’re doing just moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking, you’ll use very little fat, so you’re burning mostly carbs, even when you’re in a so-called “fat-burning” range. During more vigorous exercise, your body can’t use fat effectively, so almost all energy is supplied by carbs when you’re working out hard. You do use slightly more fat at a lower intensity, but fat is mostly used during your recovery from exercise, so just try to expend as many calories during exercise as possible without worrying about what types of fuels are supplying them.

Myth: When you don’t use your muscles, they turn into fat.

Have you ever looked at someone who used to be fit and thought that his or her muscles had really turned into flab? While there is no discounting the change in appearance, it is physically impossible for inactive muscles to turn into fat. What is really happening is this: when you work your muscles out regularly, they may increase in size or simply look more toned; if you stop using them, the muscle fibers will atrophy and disappear—similar to what happens to many people with aging. As your muscle mass decreases, your caloric needs also decrease, and if you don’t start eating less, you’ll gain fat weight that is stored under your skin (among other places). The reverse is true as well. If you drop body fat, your muscles will look more defined simply because there is less fat to cover them up. The bottom line is that it is never good to lose muscle mass, but if you don’t gain fat weight as you lose muscle, you’ll just look thinner without acquiring a flabby appearance.

Myth: Weight training will bulk you up.

This myth probably arose because you may look bigger as your muscles expand with heavy weight training. Women are especially worried about bulking up and getting bigger arms or legs. Remember how losing muscle can make you look thinner if you’re not gaining fat at the same time? Well, the same applies here, only in reverse. If you’re losing fat all over (including from under your skin) while you’re gaining muscle mass, you’ll stay about the same size. If you gain muscle without losing fat, you may look slightly bigger, or simply more toned. Either way, most people don’t gain enough muscle from weight training to ever look bulked up. More likely, you’ll just look more toned. When you first start exercising, your weight may go up slightly or just not come down as quickly as you think it should, simply because as you gain muscle while losing fat, the heavier of the two (muscle) will keep your scale weight higher. Focus less on your scale weight and more on your measurements and how well your clothes fit.

Myth: No pain, no gain.

If you’ve ever hung around a gym, you’re sure to have come across this myth. The “pain” part of exercise results from the build-up of acids in active muscles (like lactic acid), and acids drop the pH of your muscles and sensitize pain receptors. Usually, it’s just a sign that you’re working hard or that your muscle is fatiguing. However, you can certainly have gains in your strength and endurance without pushing yourself to the point of pain in the process. The more fit you become, the more easily your body can clear out those excess acids produced by physical activity. Too much pain can also signal that you’re likely to get injured.

Myth: Lifting weights slowly builds larger muscles.

Remember how we just debunked the “no pain, no gain” myth? If you try lifting weights more slowly, you’ll certainly feel the pain, but it absolutely doesn’t mean that your muscle or strength gains will be greater. On the contrary, lifting weights slowly when you could lift them faster will build more muscular endurance, while lifting the heaviest weight as quickly as possible will recruit extra muscle fibers and cause you to build bigger muscles. So, the rule of thumb should be that if you are lifting a weight slowly, but could lift it faster, you either need to move it faster or try a heavier weight for optimal results.

Myth: Working on your abdominal muscles will give you a flat belly.

You’ve probably always heard that if you want to get rid of that stomach flab, you have to do a lot of abdominal work, but don’t be fooled into believing that. As much as we’d all like to pick and choose where we lose our fat, it is not possible to spot reduce, and doing hundreds of crunches will not make you lose stomach fat any faster than you lose it from the rest of your body. If you want a flat belly, you can certainly work on toning up your abdominal region, but focus more on simply burning off excess calories. Doing harder workouts will also build more muscle, and having more muscle increases your daily caloric needs. One side benefit of including abdominal exercises, though, is that having toned abs makes it easier for you to pull in your stomach so it appears flatter, even if you can’t spot reduce there.

Myth: The more exercise you do, the better off you’ll be.

There is a limited benefit to anything, and that includes excessive exercise. When you do more than 60 to 90 minutes of aerobic exercise daily, you’re much more likely to develop overuse injuries—such as stress fractures, tendinitis, bursitis, and other joint issues. You don’t want to get injured because you will have to stop working out while you heal. You are better off doing slightly more intense exercise for a shorter period of time, which you can do with any type of interval training (including some of the latest crazes like HIIT and CrossFit). You can push yourself a bit harder from time to time during a workout, or do the whole thing at a higher intensity if you can, while cutting back on your duration—and you will gain the same benefits, or even more, from your workout. Most of us don’t have time to work out all day anyway, so it’s good to know that we really don’t need to.

Myth: If you want to gain muscle mass, eat more protein.

Ah, yes, the protein myth. It is true that you have to eat some protein to gain protein (muscles are made of amino acids, the building blocks of protein). And, yes, physically active people do need more protein that sedentary folks, but not that much more. In fact, no training athlete needs more than 1.6 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (~0.75 grams per pound), which is just twice that of a sedentary person. Does that mean you need to take protein supplements or up the protein in your diet? Not usually. Most Americans already eat well over 15% of their calories as protein: about 75 grams of daily protein in a 2,000 calorie diet (or 112 grams per 3,000 calories), more than enough to cover protein needs. Taking in some protein (especially whey) with carbs right after hard workouts may be beneficial, but make sure your protein is coming from good sources without a lot of extra saturated or trans fats. Instead of spending money on supplements, try eating more egg whites or drinking chocolate milk post-exercise.

Myth: If you’re not sweating, you’re not working hard enough.

Everyone equates sweating with working hard, but that isn’t always the case. People vary in their sweating rates. Being physically trained improves your ability to sweat more and to start sweating sooner, but men always tend to sweat more than women. Sweating is related not only to exercise intensity, but also to the environment. If it’s hot and humid, you’re going to sweat more, even if you’re not working hard. You will also sweat less if you’re dehydrated or lose too much fluid while you’re working out, as your body has mechanisms to limit fluid losses to keep enough in your blood. So, sweating is often not reflective of your effort level.

Dr. Colberg is a renowned expert on diabetes and nutrition. To learn more about working with diabetic clients, check out “Essentials of Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes: Overview Program”, available in the W.I.T.S. store.

Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, is the author of The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes: Expert Advice for 165 Sports and Activities(the newest edition of Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook), available through Human Kinetics (https://us.humankinetics.com/products/athlete-s-guide-to-diabetes-the), Amazon (https://amzn.to/2IkVpYx), Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere. She is also the author of Diabetes & Keeping Fit for Dummies. A professor emerita of exercise science from Old Dominion University and an internationally recognized diabetes motion expert, she is the author of 12 books, 28 book chapters, and over 415 articles. She was honored with the 2016 American Diabetes Association Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award. Contact her via her websites (SheriColberg.com and DiabetesMotion.com).

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Why Fitness Certifications Matter, and how to get the most out of yours

Every year, thousands of college-bound high school seniors compete for a limited number of spots at prestigious schools, hoping to leverage that prestige to get a high-paying job upon graduation. Similarly, thousands of aspiring personal trainers and group exercise instructors become certified each year, hoping their credentials will open doors to a gratifying and lucrative fitness career. 

wits personal training

But in both cases, the name of your accredited institution only takes you so far. Once you land your dream job, you had better hope that your education prepared you to perform the day to day tasks your position requires. 

Bridging the Experience Gap

One of the biggest challenges to beginning a new fitness career is the experience gap. Employers are rarely willing to take a chance on a new hire who needs hours of training before they can step into their work role. In the case of fitness jobs like personal trainer or group exercise instructor, it is not enough to be passionate about fitness. You need to be able to translate that passion into useful skills that help your clients and students safely reach their goals. 

Most online certifications, even those whose reputations hold some clout, provide you with plenty of head knowledge, but when it comes to practical skills, you are on your own.

Practical skills needed to be an effective fitness professional include:

  • Experience conducting health history interviews and needs assessments
  • Experience conducting fitness assessments
  • Knowledge about fitness equipment and how to adjust it for each client
  • Ability to assess and correct alignment and exercise mechanics for a variety of fitness levels and body types
  • Knowledge of programming, to create effective balanced exercise sessions or group exercise classes
  • Communication skills for group exercise and personal training

If your fitness certification does not provide you with practical skills training, you will face a huge learning curve when it comes to job performance, and most fitness employers do not provide on-the-job training. They are looking for confident experienced employees who can step into the job on day one and perform like pros. 

What Gym Managers Say About Fitness Certifications

To get the employers’ perspective on hiring and certification, we spoke to some managers and business owners of local fitness clubs and studios. We asked them about what they look for in a new hire, and the importance of certification, Here is what they had to say:

“Certification in general is important, but we also look at the certifying body. There are certain certifications that demand in-depth knowledge, and others that are basically diploma mills. Even if you have an exercise science degree, your choice of certification says a lot about your commitment to your profession.”  -Tiffany, Fitness Director

“We have been hiring W.I.T.S. certified trainers for years, because they not only know about the science of fitness, but they have been trained to perform on the job. That saves us money in the long run, because the employee is more likely to succeed on the job and become a long-term staff member. Training and turnover are two big costs for any employer, so we are very selective when it comes to new hires.” -Scott, General Manager

“It’s one thing to be into fitness and know how to put together a workout for your friends. It’s another thing to be able to work with unfit clients of any age and any body type, and help them reach their goals. A lot of new trainers do okay with younger clients who just have a few pounds to lose, but they don’t know what to do with, say, an older person or someone with serious health issues or disabilities. We love W.I.T.S. trainers and instructors because they come from diverse backgrounds, and they know how to work with a broad range of clients.”-Stacey, Fitness Studio Owner

Getting the Most from Your Fitness Certification

If you are thinking about becoming a certified fitness professional, ask yourself these questions before selecting your certification program:

  • Does the certification program include lectures and workshops taught by qualified instructors, or is it all self-study?
  • What subjects does the certification course cover? Does it include foundational science, programming, injury prevention, special populations and communications skills?
  • Is there a hands-on practical skills element that teaches hard job skills?
  • Is the certification program accredited by educational bodies like NCCA, American Counsel on Education, IACET and other recognized organizations?
  • Does the certification program provide opportunities for internship and job placement?
  • Does the certification program offer relevant continuing education?

If you are already certified, think about how you can leverage your certification to make the most of your fitness career:

No More Excuses

Getting W.I.T.S. certified is one of the best career decisions you can make for a bright and lucrative future as a fitness professional. Our easy payment plans and options for live or online learning eliminate time and money constraints, and our friendly staff is here to support you every step of the way. So what are you waiting for? Stop making excuses and step into your future as a W.I.T.S. certified fitness professional TODAY! 

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10 Reasons You’re Not Making Enough Money as a Personal Trainer

When you first became certified as a personal fitness trainer, you were excited to share your passion for fitness and the benefits it brings, not just to your clients’ health, but to their overall quality of life. But for many newly certified trainers, getting career traction can be a challenge. Big box gyms often underpay, or can guarantee only part-time hours, and striking out on your own can make huge demands on your time and financial resources. 

Yet, the demand for personal training is high, and continues to grow. If you really want to pursue your dreams of success as a fitness professional, consider some of the common reasons trainers don’t make enough money to succeed. 

  1. You’re focused on the money: This one is tough, because it’s hard NOT to think about money when you are trying to establish your career. Nevertheless, many trainers scare away clients by focusing on the money instead of the benefits. Stay focused on analyzing and meeting your clients’ needs, deliver amazing results, and watch the money roll in!
  1. Your thoughts are self-limiting: When you decided on a fitness career, you may not have considered the business end of the equation. Many novice trainers are dismayed at the need to sell themselves to potential customers. Others fear they cannot make it as an independent contractor. The truth is, if you think you cannot do a thing, you are right. Take time to identify self-limiting thoughts and attitudes, and work to overcome them. 
  1. You’re not managing your business: This goes hand-in-hand with #2: as a personal trainer, it is imperative to keep accurate records, monitor your clients’ session packages, regularly re-evaluate their progress, and review their goals. To put it simply, there is a lot more to personal training than the actual training sessions. Step up your business game, and you will see your profits increase. 
  1. You lack self confidence: Let’s face it, the competition for personal training can be stiff. Colleges and universities turn out thousands of newly degreed job candidates each year with advanced degrees in exercise science. To build your own confidence, keep your certification current, take continuing education courses, and think about working toward more advanced credentials. Learn everything you can, and leave your competition in the dust. 
  1. You work for low wages: As mentioned earlier, big box gyms and smaller training studios often underpay their trainers. Basically, you do all the work, and they reap the rewards. In addition, many trainers who take on private clients grossly undercharge. This is largely driven by fear (see #4 above), but undercharging or undercutting the current market rate will hurt you in the long run. In the eyes of many clients, your session fees reflect your value as a trainer. Low-paying clients are more likely to skip sessions, meaning they don’t get results. Clients who invest in training have more skin in the game, and they are more likely to reach their goals and buy more sessions. 
  1. Your clients are not seeing results: At the end of the day, the fitness business is, and always has been, about results. Successful clients are your best advertising, and if your clients are not reaching their goals, that is negative advertising. Hold your clients’ feet to the fire, review goals regularly, change what’s not working, monitor food and activity logs, and use behavior contracts to keep your clients moving forward to remarkable results. 
  1. You lack professionalism: Personal training is considered a high-ticket luxury item by many clients, and they expect a lot of bang for their bucks. That includes professional conduct and appearance on the part of the trainer. Good grooming and hygiene are fundamental. Clean sharp-looking fitness wear, clean athletic shoes in new condition, and showing up for sessions on time, prepared and organized, are all elements of your professional image. Step up your professional game, and step up your income!
  1. You’re staying in your comfort zone: In case you haven’t heard, you cannot grow without facing and overcoming obstacles. In fact, “no pain, no gain” is the mantra of our profession. To make more money, you may need to take on challenges and obstacles that are over your head, take risks on opportunities that do not guarantee  success, and be willing to fall flat on your face. Take the advice you give to your clients every day, and push yourself beyond your comfort zone to get the results you desire. 
  1. You’re not seeing the big picture: It may be difficult to imagine yourself making large sums of money as a personal trainer, but you have to look at the big picture. Personal training opens doors to one of the hottest industries in history. Online training, group training, celebrity training, niche training, athletic training…the sky’s the limit! Use your imagination, keep your eyes open for opportunities, and create the career of your dreams!
  1. You need more education: Knowledge is power, and in the fitness business, it can mean the difference between success and failure. Lucky for you, W.I.T.S. has everything you need to succeed, right at your fingertips! Check out our current offerings:

Making more money as a personal trainer is completely up to you. Work hard, help your clients get results, keep your head in the game, and we’ll see you at the top!