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The Fitness Zone

The Importance of Professional Development as a PT
March 20, 2019 | by Suzanne Cox

Life gets busy as a Personal Trainer! It can be really difficult to find and make time for professional development but here three important reasons why it should be one of your priorities.

1. Ensuring that you stay registered

Fitness industry governing bodies such as Fitness Australia require you to attain Continuing Education Credits (CECs) in order to renew your registration each year. Continued education helps improve existing skills and teaches you how to develop new ones. Every two years, it’s expected that you will complete 20 CECs in order to maintain your registration as an AusREP with Fitness Australia.

What does this actually mean? Well, each continuing education course is allocated a credit unit according to the quality and duration of the program or event. A good tip: courses, programs or events that include an assessment will have higher credits allocated. Whether it’s a program, event, workshop, seminar, conference, official education course or a self-directed learning module, there are more than 600 CEC programs and events in Australia to choose from.

These can include courses on nutrition, online training, aqua essentials and even specific courses on how best to use kettlebells or battle ropes.

Other ways to obtain CECs include completing a first aid course, mentoring students, peer observation or teaching in an approved program. Simply choose the courses that spark your interest and off you go.

2. Staying up-to-date with research

We all know that the current research on what is an effective nutrition plan or what is the most valuable type of training is constantly refined, research is always evolving. What’s healthy one day is deemed horrific the next; an effective nutrition plan can change from day to day and the most valuable type of training frequently changes.

There are also many different opinions and in order for you to decide what your training and nutrition ethos is you need to have as much information as you can to make an educated recommendation to your clients. That’s why it’s so crucial to stay as up-to-date as possible with all the latest research. In any industry, it’s important to continually develop new personal training skills so you must be ready to provide the best level of service and the most current information to clients.

Continually learning and delving into the research also means you can provide educated opinions and statistics to your clients, ensuring you are giving them the best chance at success. According to reports from IBISWorld, Australians are becoming more engaged with their fitness journeys, seeking to improve their health and quality of life. This is equating to a huge increase in industry revenue. Because of this, it’s even more important that every personal trainer understands what the experts are saying regarding all aspects of health.

Many years ago, we didn’t know that smoking was that bad for us; ten years ago, we didn’t know that long periods of sitting were that bad for us and in ten years’ time there will be something new we have learnt from all the research and study that is currently being conducted.

3. More skills leads to more clients

All clients want a fresh, inspiring and knowledgeable trainer. Demand for personal trainers is on the rise as people seek to adopt a healthier lifestyle. However, this creates much more competition, meaning you need to stand out. How? Up-skill!

Think about it this way: what would make a client choose you over the personal trainer standing next to you? While personalities matter and every client wants to get on with their trainer, if you can offer something more – more skills, more knowledge or varied exercises – well, then you’re going to jump to top spot. Clients want someone who is going to get the best results for them and being on the cutting edge of industry trends and research means you’ll be more desirable as a trainer.

It’s not just the technical trends that you need to be skilled in, it’s the personal ones too. Ensure you’re an excellent communicator, that you listen more than you talk, that you can lead a client to whatever accomplishments they’re searching for and that you’re excellent at planning.

On top of this, continually learning and developing your skills is a way to practice self-health. In a role where you give a lot to other people it’s really important to take time out for yourself. Feed your own quest for knowledge, avoid burnout, take time out for yourself and ensure you’re exercising. Learn new exercises or skills and then try them out with a client. Attend a course on something you’ve never tried before and then implement it with your clients.

The fitness industry attracts great people with incredible energy so as an added bonus you can guarantee you will meet heaps of like-minded fitness professionals who are just as passionate as you! It’s also a great way to feel confident as you can ensure you’re delivering a safe, effective and fun session.

There are lots of options for professional development courses out there. Get searching online and start booking them in! For example, The Australian Institute of Fitness provides training for personal trainers and/or fitness instructors. We offer a wide variety of personal training course options. You can choose from:


Suzanne is the Lead eCoach at the Australian Institute of Fitness in St Leonards, NSW.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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