Considering a personal training certification program? If so, you’re on your way toward a rewarding career. “Receiving my BA and MS in exercise science, as well as my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning Association is without a doubt, the foundation of my career path and an immediate career in the fitness industry,” says Patrick M. Pilege, president of Optimum Fitness Inc., a booming Omaha, Nebraska corporate personal training company. “Having this education and certifications (NSCA is best in the field) assured me of having a successful career path in industry of personal training and wellness.”
Here are Coach Pilege’s top three to-knows about personal training certification:
1. Train your brain first.
“Multifaceted knowledge learned during the personal training certification process gave me a clear understanding of how the body functions and performs,” notes Pilege. “This gave me the ability and confidence to develop programs and train individuals with very diverse ages, backgrounds and experience levels; including athletes, corporate executives, older adults with special considerations, such as Alzheimer’s and muscular sclerosis, to post rehabilitative conditions such as hip replacements, spinal fusions and knee replacements.”
The consideration that goes into each personal training program is reflective of each population’s life experiences, he continues. “For example, many corporate executives not only need fitness programs that can rejuvenate their bodies but also provide stress relief from the pressures of corporate America. With an older adult, the focus is quite different in that we focus and tailor programs to give them back much of the independence of living they may have lost due to illnesses or injury.”
2. Pump up your networking and business skills.
“Another importance facet of my career path can be related to the networking and contacts I made while undergoing my schooling at Creighton University [Omaha, NE],” says Pilege. “Many of the contacts made have resulted in training clients, business contacts, mentors, and trusted sources of information spanning all areas of the personal training and fitness industry. I think it’s important for students to remember that each relationship made during their schooling may just be that one critical contact that opens a door to greater opportunity for them later in their career.”
3. Maintain a strict education regimen.
“When you are in the business of providing a service to the community it’s important to assure the potential clients that they are getting the best training available for their money,” notes Pilege. “Being able to show highly regarded credentials to the clients lets them know that you are qualified to meet their needs and therefore, every client I meet gets a copy of my resume showing my education and certifications.” Likewise, when Pilege hires trainers for Optimum Fitness, he requires a BA in exercise science or a related field and at least one NSCA or ACSM certification before he or she will even be considered for a position.
“I’ve found that people with a solid educational background and experience in the fitness field truly have a passion for training and that competitive fire transfers to each client.”
Feeling warmed up now that you know what it takes to be a certified personal trainer? That’s a good start, says Pilege, but the hard work has just begun. “I’m a firm believer that you can’t fake it in this field and be a motivator — being a certified personal trainer is definitely one career path that involves passion.”