Women's Fitness Training Tips

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What is the best certification if I am interested in weight training.

Women of Iron: National Strength and Conditioning Association

In the past decade, weight and other forms of strength training have become an important part of women's exercise programs. If you are interested in working with the ever-growing Baby Boomer market, weight training is considered to be the best workout for that age group. For those who want to specialize in in strength training, a certification with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is the way to go. This is the organization that will teach you everything you need to know about weight training machines, free weights, muscular sequences, choosing the right fitness training schedule, etc. In addition to the exams, NSCA offers a variety of online fitness training manuals.

I want to work with female athletes. What is the best certification?

NASM: The Athletic Advantage

Do you like sports? Are you interested in training other women to develop their athletic skills and prevent athletic training through specialized fitness programs? Would you like to be considered the expert on the best workout for any given sport? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then NASM is the right certification for you.

Keep in mind that certification by the National Academy of Sports Medicine is definitely not for anyone who wishes to work at a typical women's fitness center such as Curves, where the exercise routines are predictable. In fact, that sort of training is the antithesis of what NASM is about. An athletic woman needs to be prepared for the unexpected. By providing fitness trainers with the skills they need to assess postural alignment, muscular imbalances and faulty movement patterns, the trainer can then keep her athletic clients in a perpetual, "athletic ready" state.

There are three NASM certifications. The Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) is the most basic. The Performance Enhancement Specialist concentrates on sport-specific skills, and the Corrective Exercise Specialist (CEC) is excellent for anyone who is interested in post rehab fitness.

What is the best certification for anyone interested in medical oriented fitness?

ACSM Fitness Certification

Long considered the Rolls Royce of fitness instructor certification, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is known for its comprehensive and detailed exam. This is not the certification for the novice instructor, or for anyone who is shy about memorizing complicated exercise science formulas. In general, most ACSM certified instructors work in hospital environment, or by medical referral.
There are three types of ACSM certifications. The ACSM Health/Fitness Instructor is designed for instructors that want to work with moderate-risk clients. In contrast, the ACSM Exercise Specialist must learn how to perform exercise testing in a clinical setting. The ACSM Personal Trainer Certification is designed for potential instructors that want to do one on one training with healthy individuals. While some of the exams offer a workshop, most are stand-alone exams.

What does ACE stand for?

ACE Fitness Certification

The American Council on Exercise sponsors what is probably one of the respected fitness certifications. They are considered to be the watchdogs of the fitness industry. As such, they often sponsor a number of university-based scientific studies. For example, do you want to learn about the best butt workouts? Check out this research:


In addition to its Group Exercise and Personal Training certifications, ACE offers a Lifestyle and Weight Management certification that combine fitness and nutrition, as well as a Clinical Exercise certification that allows you to work with special populations. However, you need to obtain either your group exercise or personal trainer certification prior to applying to these programs. They also offer an interesting variety of continuing education courses such as pre and postnatal exercise, as well as exercise and osteoporosis.

Although ACE has a number of study guides that are available for test preparation, they do not have any pre-test workshops. Novice exercise instructors who have no practical experience may want to choose a different organization for their first certification.

How often will I need to renew my CPR certification?

CPR Certification

Even before you get your fitness certification, you must get certified in CPR. Depending on the organization, your CPR will last either one or two years. In the past few years, most CPR certification will also teach you to use the automated external defibrillators, which are also know as AED. If you plan to work at a women's exercise center that offers childcare, you might also be asked to get certified in infant CPR. The two organizations that provide CPR certification are the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Keep in mind that theories do change throughout the years, so renewing your certification is of vital importance, should you wish to keep your employment in the fitness industry.

What's the first thing I should do if I would like to become a women's fitness instructor?

So You Want to Become a Women's Fitness Instructor

Perhaps you have decided that you would like to become a women's fitness trainer. Or, maybe you have always harbored a secret fantasy about being a personal trainer. After all, you are the one that your friends come to when they want to know the best workout for the "belly," or the best workout for the butt.

If this sounds like you, the first thing you will need to do is is get a fitness certification. While there are a number of certifications on the market, some have more status than others. In the same way, some certifications are more suitable for teaching specific populations. So how do you choose which one is best. Here are some factors to consider;

  • Training Programs: Does the organization offer a pre-test training program, or do you just do home study, then take a written exam.?
  • Cost: Can you afford the price of the program?
  • Convenience: Do they test near your home?
  • Specializations: So they specialize in the types of fitness you would like to teach?

What if I can't stretch as far today as I did yesterday?

Don't Forget To Stretch

Stretching is an important part of any women's exercise plan. Although the jury is still out as to the role of stretching in injury prevention, gentle stretching makes you feel better and many people find that stretching anytime: before, during or after a workout, or even while you're at home watching TV, helps them feel stronger and more relaxed during workouts.

Some principles of stretching:

  • Stretching is not a competitive sport. Focus on relaxing the tight muscles when you stretch, and don't worry if you aren't as flexible as the person next to you in a yoga class.
  • Your body is different every day. Some days you are just a little stiffer; maybe you had a hard workout the day before, maybe you have been traveling and spending a lot of time sitting on planes or in cars.
  • Overall, your flexibility will improve with regular stretching, but focus on how your body feels each day, and don't stretch to the point of pain.
  • Breathe. It's tempting to hold your breath while stretching, but you need to keep breathing to release the tension in your muscles. Breath smoothly and evenly while holding a stretch.

What are the best butt workouts?

The Bridge To A Better Butt

For the butt workouts that will help you fit into your sexy jeans, be sure to include this move: The Bridge. It sounds easy, but it will work those gluteal muscles.

Here's how to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms along your sides.
  • Engage your abs and lift your hips 4 to 6 inches off the floor.
  • Press into the floor with your palms as you lift your hips another inch higher. Hold for three seconds, and then lower back to the first position of 4 to 6 inches off the floor.
  • Repeat the 3-second pulse 15 times.

Now here's the really tough part: Repeat the move, but extend your right leg towards the ceiling. Keep your leg straight as you squeeze through the left gluteal muscle to keep your hips level. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat for 20-30 small pulses, then lower your leg and repeat on the other side.

What is the best workout for women?

Walking May Be A Woman's Best Workout

For many people, the biggest barrier to fitness is finding an activity that you can stick to and do easily. If you regularly run, bike or do aerobics, you may not think of walking as a workout. But think again. Regular walking to and from work, or at lunchtime, can contribute to your overall fitness level by getting you up and away from your desk, even for 15 minutes or so, and even if it's walking down the street to Starbucks.

In terms of convenience, walking may be the best workout there is. If you are new to fitness, walking is a way to gradually introduce your body to activity. If you are already active, walking during the day helps recovery from your tough workouts by promoting blood flow and reducing the effects of delayed-onset muscle soreness so you are less stiff when it's time for your next tough workout.

And try this butt-toning tip as a bonus while walking: Keep the heel of your back foot on the ground as long as possible, and when you lift your heel, try to roll across your entire foot and push off with your toes. If you can manage this, you'll feel your gluteal muscles working more with each step. Of course this is tricky if you're at work and wearing heels, but try it when you are walking and wearing workout gear and you'll feel the burn.

Why is yoga a good fitness activity for women?

Yoga Promotes Women's Fitness

If you have never tried yoga, find a beginner class and check it out. You may get hooked. Yoga is a great part of any women's fitness plan because it is low-impact and doesn't put pressure on the joints. Also, the deep stretching you do in yoga helps combat delayed-onset muscle soreness after tough workouts. Yoga can be especially helpful if your have joint problems or if you are recovering from an injury or trying to get back in shape after pregnancy.

Speaking of pregnancy, if you are pregnant, prenatal yoga helps you maintain a basic level of fitness even into the third trimester, and studies have shown that women who practice yoga and do other forms of moderate exercise during pregnancy are more comfortable during labor and delivery.

I'm interested in women's fitness. What does AFAA offer?

AFAA Fitness Certification

The Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) has been in existence since 1983. Their certifications usually include a one-day workshop, which makes them excellent for new instructors. They also offer a variety of online courses, which are available through their TeleFitness product. AFAA's many training and certification workshops include:

  • Personal Trainer
  • Group Fitness Instructor
  • Step Instructor
  • Kickboxing
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
Women's fitness enthusiasts may be interested in their workshops in perinatal fitness and fitness for women in midlife.

How do I best start and exercise routine?

Starting Out Small with Your Workouts

If you have never exercised regularly or haven't exercised in a long time, it is very important to start your workout routine conservatively. To avoid pain and injury, women should do less than what they think they can for at least the first few workouts. When you are first beginning an exercise routine, it is much more important to avoid injury and build a solid fitness foundation. See your doctor or a trainer for more information on starting a fitness routine appropriate for your level of fitness.

When should I stretch?

Knowing When to Stretch

While it is important to stretch to maintain flexibilty, studies show that when you stretch is also very important. You should always warm up before you stretch. Stretching a cold muscle can not only cause injury, it won't do you much good. To warm up, try walking briskly or doing a few minutes of your activity at a low intensity before you stretch. You can then safely continue with the remainder of your workout.

What are the differences among the types of yoga?

Different Types of Yoga

The variety of yoga classes offered at your local gym can be very confusing. Ashtanga yoga, sometimes called power yoga, is a very active form of yoga. Power yoga will build strength, flexibility and endurance. Another popular form of yoga is hatha yoga. Hatha yoga focuses less on activity and more on stretching and strengthening the body. Hatha yoga is great for stress-relief and flexibility. Bikram, which is a series of 26 poses performed in a heated room and iyengar, which focuses on a series of poses or asanas, are also common. The best way to figure out which type is best for you is to go to each class and try it out.

Are my short exercise sessions doing me any good?

Breaking up Your Workouts

Between family, friends, and work, many women are pressed for time. While conventional wisdom holds that women need to work out for at least 30 consecutive minutes before they start gaining any benefit from exercise, recent research suggests that may not necessarily be the case. In fact, one study showed that working out for 10 minutes three times a day is better for lowering triglycerides (blood fat) than exercising for 30 minutes straight. Even if you can only exercise for a few minutes multiple times during the day, your body is still reaping many of the benefits that you would be getting if you were exercising in longer stretches.

How can I spice things up at the gym?

Trying New Things

Research suggests that boredom is one of the top reasons why women quit exercise programs. Step it up and try something new!

Trying new exercise programs and varying your fitness routine will not only alleviate some of the boredom associated with long hours at the gym, but research also suggests that it will help you maintain a more fit lifestyle. Sign up for walking/running clubs, or commit yourself to a 10-week yoga session.

Will distance running cause arthritis later in life?

Distance Running

There is no need for women to avoid distance running out of fears of damaging joints and causing arthritis. Recent studies show that distance running does not increase a woman's risk of developing arthritis and in fact, seems to offer a measure of protection against the disease. Studies show that distance running can also relieve stress and promote a healthy mental state of mind. If you want to find more information on distance running, check your local gyms sporting good stores, and phone books for information on training and local running clubs.

How can I find more information on sports like rock climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking?

Alternative Sports

Rock climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking are not just for teenagers and college kids. Women have been flocking to these sports in record numbers in recent years. These alternative sports are not only great ways to get in shape and stay there, they also teach new skills and give you the opportunity to use the strength and fitness you've been working on in a fun-filled, adrenaline-fueled workout. Many groups offer lessons and outings specifically tailored for women. Check your local sporting goods stores and gyms for more information.

How can I have more fun when I am working out?

Exercise Outside of the Gym

Today's working woman is constantly battling deadline demands at home, and at the office. Participating in an adult kickball, basketball or softball league provides a great outlet for stress and motivation for staying in shape. Joining an adult sports league adds a kick to your workout and will help keep you connected to your community.

What are some of the benefits of yoga?

Health Benefits of Yoga

If you need some good reasons to finally go to that yoga class you've been meaning try, research has shown that even casual practice can reduce stress and multiple studies have shown that women who practice yoga weigh less then those who do not. Furthermore, yoga practice is clinically linked to lower cholesterol levels.

Where can I find a fitness training event?

Fitness Training Conferences

Fitness conferences are an excellent way to develop your skills and retain your certification. They often take place in "destination" areas, so you can have a great time while you polish your skills. The biggest conference is sponsored by the International Dance Exercise Association (IDEA) They hold two events each year: The huge international conference, which is usually held in California, and the personal training conference, which is often held somewhere in the East. These conferences cover every aspect of fitness training imaginable.

Sara's City Workout is another organization that holds fitness conferences. There are a few each year, that take place in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta and Boston. Visit scwfitness.com for details.

Are there online resources for fitness instructor education

Online Fitness Training Resources

Should you choose to get certified, you will need to maintain your credentials by attending a required number of fitness workshops. Since travel to these events can be pricey, you might want to consider getting some of these credits online. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to do this. The best is Personal Training on the Net, or PTontheNet.com. This website requires either a monthly or annual fee that is worth its weight in gold. Each month, you will be able to read cutting-edge articles that are written by the top experts in the sport fitness industry. If you are a personal trainer, Personal Training on the Net has a spectacular exercise library, which lets you devise programs that can be emailed to your clients. Additionally, you can take short quizzes on the website that will let you earn continuing education credits for a number of certifying organizations.

How can I work Pilates into my workout?


Pilates has enjoyed an upsurge in popularity among women in recent years. Women report that the exercises leave them refreshed. Women also like the fact that there are modifications for women of every strength and body type. Pilates is a great alternative to working with weights in more traditional strength training exercises. Pilates is safe for

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