Personal Training Qualification: My Experience

September 2, 2018

When I had been a member of a gym for about 5/6 months I saw the same'ish' routine play out. The gym had a consistent amount of group classes, personal trainer sessions and overall management of the gym. As someone who liked being in a gym environment, I was intrigued by the staff that worked there. I mostly watched P.T. sessions. I was fascinated that the same P.T. could teach 5+ clients in a afternoon session but produce different sessions for the different clients they had, all with the same enthusiasm as if it was their first client of the day (when it could have been their 7th or 8th!).  I had watched this female P.T. with her client for over a month or so. I saw the relationship they had between client and trainer and the way the trainer would be constantly pushing them to their achieve goals. It then hit me, I really wanted to teach others. I liked being a dance teacher at the time, I enjoyed being able teach, lead and be an example for others. LETS BECOME A PT (my exact thoughts!). I then enrolled in an Online P.T. Qualification with TRAINFITNESS. I decided to do online course first as it was during my summer holidays before I went to university. At the time I had just finished off another home study qualification, so I was in the mood to learn and had the experience of tailoring a schedule to get it done from the previous qualification I had just undergone. As life often does, it became exciting and unplanned and for me the P.T. qualification was the first thing that went under the radar. I started university and although I was still aware I had to complete it- just didn't seem like such a priority at the time. It wasn't until I had completed my first exam after almost 9 months of first enrolling, I knew I would either have to pick up the pace with doing it online or transfer my course to a 5 week intensive one.


I am someone that does work hard. I have always been grafting with part-time jobs (even having multiple ones most of the time!). Since being in Bath I have been working hard to find jobs. Since moving in late October I have applied for 100 jobs interviewed (or asked) for 7, had a trail shift for 4 and started proper job for 3 of them.,However over my 19 years existing I have had over 10 jobs on average lasting about 6 months. It had occurred to me, although I am not lazy about finding a job, I have not found one I loved . The one I mostly enjoyed for the longest was teaching dance. By deciding to undergo a P.T. qualification means I can have a permanent but flexible job that I (think) will love. It seemed to have made perfect sense as I am combining two passions; teaching and exercise into a flexible job that I am fit around other aspects of my life. 


My intensive 5 week starts here: 

Week 1 - Level 2 (Gym instructor): I was apprehensive to start with. But week 1 is theory heavy. Anatomy and Physiology is one of the main components of week 1 as this is based on an exam that is completed the following week, therefore to cram the whole content of that module into a week (so much too learn!!!) is pretty exhausting and mentally overwhelming . Therefore prepare for your thinking caps, and bring lots of energy drinks.  The week was broken up by theory from other modules like nutrition and principles of fitness. Our teacher, Colette, also added some fun workouts towards the end of the day to kept our spirits up and moral was lifted, after all this is a practical job- you need to be able to still keep fit whilst sitting for 8 hours a day! TRAINFITNESS are both a online theory based website and a coursework booklet (which when you are expected to print off all the course material- it might cost more than the course you paid from the start?!?) The LAP's (portfolio booklets) that you work on are tedious and repetitive. If you're anything like our group, the complaining about these LAP questions will start after day 2!!! (they are seriously the most boring and long winded questions you will put yourself through).


Tips for week 1: Create a whatsapp or Facebook group chat to connect with you course mates and post lecture notes and mock exams and also cajole each other for a week of tough mental and physical barriers! Support your mates!



We supported each other with lots of food! (and brunch of course!)

Hugh, Leigh, Sophie and Meg- we all could eat for England (Hugh for Sweden too!).














Week 2- Level 2 (Gym instructor): This is week is about getting exams done, becoming more practical and learning more about the gym environment and how to teach basic gym exercises (including squats, deadlifts and bench presses). For this qualification, it is about becoming a good basic level teacher, therefore the lack of individuality is limited. To put simply, become a robot of an instructor. There isn't room for experimenting with different exercises or teaching style, there is a formula they like you to use- USE IT or fail (to put bluntly). This week you can get to know your course mates a little better, as the theory becomes less and practical is upped means more partnering up and getting to know everyone a with less pressure. I enjoyed this element as it helps get to know every better and understand how people teach differently (which you can decipher how you would teach someone).


Tips for week 2: get to know everyone on your course (and most importantly who you think you would work well with and PARTNER UP!!) 


Leigh and myself became such good friends (I became his little apprentice) as he took me under his wing to learn from!



Week 3-  Level 3 (Personal Training): considering you may have signed up for becoming a P.T.,  it isn't until you start level 3 where you can actually start training individuals for personal training. Sadly, the anatomy and physiology strikes again and this time.... ITS MUCH MUCH HARDER (no!!!).  Lots of course work and theory is done within this week again. I found this week the most mentally draining out of everything so again, prepare yourselves! Nutrition is also another significant area that is taught in great depth. As someone who already has a reasonable knowledge and interest for this area, even I found it (extremely) in-depth. Almost too in-depth, considering that P.T.s are given a wealth of knowledge and yet the same answer is answered... PTs have no place to give personalised nutrition advice! Just don't mess around with nutrition. It is annoying considering how much you learn, but overall it is not our place.


Tips for week 3: Plan something really fun at the weekend- you will need a massive energy and mental booster!


 Hugh Leigh and Lottie planned a fun night out on Sunday to end the weeks tough learning session! Food and bowling (was needed!!).

Week 4- Level 3 (Personal Training): This week is similar to week 2. Exams are crammed in with a mixture of more coursework and planning your own personal training session on a 'client'. Again, pick someone in your group you will feel comfortable to teach to. This week you may feel that you still don't know that much, but I feel you learn so much from learning through other people around you. Ask questions! Don't be afraid to ask as many, because  we learn far more from the things we question ourselves. Building a relationship and becoming more 'personal' for a personal trainer is important and I felt this point was driven more throughout level 3. This is the time to become more individual with you teaching- I LIKED THIS A LOT. As is will resemble a more realistic idea of what 'real' PTing is all about. 

Tips for week 4: Enjoy having fun this week! This is as close to the job you're going to get so practise how you treat clients, teach them and build a rapport with them.


Week 5- Diploma week:  This week is broken down into three units;Exercise referral, Indoor cycling and circuit training. I found this week the most fun due to it being heavily practical based (and being active makes learning far more enjoyable - personally!). We also had a new teacher, Lara, that joined us for the last week. The first few days we focused on exercise referral. Which is about working with clients that have medical conditions and helping them bridge the gap between exercise and their condition. Although this isn't an particular area I can see myself going into soon, it is very useful information. During the end of exercise referral requires a small 10 minute practical assessment - but nothing to be scared of! After all the practical assessments you undergo throughout the previous week, you'll be ready and prepared for anything. I by far, enjoyed circuits and indoor cycling the most. After being in a stuffy classroom for 4 weeks, to be outside with the sun beaming down, the wind brushing against your face and having freedom in a park - there was nothing else that felt better! I personally can see myself using outdoor circuits a lot more (especially with my plans to work in Australia after university). Indoor cycling was another favourite of mine! I've been to lots of spin classes but teaching it was a new ball game. I LOVED IT!!! I have a background in teaching dance and funny enough spin was something very similar to that! Almost like dancing on a bike, I seriously recommend going to a few classes. The day was non-stop spinning (so prepare for a sore bum the next day!). 


Tips for week 5: Take this week to figure out how to motivate group exercise classes. It is very different to working 1 to 1. Learn to be confident with groups and enjoy working with new environments and different exercise classes and structures. 


Overall, from across the 5 weeks not only did I learn so much about becoming a PT. I got to meet people I would never normally cross paths with. For me this was a journey of growth socially, mentally and stepping outside my comfort zone. Taking a break from my normal habitual habits to spending almost 24 hours for 5 weeks with people at first were strangers, that became friends I hoped to stay in touch with and see their journeys grow for them. After living in Bath all summer on my own, to have constant company (and actually enjoying it!!) was something I didn't think I would thrive off so much. I gained more that a qualification/certificate. I gained new friends, inspiration for where I was to take my own life journey, different outlooks on life - money can't buy that! 



-How did I find out about my training provider? 
TRAIN FITNESS was something a few bloggers were recommending and at the time were doing extremely well (in terms of recommendations) and seemed to get the most for your money. 

-What did you learn in circuits?
We learnt how to structure circuits, how to motivate a group, using the resources around - and how to make it FUN!

-What else do you need for Level 3?

You need to complete level 2 before progressing to level 3.

-I enjoy training myself, is that enough to want to become a PT?
I started off feeling that way, but honestly PTing will be my side project in life. If you enjoy training yourself it is a good start but find anther reason for wanting to become a PT. Do you have a specialist area? What will make you different and then go from there. 


I hoped you enjoyed my journey of becoming a PT.


Happy Head, Happy Human, Happy Life,


Simply Martha x











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