T Nation

Being A Personal Trainer

Hey everyone
I’m a high school student who is going off to college next year and I am planning to major in Athletic Training.
I have been reading t-nation for at least three years now and have an admiration for people like Joe DeFranco, Christian Thibideau and Charles Staley. I would like to find out what else i should do other than getting a degree in Athletic Training to even have a percentage of the knowledge and smarts that the people here at T-Nation have because my ultimate goal is just to train high school and college athletes to help them reach their athletic peak.

Thanks for any info

lift heavy.
lift following the workouts suggested here by the resident gurus.
play a sport or two.
apply your lifting results to your sport.

Dan John said “get strong in the gym, master your sport on the field”.

DO THAT, don’t just read about it.

What would you have to offer anyone if you haven’t been there?

Charles Poliquin said that it takes studying 10 hours per week for 5 years of a given topic to become reasonably versed in its application. I agree! Another thing you may want to read and follow is some of Dave Tates articles both here and elitefts.com. He speaks a lot about getting under the bar and actually DOING what it is you want to teach others to do. How can one teach others how to squat 500lbs if you’ve never been under that kind of weight yourself? That is the best advice you’ll ever read. It’ll teach you more than any book or library full of research. Good luck!

Hey big guy,

I have been a personal trainer for 4 years now and am suffering through grad school for my doctor of physical therapy degree. I was in a unique position at my gym in which I was hired as an 18 year old “know it all” because they thought I was already in grad school for physical therapy. I had actually said that it was my major, but they just assumed I was older since I look older than 22.

I have been through many phases in my lifting, and it seems every other week I come upon some new revelation that changes the way I look at everything. Lately it has been the CNS / periodization / myofascial release (a weird kind, not the regular one you hear about here).

I can give you some advice based on my world experience that will hopefully help you out.

  1. Look to more experienced people for advice, and take it in like a child would (a state of utter fascination)

After the information has a chance to set in, critically review it based on what you have heard, read and been taught. Then go back and ask the critical questions. After this session, usually the merit of the person/information can be gauged.

  1. Experiment with everything on yourself.

It seems that with all the new information you get, you want to share it with everyone a try it out on your clients, since you genuinely care that they achieve their goals.

The problem can sometimes be that the training methods are bunk or have a high potential for injury, etc. That can hurt someone, and your reputation.

As a side, I have little brothers who are always willing to be guinea pigs, so I don’t have to incessantly suffer.

  1. Take the classes for everything. Try to learn it all, and then apply it to work. See how you can plug it in to your everyday training life.

Once you see the application, the other knowledge surrounding the topic will seem more relevant, and therefore will stick in your head better (i.e. better grads)

  1. Lastly, this has been said here many times. Learn what you can from your teachers, but take it all in with a grain of salt.

I have taken 3 nutrition courses at the university just to get a better grasp of what I was learning in T-mag. Every single teacher in all those classes said that extra protein would hurt my kidneys and protein shakes were unnecessary for building muscle / recovery.

Anyone on this site can at least say anecdotally that if those two aforementioned, “ridiculed” principles were not put in to practice, there would be a lot of smaller bodybuilders out there not making the gains they so want in the gym.

The teachers did instill many good nutritional foundations in my head, though. Since the classes were all aimed toward general or disease-specific conditions, it all comes down to relevancy of the topic at hand.

  1. Never stop learning, and always ask why, even when the answer is explained (there is still always something going on that you might not know)

Lemme know if I can assist you further my friend. PM me for questions.

Athletic trainer? That is not being a strength coach.

Get your terminology correct so you are not going into the wrong field.

You will learn more from t-mag than an ATC degree. I have worked with too many lame ass ATC’s. READ,LIFT,READ somemore. Follow the writings of top coaches. Get a couple of respectable certs from opposing camps like the NSCA CSCS AND,AND,AND the NASM’s PES. Get Poliquins theory 1 cert at least. Get a USA Weightlifting cert. Intern in SEVERAL real facilities like with Poliquin or Staley (or better yet BOTH) Keep your eyes open. There is so much crap in padded schoolastic degrees. Talk to CT and find out why the education he is pursuing is so much better than others in his field that for example still talk of protein like it is a poison. Ask those that you admire of their educations. Try what you read. Drag a sled, pick up some sandbags, snatch a kettlebell, do some overhead squats. Always realize that you cant know it all and you will do fine. Good luck…

Here’s a link to CT’s guest column:
In it, he includes a post of his entire philosophy about how to become successful in the S&C field.

Ian King’s “So You Want to Be a Strength and Conditioning Coach” and “Winning and Losing” are excellent reads and should tops on your Christmas list. You’ll want to read and reread these books.

If I could give you some advice it would be to get involved in a sport and take it to a high level of competition. It will do wonders for your reputation as someone who’s knowledgeable in the field as well give you insight into what your athletes are going through. If you are going to a college where the sports are on too high a level or they don’t offer your sport (i.e. wrestling) I’d recommend powerlifting, olympic lifting, or martial arts. You can find those just about anywhere.

Stay current, read everything, and apply what you know.

Best of luck.