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What Does the COVID-19 Delta Variant Mean for Fitness Professionals and Facility Operators?

By Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
Faculty Member
World Instructor Training Schools

The murmuring of cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant has sounded the alarms of multiple public health agencies throughout the US in recent days. As of Tuesday, July 20th, the Delta variant represents 83% of new COVID-19 cases — which since the middle of July has averaged 32,837 new cases per day nationwide. Additionally, hospitalizations in that same span are up 35% from the week prior according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Delta variant’s ascension comes at a time as many of us are finally settling back to the settings in which were most comfortable working with our clients, athletes, and students.

Let’s first dispel some falsehoods about the Delta variant and provide fitness professionals and facility operators suggestions on how to remain open in light of its recent proliferation.

1. The Delta variant is more dangerous than COVID-19. FALSE.

Variants are mutations of a virus and festooned nomenclature, in this case Greek alphabet characters to differentiate them from the original virus (COVID-19 Alpha) and other forms. A hallmark of the Delta variant are pronounced spike proteins which make it easier to penetrate cells and gain entry into angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) which are found within the cells of the skin, smooth muscles, bronchial tract, and sebaceous and eccrine glands. Delta variant is highly transmissible and potentially more contagious than COVID-19 but no more dangerous.

(more…)

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What is the W.I.T.S Difference?

By Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
Faculty Member
World Instructor Training Schools

Whether you are a newly minted college graduate or returning to the classroom following a layoff, W.I.T.S. will help you pave a path to successfully entering the fitness industry through an assortment of evidence-based pedagogical measures.

  1. Unlike most fitness organizations, W.I.T.S. provides (30) contact hours of live instruction facilitated by an experienced fitness professional. Lectures are delivered in-person or virtually with practical sessions hosted in actual fitness settings, enabling students to learn and become confident with core tenets of personal training including interviewing, assessing, testing, training, and coaching clients.
  2. Faculty members are well versed in educational theory and engender self-directed learning environments within the classroom and in the gym — students are given greater autonomy complemented with subtle guidance from the instructor, which is conducive to active learning. This model contrasts traditional teacher-directed models in which the teacher dictates the exchange of knowledge and cadence at which it is delivered. For aspirant and nascent fitness professionals, knowing how and why and being able interpret complex scientific information and exercise training methodologies in non-technical language for clients is critical and these skills are gained through our self-directed learning environment.
  3. Research has shown that active learning is far more effective than passive learning — or merely being the recipient of information — in acquiring knowledge. Many of our faculty members employ the “E.D.I.P.” model to ensure competency of a given skill or subject area is established.

Browse the W.I.T.S Certifications and Stackable Skills


  1. Educate: Students are provided a background or historical overview or rationale.
  2. Demonstrate: Students are shown a process or procedures employing practical or real-world examples.
  3. Imitate: Students are asked to imitate the skill or iterate the knowledge shared with them.
  4. Practice: Students are encouraged to practice or apply said skills or knowledge until competency is achieved.
  5. Professional and life experience is leveraged to the students’ benefit. The adage of “life is the best teacher” aptly fits here. We all bring diverse and unique professional and personal experiences to the W.I.T.S. Personal Training Certification Course. A culmination of those experiences shaped you into the person you are today, likely congealed into the watershed moment needed for you to transition into or take a new step within the fitness industry and will undoubtedly influence your approach and interest areas, as you grow as a fitness professional.
  6. NCCA is the industry accepted standard but W.I.T.S. took it a step further to be the only fitness certification to have the practical skills exam accredited as well. None of the other fitness industry certifications has this credential in this area. Building out the infrastructure enables the W.I.T.S graduates and their employers to know that they can perform!
  7. Upon successful completion of the course, apply those credits towards a degree. The American Council of Education recognizes W.I.T.S. as an education provider. Students who complete the course and pass the certifying examinations are eligible to be granted (3) college credits than can be applied to an academic degree program.

Browse the W.I.T.S Certifications and Stackable Skills


Joe Giandonato

Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS has been a faculty member of the World Instructor Training Schools since 2010. Presently, Joe serves as an Employee Wellbeing Coordinator at the University of Virginia where he assists with the design, delivery, oversight, and evaluation of UVA’s comprehensive and award-winning employee wellness program, Hoos Well. Previously, Joe served as a Fitness and Recreation Specialist at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Manager of Health Promotion and Wellness at Drexel University, and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and Fitness Director at Germantown Academy. Additionally, Joe maintains adjunct faculty appointments at Eastern University and Chestnut Hill College where he teaches exercise science electives. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in education and is studying the role of physical activity on mental health.

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4 Things Only a Personal Trainer Can Do for Their Clients

yoga workout

With the fitness industry grossing billions of dollars every year by helping people improve their lifestyle and physical health, it is only natural that certified personal trainers have been more in demand in recent years than ever before. This is also because it has been observed that a personal health trainer program is more likely to help people achieve their fitness goals as opposed to self-training.

Even though there are multiple reasons why a personal fitness trainer is essential on the journey of health but here are a few of the most critical ones that you, as someone passionate about fitness, must know:

1. Catering to Personal Requirements

Everybody’s abilities and requirements are different when it comes to fitness training. For someone looking to bounce back after a severe accident, the fitness plan would be different than someone who wants to shed a few pounds. This is where a personal trainer comes in. With their knowledge and expertise, they cater to individual needs and make custom programs according to the client’s requirements.

2. Providing Nutritional Guidance

If someone is already familiar with the basics of fitness training, they might find themselves wondering, ‘why should I hire a fitness trainer?’. The fact is, every personal training certification involves an introduction to and a module on nutrition. This equips them with the knowledge they use to help their clients achieve fitness goals by incorporating the right nutrition into their diet.

3. Keeping a Track and Holding Accountable

Procrastination and a busy schedule make it hard for people to form healthy habits or a fitness routine. This is where a personal trainer plays their role. They hold their clients accountable for the missed schedules and routines and ensure that the client’s progress is being effectively tracked. For people who find it hard to break bad habits or beat laziness, a personal trainer is a huge help in setting practical short-term goals that are easier to achieve.

4. Motivation and Mental Well-Being

Physical health helps improve mental health and is a part of the recommended treatment for mental health challenges like depression. A good and well-trained personal trainer can help customize an exercise plan that positively impacts clients dealing with this situation. PTs are also a source of motivation for clients as they help them keep track of their lives and encourage them through tougher days.

These 4 points are the reason why you should hire a personal trainer rather than self-training if you want to achieve your fitness goals?

Contact the experts today and reach your goals faster than you think you can!

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What All Personal Trainers Should Know About Weight Loss

weight loss

If you are a certified personal trainer from a reputable training school, you might be aware of the tips and tricks involved in helping people drop down a few extra stones to get back to a healthier lifestyle. You must also be aware of the struggles that obese people face daily and the suffering that they have to face at the hands of society’s cruelty.

But if you are leading a personal health trainer program to make a difference in someone’s life, we advise you to go through the following article and keep these in mind during work hours.

1. Obese People Are Not Lazy

Contrary to how obese people are usually portrayed, obesity is not the result of laziness in most cases. In fact, it is a chronic condition that needs to be dealt with sensitivity and patience. Having a biased perception against people suffering from obesity can demotivate them and end up causing more harm than any good.

2. Weight Loss Might Be Harmful

Obese people who try to follow a very rigorous weight loss routine can end up causing very serious complications to their health. That is why we insist on getting help from someone who has personal fitness trainer certification and knows exactly what to add and subtract from a client’s lifestyle to help them shed weight without compromising on immunity.

3. Exercise Is Useful, but Upgrades to the Menu Are Necessary as Well

You could be making your client go through the best exercise routine, but you won’t achieve the desired results until you make some upgrades to their kitchen routine. And to make them as effective as you can, you will have to ensure that these are fun upgrades and not things that the client dreads or runs away from instead of embracing happily.

Obesity might have become a rising problem in today’s world, but with enough patience, coaching, and a little understanding, you can not only help someone build their confidence but also improve their lives by making them become a healthier, more active version of themselves.

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Increased Physical Activity Can Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

by Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a monoclonal antibody that targets amyloid beta, a chief constituent of amyloid plaque that is implicated in neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Though preliminary reports suggest hope in treating the devastating disease which has robbed 6 million living Americans of their dignity and independence, the drug’s approval has been vehemently debated on the grounds of spurious initial clinical trial data validating its potential efficacy. (more…)

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4 Reasons to Take the Leap and Become a Personal Trainer

gym workout in progress

Deciding on a career path that you have a passion for can be challenging for most people. You have to consider the level of interest you have, the long-term benefits of the profession, and whether or not you can pursue the career for a long time. For example, suppose you are one of the people who are passionate about their body’s fitness and try to lead a healthy lifestyle. In that case, you can change your passion into a highly rewarding career by becoming a personal trainer. But is it the career change that you need?

To help you decide, we have compiled the top 4 reasons why you should become a personal trainer, essentially making your gym your workplace.

1. Opportunities and Monetary Benefits

The continuous increase in the number of people facing obesity has given the weight loss industry a boom in recent years. Fueled by the need to live a healthier lifestyle, people seek the help of fitness trainers to help them stay active and lose weight. With this growth in the industry come career opportunities and an ever-increasing salary for the professionals in the field. And well, who doesn’t love some extra bucks, right?

2. Independence

Working as a personal trainer can give you the satisfaction of working on your own. This will not only help you become your own boss by setting a flexible schedule and timings, but it will also give you a sense of job security that is often missing when one works for somebody else. So you can pursue your passion for fitness and the ambition to build your own brand simultaneously by working as a PT.

3. Job Satisfaction

Working as a certified fitness trainer will allow you to make a difference in people’s lives and witness it firsthand. By working with people to help them improve their lives and achieve their goals, you will get a sense of job satisfaction that is missing when one works long hours sitting behind a desk at work.

4. Engaging Career

Being a personal trainer will allow you to have a career that doesn’t require you to sit long, strenuous hours behind a work desk, doing something that you are not even passionate about. Instead, it will prove to be an engaging career with an active and positive work environment, whether it is in a gym or outside in fresh air. Hence, along with the people you are helping, you will also be leading a healthier lifestyle.

With the freedom to choose when, where, and how you work, get a personal trainer certification from us today and let your passion guide you to success.

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Improve Mental Health through Physical Activity

By Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults (52 million Americans) is grappling with mental illness per the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aimed at addressing quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services related to substance abuse and mental illnesses.

The convergence of public health, economic, and societal crises in 2020 served as a watershed moment that inequality and disparities in resources exist, but more harrowingly that our country is panged by an illness significantly more widespread than COVID-19 and perhaps less reported than the common cold. (more…)

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An Update From The Director of Curriculum

Greetings everyone! I hope this update finds you well. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful for your dedication and perseverance to both your education and your clients. Fortunately, the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter each day, as more people become vaccinated and case counts decrease. Most states have begun to ease restrictions and fitness facilities across the US are re-opening their doors to eager people who are looking to shed their own personal “Covid-19” weight gain.

At W.I.T.S., we always aim to provide up-to-date and relevant educational programming for our students and post-pandemic life will provide us with a unique opportunity to introduce our newest certification program: Medical Fitness Specialist. This program will focus on identifying, programming for, and training clients with a multitude of chronic conditions, ranging from anxiety through cancer.

According to the CDC, nearly 6 in 10 Americans are currently living with a chronic condition and nearly 4 in 10 Americans are living with more than one chronic condition. We can also expect this number to increase in the coming months/years as a result of Covid-19 “long haulers” and the number of people newly diagnosed with conditions such as anxiety or depression increase. A key component in training these unique individuals is understanding the unique challenges and opportunities they present and this certification course will do just that!


Learn More About the Medical Fitness Specialist Certification


Medical Fitness Specialist Certification is a 30-CEC course that will spend equal parts studying core content (lecture-based) and learning hands-on approaches to training these unique clients (practical-based). When learning about each condition, students will learn about:

  • Basic pathophysiology
  • Common medications and interactions
  • Effects of exercise response and training
  • Recommendations for exercise training
  • Exercise program recommendations

We are extremely excited to offer this course and our developers are working diligently to get this course completed as quickly as possible while maintaining the educational standard you’ve come to expect from our coursework. Stay tuned for its release in May 2021!


Learn More About the Medical Fitness Specialist Certification


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Ultra-High Repetition (UHR) Training: Insights, Perspectives, and Programming Considerations

by Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
Faculty Member, World Instructor Training Schools

The events of 2020 have plunged many of us into the caverns of our deepest possible introspections — the way we evaluate our lives, purpose, and appreciate each waking moment is magnified. Amid the differences the mass media conveniently highlights to divide us and through our daily struggles in this volatile world, there is one common denominator among us — something that has served as our cornerstone — training.

The way we as coaches, athletes, fitness professionals, and enthusiasts view training has indelibly changed. One thing this year has taught our collective brethren is to be more resourceful and resilient than ever. Brick and mortar business models are now shifting to virtual mediums. Programming is now more flexible, not in the literal sense, but in the practical one, given the pre-emptive and seemingly pulsatile closures of gyms and fitness facilities, otherwise deemed as “non-essential” businesses.

Nowadays, much of my work revolves around instituting, delivering, and evaluating wellness initiatives within higher education, though I continue to support a small contingent of clients, including a handful of professional basketball players. Though an infinitesimally small sample of the population we serve, the adverse impact on their personal and professional lives is representative of those wanting to doggedly continue the pursuit of their training goals.

With limited to no access to facilities and most having a sparse collection of equipment at their disposal, their predicament forced us to establish a new normalcy through sustainable programming.

Enter ultra-high repetition (UHR) training…

At first glance, employing repetition ranges beyond (20) may have limited utility. And in traditional settings, performing exclusively higher repetitions may not favorably elicit adaptations in maximal or limit strength, however, UHR does warrant consideration in several circumstances beyond those rehabilitating from injury.

It has been well established that higher repetitions per set will tap into the oxidatively mediated Type I muscle fibers that are responsible for stability and motor control, thus providing an adequate stimulus requisite for activation.

However, those beginning an exercise program or returning from a long layoff, perhaps prompted by facility closures and limited access to equipment, could benefit from UHR training.


Add dumbbell training to your programming knowledge base


An experimental design consisting of circuit training sessions performed 3x weekly conducted over a period of (12) weeks involving repetitions as high as (36) per set, yielded considerable improvements in strength and body compositions among the training group [4]. Among untrained individuals, little differences in strength were realized upon completing 3x weekly sessions for (7) weeks for groups performing 3-5 repetitions, 13-15 repetitions, and 23-25 repetitions [9]. An earlier study involving untrained subjects demonstrated increased time to fatigue, maximal aerobic power, and significant improvements in muscular endurance upon completion of performing an (8) week battery involving a repetition range of 20-28 repetitions for two sets interpolated by one minute of rest [1]. Additionally, dual energy X-ray scans following 27 weeks of low-load, high-repetition resistance training revealed significant improvements in pelvic bone mineral density and accretions within the appendicular skeleton and lumbar spine [5].

Acutely, energy expenditure was found to be comparable between time matched sessions involving lower loads with higher repetitions and higher loads for lower repetitions [6]. Lesser loads representing 30% of 1RM, when brought to momentary muscular fatigue, were shown to educe acute myofibrillar protein synthesis rates comparable to 90% of 1RM among untrained, but active young men, when paired with immediate post-session protein enriched recovery supplement [3]. Performing repetitions to failure at 30% 1RM within an (8) week program evoked increases in physiological cross-sectional area of the lower thigh, or quadriceps (7.8%) similar to high load, repetitions to failure (8.1%) and high load, repetitions not taken to failure (7.7%) [2]. Comparable increases in muscle thickness were observed among groups of women engaging in either 30% 1RM or 80% 1RM over a period of six weeks [8]. And though Schoenfeld and colleagues (2015) illustrated improved strength among highly trained subjects performing a protocol of higher loads and moderate repetitions (8-12 repetitions), comparable increases in thickness of the elbow flexors and extensors and knee extensors were attained with lower loads and higher repetitions (25-35 repetitions) absent any deliberate nutritional modifications over (8) weeks [7]. As observed in multiple prior studies, muscular endurance significantly improved.

It can be speculated that the training intensity achieved in said protocols was sufficient to activate the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), an enzymatic protein that stewards muscle protein synthesis, which is a key determinant of hypertrophy.

Broadly speaking, training with higher repetition ranges builds and maintains the foundational work capacity required for more intense training as denominated by external load, volume, tonnage (load x volume), or density and permit for more frequent training, which in turn, permit enhanced muscle protein synthesis. Frequent training, absent circa maximal loads and attendant mechanical tension, is also more conducive to inter-session recovery since muscle soreness and taxation of the central nervous system are of little concern.

Below are some programming considerations:

  1. For injured persons, beginners, and those lacking relative strength, or proficiency with their bodyweight, and or limited proprioception, light dumbbells, household objects and canned goods with even weight distribution are recommended.
  2. If possible, bodyweight exercises should be performed as they enable a myriad of progression schemes: repetitions and sets (volume) and density and can also be performed intermittently. Bodyweight exercises, almost exclusively, are credited for sculpting Herculean physiques, including that of former Heisman trophy winner, Herschel Walker, who performed hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups daily.
  3. Bands also permit the execution of high repetitions sets while mitigating post-session and day after soreness. Bands accommodate the strength curve on exercises. Overload is experienced closer to the end of the exercise’s respective range of motion or “lock-out”.
  4. High intensity plyometric exercises, such as bounding, broad and vertical and other multi-directional jumps, and those intended to develop muscular power should not be performed in high repetition sets.
  5. Olympic lifts should not be performed in high repetition sets as technical execution and motor learning tasks take precedence over muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness.
  6. Though the loads may seem light from the outset, its prudent to adhere to progressive overload and not drastically increase volume or intensity arbitrarily and/or in subsequent training sessions. Also, limit training to failure to one set per training session and build up to one set per exercise performed, ideally the last set of said exercise.

Add dumbbell training to your programming knowledge base


References

  1. Campos, G.E., Luecke, T.J., Wendeln, H.K., Toma, K., Hagerman, F.C., Murray, T.F., Ragg, K.E., Ratamess, N.A., Kraemer, W.J., & Staron, R.S. (2002). Muscular adaptations in response to three different resistance-training regimens: specificity of repetition maximum training zones. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 88, 50-60.
  2. Lasevicius, T., Schoenfeld, B.J., Silva-Batista, C., de Souza Barros, T., Aihara, A.Y., Brendon, H., Longo, A.R., Tricoli, V., de Almeida Peres, B., & Teixeira, E.L. (2019). Muscular failure promotes greater muscle hypertrophy in low-load but not in high-load resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Mitchell, C.J., Churchward-Venne, T.A., West, D.W.D., Burd, N.A., Breen, L., Baker, S.K., & Phillips, S.M. (2012). Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 113 (1), 71-77.
  4. O’Connor, T.E. & Lamb, K.L. (2003). The effects of Bodymax high-repetition resistance training on measures of body composition and muscular strength in active adult women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 17 (3), 614-620.
  5. Petersen, B.A., Hastings, B., & Gotschall, J.S. (2015). Low load, high repetition resistance training program increases bone mineral density in untrained adults. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 57 (1-2), 70-76.
  6. Rustaden, A.M., Gjestvang, C., Bǿ, K., Hagen Haakstad, L.A., & Paulsen, G. (2020). Similar energy expenditure during BodyPump and heavy load resistance exercise in overweight women. Frontiers in Physiology, 11, 570
  7. Schoenfeld, B.J., Peterson, M.D., Ogborn, D., Contreras, B., & Sonmez, G.T. (2015). Effects of low- versus high-load resistance training on muscle strength and hypertrophy in well-trained men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29 (10), 2954-2963.
  8. Stefanaki, D.G.A., Dzulkarnain, A., & Gray, S.R. (2019). Comparing the effects of low and high load resistance exercise to failure on adaptive responses to resistance exercise in young women. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37 (12), 1375-1380.
  9. Weiss, L.W., Coney, H.D., & Clark, F.C. (1999). Differential functional adaptations to short-term low-, moderate-, and high-repetition weight training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 13 (3), 236-241.
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Medical Fitness Specialist Certification – Prepare for the Future

Author – Pamela G. Huenink, MS, EP-C

Are most of your clients healthy with no underlying conditions? Most likely no. In fact, the majority of your clients probably have at least one risk factor that puts them at a higher level for complications and restrictions with normal physical activity and exercise.

The increase in the incidence of disease has risen astronomically over the past 15-20 years. Many factors have played into this, such as a decrease in daily movement (usually because of the use of technology), increased portions sizes, bad health and wellness choices and even the lack of nutrition in our consumable whole foods. This has taken the previous fitness field as we know it and started to push it into a new direction: medical fitness.

A classic personal trainer certification teaches you the basics to assess, program and progress workouts for what we are told is the average client, but that healthy person is no longer the average client. So how do you prepare yourself as a personal trainer in this new developing area of medical fitness?

We all know that if we could take the effects of exercise on the human body and put it into a pill form, there would be no need for half of the jobs in the medical and fitness world.

The American College of Sports Medicine has long used the phrase Exercise is Medicine (EIM). Their EIM global health initiative “encourages physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans and to refer patients to evidence-based exercise programs and qualified exercise professionals. EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity promotes optimal health and is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions.”

World Instructor Training Schools (W.I.T.S.) has always been committed to providing the most up-to-date training for our personal trainers. Their new Advanced Medical Fitness course is bringing the medical fitness world to your doorstep and giving you the skills necessary to work with the new average client who may suffer from one of many underlying health conditions. This course will give you the knowledge to work with these clients and take referred patients from medical professionals looking to incorporate activity into their patient’s daily life. Your knowledge from this class can also protect you legally due to your ability to provide an increased safe workout environment.


Learn more about the Medical Fitness Specialist Certification


The following topics will be covered in depth in this course:

  • Exercise Is Medicine in Chronic Care
  • Basic Physical Activity and Exercise Recommendations for Persons With Chronic Conditions
  • Art of Clinical Exercise Programming
  • Art of Exercise Medicine: Counseling and Socioecological Factors
  • Approach to the Common Chronic Conditions
  • Chronic Conditions Strongly Associated With Physical Inactivity
  • Chronic Conditions Very Strongly Associated With Tobacco
  • Cancer, Significant Sequelae Related to Common Chronic Conditions
  • Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Prepare yourself for the future with this Medical Fitness Specialist Level I Certification that puts you a very large step above the rest of personal trainers! The MFS Level II Certification with more in-depth coverage of disease and chronic conditions will be available in the Fall of 2021.


Learn more about the Medical Fitness Specialist Certification