Get the Basics...
  • Becoming a personal trainer isn’t hard, but serious work and study are required.
  • Look at both entry level and advanced certification programs.
  • Personal trainers need to spend a lot of time experimenting in the gym to gain knowledge.
  • Personal trainers must put the necessary effort into marketing.

The path to becoming a certified personal trainer requires work. No credible organization awards a personal training certificate easily. Preparation and knowledge are necessary to meet the requirements to pass a certification exam. The knowledge encompasses an understanding of exercise science, nutrition, physiology, and more. A purposeful approach helps with absorbing the material and becoming certified.

Purposeful doesn’t automatically mean difficult or hard. Keeping the right perspective makes your goal for certification attainable.

The same is true of working as an accomplished personal trainer. Measurable levels of success go hand-in-hand with a bit of hustling. Personal trainers must establish themselves and raise their profile in the industry. A diligent attitude helps the cause.

Becoming a certified personal trainer means performing several tasks. Those who really love fitness usually find things aren’t all that hard. Follow the path in an orderly manner to make things easier. Everything commonly starts with selecting the right certification program.

The Right Certification Program

Not all certification programs are the same. Several different organizations certify personal trainers, including highly credible ones. Anyone interested in becoming a trainer should sign up with an organization that the industry takes seriously.

Dubious certification organizations are, generally, not worth very much. Investing a little bit of time in researching the various organizations reveals which organizations and certificates are viable and which ones aren’t.

Look into all the prerequisites for a particular certifying agency. A major organization will most likely have minimum age, educational, and CPR/AED certification requirements.

The top certifying organizations often present highly involved programs and tests. The more involved the program, the more prestigious the certificate. Passing the test is mandatory for receiving the certification, which might be a heavy lift for some. Perhaps it would be wise to start with an entry level — but still credible — personal training program since the certification test might not be very difficult.

Acquiring more than one personal training certificate is allowable. Passing an entry level program allows for meeting basic certification requirements while working on an advanced one capable of opening more career doors.

Studying the Main Book

All personal training certification programs detail important material in a textbook. The textbook may be massive. Training prospects must study the textbook thoroughly. Rushing to memorize the material in the textbook probably won’t help you pass the test. Invest a decent amount of time to gain familiarity slowly, and absorb the material in the various chapters.

Those struggling with trying to memorize all the material in a single textbook should seek aid from other sources.

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Supplementary Learning Materials

Studying for a personal trainer certification can be a little tough when relying solely on reading and attempting to memorize a book. While some may do this effectively, others need extra help.

Supplementary material, such as test question flash cards or books on common test questions, doesn’t cost much. Some publishers even offer special test study materials unique to a particular certification program. These materials could make study time even more productive.

Online test preparation programs have value as well. Some personal training organizations provide online tutoring and training for added fees. Independent organizations also run online training classes.

Retaking the Test

Not everyone passes a personal trainer certification test the first time out. Those who fail a certification test must not feel defeated. Of course, it can be discouraging to fail this test, but saying it’s “too hard” to become a personal trainer would be self-defeating. Such an attitude won’t get anyone anywhere. Just keep trying.

Expanding Exercise Knowledge

Beyond the certification, a personal trainer must know how to devise programs for clients. Expertise and experience allow trainers to stand out. A trainer’s own daily exercise regimen should include experimentation. A professional should understand strength training, bodybuilding workouts, cardiovascular performance, bodyweight exercises, and more.

Trainers must also know the basics of nutrition and supplementation.

Daily reading and research into these and other topics support the knowledge that fuels program design and the ability to answer client questions.

Is it hard to put in the work necessary to gain all of this knowledge and experience? Perhaps the answer comes down to how much someone loves health and fitness. Committed exercise enthusiasts probably won’t even consider the learning phase as work but as an enjoyable lifestyle instead.

Enjoying the lifestyle makes handling the marketing and business aspect a bit easier, too.

The Career Path

Passing a certification test doesn’t automatically lead to job offers. Searching for a job requires a number of tasks including:

  • Meeting the experience requirements of various gyms
  • Networking with fitness hobbyists and professionals
  • Creating a résumé that highlights all fitness and personal training skills
  • Landing and retaining clients

Like anyone else on the road to being a certified personal trainer, all of these steps are only as difficult as you make them. An upbeat, goal-oriented perspective will make your career goals more attainable.