Hey there, my name’s Matt and I have been a nationally certified personal trainer since 2004. I am extremely passionate about this field, and love to share that passion with others, especially those that are interested in pursuing a career as a personal trainer. If you have been thinking about obtaining your Personal Trainer Certification, I have 5 tips to share with you below, but before I do that, I would like to provide a quick glimpse into why I think Personal Training is a solid career choice.
In all my years spent in this field, never once have I regretted getting my certification as an exercise professional. I love this field and seeing my career grow as I have learned how to best engage with my “true” client. When I first started getting involved with coaching/personal training, I was an undergrad at the University of Evansville, and started in office of the strength and conditioning department. I loved the one-on-one aspect of working with clients and pushing collegiate athletes in the weight room. I went on to get a Master’s in Sports Administration and worked as a Head Strength Coach for that University.
It was during that time I became a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and learned more about myself. I found that while I loved training athletes, especially the speed skills of football players, I did not enjoy the hours or travel lifestyle of a NCAA Division 1 Coach. It was by the grace of God, that an athlete told me about the YMCA.
It was at the Y where I found my calling as a personal trainer. I loved working with new clients. I found my “high” when clients achieved success and were ecstatic with their progress. Completely hooked, I couldn’t and wouldn’t stop training and picked up client after client. Being able to use my passion for fitness and share my knowledge with others, really kept me motivated to keep coming back to work. It didn’t hurt that my “business attire” was gym shorts, tennis shoes, and workout shirts!
As I grew in my coaching knowledge I found I really enjoyed the educational aspect of personal training. I never stop learning, and loved sharing my knowledge and helping clients or other trainers learn more. It was after a few years of training clients that I found an additional joy – presenting workshops for the National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA).
Through a mentor, I was hired as a national presenter for NETA’s personal trainer certification review workshop. I get to travel visiting fitness centers, health clubs, and university campus rec centers across the U.S., all the while helping others cement their knowledge prior to taking NETA’s NCCA-accredited personal trainer certification exam. I love this job and it complements my strengths. I find myself energized to stand in front of a classroom of hopeful students to help them review for the PT exam. Working for NETA has helped me stay up-to-date in the industry, as I am frequently updated on the latest research and protocols, which I convey to the students. Staying current and accredited is why I trust NETA and enjoy being their presenter.
For those looking to become a personal trainer I have a few tips to share:
- Always choose accreditation. As an employer I only hire personal trainers holding a valid certification that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). I don’t trust any other certifications.
- Review and study before the exam. I love teaching for NETA, as they not only offer NCCA-accredited personal trainer certification, but they also provide a great, in-person workshop to students. With NETA’s Personal Trainer certification you can complete self-study prep in your time frame and then have two options for taking the exam: a paper-pencil exam administered by an independent proctor following a review workshop, or a computer-based exam administered at a PSI Test Center. In addition, NETA recently introduced a brand new Premier Plus Personal Trainer Study Package, which allows you to learn at your own pace utilizing their user-friendly online prep modules. Learn more here.
- Being a personal trainer is about cause and effect. If I work out my client this way (cause) than the results they should see is this (effect).
- Passing an accredited exam is about the science and safety of the client. Knowing 7 different ways to do bicep curls will not help you pass an exam.
- Find your passion and train it. I found mine is personal training athletes and educating new or hopeful personal trainers in the field.
Perhaps the most important takeaway is that I have FUN, and if you are having fun, are you really ever working???? That’s why I’m never going to stop. See you in the gym!
Are you considering a career as a personal trainer? If so, drop us a comment, we would love to chat!
Matt Larson has earned a B.S. in Sports Medicine and a M.S. in Sports Administration with a focus on Exercise Science. He has been NSCA-CSCS certified since 2004 and has held positions including Division I Strength Coach, Personal Trainer, Wellness Director, and Faculty-level Trainer for the YMCA of the USA’s Foundations of Strength and Conditioning course, as well as adjunct professor for a local college. Matt has a passion for helping others to reach their goals.