T Nation

PT Curriculum


I'm not really new to training, but I am new to training others for the purpose of fitness. I'm about to enroll in some classes at The Norwegian School of Sports Sciences to become a fitness instructor and PT, so I figured the beginners category would be fitting.

I browsed some of the curriculum literature today, and started reading about nutrition in Teri S. O'Brien's "The Personal Trainer's Handbook". What I saw made me somewhat reluctant as she seems to be very much against high protein and low carb diets. Instead she advocates low fat. I thought the days when that was considered sound advice were long gone, but there it is. Apparently low carbs not only makes you stupid because the CNS needs glucose to work properly, it also makes your body's ability to metabolize fat incomplete. While I'm sure it's correct if taken to extremes, I can't really imagine it to be the case if done properly and with a few high carb loading days, right?

Reading further I found a suggestion for training a woman with 28 per cent body fat, who would like to reduce to 23. The goal seemed almost defeatist. I mean who the hell would want to diet only to stop at 23%? She's still a fat cow, right?

Still, that wasn't what got to me. It was the program. This fictitous woman, whom I can only assume has not done much training in her life, was supposed to do two moderately intense cardio session and two intense ones a week on top of three resistence training sessions. That's a grand total of seven work outs in one week! Am I wrong or is she likely to become injured, or experience severe CNS fatigue after about two weeks?

Has anyone here read this book, and in case what are your thoughts?

Here's a link:



I pray that I will never be required to read that book.

As far as training the women, if she hasn't trained before or recently then it'd be smart to start lower than 7 workouts (maybe 3 or 4) and add one per week. But diet has more to do with her losing that weight


Unless I'm wrong (and please correct me if I am), the body doesn't really need carbs, and can create glucose from amino acids if it actually needs them. I believe Dr. Carlon Colker mentioned this recently in a column (or maybe it was in his book).... I'm sure I've read it on here in several places as well. Actually, talk to anyone who's doing the Anabolic Diet.



Perhaps in theory that's true, although I know that not many nutritionists (or even bodybuilding diet coaches) recommend completely eliminating carbs from the diet for long periods of time.

One other thing to consider is that while the body may be able to create glucose from amino acids, let me ask you this? What's the most high quality, and abundant source of amino acids in the body? Here's a clue, what is muscle made out of?

Now, do you really want your body breaking down it's own muscle to make glucose, when you could simply supply it with glucose via your diet?

Once again, no carbs is fine for short periods, but I personally wouldn't recommend making a lifestyle out of it. Especially if building mass is the goal.

Good training,



That's how I see it as well, but this is really getting confusing. Today I had look at another book. This one is actually used for high school gym classes in my country. There is a diet suggestion here that although it is not ment for weight loss, still makes me cringe. The author recommends 60% carbs in the diet. There's an example day here that, among admittedly healthy things, also include servings of raisin buns and ice cream! There is also a post work-out suggestion containing absolutely no protein!

I'm beginning to wonder what I have gotten myself into here, but this school is in fact where all the top coaches and sports scientists in my country get their education. I hope my teacher is smarter than the literature he uses.


Hopefully you won't have that attitude for training women. They won't like you very much.

Women have naturally higher bodyfat. 23% is "average".


It is? I had no idea. It sounds like a lot. I'll admit I know a lot less about female physiology than male. Being male, it hasn't really concerned me until now.

And of course I wouldn't call a client a fat cow. Are you nuts? She was a figment of someone's imagination, so I took a stab at her in good humour. I think that's a little different.

I have the deepest respect for anyone who seeks to improve themselves at anything, no matter what their starting point is, and I am not a sexist bastard if that is what you are implying.


captain I think you will benefit greatly from your nutrition and physiology courses. You seemed to be stuck regurgitating the theme of the forums versus what the authors, solid nutritionist, and even pro-athletes live by.

Many of these low bodyfat bodybuilding (not all) women are harmfully fat deficient where it effects the organs, reproductive system and bodily functions. They sacrifice for the love of their sport, this is not what the average healthy female should seek to be.

For the average healthy growing child going on a low carb diet is not all that great and probably not even necessary to maintain a low bodyfat. Half the reason (Americans at least) so many people need to go on a low carb diet is because they PIGGED out all their life in the first place.

After all bulking phases seemed to be turning into get fat phases. People are talking about they are in a year of bulking then need to overdose on Hydroxycut to get rid of the fat in 2 weeks. If you try to push this to someone as a trainer you will fail miserably.

You also have to worry about performance, if you have an elite basketball player or football player severely limiting his carbs will limit his performance on the field. These guys are 180,190 lbs burning upwards of 5000 calories a day if not more. Replacing all that with just meat and protein shakes will just bottle their system down.

7 days a week of cycled intensity training is not asking for injury. Untrained people do it all the time, 90% of the time when you see someone with no T-Nation forum knowledge you see they just one day decided to start running and the weight starting coming off. This might not work for some 500lb'er but an every day 160lb woman should not have a problem.

Remember everybody has a purpose try to learn from your courses and manuals.



Interesting read for the low-carb diet.


I would never do that. I'm not really against carbohydrates. I eat quite a lot of the myself, and am reasonably slim. My point is that I don't believe in extremes, and in light of what have I have read here among other places, not in the forums, but by the professional authors, I think a diet consisting of at least 60% carbs and as little as 10 to 12% protein as my book suggests seems a little crazy unless the athlete in question is a long distance runner, especially seeing as some of the meals contained downright unhealthy sugary foods.

This is not to say that I don't have lots to learn. I know I do, hence the courses. Thank you for responding!


Men and women are different, yep! But we are also way similar. Learn about the female anatomy as much as you can because they will be a good portion of your future clients.
Just for your reference, refer to Mufasa's post about bodyfat composition: http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=1695949 .

You should be asking advice on how people got to preach what's on here although schooling and books state other wise.


I suppose that's a good point, but as mentioned, the information I utilize (in my own training) is not from forums, but largely based on what professional coaches say, many of them T-Nation scribblers.

As for books and schooling I already have a university degree unrelated to fitness and nutrition, and if there's one thing I learned from studying is that you should be critical of what you read. That was actually an ideal among my professors.

So based on that, what I'm saying is that I don't take everything I read on the web at face value, but neither do I do that with more "official" information.

Instead I keep an open mind and fumble my way towards something that works. Diets with extreme amounts of carbs and even some refined sugar, I for instance find to work poorly when body composition is a goal. They make me pretty fat. Believe me. I've been there. I've been eating lots of different ways throughout my life, and back when bread was the corner stone of my diet I did not look good. :slight_smile:


Do us all a favor and become a trainer/coach...the way you are questioning this disinformation makes me rethink 2012.

Note: I am NOT being sarcastic...most people will simply accept this crap as the truth. After all, it HAS to be the truth, otherwise they wouldn't be teaching it would they?

Keep it up!