How Do I Become A Great Personal Trainer?
How Do I Become A Great Personal Trainer?
By: Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

This is one of the most popular questions that I get.

It's a great question, and an important question.

With the loss of traditional jobs and a move to service-industry economy in
North America, personal training is a way to earn a relatively good living
while helping others.

Plus, having read my newsletter, you know I give a lot of current trainers a
hard time (and with good reason, most trainers lack a basic understanding of
human physiology and human movement, and common sense - some trainers don't
even understand the law of gravity). 

In my opinion, there is a huge shortage of good trainers in the workforce.

Now it's relatively EASY to become a certified personal trainer.

Simply look up one of the popular certifications (ACE, NSCA-CPT, or whatever
certification the gym you want to work at requires), get their study
materials, and then pass their test.

BAM. Now you are a certified personal trainer.

That's it. (So it's easy to see why there are so many bad trainers out
there. Remember that the more people the organizations certify, the more $$$
they make...)

However, to become a GREAT trainer, you will need to learn much, much more
and invest far more time and education than you need to just get a quick

You will need to start by mastering the basics such as anatomy, physiology,
biomechanics, and an introduction to sports medicine.

WITHOUT a foundation in anatomy and physiology, it is easy for a trainer to
fall for the latest gimmicks and fads.

Ironically, I often find many trainers "forget" about the laws of science
with each additional "specialization certification" they get...

If you don't know how the central nervous system controls the muscles, then
standing on a wobbling board while doing biceps curls with a rubber band
while reciting your ABC's backwards seems like a good idea. It's "soooo
hard" you'll hear that trainer say. Of course, you'll never see them
straining with a bar on their back. Now THAT is hard.

But if you have a strong education in the foundations of anatomy and
physiology, then you'll take one look at that standing on a muffin-top ball
stuff and realize its "Limited in value" to say the least.

Fortunately, you can learn as much studying on your own as you could by
being enrolled in a University Kinesiology program.

The plus side of going to University is that you will get a recognized
degree and it also happens that a University or College degree (any subject
however) is a pre-requisite for possibly the most recognized certification,
that of the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

However, the obvious downsides of University are the required investments in
time and money. You must study on the University schedule and the fees are

One additional downside to a University education is the heavy emphasis
placed on aerobic exercise science. Not only has this lead to the "You must
do aerobics for fat loss" mentality, but also to the ill-advised "high-
carbohydrate, low-fat diets are best for fat loss and health" nutrition

While some coaches regard the formal education process as un-necessary, and
feel that all the requisite knowledge can be gained on their own and in the
trenches, I am a STRONG supporter of a formal education - provided the
quality of education is high. Perhaps these coaches attended less than
stellar Kinesiology programs (which I know are more abundant than good

However, the education that I attained from McMaster University is without a
doubt the reason for the quality of my programs and the level of my
knowledge. Most influential was the neuromuscular physiology course taught
to me by Dr. Digby Sale at McMaster University.

But since you will never have the opportunity to attend his classes, I
recommend in his place you read, "The Science and Practice of Strength
Training", by Dr. Vladimir Zatsiorsky.

Either way, as Michael Masterson of has said, "Expect to
spend 1000 hours of study to become competent in any discipline".

Of course, having a good mentor can significantly decrease the amount of
time you will need to study (perhaps by 50%).

There are many "in the trenches" mentors that I can recommend, including:

Alwyn Cosgrove - Alwyn has just released a manual called, "The Professional
Fitness Coach Program Design Bible".

So those are a couple of roads on how you become a GREAT personal trainer.

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

PS - It is no surprise that a lot of trainers use Turbulence Training with
their clients.

When I designed the Turbulence Training program, I grabbed the best of
athlete-training, bodybuilder-training, bodyweight-training, fitness-
training, and yes, even Stability-ball training, and I put them all in
my "mental blender", and designed the best workout possible for busy men and
women to lose fat.

If you are still skeptical about the TT program, I recommend you visit: to see the REAL results achieved by Real
People using the TT program.

Or simply

=> Click HERE to grab your trial offer of Turbulence Training

About the Author

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit

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