The Personal Training Master Course (MC) is designed for individuals interested in becoming an expert personal trainer. This comprehensive program includes classroom work along with hands-on practice sessions in the gym.


Graduates of the MC program will demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities in personal training. These students are prepared for positions working with a broad range of clients with varying goals. These include sports performance, post-rehabilitation, chronic disease training, advanced training methods, and modalities and advanced mobility. Students are also prepared to start their own personal training business. They will be CPR-certified and registered to take a certification exam of their choice from: American Council on Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), or National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

This full-time program consists of 600 hours spread across 22 weeks with classes conducted during the day. Students who quality can use Federal Student Aid, Climb Credit, 529 plans, flexible payment plans, Veterans education benefits, and more to fund their education.

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Personal Training Theory and Application

300 hours

The first section of the Personal Training Master Course, Personal Training Theory and Application, focuses on the fundamentals of how the body functions. Students learn about bones, muscles, and the respiratory system. The curriculum also covers the essentials of designing and implementing exercise programs.

Students receive an introduction to the school’s mission, facilities, resources, and regulations as well as the course expectations. From there, students learn and discuss what it means to be a personal trainer and identify the qualifications and characteristics necessary to be successful in that role.

  • Define a personal trainer’s scope of practice
  • Identify the qualifications needed for personal training
  • Discuss actionable items necessary to achieve success as a personal trainer

Kinesiology is the study of the mechanics of body movement and is used to promote health, reduce disease, and improve performance. In this module, students study the fundamental principles of human movement, including identifying joint actions and planes of motion.

  • Identify the term describing the relative location of anatomical references on the body
  • Describe plane(s) of motion and joint actions for exercises
  • Name the plane(s) of motion when given a joint action

The word musculoskeletal is a combo of the words “muscular” and “skeletal” and refers to what makes up the body – bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, membranes, joints, and ligaments. Anatomy is the study of the human body’s structure. This module focuses on the naming system for all the bones and muscles that work together during movement.

  • Identify the joint(s) a muscle acts on
  • Determine which bones form its articulation when given a joint name
  • Describe the structure and function of connective tissue types

Building on the information learned in the Musculoskeletal Anatomy module, students learn about the three types of muscle contractions and the chemicals involved. They also learn about slow- and fasttwitch muscle fibers as well as creating programs utilizing plyometrics and speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) training.

  • Determine the acute and chronic responses when given a muscle fiber type
  • Identify the chemical functions involved in muscle contractions
  • Design a program using plyometric and/or SAQ training

Biomechanics explains the science behind the position and angle of body parts. In this module, students learn the prime (agonist) and opposing (antagonist) muscle movers for exercises and movements in addition to identifying the forces acting upon the body.

  • Identify the concentric and eccentric phases of an exercise or movement
  • Define the force-velocity and length-tension curve of a muscle
  • Quantify work completed given an exercise, load, and repetition scheme

The cardiorespiratory system includes the heart, blood vessels, and blood and transports nutrients like oxygen throughout the body. In this module, students learn to label the heart with its chambers, major vessels, and valves, trace the flow of blood from the right to the left atrium, and identify the sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodes.

  • Identify the beat per minute range criteria for resting heart rate categories
  • Define the role of sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodes
  • Describe the formula for cardiac output

This module focuses on building a career as a personal trainer. Students identify common professional challenges and goals and create a plan to achieve those goals. They learn how to write an effective cover letter and create a resume. In addition to a mock interview, we provide tips on inquiring about potential job opportunities and determining if a company is a good fit for an individual.

  • Create an effective cover letter and professional resume
  • Determine career goals and an actionable plan to achieve them
  • Inquire about potential job openings

The food we eat is broken down into nutrients that are used by muscles for energy to fulfill specific demands. Students learn to identify the caloric value, role in energy production, and major structural components of macronutrients. In addition, they learn to calculate the caloric deficit required to reach a weight-loss goal.

  • Describe the structural components, caloric value, and the role in energy production for macronutrients
  • Calculate the caloric deficit required for a given weight loss goal
  • Identify the predominant substrates and duration for energy systems

Students learn the training principles, including progression, overload, and variety so that they can identify the benefits, risks, and options for cardiorespiratory, resistance, and flexibility training. By the end of this module, students develop an appropriate workout given a list of client’s goals, capabilities, equipment, and schedule.

  • Select a training stimulus most appropriate to reach a given list of training goals
  • Develop an exercise plan applying FITT – frequency, intensity, time, and type
  • Design a workout for a client’s needs, abilities, and preferences

Some clients require special exercise programs, such as pregnant women, older adults, younger people, and those with injuries. Identifying the movements that are off-limits is critical.

  • Identify contraindications and indications for a disease, injury, or special population
  • Identify potential causes and symptoms of a given injury
  • Coach a stability-based and balance-based workout

In this hands-on module, students interview a client to determine their goals, health history, and injuries. After that, they perform numerous activities – calculate target heart rate zones and body mass index; take a blood pressure reading, skinfold measurements, and resting heart rate; and implement a muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility test.

  • Use a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer to take blood pressure
  • Conduct a Thomas Flexibility Test and a muscular strength test
  • Calculate the target heart rate zone using the age-predicted and Karvonen formulas

Students learn the SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – and how to establish them. In the hands-on application, they coach and motivate a client during resistance and cardiorespiratory training and communicate with a client during an intense training session.

  • Establish SMART goals
  • Determine the stage of the transtheoretical model a client falls under
  • Coach and motivate a client during resistance and cardiorespiratory training

In this module, the instructor provides handouts and an overview of the material in preparation for the Personal Training Theory and Application final exam.

Advanced Concepts in Personal Training

300 hours

The second section of the Personal Training Master Course, Advanced Concepts in Personal Training, dives into areas of specialty. Students learn and coach the best techniques for specific equipment and modalities. After writing a program for themselves, students understand advanced program design and the crucial communication skills necessary to keep clients engaged.

This short introductory class clearly states the expectations and curriculum for the Advanced Concepts portion of the Personal Training Master Course.

  • Discuss students’ areas of interest
  • Examine students’ personal goals, fears, and skills
  • Identify the qualities of great personal trainers

After completing the program, some students decide to work for an established gym, but others elect to start their own businesses. We prepare students for both options. With either approach, finding and maintaining clients is essential for all personal trainers.

  • Outline steps for obtaining new clients effectively and developing relationships with
  • Identify methods to strengthen and grow client networks
  • Understand the planning stages of a new fitness business and identify the hidden costs

Motivating clients is critical to their continued success. Personal trainers must understand what stage a client is in to keep them progressing toward their goals and notice when their behavior changes. When a client loses motivation, trainers need the skills to re-energize them.

  • Describe behavioral theory models and the stages of behavior change
  • Identify terms and theories regarding client psychology and behavior
  • Discover behavior techniques and motivation strategies to increase adherence and prevent relapse

Many clients like to mix up their routines by following the latest fitness and dietary fads. Students learn how to analyze new developments so that they choose the programs that result in their client’s success. The content of this module is based on the current trends in the industry.

  • Identify the benefits, drawbacks, and myths of a given class or trend
  • Discuss the training concepts behind a given class or trend
  • Describe the differences in skills required by personal trainers and group fitness instructors

Students dive deeper into working with young, pregnant, and elderly clients because they have different physical requirements and contraindications than the general population. Students learn the benefits and risks of exercising for these groups, as well as how to apply the appropriate exercise intensity.

  • Analyze the benefits and unique concerns regarding youth populations
  • Identify the current American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines for pregnant women
  • Design safe and effective exercise programs for older populations

Roughly 40% of Americans have a chronic disease. Exercise can help prevent and/or improve many of these conditions. Whether it is diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or asthma, students learn the skills necessary to support clients through these challenging issues.

  • Describe the effects of metabolic disorders
  • Analyze characteristics and symptoms for given disorders, such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and pulmonary disorders
  • Identify the structures and sequence of electrical conductivity in the heart

Innovative research and new practices create an ever-growing body of knowledge. Students learn how to read the information to deliver the latest and best information to clients. Students also determine how to critically analyze scientific claims posed by the media, celebrity trainers, and new products.

  • Demonstrate knowledge about recent research findings
  • Identify strengths and limitations in a given study
  • Discuss the justification for or against a given training method

At some point, nearly every person has an injury, and clients are no exception. In this critical module, students first learn how to work with clients to avoid injuries. But when they have an injury or pain, students learn strategies for working around those issues while continuing to advance toward the client’s goals.

  • Analyze the steps involved in obtaining a post-rehab client
  • Develop safe and effective training programs to achieve client goals with various injuries
  • Identify indications and contraindications based on a pathology

Improving mobility and flexibility means that we can do more work with every exercise. In this lecture and hands-on unit, students learn five stretching methods, self-myofascial release, and dynamic mobility drills.

  • Differentiate between an active and passive range of motion and static, dynamic, and ballistic stretching
  • Describe and execute an active and passive stretch for major muscle groups
  • Develop an appropriate mobility program for a given client scenario

For most people, this is what personal training is all about – teaching people how to exercise. Students learn how to instruct clients in the following areas of specialization:

  • Kettlebells
  • Plyometrics and Speed, Agility, and Quickness (SAQ)
  • Boxing and Kickboxing
  • Strength Training
  • Resistance Bands, Chains, and Cables
  • Bodybuilding/Physique Training
  • Olympic Weightlifting

All employers require CPR training for personal trainers. A CPR-certified instructor provides hands-on CPR training, AED defibrillator use, and tests for CPR certification.

In this module, the instructor provides a general exercise science review along with preparation for the four most widely recognized personal training certification exams: American Council on Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Each student decides which test to take based on their professional goals. Focus Personal Training Institute purchases the exam for each student and helps facilitate registration, but an outside agency administers and proctors the exam to comply with regulations set forth by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). We encourage students to take the exam within one month of graduation.


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