As a personal trainer, keeping and updating your certification is essential to your success. This usually means obtaining a certain amount of continuing education credits each year or every two years. You may view continuing education credits, CEC's, as requirements or inconveniences, but these courses serve many purposes.
Not only do CEC's enable you to keep your insurance, they also provide an opportunity for business growth. Some CEC's help you be a more effective trainer while others can show you a glimpse at your future fitness career.
When selecting your CEC's, do not let cost deter you from making courageous choices. Some courses are more expensive depending on the materials, but these courses typically will give you a return on your investment in yourself. Consider the following 10 reasons when selecting your CEC's:
1. Renewing your personal trainer certification
The number one reason for earning CEC's is to keep your certification current. Your PT certification allows you to train clients, purchase liability insurance, use local facilities and market yourself as a certified trainer.
If your certification lapses, your business may not have an opportunity for growth and success. Plus, you will spend more money re-taking your certification exam than you will on the courses. Select courses that are easy to complete if your only reason for CEC's is to renew your cert. Save money by taking free courses on-line and in magazines, but make sure they are accepted by your certification company.
2. Maintaining liability insurance
In the fitness industry, accidents and injuries may occur. Protect yourself by purchasing a liability policy that covers you whether you are training a client at your house, at their home, outdoors or at a fitness facility.
Even if the local gym has insurance, your personal and business assets should be protected by an insurance policy. Most insurance companies that write policies for fitness trainers require proof of PT certification. Keep your certification current by earning your CEC's.
Again, if your reasons for taking CEC's are to re-certify or keep insurance, select courses that do not require a lot of time or money. Your time is more valuable spent on building your business.
3. Providing better service for current clients
If you are currently training clients with specific conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, Crohn's disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or a heart condition, CEC's are a wonderful opportunity for you to increase your knowledge.
You gain a better understanding of the condition and then learn ways to incorporate corrective exercises to improve your client's mobility, decrease their pain and increase their overall physical and mental health.
As you know, the mental challenges that accompany physical ailments are almost as challenging as the condition itself. CEC's teach you ways to guide your clients with compassion. From a business view point, your clients are more likely to remain with you and refer their friends when they feel understood and make progress.
4. Expanding your clientele
When you earn CEC's for special conditions, you now have a way to expand your client base. For example, offer services to support groups for people with chronic pain or diabetes. You can also use your new knowledge to bring care to clients in nursing or retirement homes by teaching chair exercise classes or small group training sessions.
Your new clients trust in your skills and when they see your desire to work with their special conditions, you have opened up a larger client pool for your business.
5. Offering specialized sessions
Group your CEC's by interest to learn as much as possible for specialised groups. For instance, earn CEC's for children's physical activities and bring your skills to after-school groups, day care centers or home-school gatherings.
You improve the health of the children while also catching the attention of parents. These parents, children and young athletes are another way to increase your client base. Specialised CEC's apply to other groups as well, such as rock climbers, runners, cyclists and swimmers.
When you show these athletes and weekend warriors your knowledge and how it improves their abilities, you have found a key niche for your business. This is also an interesting way to bring your services to high school teams. Speak with the coaches about your specialty training and offer a discount for the high school athletes. Or, offer to teach a stretching or strengthening class once a week during the season.
6. Increasing marketability
Personal trainers that also have extensive nutritional backgrounds are able to reach a wider market. Select CEC's that boost your nutritional knowledge so you can support clients who are trying to lose weight, gain weight, manage food allergies or care for chronic pain and migraines by avoiding food triggers.
Always refer your clients to a physician for a healthy diet that fits their personal needs, but with dietary knowledge, you are able to offer solutions and alternatives to support their success. Check with your county or state's laws regarding your freedoms for providing nutritional advice, but most will allow you to offer simple changes and guidance.
7. Reducing boredom
Your clients expect a variety in their workout routine. As a personal trainer, you have your favorite exercises and sometimes can get stuck in a rut. To keep your clients and yourself from being bored, select CEC's that use a new training tool or use a traditional piece of workout equipment in a new way.
For example, if you are using kettlebells but have mastered only a few exercises, take a kettlebell CEC to learn how to offer an entire workout session with this one training device.
Other CEC's may show you ways to set up outdoor courses or ways to use limited equipment if training someone at their home. One of the best things about personal training is you get to be creative. You have the opportunity to make each workout unique and effective, which keeps your clients coming back for more.
8. Comparing trends
CEC's on workout trends are a great way to learn more about the exercise, to form your opinion and then to share your knowledge with your clients. Before your client rushes off to the next fitness class guaranteed to bring results by shaking their groove thing to disco music, take a CEC and understand the research.
The more you learn, the more you are prepared to answer questions and either encourage or discourage your client from jumping on the next fitness wagon. When new fitness trends emerge, CEC's are also a nice way to compare current trends and take the best of each for your tool box.
9. Partnering with local health practitioners
Another way to improve your client base and increase your revenue is by partnering with local doctors and health care providers. The doctors already have a solid customer base and if they are able to refer their patients to a local fitness trainer, everyone wins.
To ensure you approach a partnership effectively, take a CEC that teaches you step by step the way to proceed. Your reputation is on the line and you need to be prepared to answer questions, provide valid certification and insurance and show your enthusiasm for helping others.
With other types of CEC's you also learn how to expand your business through local media by contributing health-related articles to newspapers and journals or visiting companies to offer health and fitness presentations. The more you make your presence known in your own community, the bigger your business grows.
10. Furthering your career
Deciding on your future goals is a more personal reason to consider when selecting CEC's. Your passion for personal training and helping others cannot be denied, but as you progress through your fitness journey your desires may change.
Perhaps you want to focus on athletic training or physical therapy for the second half of your life. CEC's that provide insight into these careers are a valuable way for you to test the waters to determine your interest. You may decide to return to college after taking a CEC that concentrates on athletic training.
Your personal training business will continue and support your future goals while at the same time, you are expanding your career and staying true to yourself.
Continuing education courses for personal trainers fall into two categories: necessity and advancement. Some years, you may choose the courses out of necessity only to keep your certification current and to update your liability insurance. Other years, CEC's are an opportunity to grow your business.
When your course selection is based on advancing your business, enhancing your client's health and improving your personal growth, your decisions are different. With the large selection of CEC's available, you are able to choose from a variety of topics each year.
Try not to wait until your certification is up for renewal and then cram all your CEC's into a month. Take your time and choose your courses widely. You will see and feel the difference these choices make on your successful personal training business future.
Example Short CEC Courses:
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