Fitness Blog

ASFA® Certified: Qualified and Credible!

ASFA® Certifications

Qualification and credibility have always been linked.  The more qualified a trainer or fitness professional is, the more credible he/she is.  This brings up the obvious question:  Why are so many personal trainers just qualified with a basic level certification?  The answer can vary.  It can be that time or money are the issue.  It can also be that the trainer needed a basic level qualification to get the job.  But now, he/she doesn't see the point in proceeding.  At ASFA®, we believe that personal training and fitness instruction is more than just a job.  We believe that you are changing lives (both yours and your clients!).  When you look at it that way, then basic just isn't good enough!

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We offer certifications is fields ranging from Master Level Personal Training to Ballet Fitness.  From the most advanced to the most niche market - we do our best to provide an affordable convenient qualification.  Learning more in any field takes time.  We understand that.  That is why we let you test at your own convenience and learn from your mistakes.  So, why stay at the basic level?  When you are ready, we will be here 24/7!

ASFA® Certifications

Preparing for Your Spring Marathon

Running Coach Certification

As the last of the winter frost is passing through, it leaves runners ready to get back outside and train for an upcoming spring marathon. There are things you can do to help prepare yourself for training to make sure you will toe that starting line with confidence.

If you have taken a break from running or from running outside, you will want to take a trip to your local running store to be fitted for a running shoe. If you had switched to treadmill or shortened your outside distances due to winter weather, bring your current running shoes with you. The sales associates are trained to help you find the perfect shoe that fits your needs, shape of foot, and gait. If you bring your old running shoes with you, they will be able to examine the wear patterns on your old shoes and use that information to help find you the perfect pair. Gaits can change and form can change over time and it is always a good idea before distance training to make sure that your shoe is custom fitted for you. A shoe that fits well can help prevent blisters and other minor discomforts that could have a negative impact on your marathon training.

After you have your shoes and are ready to run, you will want to ease into your marathon training plan. If you try to do too much mileage too quickly, you will put yourself at a higher risk for injury. Is it better to give yourself enough time to do the training plan as planned and to stay on schedule so that you will have a positive experience and stay free from injury. A good training plan will not have you increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week. Any plan that increases mileage by more than 10% can increase your risk of injury.

When you get into the meat of your training plan and your training runs last longer than an hour, you will need to remember to have some sports nutrition with you. The average person should consume close to 200 calories in hour to replace the glycogen stores in the body. Glycogen is what your body uses for fuel. Runners than neglect the nutrition portion will not be successful at long distances and will struggle with the shorter distances too. There are many choices to try during your training runs so that you will know exactly what works for you during training. Every runner is different and every person can handle foods differently. You have to experiment a little to find out what works best for you.

Preparing yourself for a spring marathon is easier than you think. Make sure you have good fitted shoes to prevent any foot injuries. Find a good training plan that works best for your schedule. Remember not to increase mileage by more than 10% each week to help prevent injury. And lastly, don’t ignore your nutrition!

Running Coach Certification

High Impact vs. Low Impact Exercises

ASFA® Certifications

High and low impact exercises are both used to target specific training goals. Identifying what your personal needs and goals are will help you determine which types of exercises are best for you.

Low impact exercises are exactly as it is stated – they are exercises that are low impact on your joints. These types of exercises can include walking, swimming, yoga, or elliptical cardio. Anything that is easy on the joints or gentle and in fluid-motion is considered to be low impact. Low impact exercises are great for individuals who are new to working out. Low impact exercises are also great for athletes who are injured or recovering from injury. Low impact exercises also provide a gentle workout on your easy days and can aid in recovery of your harder days.

High impact exercises are the opposite side of the spectrum. These exercises have high impact to the joints. Examples of high impact exercises include running, skiing and gymnastics. High impact exercises put you at higher risk of injury, especially if your form is not correct. Acute athletic injuries are more often associated with high impact exercises. Having a personal trainer or coach can help ensure that your high impact exercises are done with proper form to prevent injury.

Low impact exercises can also aid in the performance of high impact exercises. Low impact exercises can help build strength and flexibility around the joints to protect them better when you do perform something more strenuous. Stretching and yoga can help you recovery faster from your more challenging workouts. Yoga and stretching can also build better core strength to help you perform more efficiently and have better posture and form while working out.

High and low exercises are both important to overall fitness. Deciding which one is best for you will depend on your personal needs and goals. Talk to a personal trainer to help you determine which exercises are best for you and also to make sure you perform your exercises correctly.

To learn more about high and low impact exercise methods, check out our Certifications page!

ASFA® Certifications

ASFA® Exams Answer the Needs of Fitness Professionals

ASFA® Certifications
ASFA's exams provide an ideal solution for fitness professionals trying to stay on the cutting-edge of the fitness industry while at the same time, training a full list of clients!  Its hard keeping your knowledge and qualifications up-to-date.  You have to make time to go to testing centers, listen to seminars (many of which you could probably teach!) and then drive home.  Or do you?  Not with ASFA®!  We believe that fitness professionals should be allowed to renew their qualifications in their own time and in a pressure free environment.  After all, don't you have enough pressure at work!?
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ASFA's don't pay unless you pass policy allows users to learn from their mistakes.  If you aren't having a good day and don't pass on your first attempt, ASFA® provides hints to the correct answers.  Though we won't give you the answer, we will point you in the right direction so that you can learn from mistakes.  Making mistakes is inevitable.  Learning from those mistakes is what separates the amateurs from the professionals!  So, what are you waiting for?  Test today!
ASFA® Certifications

Step Aerobics Certification: Cardio Optimized!

Step Aerobics Certification

As a fitness professional, you are probably thinking about what qualifications make you the most marketable and can be best implemented for your clients.  Maybe you should start thinking about what fitness trends have past the test of time.  Fitness fads come and go - but, some exercise methods remain popular.  One of the most popular forms of group exercise that has stood the test of time is Step Aerobics Instruction.  As a Step Aerobics instructor, you will learn how to motivate your clients and get optimal aerobic results and lower body/core body tone!

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If you are questioning what your next fitness qualification should be, think about what fitness methods have proven effective and remained popular.  Think about what is best for your clients.  Think about Step Aerobics Instruction!

Step Aerobics Certification

Endurance Running vs. Sprinting

Running Fitness Certification

Runners can benefit greatly from their sport. Whether you are sprinter or an endurance runner, there are some differences in training that can be beneficial depending on what type of runner you are and which goals are you trying to obtain.         

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Endurance runners train for distance. They are generally slower than their fellow sprinters. They are not focused on shaving a few seconds off their fastest 5k time. They are training to keep a slower and steady pace to go longer distances without breaking down. A sprinter, on the other hand, will practice challenging and intense workouts to hopefully beat their last time in their distance – even if it is just for a second.

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Training and time is another big factor between the two groups. Endurance training takes a lot of time and consistency. Training for a 100 mile race can certainly put a damper on your social run! The Sprinters will do much harder and explosive drills to challenge themselves and hopefully save a few minutes from their race time.

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How much time you have will also determine what sort of category to place yourself in. Because sprinters have such a shorter workout that is more intense, they need more time to recover compared to the endurance runners who run slow enough to let their consumed calories do their part. The slower endurance runners are able to run daily with minimal recovery time.  

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Your personal goals also play a big role in deciding which type of runner to identify with. The faster you run and the harder you work, the more calories you will burn. Sprinters work harder than endurance runners so the sprinters burn more calories. When you are endurance training, after about the first 30 min., your body switches from glucose to protein for its fuel.  Runners looking to loss fat and and to keep it off would fall into the endurance runner side.

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As you can see, endurance running and sprinting both differ vastly, yet can be enjoyed by all. Call up your running friends and schedule a “run date”. You’ll be glad you did!

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To learn more about Running Fitness Instruction, just click the link below!

Running Fitness Certification

Speed & Agility Cert: Athletic Movement Optimized

Speed & Agility Certification

Training athletes for optimal performance is one of the hardest tasks a personal trainer or fitness professional can embark on.  Most personal trainers like training athletes.  However, the training can be intensive.  Also, when pushing an athlete to their personal peak, you have to know when to stop.  You have to constantly monitor athletes for overtraining and watch for injury risks.  Obviously, when you push a man/woman to his/her very limit - there is a chance of acute and chronic injury.  Do you know what to look for?  When training for speed and agility, dynamic movement and high-impact exercises are required.  Taking it easy isn't an option.

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Optimizing an athlete's performance is fun and rewarding.  But, it is also challenging and does contain a significant risk of injury without close and consistent monitoring.  Are you up to the challenge of training athletes in speed and agility?  Do you know your plymotrics safety principles?  Are you ready to make a difference in an athlete's life?

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To learn more about Speed & Agility Instruction, just click the link below.

Speed & Agility Certification

Balance & Stability Cert - Essential for Everyone

Balance & Stability Certification

When you think about personal training and fitness instruction, balance & stability probably isn't the first topic that comes to mind.  But, when you take a second look, it applies to everyone!  If you are training seniors, the application is obvious.  But, what about if you are training athletes for performance?  What about if you are training a client that is just out of rehab from a knee surgery?  The answer to those questions is obvious too.  Balance and stability applies to everyone.  From the housewife trying to lose 10 lbs to the performance athlete.  If you are training youths or seniors - balance and stability instruction is essential!

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Many fitness professionals specialize in sports nutrition or indoor cycling instruction.  And, that is great!  But, who in your gym specializes in Balance & Stability training?  Now think, why isn't that person you!?

Balance & Stability Certification

Carbohydrate Loading: Facts vs. Fiction

Sports Nutritionist Certification

Carbohydrates provide fuel to our cells which in turn, provide us with energy. Carbohydrates are the first choice of fuel that our body prefers when working out. Is carb loading truly necessary for optimum performance?

Carbohydrates are quick fuel. It is easily absorbed into the bloodstream and can spike blood sugar giving you that extra boost of energy when you need it the most. Carbohydrates are stored in the body as glycogen. Many endurance athletes will utilize carb loading before a big event to ensure that the glycogen storages in the body are at full capacity. Although carbohydrates are a necessity for any endurance athlete, you don’t actually need as much as you think.

Runners are known for carb loading the night before a big race with pasta dinners. A serving of pasta would be a good choice; however, many athletes interpret carb loading as an all-you-can-eat pasta bar. This is bad! Like any other type of food, an excess of carbohydrates are turned into sugar which is then turned into fat, not fuel. That all-you-can-eat pasta pre-race dinner now will leave you sluggish, and that extra unneeded food can put you at risk for GI distress on race morning.

The body naturally stores enough glycogen to get you through your event or workout without having to gorge yourself on carbohydrates. If you do not supplement with carbohydrates to replenish those lost glycogen stores, you will “hit the wall”. For marathoners, this is usually around mile 20. Taking an energy gel or other preferred race fuel every 45 minutes to an hour will prevent you from “hitting the wall” and will keep your energy levels high and your blood sugar stabilized during your event. This can be practiced for any endurance event from ½ marathons to 100 mile endurance events.  This is also helpful for endurance workouts of any kind.

Selecting complex carbohydrates in balanced portions the night before an event or endurance workout will serve you much better than a high calorie simple carbohydrate meal. Look for brown rice, sweet potatoes, green vegetables, oatmeal, beans, and lentils when selecting a pre-race or pre-workout dinner. You’ll have better performance and will not feel as sluggish on race morning.

To learn more about Sports Nutrition, just click the link below!

Sports Nutritionist Certification

Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

Sports Nutritionist Certification
An apple a day might not keep the doctor away... but, apples do have serious health benefits that should not be overlooked!
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Check out the following excerpt from Medical News Today:
"Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. This article provides a nutritional profile of the fruit and its possible health benefits."
To ready the whole article, click here.
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Understanding your body and how it performs with certain foods as fuels is one of the primary tasks of a Sports Nutritionist.  To learn more about Sports Nutrition and expand your fitness career - just click the link below!
Sports Nutritionist Certification
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Latest Fitness Posts

  • ASFA® Certified: Qualified and Credible!

    Qualification and credibility have always been linked.  The more qualified a trainer or fitness professional is, the more credible he/she is.  This brings up the obvious question:  Why are so many personal trainers just qualified with a basic level certification? ... read more

  • Preparing for Your Spring Marathon

    As the last of the winter frost is passing through, it leaves runners ready to get back outside and train for an upcoming spring marathon. There are things you can do to help prepare yourself for training to make sure... read more