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View Full Version : Personal Training Cert. Advice


Greg Battaglia
03-29-2008, 03:53 PM
I just realized that there is a Level I Crossfit certification seminar being held in Palm Beach, FL on my birthday (May 18)! My parents agreed to pay for me to go down there as a birthday present to get certified, which is absolutely awesome. A friend of mine and I are planning on opening a CF gym within the next couple of years. In the mean time (until I finish college) I want to start training people to gain some experience and credibility for our gym.

The problem is this: I'm not exactly the richest man in the world and I was wondering if being CF certified (Level I) classifies me officially as a Personal Trainer? If not, does that mean that in order for me to train people I must get a mainstream cert. (like NSCA for instance)? I guess what I'm saying is that I have to choose between getting CF certified or NSCA certified because I simply cannot afford both. I'm leaning heavily toward the CF cert. considering that it's probably about 500 times better than anything else, and I'm being offered an awesome opportunity to travel to Florida to have this experience. On the flip side, if I can't even train people with only a CF cert. then it's basically waste of money.

So, what do you guys think? What are my options?

Garrett Smith
03-29-2008, 04:06 PM
Greg,
Here's my short take.

If you want to train others outside of close friends and family, in gyms or other facilities as an independent contractor, you want to get a "recognized" cert. that will allow you to get training insurance (the NSCA membership comes with its own insurance policy). The CF cert. doesn't allow for you to get any insurance, last thing I knew.

If you decide you don't want insurance to train others, and really want to open a CF soon, then get the CF "cert.". You would need to get CF certified within your first year of opening, but you don't have to have one to start the affiliate (again, last I knew). You can train people with "only" a CF cert., you just might be unable to get insurance, which may or may not be an issue to you.

Last thing, if there is a gym or facility you want to train people at, go there and see if they require their trainers to have their own insurance or if they are covered under a blanket policy. Some of the big-box gyms cover all of their trainers and even have their own in-house "certs." If you knew that info, that could really help your decision-making.

Mike ODonnell
03-29-2008, 05:28 PM
Greg - basically what Dr G said....

- get the NSCA-CPT first....you could probably pass easily if you took it right now with no studying
- get insurance ($199 a year if additional to any cert)
- Unless you plan on doing an official "CF" affiliate business, personally I wouldn't spend $1000 (on top of any travel expenses) unless I already had alot of money to go around. The CF is not an official CPT cert recognized in the industry so it should not be your first cert. Plus that $ can better be used on equipment to get a business up and running and then you can do whatever you want with the profits at that point.
- If you don't have a place to train people you can always walk into local gyms and see if they will let you do a split or pay per session. Anything is possible if you negotiate...but no gym will let you train anyone without a recognized cert and insurance. Hence another reason to get the NSCA-CPT. (oh yeah...will need CPR class too)
- When it comes down to it, if you are in it for the career move....then make your business model profitable. You can spend $1000s on training certs, DVDs, CDs, and other seminars....but that still won't make you money unless you get out there and sell yourself and get clients results. Word of mouth will be your best friend.
- If you are planning to open up your own place, get a real business plan. Make sure it makes sense to open up and you are making money. Lots of expenses go into running and owning a business, there may be cheaper options such as working out of someone else place of business and paying them rent. Be creative in your options, as you could work out of a martial arts studio, in a empty space from some other business, or whatever. Anything is possible and it's always cheaper to pay rent vs being responsible (and locked in) for long term leases and operating expenses.
- Train in groups (more $/hr during prime hours....as those are limited)
- Last piece of advice....keep your day job. Train off work hours (as peak will be early AM and later PM) but keep that steady source of income going until it makes financial sense....but also keep in mind fitness is a cycle industry...you have good months...and bad months...unless you have people locked into a monthly membership nothing is guaranteed for income.

Honestly you have been around here and CF site long enough....do you really think you are going to get any revolutionary advice on lifting weights that you don't already know? My guess would be no as you seem to know what you are doing. Get the recognized cert, liability insurance and spend the extra money on equipment to start up your business and get the real experience teaching people, as that is going to be your best education.

Greg Battaglia
03-29-2008, 05:52 PM
Thanks a bunch, those responses answered all of my questions. I'm thinking I'll pay for an NSCA cert. now with my own money and with some luck MAYBE convince my parents to pay for the CF cert as a big (really big) birthday gift. That way it's a win/win situation. That would be optimal, as I would have the CF cert. taken care of for when I open the CF affiliate gym and be able to train people in the meantime to build credibility and make some cash.

Thanks again!

P.S.

MOD, loving the blog, it's one of my favorites, keep up the good work!

Mike ODonnell
03-29-2008, 06:14 PM
Thanks a bunch, those responses answered all of my questions. I'm thinking I'll pay for an NSCA cert. now with my own money and with some luck MAYBE convince my parents to pay for the CF cert as a big (really big) birthday gift. That way it's a win/win situation. That would be optimal, as I would have the CF cert. taken care of for when I open the CF affiliate gym and be able to train people in the meantime to build credibility and make some cash.

Thanks again!

P.S.

MOD, loving the blog, it's one of my favorites, keep up the good work!

Thanks Greg...blogging is hard work without a day job to pay me to sit at a desk to do it from! Ha.

I'd still say take the money from the Bday and put it towards equipment to get you making money now (you can always get the CF cert down the road too)....like DBs,, KBs, rings, etc....as those things are NOT cheap (esp if you start buying multiple sets). Don't underestimate the startup costs for a business. Get a small camp running outside for free somewhere in the AM/PM....could be 2-3 people....then 5-6....then 15+.....build a following and then see where it takes you. That's my advice from experience. That and whatever you do...have fun and enjoy it!

Greg Battaglia
03-29-2008, 07:23 PM
Thanks, your probably right. I think I mostly wanted to travel down to Florida (this time of the year Philly weather sucks, although it's getting warmer) to enjoy the nice weather and a change of scenery. I'll save the cash and invest it into my business, thanks for that tip.

I've heard before that the NSCA test is actually quite difficult. Admittedly, I have much more knowledge in the area of nutrition than in training, but I do know a good amount from experience and reading. Do you really think I could pass without studying? If so, I'll sign up for the test tomorrow and take the computer based test (3 hours long according to the site!).

Thanks again, talk to you soon.

Mike ODonnell
03-29-2008, 07:52 PM
Thanks, your probably right. I think I mostly wanted to travel down to Florida (this time of the year Philly weather sucks, although it's getting warmer) to enjoy the nice weather and a change of scenery. I'll save the cash and invest it into my business, thanks for that tip.

I've heard before that the NSCA test is actually quite difficult. Admittedly, I have much more knowledge in the area of nutrition than in training, but I do know a good amount from experience and reading. Do you really think I could pass without studying? If so, I'll sign up for the test tomorrow and take the computer based test (3 hours long according to the site!).

Thanks again, talk to you soon.

Ha....don't worry...it will get warm up there soon! That and laying on the beach is alot more fun when you have money in the bank!

As for the NSCA, CPT is alot easier than the CSCS. There are some sample questions online at their site to test out your knowledge base. Also I am sure someone on here may have some study materials to sell cheap. (I'd make a post specifically asking for NSCA materials). Or could always get ISSA CPT....I know plenty of trainers with that...who really don't have a great knowledge of anything.

Garrett Smith
03-29-2008, 08:02 PM
Greg,
At least get the practice test, you might even be able to do it online now...

Kevin Perry
03-29-2008, 09:59 PM
You might want to check with your local Community College for personal training programs. Our school out here has a personal training program that automatically places you in OJT while yourgoing to school for PT. And upon graduation you get a cert recognized by the county and you are pretty much guarenteed to pass the Certs.. However, Personal trainers are about to be required to be certified by the state soon and are going to have to get an associates in physical therapy as well.

Garrett Smith
03-30-2008, 07:45 AM
Kevin,
What's OJT?

And from the sound of it, there aren't going to be too many personal trainers in SC in the relatively near future...

Kevin Perry
03-30-2008, 08:49 AM
Kevin,
What's OJT?

And from the sound of it, there aren't going to be too many personal trainers in SC in the relatively near future...

Well my school offers OJT (On the Job Training) for their personal training course. You work 16 weeks at a gym while going to school and what our director was telling us was the the job market was actually steady for the upstate area (this could probably be just the greenville and surrounding areas) And our schools information portal and job outlook portal are showing that the demand for personal trainers is steady and expect it to increase.

Keep the day job though.. I have a back groun in Automotive assembly and welding and we have BMW and suppliers and soon Volkswagen. As the job marketout here is about to explode.

Mike ODonnell
03-30-2008, 03:14 PM
Didn't someone try to get a "national" test for CPT like last year? It will never happen. That and most certs are such a scam anyways wanting more and more money year after year. Great part about working for youself, don't have to buy into that crap anymore. Ironically you can even get insurance without being certified....of course that will never help your credentials any to the general public.

Steve Liberati
03-30-2008, 05:18 PM
Don't underestimate the NSCA CSCS test. Its quite techinical and difficult if you do not have a science background in anatomy, kinesiology, or related field.

CrossFit now requires a CF cert in order to run an affiliate.