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Do I need a personal training certification?

by Russell
(Savannah, GA)

I am considering starting my own personal training business or working through a gym as a trainer. I have 4 years experience in varied and intense physical activities through my work in the Army Special operations. I have spent months teaching "functional" fitness to small groups.

My problem is that the type of training I would like to teach is not very mainstream and uses functional full-body movements, Olympic lifts, and cross-training to achieve over all fitness. I never use machines, never isolate muscles, and never, ever do the same workout twice. This type of training is similar to that of CROSSFIT, or that taught by Mark Twight (

I know it's very helpful to have a certification, but will a certification from a group such as ACE really teach me anything I can use or will I be learning to implement a program I don't wish to use? My goal is to teach my current techniques and program without compromise, but I need more credibility as a trainer don't I? If so where should I go to get it and what kind of certification do I need?

I would love to get any advice on this subject I can.

thank you,


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Personal Trainer Certification is a must
by: Katie - Admin

If you intend to work in a gym you will need some reputable certification to get you the job. If you are training clients independently, you may get away without a certification but many clients are getting more sophisticated and will ask you about your education and certification.

But either way, you need insurance. And you will struggle to find liability insurance if you are not certified. So go get a certification even if you don't agree with every aspect of the program. You just need to realize that "no compromises" doesn't work when it comes to safety. If you take unnecessary risks as a personal trainer you will get in trouble quickly.

- Katie

Fitness Certification
by: Fitness By Reese

Having a certification establishes you as a professional. It is a worth while investment. Operating without one puts you at risk for lawsuit from clients since you cant get liability insurance without one and you can always learn more when it comes to fitness. No matter how good you are, no one knows everything. I do continuing education courses fairly frequently and always pick up new tips and ideas. So get that cert. IFTA is a good one to start with. Its fairly priced and very detailed. Then look to add to your education from there.

Getting certified imperative for every Personal Trainer
by: Brian

With the fitness industry on an all-time high, there is no dearth of people working as personal trainers, many of whom are merely amateurs, with some experience in the gym but with no recognised qualifications. This is the biggest mistake any aspiring personal trainer can make as, without certification, it’s impossible to taste real success in the fitness industry. The main reason why clients prefer certified trainers is the credibility factor. Taking the time and efforts to earn your qualifications from an accredited source indicates to them that you mean business and are genuinely interested in and committed to your chosen profession. Read on for more reasons why getting certified is imperative for every personal trainer

by: Brandon C

I agree with everything here, however, I have my own online personal training business and I have no certification. I am however the most shredded guy in the gym. I am not the biggest but there will always be someone bigger. I am still pretty big though. I have clients sign a liability waiver and if they would rather have someone who is certified I would tell them that I am in better shape and bigger than most personal trainers and I do it online at a fraction of the price. If they want to look like me but want to pay someone else who doesn't look like me because of a piece of paper then go for it and good luck. I took NASM classes and they were boring. I barley learned anything new and most of the material was muscle groups and names. I never took the test so I didn't get certified. I received the classes for free so it wasn't a big deal to me.

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