Certified fitness trainers must have a complete understanding of human anatomy and physiology, exercise science, and nutrition.
The field of nutrition is constantly evolving, with new research emerging daily. In this Nutrition category we discuss the science and practice of food consumption in relation to human health, growth, fitness, wellness, energy, and weight management.
How to Keep Your Body’s Fuel Tank Full
What should you eat when you finish a workout? Anyone who has done any weightlifting to build muscle would answer that protein supplementation is the way to go. However, what if you just completed an aerobic/cardio workout? Is protein going to provide your body with the fuel it needs to recover successfully from that type of workout? In addition, can you eat that fuel at any point during the day? Or does it need to be right away after your workout to get the full benefit?
When we work out, our muscles use its stores of glycogen to give them the energy they need to keep doing the “work” we ask them to do. When those glycogen stores are used and gone, the body needs energy replenishment. Most people have been taught from unreliable sources that you must replenish these energy stores with high amounts of protein after every workout, no matter the type of workout. While increasing protein intake when attempting to build muscle and decrease body fat levels is beneficial, there is a level of protein intake that becomes detrimental to health with long-term use. A 2013 study posted on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website, states that “the adverse effects associated with long-term high protein/high meat intake in humans were (a) disorders of bone and calcium homeostasis, (b) disorders of renal function, (c) increased cancer risk, (d) disorders of liver function, and (e) precipitated progression of coronary artery disease.” Yikes! So, what amounts of protein intake is useful to our bodies without becoming unhealthy?
Let’s first that a look at how to recover from different types of workouts. To keep it simple, we will look at cardio workouts and resistance training workouts. When you have done a cardio workout; your body needs to restore those glycogen stores, which comes from carbohydrates you ingest. Now let us be clear: it’s not a candy bar or a sugary drink. Its complex carbohydrates – aka healthy carbs. Eating a diet that is higher in fat and low in carbs will mean that you cannot workout as hard when you do a more intense workout. Carbs are your friend and allow you to work harder and more efficiently! The amount you need to aim to ingest within one hour after completing your cardio workout is 3-5 grams of complex carbs for every kilogram of body weight. (Weight in pounds / 2.2) Eating this amount within that one-hour window ensures that your body is using the energy optimally to help with recovery and replenishing glycogen stores. If your steady-state cardio workout goes long than an hour, increase the grams of complex carbs per kg of body weight to 6-8 grams.
When you do a resistance-training workout, you will still need to eat carbohydrates, but protein will help with the rebuilding of muscles and decreasing of soreness. Protein is the building blocks of your body so you do need to eat them, just not in excess to cause long-term health issues. The recommended amount of protein is 1.2 -2 grams of protein per kg of body weight (see above paragraph to convert weight in pounds to kilograms). Again, getting this level of protein into your body within one hour of finishing that resistance workout will be extremely important to help your body recover optimally and decrease soreness. If you are a protein shake person, make sure to look for a shake that does not contain many fillers. Look at the nutrition label – the less the amount of listed ingredients, the more clean the protein shake will be – allowing your body to absorb the protein more efficiently. Otherwise, eating meat with lower amounts of fat will work just as well!
If you want to see results as “quick” as possible, helping your bodywork optimally during a workout is going to be one of the best ways to hit those goals. Replenishing the needs of your body after different workouts will do that and help, you keep moving along the path to seeing results.
By Pamela G. Huenink, MS, EP-C, W.I.T.S. Faculty
Basal Metabolic Rate and Calculating Your Recommended Daily Caloric Intake
We’ve all heard the saying: “Workout More. Eat Less.” While that can be an effective way to see results for improved health and weight loss, a lot of people have no idea what eating less means; very frequently a person has no idea how many calories they need to eat on a daily basis.
Did you know that at the core of your body’s functions, you need calories to keep it running? Yes, you actually need calories to keep your heart beating, your digestive system functioning and your brain to keep on thinking and monitoring what you are actually doing! This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR.
When you do not get enough calories or you eat below your BMR, you will start to see some issues occur, like an inability to concentrate, issues with your digestive system or constantly feeling fatigued. In the long run, you will develop a lot more serious problems all the way up to losing function of some basic life-supporting systems. Not eating enough can actually kill you over time!
So how do you figure out how many calories your body needs to keep functioning on a daily basis? Here’s an equation to use to figure out your BMR:
For Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
For Women: BMR = 665 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Every activity you do while awake adds to your need for overall calories on a daily basis. Even sitting at a desk and typing burns calories, though not a lot of calories! (More than when you are asleep though!) Simple Activities of Daily Living or ADL’s add to the calories you need for the day. Here is a simple way to compute that total caloric amount to maintain your weight:
|Activity Level||Examples of Activity/Exercise||Equation|
|Sedentary||Sitting, Watching TV, Reading, Driving, Cooking, Ironing, Typing, Playing Cards||BMR x 1.2|
|Lightly Active |
|Cleaning, Golf, Yoga, Gardening, Walking 2.5-3.0 mph, leisurely biking||BMR x 1.375|
|Moderately Active |
|Cycling, Tennis, Dancing, Weight Lifting, Baseball, Raking, Walking 3.5-4 mph, hiking||BMR x 1.55|
|Very Active |
|Basketball, Soccer, Climbing, Hiking with a load, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)||BMR x 1.725|
|Extra Active||Physically demanding job, Working out 2x/day or more at higher intensities||BMR x 1.9|
Example: BMR X moderately active
1303 x 1.55 = 2,019 calories/day to maintain weight
For a simpler way to calculate both BMR and your overall recommended daily caloric intake, please visit ExRx.net’s Estimated Calorie Requirements Calculator.
On this website, you will enter your weight, height and age, as well as what you do for every hour of the 24 hour day. The best way to do this is to start with how long you are asleep, then walk yourself through a typical day, listing what you do for every single hour you are awake. Use the descriptions on the page to divide up your day. Once you hit calculate, your BMR, Activity and Total Calories will be computed for you.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that the minimum amount of calories a day that a person should eat is 1200 calories for a woman and 1800 calories for a man. Any less than this amount is very hazardous to your health. Dropping about 500 calories, less than your recommended intake to maintain your weight will result in about a healthy 1-pound loss per week. If you are sedentary, it will be significantly more difficult to lose weight since you must still eat enough calories to keep your body functioning. Adding in activity on a daily basis can help ensure that you are able to decrease your caloric intake within a safe level.
By Pamela G. Huenink, MS, EP-C, W.I.T.S. Faculty
10 Training Courses and Specializations To Focus On As a Personal Trainer
To stay relevant in the fitness industry, one has to keep up with the client’s requirements and the changes in the industry. Personal trainers are at a higher risk of losing clients if they don’t attain the latest qualifications. That’s mainly because a lot of clients like to try the latest fitness trends. When Pilates workout routines went viral on social media, many people jumped on the trend and hired professionals to help them get started.
The same goes for every trend in the fitness industry. Clients want dynamic trainers that can handle all of their needs. While learning complex forms of workouts like Pilates isn’t easy for busy trainers, they can expand their expertise beyond regular fitness training by taking courses and specializations that give them more credibility.
Here are some of the courses you can take as a personal trainer to grow your business and gain more clients.
Who Is a Personal Trainer?
In simple terms, personal trainers are instructors that help people accomplish their health and fitness goals. Trainers are responsible for designing exercises and fitness programs such as workout routines, understand nutritional choices and helping clients set long-term fitness goals. These goals are there to help clients become better versions of themselves physically. These goals can be related to weight loss, muscle gain, toning, strength training, and health management.
The reason people prefer personal trainers is because trainers can pay attention to the individual needs of a client and develop fitness plans based on their strengths and weaknesses. All of this makes it easier for clients to achieve their fitness goals which would not have been possible without trainers. Moreover, trainers plan routines based on their client’s needs.
Some clients are fitness enthusiasts who need extra training, while some need basic exercises to help them get started. Commonly, personal trainers can incorporate different exercises in their planned routines. On the other hand, some trainers are specialists, such as bodybuilding specialists or sports nutritionists, who only work within their field.
The Benefits Of Getting Specializations
Getting specializations in new fields of personal training opens many doors of opportunities for personal trainers. You’ll be able to offer various services to your clients, turning first-time clients into loyal customers.
For example, if you specialize in nutrition, you can assist clients with specific dietary requirements. This makes it easier for you to cater to clients with different medical and nutritional needs. Apart from that, you’ll also get a better salary, because people generally pay more for specialized services.
Knowing multiple forms of workouts enables you to create routines for your clients, mixing different forms of exercises. This is especially helpful for senior clients and those with special medical needs. Similarly, you may be approached by athletes to either train them to help them maintain their strength through nutrition or performance enhancement workout routines.
Some Popular Courses and Specializations
The fitness industry is quite broad and diverse, meaning there’s a specialization course for everything. Depending on your background, you can go for medical fitness and nutrition, or if you’re into weight loss, you can specialize in training and toning programs designed to help clients lose weight healthily. Or you can help bodybuilders and enthusiasts with weight training and core strengthening exercises.
In a nutshell, there are countless specializations and specializations within them to help you move forward in your career. Here’s a list of some of the most common and general courses you can enroll in.
Group Fitness Instructor Course
For some clients, the idea of working with a group of people with similar goals seem to be more appealing. It helps them interact with others and feel less insecure about their current fitness state. As a result, these clients hire group exercise trainers. This is because they monitor individual progress and performance and plan exercises that fit each member’s needs. Group exercises can include regular fitness workouts to yoga, and Pilates.
You may ask why you need certification to train a group when you already know the exercise? Managing a personal trainer group is different from simply getting a few people to exercise together. Trainers need to learn how to monitor individual members’ health, progress and figure out how to incorporate new exercises that help everyone.
Weight Loss Specialization Course
Social media and influencer culture motivate people to lead a healthier lifestyle. This includes losing weight and slimming down, but most people don’t know how to lose weight healthily and resort to poor dietary and eating habits that harm their health and do nothing to help them lose weight. Connecting with Registered Dieticians with a degree speciality can help these clients lose weight while staying healthy.
These trainers are educated on different aspects of weight loss, such as the client’s health, diet, B.M.I. ratio, and ideal body weight. These aspects help them design nutritional plans while considering the medications and such for their clients. The result is that helps them lose fat and build their muscles.
Health and Nutrition Course
Health and nutrition courses use a holistic approach to help different clients attain a better lifestyle. The course teaches trainers how to improve and change their client’s nutritional habits and compel them to make better and healthier choices. These training lessons are also great for trainers dealing with clients with chronic health issues or allergies. These trainers ensure that their clients incorporate healthy eating and workout habits into their lifestyles. Sometimes, they work in the capacity of wellness coaches to help their clients achieve a healthier body and mind.
Corrective Exercise Specialization Course
Injuries that result in bad body and muscle movements require trainers that can help correct these defects. These trainers need a deep understanding of anatomy to apply the right techniques to fix their client’s movements and imbalances. As a trainer, you’ll need to assess the health and extent of movement of your client and develop exercises and stretching techniques that help them relieve pain and improve their condition.
These exercises improve the client’s mobility and posture.
Bodybuilding Specialization Course
Bodybuilding is one of the most popular fields in the fitness industry after weight loss. In the past, bodybuilding was mainly preferred by males, but women have taken a keen interest in the mainstream bodybuilding industry. A lot of trainers get female clients, but the problem is that they need different training and diet to build muscles.
As a result, many institutes have developed courses that help trainers give the best training to male and female bodybuilders, keeping in mind their physical requirements. Bodybuilding specialists are in high demand because there are a lot of risks involved in achieving the desired muscle mass.
Youth Fitness Specialization
If you like working out with kids or are interested in improving children’s health, then this specialization might be for you. Children are at a higher risk of developing health and fitness issues that stop them from living their lives to the fullest. The number one emerging issue with today’s youth is obesity. Early-stage obesity in children can cause many lifelong adverse effects on their health.
However, the main issue with kids is that they need a dynamic approach. The one size fits all formula doesn’t apply to them. Their growth and health are different from each other, and that’s why youth fitness instructors are trained to understand these things and improve children’s health.
Senior Fitness Specialization
Just like kids, seniors also need customized fitness and health care depending on their unique needs. Senior fitness is an emerging market dedicated to keeping the aging population healthier and more active. Many senior people have started to join gyms to remain healthy.
However, the problem is that most gyms are not equipped with the proper tools to help them. Senior fitness trainers can help the older population remain fit by assigning them modified exercises that benefit their health. They need to make sure that the exercise doesn’t cause heart or blood pressure issues in seniors or any further health problems.
Strength Conditioning Specialization
This area of specialization is mostly preferred by athletes and serious sports and fitness enthusiasts, the kind of people that want to improve their strength and performance. While the market for this specialization is still developing, the trainers get a handsome payout for their services. A lot of pro sports companies hire these trainers to train their athletes and help them deliver peak performance through constant exercising and training.
That’s not all! Many personal trainers serve as strength conditioning coaches for people as well. These are the people who want to increase their mass muscle ratio without considering bodybuilding and weight training. So endurance and strength conditioning is their next best option.
Fitness Management Course
A fitness management course like the one offered by W.I.T.S. Education is a great way for a trainer to expand their business and manage their employees. This course is for those who don’t want to do all the training by themselves, but rather by hiring fitness specialists.
Other than that, lots of gyms and fitness institutes have many branches that need management. Fitness managers can work at those places as well. They work behind the scenes to ensure that all the operations run smoothly and their clients are satisfied with the services. These managers also deal with any mishaps and issues between the clients and trainers. Fitness managers are also responsible for hiring new trainers and handling client registrations.
Sports and Exercise Nutritionist Course
Sports nutrition is a field that has gained a lot of traction in the past few years. Sports nutritionists are in great demand, especially by agencies managing pro sports athletes. Each athlete needs a specialized diet to fulfill their calorie requirements. But the issue is that each type of sport has different dietary requirements, and nutritionists must understand them and then devise diet plans.
As a sports nutritionist, you’ll get a chance to work with and train many top and upcoming athletes to ensure that they stay in their best shape and form for their tournaments. Since this is a relatively new field, the pay for being a nutritionist is quite high.
Work Opportunities For a Personal Trainer After Specialization
Personal trainers with multiple specializations can work in different settings to train their clients. The more specializations a trainer has, the more diverse their line of work becomes. Normally, beginner trainers start out as apprentices to already established trainers. They work in their institutes and gyms to train their clients and gain further experience.
Once they have a bit of experience, they can start taking up bigger responsibilities or can start working on their own. These days, personal trainers are taking advantage of the internet and offering online and in-person lessons to their clients all over the world.
Sometimes, personal trainers can work as specialists and coaches depending on their specializations. For example, there’s a dire need for medical fitness to keep athletes in top shape, and senior fitness experts are also high in demand to help keep them active.
Recently, youth fitness has become an emerging field for trainers as well. Due to the popularity of social media and the influencer culture, lots of people are hiring personal trainers to help them attain toned bodies like their favorite influencers. All of these things give trainers many opportunities to make their mark in the fitness world and generate a steady source of income.
Are you struggling to find reliable courses to further your career in the fitness industry? Check out W.I.T.S. Education.
We are a fitness training institute that offers a number of courses related to health, fitness, and management. Our courses include Certified Personal Trainer Course, Youth Fitness Course, Group Exercise Instructor Course, and Fitness Management course. Each course is specifically designed to give you the necessary skills as well as to keep you updated with the latest developments in the fitness world.
The best thing about our courses is that they are hybrid in nature. You can take virtual ‘LIVE’ lessons as well as in-personal training labs. For college students, our N.C.C.A. accreditation system allows them to transfer credits from the course to their degree program.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.
What does Dosha have to do with Exercise?
As a personal trainer, you will hear all kinds of excuses from people as to why they can’t lose weight, gain muscle with weight training, or stick to a workout plan. And sometimes your response will be an internal eye roll along with the thought, “here we go again!” But hold on a second because sometimes their excuse is actually valid.
Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and believes that energy systems called doshas govern physiological activity. There are three doshas – Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. We encompass all three systems but usually have one predominate system and sometimes a close secondary. For example, I am a Pitta with a Vata secondary.
The cool thing is that as trainers, we can use someone’s dosha to guide their nutrition and workout programs. As it relates to exercise, most trainers that love working out with weights are Pitta body types. It makes sense because a Pitta Dosha needs to pump some iron to be healthy. A Pitta is like a Mesomorph – they build muscle easily. However, if you are training a Vata body type (think Ectomorph) and you start overloading them too quickly (or in some cases, at all), they can start to feel sick, get injured, feel discouraged and quit.
Here is a breakdown of body types and the best type of exercise for them. A Vata needs more zen-like exercise to be healthy – yoga, tai chi, brisk walking, biking, martial arts, and dancing. A Pitta does well with weight training, circuit training, biking, hiking, swimming, tennis, climbing, and skiing. A Kapha (Endomorph) needs to work up a good sweat and does well with aerobic activity such as brisk walking, jogging, running (if their joints are healthy and they don’t have too much extra weight on them), spinning, dancing, circuit training, and rowing.
Browse these courses on sport and exercise nutrition.
As I mentioned before, most people will have a primary and a secondary. You may think the primary is easy to discern based on their body type, but this may not always be accurate. You may think someone who is carrying a lot of extra weight is a Kapha, but if they were thin children and only gained the weight later in life, they could be a Vata or a Pitta who just needs to lose some weight. A true Kapha will be those people who say they have always had trouble with their weight, even as young children. You may think that someone extremely thin is a Vata but could possibly be someone with an eating disorder and that someone muscular is a Pitta but could possibly be taking steroids. It is always best to have them take a dosha quiz.
If you figure out your clients’ doshas, you can tailor a workout that will excite them, get them results without injury, and keep them motivated. Using myself as an example again, I love to be in the weight room, and I thrive with that style of workout. However, having a Vata secondary, I know that my Pitta can become imbalanced which leads me to being highly driven with an energy level that can sometimes be way out of balance. In order to balance that high energy, I need to add some Vata elements into my routine so I have a balance of Pittas. I do this by regularly taking slow, meditative nature walks and taking an occasional yoga or dance class.
Check out a video I did on this subject at www.rhondahuff.com, Videos, Chapter D and you can find a cool Dosha worksheet that you can use with your clients in my book, Healthy Living From A To Z: The Guide To Finding Who You Really Are & Feeding Who You Were Created To Be which can be purchased on the website or, along with my first book, The Addictive Personal Trainer: The Client-Centered Approach That Keeps Them Coming Back For More at www.Amazon.com/author/rhuff.
Browse these courses on sport and exercise nutrition.
Rhonda is currently working on a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and is an Exercise Physiologist with a BS in Fitness-Wellness and an MEd in Education. She is a certified personal trainer, a board-certified holistic health and nutrition coach, a master neurolinguistic programming and hypnosis practitioner, an advanced Frequency Specific Microcurrent practitioner, a published author, a motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur. Rhonda currently resides in Atlanta, GA, but also calls NYC, NC and VA home. Learn more about Rhonda and her work at www.rhondahuff.com.
By Dave Johnson
Picture this: it’s been a great workout with a relatively new client. They’ve pushed themselves hard in each of their workouts but they’re not quite seeing the results they had hoped for. The client finishes their last set and you’re right in the middle of your concluding conversation when the question pops out: “what should I be eating?”
Sound familiar? This is a scene that plays out all across the personal training stratosphere fairly regularly. The vast majority of personal trainers are questioned about dietary advice at some point in their careers and, when we look at the data, it’s not all that surprising!
The obesity epidemic in the United States is well-documented. Over the past 20 years, the rate of obesity in adults has grown from 30.5% to 42.4% and, when you include the number of Americans who are overweight, that percentage grows to 71.6%! If you’re curious about the trends in your own state, here’s a link to the CDC’s Obesity Prevalence trends from 2011 through 2018. (more…)
Vitamins to Support Your Body’s Immune System
By Mark S. Cassidy, MS
COVID-19 is now causing major health concerns throughout the United States along with the world. Close to 150 nations are being affected by this virus and (as of March 2020) there is no vaccine currently on the market. However, that doesn’t mean that people can’t take proactive measures to help slow the spread of the virus.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has made the following daily recommendations:
- Limit social gatherings and keep approximately 6 feet of distance (Social Separation)
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay at home if you are sick (Self Quarantine)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or disinfected wipe
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
All of these recommendations by the CDC are important. But we can all do more.
Viruses negative effects on the body are influenced by one’s own immune system. The stronger and healthier your immune system is, the more efficient you are to fighting back against bacteria and viruses. It is very important for us to maintain a healthy immune system. Therefore, a proper diet that is filled with the necessary vitamins is needed, to help against harmful germs.
The vitamins that should be taken to help maintain a healthy immune system are as follows:
Vitamins C takes aggressive action towards germs causing damage to your immune system. Vitamin C strengthens the cells that help in killing the germs, hence providing a boost to the immune system. In the body, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, working to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. (Antioxidant – is a substance that inhibits oxidation, deterioration or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxides, or free radicals). Vitamin C helps the body make collagen and helps improve the absorption of iron from plant-based foods.
Citrus fruits and green vegetables are all great sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin A is often associated with vision, but it also has a positive role in a strong immune system. Vitamin A is considered to be a defensive line for the immune system because it helps keep the germs and the viruses from entering the body. Vitamin A helps in keeping the mucous membrane moist and soft (which can be found in the nose, throat and mouth). The mucous membrane needs to be kept moist and soft because this helps it in trapping the germs and stopping them from infiltration into the body. Vitamin A also creates the enzymes that boost the immune system, along with playing a role in the maintenance of body linings and skin reproduction.
Vitamin A can be found in vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, carrots and squash, along with breakfast cereals, dairy products and some types of fish.
Vitamin B6 (chemically know as pyridoxine) is a critically important nutrient with a wide range of functions. Vitamin B6 is involved with more than a hundred enzyme reactions, within the body, involved in metabolism. (Metabolism – is the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life). Vitamin B6 plays a big role in protein metabolism, making hemoglobin (that is needed in blood – oxygen transportation) and boosts to proper immune function.
Vitamin B6 comes from a variety of foods such as chicken, fish, potatoes, starchy vegetables and non-citrus fruits.
Vitamin E is good in boosting the immune system to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E helps in the production of the protein, interleukin-2, which is a protein that kills bacteria, viruses and germs when the body is infected. The protein (interleukin-2) that is produced by vitamin E is also used in the treatment of certain cancers.
Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and green, leafy vegetables are all good sources of Vitamin E.
Vitamin D supports the immune system and is necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones. The reason for this is calcium, which is the primary component of bone, can only be absorbed by your body when adequate amounts of vitamin D are present. Your body is able to make vitamin D when direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of vitamin D (called calciferol).
Vitamin D isn’t found in many foods naturally, but you can get it from fortified milk, fortified cereal, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.
Each of these vitamins can be obtained through food, eaten during a balanced diet. However, you could also choose to take any (or all) of these vitamins through supplementation. A multi-vitamin or a combination of vitamin tablets (once a day) will be sufficient to help your body’s immune system remain strong and healthy during these tough times.
Being proactive with your health, is a benefit to you and the people around you.
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.
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 (The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes), Amazon (The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes), 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).
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!