Category: CSCS


May is for Moving!


National Physical Fitness and Sports MonthAlthough personal trainers focus on fitness year-round, May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month. National Physical Fitness and Sports month is a government initiative offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and promoted by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. With obesity rates steadily rising, the push to get America moving is growing stronger.

This initiative is designed to remind and encourage children, adults and seniors to get adequate exercise each week and include it as part of a balanced life. National Physical Fitness and Sports month emphasizes the importance of exercise as a means of disease prevention, wellness and overall optimal health. With past faced lives and numerous commitments, Americans often forget that integrating small changes can easily increase weekly exercise.

Trainers can seize this opportunity to remind clients of the importance of regular strength training and cardiovascular conditioning and “celebrate” National Physical Fitness and Sports month with the following ideas:

· Switch up your training sessions for something new. Incorporate a new piece of equipment or a new method of training like cardio intervals, drop sets or Tabata intervals. Find new ideas on the internet or learn a new modality through a continuing personal training education course.

· Teach your clients how to “play.” Hold your session at a playground and remind them how much fun it is to climb in, around and through playground equipment. This is an excellent opportunity to remind clients that exercise doesn’t have to be scheduled and organized. Spontaneous play is excellent for the mind and body!

· Get the whole family involved – invite them to your client’s next session and make exercise a family affair.

· Contact a senior center to see about offering an exercise-positive seminar or class. You’ll positively influence the senior segment and increase your training visibility. In a similar vein, contact local schools or after school programs and offer to host an exercise clinic.

· Offer your clients a “bonus” group exercise activity like a nature hike or a circuit course in a local hike. Group exercise is an excellent means of trying something new and creating morale.

· Incorporate a five-minute segment into each session to teach clients about a specific muscle group or joint. Increasing client anatomical awareness aids in client understanding of joint functionality and overall safety.

· Use your social media accounts to offer a daily inspiration, exercise or short cardio circuit.

· Challenge your clients using ChallengeLoop to commit to specific amount of exercise per day or per week. Offer a free session or a prize for the winning client. Alternatively, find an appropriate challenge and participate alongside your client(s).

· Use May as the kick-off point for client assessments. Conduct a full battery on client abilities including cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and flexibility. Retest in three months to track progress and improvements.

Use this month to invigorate client programming and spark interest in new ways to incorporate fitness into daily life. Clients are often bombarded with information about health and fitness but you can use your expertise to separate the sensation from reality. Get moving!


Diversifying Your Client Base


Niche Markets for NSCA Certified Personal Trainers and CSCSs

The term “personal trainer” has long been associated with a burly muscled guy yelling “Drop and give me 20!” While that still holds true, more and more trainers are seeing the benefit of training niches. Special populations and sporting specialties demand more skill and often yield more money. Continuing education courses give trainers an excellent avenue to explore niches that increase desirability and bottom lines.

Consider the following training niches to add a little pizazz to your repertoire:

Seniors - Studies are consistently showing more and more seniors hitting the gym. Whether they’re looking to get in better shape or are rehabilitating from an injury or surgery, seniors are a hot market right now. Trainers interested in this population need to be aware of older adult population issues and associated conditions such as arthritis, hypertension and osteoporosis. Because older adults often have complex medical issues, trainers should consider coordinating with a client’s medical team to design a safe and appropriate exercise program.

Golfers – Golf continues to be a popular option for working and retired adults alike. Whether you’re looking to help someone improve a swing or start coaching professionals, you’ll want to learn the game and the biomechanics that go along with standard golf movements. The heart of the best golf swing lies in core strength and hip rotation. Check out this course to get started.

Injury/Surgery Rehab – Clients finishing up with physical therapy often want to continue their hard work once therapy is completed. Working with rehab clients often requires a deep understanding of injuries, the healing process and various therapeutic modalities. Rehab clients need specialized programs to pick up were physical therapy has left off and with gradual progression. Again, working with the client’s physical therapist or doctor is a good idea to avoid contraindicated movements and to design a safe program. This course offers great fundamentals about working with biomechanical issues.

Runners – As more and more folks use races as motivations to train, the need for running trainers is increasing. Running is a specialty requiring knowledge about safely increasing mileage, the best way to train for races and nutrition for optimal recovery. If you’re already a passionate runner, this is a great bonus to add to your skill set.

Pre- and Post Natal Fitness Specialist – Seasoned exercisers know how to work out but the game changes dramatically when there is a pregnancy involved. Pregnancies can be simple or complex and as a specialist, it’s up to you to keep your client safe. Liaise with the client’s obstetrician to understand any restrictions and recommendations.

The best way to find the right niche is to follow your own training. What types of activities draw you in? What’s your favorite method of training or sport? Chances are, if you’re already passionate about a specific activity, that niche is a natural choice for you.


Help Your Clients Stay Fit for the Holidays!


The holidays are fast approaching and the onslaught of work parties, block parties, happy hours and gifts from well-meaning neighbors are enough to derail the best-laid plans. Is it possible to get through the holidays without that much hyped 5 to 7 pound gain? Yes. With a few strategies, your clients can end the holidays on a healthy note. Advise them to do the following:

Do not choose November or December to start a liquid diet, low carb cleanse, or protein plan. They’re setting themselves up for failure if they do. Extreme plans of any sort do not have good track records but if they are dead set on a particular program, strongly advise them to wait until January. Suggest making a workout schedule and sticking to it. Prioritize workouts above shopping, gift wrapping or cooking. Keep them accountable for session attendance. Holidays are often the season of “tough love” for personal trainers.

Remind them not to go to parties hungry. Advise them have a healthy meal beforehand. Pair a large salad with a lean protein, like chicken or turkey, for a volume-heavy meal that should keep them full for a few hours. Suggest they offer to be the designated driver. Cocktails tend to be extremely high in calories and since they’re usually consumed at night, there is less likelihood of burning them off before bed. If driving isn’t an issue, suggest they decide beforehand how much they’re going to drink and stick to that limit. Remember lower calorie options such as wine spritzers or straight spirits. Remind them to keep drinking water! Cold weather makes water consumption less appealing but dehydration is still possible. Unless it’s something that’s worth it, avoid drinking calories.

Get enough sleep. Late night soirees wreak havoc on sleep schedules. Turn in early when possible. Advocate not eating heavy meals or drinking alcohol right before bed, as this will adversely affect sleep patterns. Recommend that they work in extra exercise when possible. Parking far away from the store entrance and taking the stairs instead of the elevator are excellent methods to sneak in extra cardio.

They must manage stress. Whiny children, obnoxious in-laws and annoying co-workers can grate on the nerves and send any well-intentioned person straight to the cookie jar. Focus on healthy ways to decompress. Schedule a massage. Take a walk. Get lost in a non-holiday themed book. During extra time off, encourage them try a new fitness class or video. They may discover a new sport they love and it will be that much easier to stay on track.

If your clients can work these tips into their schedules, they’ll be ahead of the game when the New Year begins.


Sport Specific Training & Nutrition


Continuing Education CEU courses for NSCA certified personal trainers and cscsYou wouldn’t take a chemistry test without preparing for it, nor would you learn to drive while taking your driving test. Participating in sports without the conditioning, training and nutrition to back it up is much the same way. The human body utilizes muscularity and coordination in various ways to achieve sport-specific movements and power. Incredible core strength is necessary for golf, quick reflexes are necessary for soccer and lower body conditioning is crucial for cycling.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a sport devotee, sport-specific training is essential to prevent injuries, solidify your skills and maintain muscular balance. Some certified personal trainers specialize in sport-specific training. Prior to beginning this type of specialized training, your personal trainer should conduct a fitness assessment to determine areas of weakness and strength in addition to postural, biomechanical and alignment issues.

Golfing requires an immense amount of core rotation. Exercises like the medicine ball twist strengthen the lumbar spinal region, obliques and hips. A strong core is critical to maintain stabilization through the golf swing. Upper back and shoulder strength is required in order control the swing and dictate swing speed. Performing exercises such as a single armed dumbbell row and shoulder press strengthen the entire rotator cuff area. Because golf games can run long, golfers need to come prepared with snacks and adequate hydration to keep energy levels up.

In order to propel the ball downfield, soccer plays need explosive power in addition to muscular endurance. Plyometric exercises improve reflex time and explosive power necessary to perform. The nature of the game often means players have overdeveloped quadriceps in relation to their hamstrings. A soccer-specific training program would focus on building hamstring strength in order to balance out the lower body. Protein plays a key role in the development and maintenance of muscles and players will need to tweak their diets to ensure appropriate protein consumption.

For cyclists, strength training in the off-season will yield better results in the on season. Utilizing training techniques such a periodization, hypertrophy and flexibility training assists cyclists with necessary strength and muscular cohesion for training rides and races. Cyclists using an aggressive riding position may experience lower back pain. Core work is especially important for cyclists in order to strength the gluteal muscles, abdominals and smaller muscles surrounding the pelvic girdle. Because cycling is a sustained exercise, cyclists must learn to nutritionally prepare for longer bouts of exercise.

Sport enthusiasts must keep in mind the exercise and nutritional programming specific to their preferred sport. Training and appropriate nutrition away from the sport has a massive impact on performance during the sport. Certified personal trainers can assist with the development and upkeep of complementary strength training and nutrition programming.


NSCA Renewal Deadline Approaches


Our last extended article for CSCSs and CPTs was published all the way back in January and began with the opener, “[t]hink it’s too soon to start thinking about to start thinking about December 31st? Think again!” Now here we are all the way in November, and just shy of two months away from your renewal deadline. If you doubted it before, then now we can officially say that it isn’t too soon to start thinking about your yearend deadline, and the CE requirements that go along with it.

By now you probably know how many hours you need to meet the continuing education aspect of the license renewal process, but just in case you need a little refresher (who doesn’t from time to time?) the number of hours you need is dependent on the date of certification. If you earned your certification prior to 2012, your required to complete 6.0 CEUs or 60 hours; if you became certified during 2012, you're required to complete 4.0 CEUs or 40 hours; and if you’ve recently become certified (between January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014), then you're required to complete 1.0 CEUs or 10 hours of continuing education. If you earned your certification after June 30, 2014, then you are not required to complete any CEUs this year, and your biennial renewal period will begin after December 31, 2014.

There’s more than one way to complete your CE requirement. You can opt to retake the certification exam and knock out the requirement with one test, or you can opt for continuing education units like those offered at Milestone. If you’ve chosen to go the CEU route of completion, then your date of licensure will determine how many hours out of the four categories you’ll need to complete in order to qualify for renewal. For example, if you were certified before 2012, then you can only complete 3.5 CEUs (or 35 hours) from Category D, which includes home study courses.

Always be sure to keep up with the source of this information, the NSCA Website, to review their handy Continuing Education Pamphlet that will provide you with the specifics of each category's approved activities and limitations. Once you’ve chosen which two of the four CE categories you’re going to complete, then you can get started. If you’ve chosen Category D among your options, then that’s where Milestone comes in!

NSCA Approved Continuing Education CoursesMilestone Continuing Education is an NSCA Approved Provider (L1272) and CSCSs and NSCA CPTs can expect high quality downloadable content based on relevant topics that will enhance professional knowledge and improve impact with their clients. Designed to fit into your life seamlessly, without the travel, hotel, or conference registration costs. Milestone is also a BOC Approved Provider (P8382), so duly certified CSCS and CPTs can obtain CE titles with one easy purchase.

Learn more about Milestone on our website or contact one of our friendly CE Specialists at 1-800-709-8820. For all the specifics on you renewal process, visit the National Strength & Conditioning Association website.


Employment Options for CPTs


Newly certified personal trainers may wonder how and where to get started. With a bevy of options including gyms, private studios, health clubs and private training, you have much to consider when applying for jobs.

After receiving my ACE certification, I applied for a job at my gym and I was hired almost immediately. The upside was that because I’d been a member there for a few years, I knew a lot of the staff, trainers and instructors. That alone made starting there much less intimidating (and I was grateful because this was a significant career change).

Continuing Education and Career Options for Certified Personal Traienrs

Starting your new career as a certified personal trainer in a gym environment is an excellent way to get your feet wet. Supervisors and trainers can mentor you about designing programs, interacting with clients and problem solving. If you run into issues with a client, you have access to support and ideas. You also have the advantage of observing other trainers and group fitness instructors. It’s helpful to see how different fitness professionals teach classes, maintain files and connect with clients and members.

You also have the option of trading sessions with other trainers or other gym employees who offer related services. You will be required to complete CPT continuing education and your facility may offer continuing education for CPTs in the form of training or conferences that count for your requirements.

My personal experience working at a gym taught me the ins and outs of personal training. I shadowed other trainers to see how they worked with their clients, kept records and created programming. I used that knowledge to develop my own system and I continually revised it to meet changing needs. I regularly traded sessions with other trainers because A) it was a nice treat to let someone tell me what to do and B) I learned new techniques in terms of exercise and communicating with clients. Good trainers are always on the lookout for new ideas and ways to inspire clients. Training with other trainers and attending group fitness classes are excellent ways to freshen up one’s exercise repertoire. I had a supervisor who encouraged gym employees to trade services with in-house spa employees and it turned out to be a fantastic method for cross-promotion. I traded with an aesthetician and when my clients asked me about our spa services, I was able to tell them first hand.

Support is critical for new trainers. Whether this is your first foray into the working world or if this is a career change for you, it’s essential to have the ear of others in your business. Personal training in a gym offers the opportunity to meet other trainers and fitness professionals. Collaborating with others may save you time and energy in terms of client relationships, paperwork, etc.

Even if you work at a gym, always be open to private training. In most cases, it pays significantly better and there is little overhead. However, you must legally protect yourself with appropriate paperwork and insurance. Most certifications offer liability insurance at a discounted rate. Your insurance provider or certifying agent will likely have boilerplate consent and liability forms. Review these documents with a qualified lawyer to make sure they meet your needs.

Because I had a couple of private clients while I worked at the gym, I was already set up to continue independently. I had already put together a medical history packet and legal documentation. I trained the majority of clients in their homes but a few trained in my home.

Private training is definitely more lucrative than working in a gym but it has its own issues as well. You’ll need to factor in travel time for appointments. You’ll also want to decide how far you’re willing to drive. When setting your prices, keep in mind fuel prices, wear-and-tear on your vehicle and any other operating costs. Invest in the kinds of equipment you can reasonably bring with you. Establish days and times you are not available. Don’t spend a lot of money on a fancy website. You need a website that is easy to read, easy to understand and depicts you as a qualified professional. Remember that you’ll still be responsible for completing certified personal trainer continuing education courses. Choose CE courses for personal trainers about unfamiliar topics to give you a well-rounded knowledge base. Keep any continuing education for CPTs coursework or textbooks for future reference.

I often have contact with clients in between our meetings. If a workout was particularly tough, I’ll send a follow-up email the next day to check on them. During sessions, I always make it a point to ask them how they felt after the last session and follow up on things we discussed in the previous session. I find this practice adds a continuity to the client-trainer relationship.

Getting clients is one of the most challenging aspects of working independently. Referrals are the best way to get new clients. Offer your clients a free session or two if they refer someone who decides to train with you. In terms of advertising, you can try print or online advertising, connecting with local health professionals and leaving your cards with them or putting up flyers in your neighborhood.

I got creative with advertising. I put together a stretching handout for a local chiropractor and in exchange, he kept my business cards on his front desk. I paired with a registered dietician and we offered a joint nutrition and training package. I advertised in a local magazine. Ultimately, my Google AdWords campaign proved to be the most fruitful. I have been contacted many times by search engine optimization companies offering to increase my ranking. Generally, these services are very overpriced and you’ll get similar results using Google AdWords.

As a whole, I prefer private training to working for a gym because it is devoid of politics, pointless meetings and urging from management to be salespeople in addition to being personal trainers. I also enjoy being able to set my own hours, decline clients who are not a good fit and manage my business in ways I feel are most beneficial to my clients and myself. However, starting my career in a gym was irreplaceable groundwork for working privately. I learned so much about myself, how I wanted to conduct myself as a trainer and invaluable information about working with diverse populations. It gave me the confidence to forge out on my own and create a successful business.


From ABCs to CEUs...


Milestone Continuing Education - Back To School CEUs

It's that time of year again; the time of year where something changes in the atmosphere and it's clear that summer is coming to an end. Store aisles are filled up with decorations for autumn and the days, while still hot, don't seem quite as long. Fall is my favorite time of year, so forgive me for romanticizing it. If you are one of those people that loves the wonderful warmth that comes with the summer months, then you'll have to forgive my indulgence. I crave crisper days, colorful leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks.

Unfortunately, my favorite time of year is also synonymous with all of the hustle and bustle (and that admitted touch of dread) that comes with "back to school" season. Admit it, you've woken up in a cold sweat dreaming you'd slept through a final exam, or that you forgot to register for the one class you needed this semester, long after graduation has passed. It can't just be me. When you finally figure out that those unique problems are long gone with your student days and settle back into sleep, it hits you: homework assignments and test days have only evolved into work deadlines, CE courses and exams. Drat! And you thought you had escaped all of that...

While the young people in your life start preparing for school it's time for you to start preparing for your CE deadlines. You can skip the parent teacher conferences and orientations and go straight to the Course Catalog with Milestone. Browse through thousands of hours of online CE courses designed with your success in mind. No need to dread exam time either, one of the many perks of self-paced study. When you've completed your study guide, (included with all Milestone CEU Courses), log in to the exam center and take the multiple-choice test. It is graded immediately after you submit it so you don't have to wait to see your score, and your Certificate of Completion is unlocked and sent to your Milestone CE Account with a score of 70% or higher. It's that simple!

Get started today! Don't procrastinate like you did in school, you know you'll regret waiting until later...


A Day in the Life of a CPT


Working as an ACE certified personal trainer has brought me into contact with people from all walks of life. Every workday is different and every client is an individual with specific needs and concerns. I’ve trained men, women, teenagers, post-rehabilitation adults and the elderly.

I’ve worked in the fitness industry for ten years and I’ve noticed many trainers have the education and knowledge but lack the “personal” part of personal training. A client’s experience is highly dependent on their relationship with their trainer. While it is a business relationship, it’s definitely a personal relationship too. To that end, I learn about my clients and their interests. I ask about their careers, families and hobbies. From session to session, I ask follow-up questions about things discussed in our previous meeting. The fact that I remember these things and ask about them lets my clients know that I am truly interested in who they are.

A day in the life of a certified personal trainerWhen I first meet with a client, I ask many questions about what they want to get out of their sessions. Does she want to learn about exercise physiology and biomechanics? Does he prefer to chat about topics other than exercise to make working out more enjoyable? Does she want to know how many repetitions are left or does she prefer to work until I tell her to stop? We also set goals and determine a course of action together.

In the beginning of my career, I worked in a gym facility catering to women. Being onsite enabled me to see up to eight clients in a day. I often had breaks between clients and used those periods to eat or work out. Our sessions were 55 minutes long and I used the last five minutes for stretching unless the client requested otherwise. I completed any paperwork or notes immediately afterward so as not to forget anything.

For the past seven years, I’ve worked with private clients in their homes or occasionally mine. Because of travel time, I can’t see nearly as many clients as I previously did but the pay is better and it’s easier to develop rapport with new clients because we’re on their “turf.” Clients also tend to be more forthright about difficult topics in private environments. I also enjoy being able to set my own hours and work with clients who are a good fit.

Although the intent of every session is to give the client a good workout, sometimes things take a more serious turn and they disclose things that factor into a dislike of exercise or issues affecting self-esteem. I’ve learned that I need to prepare for just about anything.

I don’t schedule more than three to four sessions per day and I limit myself to specific geographical boundaries because I could easily spend an entire day driving if I didn’t.

How much pre-session prep I do is dependent upon what equipment we’re using. I have a standard bag of tricks that accompanies me to every session but I also have a wide selection of equipment I can bring. I’ve stocked my home gym with transportable items such as a Step 360, BOSU ball and an adjustable kettlebell. I do need to schedule my departure time, make sure there’s gas in my car and keep it in good working order since it serves as a mobile gym/office.

Working as an independent personal trainer gives me the freedom and flexibility to cater to client needs and preferences as well as my own. Personal training is an incredibly rewarding career and the best part about it is that I’m always learning something new!

May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month!


National Physical Fitness and Sports MonthIn our April 30th blog post we mentioned that May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition has dedicated this time period to focusing national attention on the importance of personal health and ways to incorporate physical activity into our busy lives, which can sometimes be difficult to do between family responsibilities, work, and your CE requirements (of course)! At the mention of health and fitness, we can't help but think about our fitness and health professionals: Certified Personal Trainers and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists, and their roles in helping people stay fit and healthy!

NSCA Certified Personal Trainers: If you're looking for someone to take you under their wing and show you the ropes in the gym, seek out one of these guys! Under the rigorous requirements of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, NSCA CPTs are trained to take an individualized approach to educating, motivating and assisting clients in achieving their goals by creating safe and effective customized health and fitness programs that address each client's strengths and weaknesses. These professionals are also trained to recognize when it's appropriate to refer their clients to other healthcare practitioners. When you want to kickstart a new workout routine, you couldn't be in better hands!

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialists: The unique thing about this group of fitness professionals is that they lend their knowledge and training specifically to help athletes achieve their performance goals. They create and implement personalized strength training and conditioning programs based on the results of sport-specific testing sessions, and offer nutrition and injury prevention advice to their clients as well. Just like NSCA CPTs, CSCSs will refer their clients to other healthcare professionals when deemed necessary. As NSCA professionals, they are also required to maintain rigorous certification and renewal standards to stay licensed.

NSCA Approved Provider of CEUs for CSCS and CPTs

Even outside of the month of May and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, Milestone recognizes the standards these professionals must meet in order to provide us with their services. Milestone offers over 450 hours of online continuing education for these professionals, and as a NSCA Approved Provider of continuing education (L1272) our courses are built to improve your impact with your clients, and enhance your knowledge on the latest research and techniques in your field.

Visit the Course Catalog today and discover new ways to improve your performance in the gym, field or anywhere! Contact a CE Specialist for details toll-free at 1-800-709-8820 or go to to get started today!

NSCA Certified Personal Trainer CEUs


NSCA Certified Personal Trainers licensed on or before January 1, 2012 must complete 6.0 CEU credits, or 60 hours, of NSCA approved CE courses by December 31, 2014. Get started today with Milestone Continuing Education!

We recognize that as a personal trainer certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, you are part of a special group dedicated to achieving high standards in their profession, demonstrated by your efforts to seek out NCCA accreditation (National Commission for Certifying Agencies). As an online CEU provider, we are also dedicated to helping YOU achieve professional excellence by maintaining NSCA Approved Provider status and offering an extensive course title selection to assist you in achieving your ultimate career goals.

Certified Personal Trainers have to complete their NSCA CEU requirement by earning credits from two Categories (A and B). Milestone Continuing Education can help with Category B! As a NSCA Approved Provider, certified personal trainers who choose our online CE courses can rest assured that they selected top quality course titles that will make completing their 3.5 CEU (or 35 hour) online limit a we recommend they start with our NSCA approved correspondence courses. Our CE courses are tailor made to fit seamlessly into your busy life. Our easy online formatting lets you take advantage of the latest research available in the field of personal training and strength conditioning from your home or office computer, or your personal tablet device.

Our Course Catalog currently offers over 350 hours of CE Courses allowing you to customize your course title selections to meet your specific professional needs. Best of all, once you purchase and download your titles you do not need WiFi to access your course materials which allows you to study on the go! Get started on your CE Courses today with NSCA Approved Provider Milestone Continuing Education, or click the links below to view specific course module details and descriptions.

December will be here before you know it!

Don't wait until the last sixty seconds to complete your 60 hours!

NSCA Certified Personal Trainer Continuing Education

Have questions? Visit our FAQ section to learn more about Milestone Continuing Education, our courses, state approval statuses, and much more! And if you don't find what you're looking for there, you can contact a representative via live-chat during standard business hours (9a.m. - 5 p.m. ET) or toll-free at 1-800-709-8820.