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This is the up-to-date 6th Edition of the ACE material.

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Domain I: Interviews and Assessments

Overall Domain Goal: When you are learning how to be a personal trainer, you need to be able to create rapport with your clients in order to learn the relevant health and lifestyle information that is needed for an exercise program to be designed effectively.

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Section 1

Get the comprehensive health, medical, exercise, and lifestyle information through the use of questionnaires, interviews, and the right documents for finding risks that may come with participation in exercise, find the need for clearance from a medical professional, and facilitate the design of a program. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

Motivation can be enhanced through the use of effective communication.

For the trainer, this should typically come from the likes of active listening, motivational interviewing, and the normal verbal and nonverbal cues with the clients.

The first thing to cover is motivational interviewing.

This is what trainers should use when they find that their client is not ready for the commitment to an exercise program, and they want to try to sway them in that direction.

This form of interview is designed to oppose the normal directing style of communication and bring the guiding style, where the trainer should encourage, support, and assist the client in the processes of change.

The emphasis here is put on establishing rapport, reducing the resistance, and then eliciting a client’s own rationale for change.

The opposing styles with more confrontation and guilt have been shown to be less effective. 

Active listening is a good skill for anyone, and a great skill for trainers, as it lets them listen carefully, empathetically, and with an open mind to put themselves in the shoes of the client.

This style uses a lot of attention from the trainer.

The active listening and engagement in a conversation will give off the feeling of the client being listened to and rapport will be built with the. The skills here follow with what we learned regarding the guiding approach in motivational interviewing. They can go hand in hand. 

The verbal portion of communication, while very important, can be outweighed by the importance of good nonverbal communication. Verbal communication should always use words that the client is able to understand, and they do not try to offend the client.

With nonverbal communication, we see the need to think about voice quality, eye contact, facial expressions, hand gestures, and the position of your body.

All of these factors can show interest for the client, and they can see if you are truly there for them or just playing the part.
Being actively there is part of the personal trainer job description, so pay attention to these factors.

It is important that we utilize positive nonverbal communication.

Cultural competence is essential for trainers to understand.

This is basically the ability to develop rapport with a client equal to other clients when there is a difference in race, age, gender, size, economic status, and things like this.

Basically, we should be able to take the time to learn about the client and their beliefs, attitudes, lifestyle, and their values.

Good communication skills and the ability to know when someone is uncomfortable will allow us as trainers to become better at working with various cultures.

It is important to voice the things you are doing in personal training and to get permission from clients, so they feel comfortable, as this will differ depending on someone’s culture.

Simple reminders like this and attempts to understand the perspectives of your clients will go a long way. 

The investigation stage is where we will continue to gather information about the client, and this will be outside of the initial information regarding their ability to be involved in the exercise, like with the PAR-Q+.

Many trainers will start this stage sometime with the introduction of forms like the lifestyle and health history questionnaire.

This will help to clarify some of the questions that have been done prior to this and elicit more information from the client.

Some of the specific things we will be looking for are the health and fitness levels of the client and the likes and dislikes for exercising. It is also good to know their reason for getting into exercise.

This is another part of communication where we will see a lot of information received through listening to the clients.

Some past exercise experiences can highlight the things that have gone wrong with the client and exercise and what you may not wish to try again.

This will utilize some of the trainer’s knowledge of motivational interviewing and active listening from the first part of this section. 

It is good to know the Risk factors for the main diseases, so that when these come up, we can immediately see if a client is needing of more attention medically, and possibly medical clearance for participation in types of activity. 

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Risk Factors

Positive Risk Factors:

– Age = men 45 years or older and women 55 years or older.
– Family History = Myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, or sudden death before 55 years of age in biological father or another male first-degree relative, or before 65 years of age in biological mother or another female first-degree relative
– Cigarette Smoking = Current cigarette smoker or someone who quit within the previous six months, or exposure to environmental tobacco smoke 
– Sedentary Lifestyle = Not participating in at least 30 min of moderate-intensity (40-60% VO2 Reserve) physical activity on at least three days of the week for at least three months.
– Obesity = Body mass index of ≥30 kg/m2 or waist girth of >102 cm (40 in.) for men and >88 cm (35 in.) for women.
– Hypertension = Systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg and/or diastolic ≥90 mmHg, confirmed by measurements on at least two separate occasions, oron antihypertensive medication.
– Dyslipidemia = Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) ≥130 mg/dl (3.37 mmol/L) orhigh-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) of <40 mg/dl (1.04 mmol/L), or on lipid-lowering medication. If total serum cholesterol is all that is available, use ≥200 mg/dl (5.18 mmol/L) 
– Prediabetes = Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) = fasting plasma glucose ≥100 mg/dl (5.50 mmol/L) but <126 mg/dl (6.93 mmol/L) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) = 2-h values in oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) ≥140 mg/dl (7.70 mmol/L) but <200 mg/dl (11.00 mmol/L), confirmed by measurements on at least two separate occasions 

Negative Risk Factor:

– High Serum HDL Cholesterol = ≥60 mg/dl (1.55 mmol/L) 

Metabolic Disease Risk Factors

– An elevated waist circumference
– For men, a circumference of greater than or equal to 40 inches.
– For women, a waist circumference greater than or equal to 35 inches.
– Elevated triglyceride levels
– A level greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL
– Reduced HDL cholesterol
– For men, an HDL cholesterol level of less than 40 mg/dL
– For women, an HDL cholesterol level of less than 50 mg/dL
– Elevated blood pressure
– A blood pressure reading greater than or equal to 130/85 mmHg
– Elevated fasting blood glucose
– A blood glucose level greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL

It is important to know the classification charts for other issues, such as triglyceride levels, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. These charts allow us to put people in potential risk categories, and they can check with their doctor for further information. 

It is important for trainers to know the medications that their clients are on, as these could have some impact on their performance in exercise.

The following medications and substances should be discussed with trainers: Beta-blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers, other antihypertensives, antihistamines, antidepressants, stimulants, caffeine, bronchodilators, alcohol, nicotine replacement therapies, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

These all will play roles in the changes regarding resting heart rate, exercising heart rate, and exercise capacity. 

  1. The ability to build rapport, develop trust with people, and establish credibility as a trainer. 
  2. Conducting interviews that are effective in their gathering of health and lifestyle information. 
  3. The interpretation of questionnaire and interview responses to know the possible risk factors for participating in exercise with the use of the guidelines and industry standards.
  4. Knowledge of when to receive medical clearance and refer clients to other professionals.

Section 2

Be able to understand the client’s readiness for various changes in behavior and look into the exercise attitudes and beliefs with effective communication for building rapport and setting the right goals. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

Motivation can be enhanced through the use of effective communication.

For the trainer, this should typically come from the likes of active listening, motivational interviewing, and the normal verbal and nonverbal cues with the clients.

The first thing to cover is the art of motivational interviewing.

This is what trainers should use when they find that their client is not ready for the commitment to an exercise program and they want to try to sway them in that direction.

This form of interview is designed to oppose the normal directing style of communication and bring the guiding style, where the trainer should encourage, support, and assist the client in the processes of change.

The emphasis here is put on establishing the rapport, reducing the resistance, and then eliciting a client’s own rationale for change.

The opposing styles with more confrontation and guilt have been shown to be less effective. 

Active listening is a good skill for anyone, and a great skill for trainers, as it lets them listen carefully, empathetically, and with an open mind to put themselves in the shoes of the client.

This style uses a lot of attention from the trainer.

Active listening and engagement in a conversation will give off the feeling of the client being listened to, and rapport will be built with them.

The skills here follow what we learned regarding the guiding approach in motivational interviewing. They can go hand in hand. 

The verbal portion of communication, while very important, can be outweighed by the importance of good nonverbal communication.

Verbal communication should always use words that the client is able to understand, and they do not try to offend the client.

With nonverbal communication, we see the need to think about voice quality, eye contact, facial expressions, hand gestures, and the position of your body.

All of these factors can show interest for the client, and they can see if you are truly there for them or just playing the part. It is important that we utilize positive nonverbal communication.

We get a lot of the information regarding the attitudes and the preferences the client has through interviewing and some of the forms you have them fill out.

This includes the things they like in exercise, and then some of the information will come from the goals the client wishes to set with you and training.

The stages of change and the overall behaviors of the clients are influenced by this information, too.

The stages of change include the pre-contemplation stage, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

These five stages have their own specifics that determine whether a client is within each one, and it is important to determine so that we are able to help the client progress while also trying to not regress.

An example of a form that would benefit this is the lifestyle health history questionnaire.

And all interviewing to find out these details should be done while paying attention to the motivational interviewing styles and guiding the client instead of directing them.

It is good to know the Risk factors for the main diseases so that when these come up, we can immediate motivation will usually come from two types.

The first form of motivation is intrinsic motivation.

This is the type of motivation where someone wants to participate in the exercise, for example, because they enjoy it and do not feel pressured to do so.

It is considered to be the stronger form of motivation.

And then, we have extrinsic motivation, which is the style where we see motivation coming from the desire to win and compete with other people.

This is strong but not as strong as intrinsic. Most people will have both forms in varying degrees, but we, as trainers, want to emphasize intrinsic more than extrinsic.

Some of the barriers that keep people from entering the exercise field range from personal to environmental, and then those relating to physical activity.  

The personal attributes that we see relate to the client’s health status, their history with physical activity in general, their psychological traits, and the knowledge attitudes and beliefs that pertain to them.

The environmental barriers are things like the access they have to facilities, the time available to them, and the levels of social support they receive.

The physical activity factors are things like the intensity of the exercise to be done and also some form of injury that may have occurred to them.

It is important that we take these things into account with our clients. 

We have three main behavior theories throughout this textbook. They are the health belief model, self-motivation theory, and the transtheoretical model. 

The health belief model is a model where a person’s ideas and emotions about illness, treatment, and prevention may influence health behaviors and decisions regarding the change of health behaviors.

The decision to change is going to be the outcome variable of interest.

This model is applicable to many people in the starting stages of change when they are weighing the pros and cons of their choices.

The decision to change is made up of both health behaviors and health threats.

So, the client is weighing these two together to determine the decision they will make. 

Self-motivation theory is a theory where people will go after the activities and the goals that they naturally have some interest in or the one where they think has the most benefit to them.

The model uses the two forms of motivation that we discussed in the last subject, it just renames them to autonomous and controlled motivation. 

The TTM, or the transtheoretical model, is one of the main models of behavior change, and it is made up of the stages of change, the processes of change, self-efficacy, and the decisional balance.

The stages of change were the feature of another part of this section, but it is made up of the pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance stages.

It is also important in this theory to know that the sources of self-efficacy, according to the model, are going to be past experiences, verbal persuasion, vicarious experiences, physiological state appraisals, emotional and mood appraisals, and imaginal experiences. 

The planning stage is where we see the start of setting goals. This is after the stages of rapport and investigation.

We should utilize the goal-setting theory and the SMART goals to ensure that we really make the most efficient work of the goals with our clients.

It is important to keep in mind not to set too many goals, not to set negative goals, to set short and long-term goals along with both process and performance goals, include the client through the whole process of goal setting, and then revisit the goals on a regular basis with the client.

Goal-setting theory came from psychologists and said that goals will affect someone’s performance and will work to inspire behavioral change through four mechanisms.

The mechanisms are directed attention, mobilized effort, persistence, and strategy.

The SMART GOALS are some things that we should work on to help design our goal setting.

This process says that goals should be these 5 things:

S – specific 
M – measurable 
A – attainable 
R – relevant  
T – time-bound

These five things will ensure we set the most effective goals with clients.

The types of goals can be short-term or long-term, or processor performance goals.

The goals made should come from all four of these categories to change up the possible monotony. 

SMART GOALS also apply to any other area of fitness, so this will be helpful if you become a nutrition coach or become a fitness instructor. You can apply goals setting in your business as well when you’re figuring out how to make money as a personal trainer.

  1. The ability to build rapport, develop trust with people, and establish credibility as a trainer. 
  2. The application of effective strategies for interviewing, like open-ended questioning, probing, and more).
  3. How to find the client’s attitudes, preferences, and the stage of behavior change that a client is in and any of the strategies to motivate the client to adopt a program and adhere to it. 
    • These tools are some of the most comprehensive parts of the ACE exam versus other fitness certifications, so they’re important to learn as an ACE trainer.

Section 3

Find and understand the movements that are considered to be foundational through the observation and implementation of assessments so that the trainer is able to develop the right exercise programming to enhance the client’s function, performance, fitness, and health.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The things we should nail down and master in this section are going to be the anatomical systems, the connective tissues, and the terminology used for human motion.

The anatomical systems to know are the skeletal, nervous, and muscular systems.

The terminology to know consists of the types of muscular actions, kinetic chain movements, mobility and stability, and terms regarding balance and alignment.

These sections cover the information we should know found in the typical kinesiology or anatomy classes.

ACE doesn’t go more in-depth than you will need to know as a personal trainer, unlike the ACSM CPT textbook, which is extremely detailed.

We, as trainers, can utilize various static and dynamic postural assessments.

Posture assessments give insights into the various issues that could exist in the body.

Static postural assessments are usually done first and can emphasize how some movements may be dysfunctional.

More specifically, insight will be given into the muscle imbalances at a joint and the relationships of muscles around a joint, and the alterations in neural actions of the muscles moving and controlling the joints.

All of this will relate to the biomechanics of the body and the mobility and stability of the joints.
It is important that we also see these possible dysfunctions in motion when we look into them with dynamic assessments, which essentially are assessments when someone is going through movements.

The focus here will be put on the five kinetic chain checkpoints.

These are the basics of how we use posture and the assessment of posture to show how the biomechanics are in the body and the stability and mobility of joints.

It is good to know that mobility is the range of motion we can move through, and stability is the security of the joint or how much it is safe from injury. These two are a tradeoff, and when a joint promotes more stability, it loses mobility, and vice-versa. 

The movement phase of training is the second phase of muscular training, and in this, we start to implement the 5 movement patterns that we consider to be the foundations of movement.

That means that these are the primary movements that all other movement comes from.

These are the five primary movements:

Bend and lift – this involves the hip hinges and squatting moves don’t throughout the day. 
Single-leg – this involves the movements we do when only balancing on one leg. 
Pushing – this involves the movements in a forward, overhead, or lateral direction. 
Pulling – this involves the movements where you are pulling to the body, like the bent-over row or pull-up. 
Rotation – this involves moves where the thoracic spine is rotating, like where you bring an object from the left side to the right. 

The functional assessments are the ones we will utilize for looking into the stability, mobility, joint position, and impact that these will play on posture and movement.

The movement assessments that we do will also look into mobility and stability during movements, but the foundation comes from the functional assessments.

These assessments come in the form of static postural assessments. This sees the use of static posture assessments and flexibility assessments.

The static posture assessment will look at the common deviations we can see in places like the hips, pelvis, and shoulders, for example.

The flexibility assessments look at specific muscles and joints and the range of motion possible for them.

This provides insight into the parts of the body and muscles that may be overactive or underactive and the effects caused by this. 

If you later decide to pursue a strength and conditioning certification or specialization, this information will be further explained, but it’s s still critical at this stage to know this when working with different types of clients.

  1. The ability to find the effect that our daily activities have on the efficiency of movement. 
  2. How to look for and identify the postural deviations that are exaggerated. 
  3. Selection and then the administration of the right methods to assess mobility and stability in the joints.
  4. Selection and then the administration of the right methods to assess both balance and movement. 
  5. Finding the results after a postural observation and movement screen and then how to use them in designing a program. 

Section 4

Choose and be able to utilize the baseline physiological assessments based on the client’s interview, their questionnaires, and the protocols that are standardized for the facilitation of safe and effective programs and monitoring changes in clients in the long term. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The things we should nail down and master in this section are going to be anatomical. When it comes to testing the exercise capacity and general exercise testing, we have a focus put on ventilatory threshold testing.

These ventilatory threshold marks are going to be the main focus of moving into the various phases of cardiorespiratory training.

Remember that in the base phase, we stay under that ventilatory threshold one. Then we stay under the second threshold with the second phase of cardio training.

And lastly, for performance training, we see it go past the second threshold. We have three common assessments to be done to fin the zones we are in. 

The talk test is the first of these assessments, and it is the simplest of them.

Here, we talk with the client as they are training, and when they are unable to hold a conversation fluidly and must breathe hard and talk between breaths, we see them crossing into the threshold one.

With base training, this is most useful, and the goal here is to not get to that point. We must implement different testing in later phases if we want more accuracy. 

The submax talk test for VT1 uses a heart rate watch and strap and sees us playing with the exercise levels.

The objective is to use the talk test to measure the heart rate response and the levels someone is at in these thresholds, and then with that information, we keep much more accurate details for future workouts.

It is usually done on a treadmill or other cardio devices.

A much more advanced test is the VT2 threshold assessment.

This is going to be making use of a marker that is the onset of blood lactate accumulation.

This is the point where the blood lactate accumulates in the body quicker than we are able to remove it. It’s a turning point of sorts that is found at some specific intensity for everyone.

The test is up to 20 minutes and sees gradual increases as the test goes on. It is going to give the estimated VT2 by the end of it. It can be compared to VO2 testing but is simpler. 

Fitness testing is useful for finding where the client stands as far as their fitness level and helps to point the client and trainer toward goals that should be worked for.

It is important to do the most testing you can to understand your client and help to improve the program you design.

All tests do not have t be done at one time, but when they are, they can look like the following list.

The general sequence for testing that we like to follow is:
1. Resting tests 
2. Non-fatiguing tests 
3. Muscular strength tests 
4. Local muscular endurance tests 
5. Submaximal aerobic capacity tests 

And the types of testing that we generally will include will be these:
– Resting and vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, height, and weight testing. 
– Static and posture, along with typical movement testing.
– Joint flexibility and muscle length testing.
– Balance and core function testing.
– Cardiorespiratory fitness testing.
– Body composition and anthropometry.
– Skill-related parameters like agility, coordination, power, reactivity, and speed testing.

We have many physiological variables that come into play in the body when we are working out. These will differ based on the style of training.

For this, we will look at both muscular training and cardiovascular training.

First, we have cardiorespiratory training. Here the interaction of three main processes shows us what will change.

These three main processes are getting the oxygen to the blood for distribution, distributing the blood flow and delivering oxygen to the tissues, and then extracting that oxygen from the cells in the blood.

These three main processes will lead to physiological changes of oxygen-carrying capacity, oxygen delivery, and oxygen extraction.

The many hormones and enzymes of the body change these actions in the body to improve them for exercising. 

Muscular training has a few reactions different from cardio.

The real change, as far as acute and instant changes go, is that we see the endocrine system function differently.

Specifically, we have concentrations of catabolic hormones, like cortisol and epinephrine, and anabolic hormones, like growth hormone and testosterone, that increase greatly during muscular training sessions. 

We have many factors that affect how our bodies respond physiologically to exercise. These are:

1. Hormone levels: we see the two main influencers as growth hormone and testosterone. Higher levels of these will give advantages in muscular strength and size.

2. Sex: males and females are somewhat the same when it comes to strength production based on the size of the muscle cross-sectional area. The real difference for sex will be in the actual quantity of muscle in the person.

3. Age: this is a more obvious one as aging is associated with decreases in muscle mass and lower resting metabolic rates and strength levels.

4. Type of muscle fibers: this is part genetic and partly based on how someone has trained. The muscle fibers are efficient in specific movement types, and they determine how effective one can be when exercising. 

5. Muscle length, limb length, and tendon insertion points are some other very vital parts that will affect short-term exercise. They cannot be changed.

  1. The selection and administration of the proper assessments in fitness.
  2. Application of the criteria for ending a test early.
  3. Evaluation and interpretation of the fitness assessments’ results to allow for good design of programs.
  4. Good communication abilities for the results of the fitness assessments.

Domain II: Program Design and Implementation

Overall Domain Goal: The creation of individualized programs for the promotion of behaviors considered to be healthy through exercise, nutrition, education, and coaching.

Section 1

Be able to establish the right functional, performance, fitness, and/or health goals through the interpretation of the client interview and the assessment data to assist in designing the programs of exercise.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The things we should nail down and master in this section are going to be the anatomical systems, the connective tissues, and the terminology used for human motion.

The anatomical systems to know are the skeletal, nervous, and muscular systems.

The terminology to know consists of the types of muscular actions, kinetic chain movements, mobility and stability, and terms regarding balance and alignment.

These sections cover the information we should know found in the typical kinesiology or anatomy classes.

We have 5 key guidelines for a diet that are recommended through ACE. These aren’t as thorough as a specific nutrition certification, but they are good places to start.

Key Guideline 1

Follow a Pattern of Healthy Eating Throughout the Lifespan.

This is the first guideline, and it says that all of our food and beverage choices matter, and we should choose a pattern of eating that has an appropriate number of calories and keeps us at an overall healthy weight, supports adequate levels of nutrients, and reduces the risk for chronic diseases.

The main components of a pattern of healthy eating would be a variety of veggies in their five main groups, fruits, grains of mostly the whole-grain variety, fat-free or low-fat dairy, variety in the proteins we receive, and a limitation in the amount of fat taken in.

MyPlate is one of the tools we as trainers teach our clients to use, and it follows what we emphasize in this guideline. It comes from the USDA and focuses on how a plate should be split up in terms of food groups.

Key Guideline 2

Focus on Variety, Nutrient density, and Amount.

To meet our need for nutrients, we should be choosing a variety of foods rich in nutrients across and in all food groups at the recommended levels.

These varieties will ensure we are not deficient in certain nutrients. We should emphasize variety in the fruits and vegetables we take in, as these are significant sources of nutrients.

The proteins, dairy, and grains should of course have their variety also. 

Key Guideline 3

Limit the Calories from Added Sugars and Saturated Fats and Reduce Sodium Intake.

These are two things that people struggle with the most, as many foods now have a lot of added sugar and fats, and the increase in preserved foods has seen high amounts of sodium added.

Beverages are one area where added sugars are the biggest problem.

The fats we should limit the most are saturated fats.

The DASH eating plan is one that looks to stop hypertension, and this is often due to the high amounts of sodium. 

Key Guideline 4

Shift to Healthier Food and Beverage Choices.

The reality for Americans is that a lot of people are not eating the way they should, and often it is in excess, and it is the foods to which the other guidelines suggest limiting.

The dietary guidelines for Americans are the main thing used, and here the suggestion is to work on more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and some more dairy, increase in protein choice variety, exchange the solid fats and oils, reduce the sugar consumption and saturated fat intake, and reducing the intake of salts. 

Key Guideline 5

Support Healthy Eating Patterns for All.

Everyone should play their part in creating and supporting eating patterns in many settings nationwide, from home to school, to work, and to the communities.

People should pay attention to access to food, household food insecurity, and acculturation.
We should pay attention to these when we look at the domains of home, school, worksite, community, and food retail. 

Preparticipation health screening is the time when we interpret information regarding the client’s history, risk factors, and data from some assessments.

Some other assessments will not take place until after participation is started.

With preparticipation health screening, we see a focus on finding more information on the client.
This is done through many forms, with possible medical clearance needed when we look at the risk factors, especially in relation to CVD risk.

This is one of the more obvious risk factors that we look into, and it determines if someone is able to do higher-intensity workouts. For the norms, we have many tables set for classifying the clients.

The forms that exist are forms like the PAR-Q and the lifestyle health history questionnaire.

All of the information in this preparticipation stage is going to play a role in making the program right for the client.

The planning stage is where we see the start of setting goals.

This is after the stages of rapport and investigation.

We should utilize the goal-setting theory and the SMART goals to ensure that we really make the most efficient work of the goals with our clients.

It is important to keep in mind not to set too many goals, not to set negative goals, to set short and long-term goals long with both process and performance goals, include the client through the whole process of goal setting, and then revisit the goals on a regular basis with the client.

Goal setting theory came from psychologists and says that goals will affect someone’s performance and will work to inspire behavioral change through four mechanisms. The mechanisms are directed attention, mobilized effort, persistence, and strategy.

The SMART GOALS are some things that we should work on to help design our goal setting. This process says that goals should be these 5 things:

S – specific 
M – measurable 
A – attainable 
R – relevant  
T – time-bound

These five things will ensure we set the most effective goals with clients.

The types of goals can be short-term or long-term, or a process or performance goals.

The goals made should come from all four of these categories to change up the possible monotony. 

Some of the factors that influence people entering the exercise field range from personal to environmental, and then those relating to physical activity.  

These all work to help or hurt participation and adherence to exercise.

The personal attributes that we see relate to the client’s health status, their history with physical activity in general, their psychological traits, and the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs that pertain to them.

The environmental factors are things like the access they have to facilities, the time available to them, and the levels of social support they receive.

The physical activity factors are things like the intensity of the exercise to be done and also some form of injury that may have occurred to them. It is important that we take these things into account with our clients. 

  1. Interpretation of the response that occurs in exercise and assessments.
  2. Interpretation of the responses to assessments and interviews.
  3. Interpretation of the finding from the many assessments.
  4. Communication of the result from assessments in an effective way.
  5. The facilitation of goal setting effectively.
  6. The design of exercise programs that are tailored for individuals and then based on the goals, interviews, and assessments. 

Section 2

Be able to make exercise programs that are personalized to clients by applying the right principles and guidelines of exercise for the enhancement of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular endurance and strength, and flexibility. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The things we should nail down and master in this section are going to be the anatomical systems, the connective tissues, and the terminology used for human motion.

The anatomical systems to know are the skeletal, nervous, and muscular systems.

The terminology to know consists of the types of muscular actions, kinetic chain movements, mobility and stability, and terms regarding balance and alignment.

These sections cover the information we should know found in the typical kinesiology or anatomy classes.

The principles we follow for exercise and designing programs are going to apply to muscular training and cardiorespiratory training. These are the main principles we use through ACE.

Progression and Diminishing Return

The principles of progression and the law of diminishing returns play off of each other.

The recommended progression rate for resistance programs is a 5% increase whenever the end range number of repetitions can be completed.

This is the intended progression rate for a slightly trained person.

For those that are new to training, they will see much quicker rates of progression thanks to the law of diminishing returns. The law of diminishing returns says the opposite. 

Specificity

This has been discussed slightly in some other chapters.

The specificity of training says that you should train in a specific way in order to get a targeted change or result.

So, by targeting the right muscle groups, energy systems, movement seeds, patterns of movement, and muscle action types, we can get the result we desire.

Put simply, if someone is looking to improve their Olympic lifts, then they will need to work with Olympic lifting.

Overload

This refers to the stress of training or the intensity and if it is greater than what they have been doing or are used to.

Programs that don’t have overload will never have the person change and grow.

This is because the body gets used to the stresses we put on it, so by increasing over time, we will gradually grow. 

Reversibility

This is the principle that states that we can lose the progress we make in exercise in about twice the time it takes to make said progress. This says that without training the muscles, they will naturally get smaller and weaker. So, if you don’t use it, you lose it. 

Cardiorespiratory acute and chronic changes happen in the muscular systems, cardiovascular system, and respiratory systems.

The immediate and acute changes that happen when exercising see changes in the body to deliver oxygen quicker and absorb the oxygen faster also.

In the long term, we see the muscular system adapting to the specific ways in which exercise is done.

The fibers will adjust and change percentages based on the long-term use of fast or slow twitch.

The capillaries and the recruiting of muscle fibers grow and get better.

The cardiovascular system sees changes regarding the heart primarily.

The heart muscle will hypertrophy, enlarging the chambers and becoming a stronger muscle.

The respiratory system is less adaptable than the other two systems, but often we see increased ventilation or the alveoli possible, and then some changes to the muscles that assist respiration. 

Muscular acute and chronic changes come in the form of the endocrine system and long-term changes to muscles.

The endocrine system changes for the acute ones. Here we have increased the catabolic and anabolic hormones in order to help the muscular training session.

The two main chronic changes will come in the form of the size of the muscle increases and muscular strength changes.

Muscular strength changes due to the body becoming more efficient and the muscle size improving.

And the muscle size improves as a result of the body adapting to the increases in demand from training. 

The following will be the variables of exercise programming for muscular training, as they also include the ones for cardiorespiratory training.

Frequency: this is going to relate to both the intensity and the volume. It is how often the client trains.
The goal here is to have the perfect balance between work and rest and also keep the client progressing without becoming bored. 

Exercise order and selection:
This complex process must take into account the experience and technique that the client has.
It also considers the demands, both movement and physiologically for the client, the equipment they have at their disposal, and the amount of time readily available.
The goal of program design with this variable is to accomplish the needs of the program while considering the time and equipment needed.
We also look at how movements pair up when done together in a session. 

Volume:
The total level of work completed during a workout is called the total training volume. We calculate this by either multiplying sets and reps, or by multiplying weight load and sets and reps.
The purpose of this program design feature is to look at how hard a person has worked. This is not always an accurate reading but still gives a good overall reading.

Intensity:
This is mostly defined as the percentage of someone’s one rep max weight that they can do, or simply put, how hard you are working.
We use this as a feature of program design to tracking how our work changes at these different percentages.
The goal is to see change thanks to changes in these intensities and the reps that accompany them.

Tempo:
This I the speed of movement during exercise and for each rep we do.  
We see people practice the movement speeds of their related sport. 
Olympic lifters lift things quickly, while bodybuilders train at relatively moderate speeds, and powerlifters move on the slower side.
So, we really pay attention to the needs of the client and what they want to practice for.
All exercises should emphasize the full range of motion, something that is lost when we start to lift at different speeds. 

Rest Intervals:
Rest intervals refer to the recovery periods between successive exercises or between successive sets of the same exercise.
The goal of this feature of program design is to allow the most rest to ensure the person has the energy to complete their next set, but also to ensure they aren’t resting too long.

The warmup is the time before the conditioning phase or the workout itself.

This is when we are aiming to heat the body up and essentially bring the body from a resting state to a state of working.

So, the start of this will be low intensity or moderate intensity with the goal being to get the body right up to the level you will work during the workout.

These warmups will be 5 – 10 minutes of time.

The warmup should match the intensity of the workout in this sense that, for longer and more challenging workouts, we have a longer and more challenging warm-up, but it is still not the conditioning phase. 

The cool-down is what follows the workout phase.

This is essentially going to be the reverse of the warmup, so we are taking the body from the period of working hard, to close to resting conditions.

This will be around the 5 – 10 minute mark like the warm-up and it will be done at low intensities.
It could also involve some light stretching to loosen up and relax more, but it would not count as flexibility training. 

The anatomical position refers to the widely accepted position of the body to which we can reference the location and movements.

This position is when someone is standing erect with their head, eyes, and palms facing forward. The feet are going to be close, and the toes are pointing forward. The arms are down by the side.

From this position here, we can split the body up and reference things we do. We have three planes of motion.

The sagittal plane is a horizontal line that splits the body into two sides.

The frontal plane is where the body is split into front and back halves.

And then, the transverse plane is where we have the body split into top and bottom parts.

The joints of the body will oftentimes be working in multiple planes at once. 

The textbook has many professionals and organizations coming together to make up the concepts of training as a personal trainer.

These vary from the USDA making the dietary guidelines in the MyPlate website.

The ACSM makes guidelines when it comes to risk stratifications or exercising guidelines sometimes.

We have ACE making, of course, the primary basis of this material.

And there are many other organizations to consider on a state and federal level, along with other health organizations that govern the decisions in exercise training.

  1. Designing exercise programs that are personalized and in accordance with the program goals. 
  2. Choosing and ordering the exercises correctly based on the client’s health, fitness, and their goals. 
  3. Use of the individualized exercise responses to design cardiorespiratory programs.
  4. Implementation of the appropriate components of programs. 
  5. Modification of the techniques of exercise as they are needed for the promotion of safe participation in exercise and attainment of goals. 
  6. Modification of instructions and components of programs in order to allow for the difference in individuals and their health and/or fitness status. 

Section 3

Find the right exercises and equipment and then be able to integrate them into your client’s program in accordance with the research based on evidence for the improvement of function, health, performance, and fitness.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The principles we follow for exercise and designing programs are going to apply to muscular training and cardiorespiratory training.

These are the main principles we use through ACE.

Progression and Diminishing Return
The principles of progression and the law of diminishing returns play off of each other.
The recommended progression rate for resistance programs is a 5% increase whenever the end range number of repetitions can be completed.
This is the intended progression rate for a slightly trained person.
For those that are new to training, they will see much quicker rates of progression thanks to the law of diminishing returns.
The law of diminishing returns says the opposite. 

Specificity
This has been discussed slightly in some other chapters.
The specificity of training says that you should train in a specific way in order to get a targeted change or result.
So, by targeting the right muscle groups, energy systems, movement seeds, patterns of movement, and muscle action types, we can get the result we desire.
Put simply, if someone is looking to improve their Olympic lifts, then they will need to work with Olympic lifting.

Overload
This refers to the stress of training or the intensity and if it is greater than what they have been doing or are used to.
Programs that don’t have overload will never have the person change and grow.
This is because the body gets used to the stresses we put on it, so by increasing over time, we will gradually grow. 

Reversibility
This is the principle that states that we can lose the progress we make in exercise in about twice the time it takes to make said progress.
This says that without training the muscles, they will naturally get smaller and weaker.
So, if you don’t use it, you lose it. 

With cardiorespiratory exercise, we are going to use heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion the most.

These two also intertwine some since the 20-point scale for ratings of perceived exertion is close to the heart rate when multiplied by ten.

Heart rate can be used when we utilize formulas like the Karvonen and other heart rate formulas to determine the intensities that someone should train at.

And the ratings of perceived exertion are used to determine how hard someone is working but are subjective and thus less accurate.

Cardiorespiratory acute and chronic changes happen in the muscular systems, cardiovascular system, and respiratory systems.

The immediate and acute changes that happen when exercising see changes in the body to deliver oxygen quicker and absorb the oxygen faster also.

In the long term, we see the muscular system adapting to the specific ways in which exercise is done.

The fibers will adjust and change percentages based on the long-term use of fast or slow twitch. The capillaries and recruiting of muscle fibers grow and get better.

The cardiovascular system sees changes regarding the heart primarily. The heart muscle will hypertrophy, enlarging the chambers and becoming a stronger muscle.

The respiratory system is less adaptable than the other two systems, but often we see increased ventilation of the alveoli possible, and then some changes to the muscles that assist respiration. 

Muscular acute and chronic changes come in the form of the endocrine system and long-term changes to muscles.

The endocrine system changes for the acute ones. Here we have increased the catabolic and anabolic hormones in order to help the muscular training session.

The two main chronic changes will come in the form of the size of the muscle increases and muscular strength changes.

Muscular strength changes due to the body becoming more efficient and the muscle size improving.

And the muscle size improves as a result of the body adapting to the increases in demand from training. 

We, as trainers, can utilize various static and dynamic postural assessments.

Posture assessments give insights into the various issues that could exist in the body.

Static postural assessments are usually done first and can emphasize how some movements may be dysfunctional.

More specifically, insight will be given into the muscle imbalances at a joint and the relationships of muscles around a joint, and the alterations in neural actions of the muscles moving and controlling the joints.

All of this will relate to the biomechanics of the body and the mobility and stability of the joints.
It is important that we also see these possible dysfunctions in motion when we look into them with dynamic assessments, which essentially are assessments when someone is going through movements.

The focus here will be put on the five kinetic chain checkpoints.

These are the basics of how we use posture and the assessment of posture to show how the biomechanics are in the body, and the stability and mobility of joints.

It is good to know that mobility is the range of motion we can move through, and stability is the security of the joint, or how much it is safe from injury.

These two are a tradeoff, and when a joint promotes more stability, it loses mobility and vice-versa. 

For the progression of exercise in ways other than new movements, we rely on the principle of progression in muscular training.

This principle says that we should increase the reps first and stay in the range that we wish for our specific type of improvement, and then when that can’t be moved, we change the weight, which will change the reps by default to be lower.

And then, we repeat this process.

If we were to use hypertrophy as our selected goal, then when we reach 12 reps, we would add more weight to get to our 8-rep max weight and then repeat the process like that.

If we don’t want to progress this, then it makes sense to make the moves harder in some way by upping the stress on the body.

This naturally reduces the weight due to a greater challenge being introduced.

This will usually come throughout the movement training phase of muscular training.

Cardiorespiratory training also has progression, and this is in the form of working at a higher intensity for the same time or increasing the duration of activity for the same intensity. 

  1. Finding deviations from optimal patterns of movement. 
  2. Finding the physiological demands of activities of daily living.
  3. Finding the physiological responses that are based upon observing and getting feedback in exercise and assessments. 
  4. Modification of components o programs and instruction for the accommodation of health and/or fitness status.
  5. Design of the cardio programs on the basis of personal exercise responses. 
  6. Incorporation of the right exercises and equipment into the design of programs.
  7. Implementation of safe and effective programs for addressing imbalances in the muscles. 

Section 4

Give instruction to clients on the effective and safe use of equipment and techniques to exercise with the use of verbal, visual, and kinesthetic cues for achieving program goals. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

It is important that we utilize a variety of equipment that we have available to us, and we ensure the safety of said equipment often.

As trainers, we are responsible for anything that happens to someone we are training when they are on the equipment.

Equipment should be disposed of, if it has any kind of problems, as simply putting a sign on it may not keep people away.

When teaching techniques, we should follow the guidelines that are in any manuals and be familiar with the types of machines we use.

Part of this equipment talk involves knowing the proper use of AED devices. It is important to view the many diagrams throughout this textbook.

Verbal and nonverbal communication are both very important for communication with our clients.
We have some strategies for when we are with clients.

Verbal communication should be simple and use words that do not evoke too much emotion or may have negative connotations.

This keeps the clients at ease and not worried about being offended.

More important than verbal communication, much of our communication comes in the form of nonverbal communication.

This nonverbal can be a greater amount of communication, according to studies.

Nonverbal communication takes into account the quality of someone’s voice, uses eye contact with the client to an appropriate level, uses sincere facial expressions, has a good usage of hand gestures, and takes into account the position of your body.

A lot of communication early on will be us gathering information about the client with the strategies of active listening and motivational interviewing. 

Motivational interviewing and active listening are both useful in the investigation stage.

Motivational interviewing is what trainers should use when they find that their client is not ready for the commitment to an exercise program, and they want to try to sway them in that direction.

This form of interview is designed to oppose the normal directing style of communication and bring the guiding style, where the trainer should encourage, support, and assist the client in the processes of change.

The emphasis here is put on establishing rapport, reducing resistance, and then eliciting a client’s own rationale for change.

The opposing styles with more confrontation and guilt have been shown to be less effective. 
Active listening is a good skill for anyone, and a great skill for trainers, as it lets them listen carefully, empathetically, and with an open mind to put themselves in the shoes of the client.
This style uses a lot of attention from the trainer.

Active listening and engagement in a conversation will give off the feeling of the client being listened to, and rapport will be built with the.

The skills here follow what we learned regarding the guiding approach in motivational interviewing. They can go hand in hand. 

We have three different learning styles that people can associate with. These are auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.

Auditory learners learn best when they hear the information.

Kinesthetic learners learn best when they do the movement themselves.

And lastly, visual learners learn best from seeing something done.

With this all in mind, one very useful technique for safely teaching skills is the use of the “tell, show, do, method.

This is the method where we first tell the client what the movement is and how it benefits them, and then we follow that up with the showing of the movement technique and then end with them doing it and receiving feedback on how to improve it.

This method works to bring all the styles of learning together and ensure that one will likely stick with them.

Some other things we should do as trainers is to remind the beginners that it takes a lot of time and practice to get good, introduce the new skills slowly and clearly so they are not overwhelmed, and allow the clients time for the focused practice of the skill.

Feedback is how we get the client to perfect and fix the movements as they are learning, and often when they are very skilled at movement, we only resort to observation and the occasional feedback when needed. 

For muscular training and cardiorespiratory training, we have to use different techniques for looking at the intensities of workouts.

When we are doing cardiorespiratory training, it is most helpful for us to utilize one of three things.

These are the talk test, the heart rate of the client and the use of formulas for heart rate, and the ratings of perceived exertion.

All of these are used to find the intensity the client is working, and they are used at varying phases of training.

When it comes to muscular training, we see the use of percentages of one-rep max as the most useful in movement.

This can also be done as rep maxes for like 8 reps or any number, really.

This is the max amount of weight that can be done in the number of reps.

And with this, we can use percentages and play with the reps and weights to get the client to work at certain intensities.

With our big compound lifts, we see the use of one-rep max, and then with more specific muscle group movements, like the curl or anything similar, we see the use of repetition maximums.

For hypertrophy, if someone were to want to work in this range, you would find the max weight they can work at for 8 – 12 reps and then progress on that and utilize it through the training. 

  1. Personalizing the strategies of communication to accommodate the characteristics of your clients. 
  2. Modification of technique as it is needed to allow for goal achievement. 
  3. Recognition and correction of patterns of movement that are compensatory.
  4. Instruction of the techniques of exercise that are safe and effective with the use of many types of equipment, modalities, and feedback.

Domain III: Program Modification and Progression

Overall Domain Goal: Modify, monitor, and evaluate the programs to promote client adherence and make sure progress is made for the goals that are set.

Section 1

Promote adherence to exercise programs with the use of motivation, education, and modification for the achievement of goals.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The methods, products, and services we use in health and fitness are all defined within our scope of practice and the certifications we receive.

As ACE-certified trainers, we must follow the guidelines set and not go outside of the scope of practice.

When we extend the scope with new certifications and education, we can extend the use of methods, products, and services we use for our clients in the realm of health and fitness. 

There are many factors that will play a role in influencing people that are entering the field of exercise, and they will range from social factors, environmental factors, and the ones relating to physical activity.

These factors will all work to help or hurt participation and adherence in exercise.

The personal attributes that we see relate to the client’s health status, their history with physical activity in general, their psychological traits, and the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs that pertain to them.

The environmental factors are things like the access they have to facilities, the time available to them, and the levels of social support they receive.

The physical activity factors are things like the intensity of the exercise to be done and also some form of injury that may have occurred to them.

It is important that we take these things into account with our clients. 

The goal of all training will be to create adherence to exercise, and we can emphasize this with good communication.

We will utilize some of the main techniques, like verbal and nonverbal communication, and then the motivational and active listening techniques.

Verbal communication should be simple and use words that do not evoke too much emotion or may have negative connotations.

This keeps the clients at ease and not worried about being offended.

More importantly than verbal communication, much of our communication comes in the form of nonverbal communication.

This nonverbal can be a greater amount of communication, according to studies.

Nonverbal communication takes into account the quality of someone’s voice, using eye contact with the client to an appropriate level, using sincere facial expressions, having good use of hand gestures, and taking into account the position of your body.

A lot of communication early on will be us gathering information about the client with the strategies of active listening and motivational interviewing. 

Motivational interviewing and active listening are both useful in the investigation stage.

Motivational interviewing is what trainers should use when they find that their client is not ready for the commitment to an exercise program, and they want to try to sway them in that direction.

This form of interview is designed to oppose the normal directing style of communication and bring the guiding style, where the trainer should encourage, support, and assist the client in the processes of change.

The emphasis here is put on establishing rapport, reducing resistance, and then eliciting a client’s own rationale for change.

The opposing styles with more confrontation and guilt have been shown to be less effective. 
Active listening is a good skill for anyone, and a great skill for trainers, as it lets them listen carefully, empathetically, and with an open mind to put themselves in the shoes of the client.

This style uses a lot of attention from the trainer.

Active listening and engagement in a conversation will give off the feeling of the client being listened to, and rapport will be built with the. The skills here follow with what we learned regarding the guiding approach in motivational interviewing. They can go hand in hand. 

Muscular acute and chronic changes come in the form of the endocrine system and long-term changes to muscles. The endocrine system changes for the acute ones.

Here we have increased the catabolic and anabolic hormones in order to help the muscular training session.

The two main chronic changes will come in the form of the size of the muscle increases and muscular strength changes.

Muscular strength changes due to the body becoming more efficient and the muscle size improving. And the muscle size improves as a result of the body adapting to the increases in demand from training. 

Cardiorespiratory acute and chronic changes happen in the muscular systems, cardiovascular system, and respiratory systems.

The immediate and acute changes that happen when exercising see changes in the body to deliver oxygen quicker and absorb the oxygen faster also. In the long term, we see the muscular system adapting to the specific ways in which exercise is done.

The fibers will adjust and change percentages based on the long-term use of fast or slow twitch.

The capillaries and the recruiting of muscle fibers grow and get better.

The cardiovascular system sees changes regarding the heart primarily.

The heart muscle will hypertrophy, enlarging the chambers and becoming a stronger muscle.
The respiratory system is less adaptable than the other two systems, but often we see increased ventilation or the alveoli possible, and then some changes to the muscles that assist respiration.

For the progression of exercise in ways other than new movements, we rely on the principle of progression in muscular training.

This principle says that we should increase the reps first and stay in the range that we wish for our specific type of improvement, and then when that can’t be moved, we change the weight, which will change the reps by default to be lower. And then we repeat this process.

If we were to use endurance as our primary goal, then we would be using more than 12 reps with each set, and then as our reps get higher we would up the weight while staying at a repetition maximum that is still over 12. This progresses the endurance and the intensity of the endurance.

Cardiorespiratory training also has progression, and this is in the form of working at a higher intensity for the same time or increasing the duration of activity for the same intensity.

Regression for exercise is not usually the goal, but actual regression for the body occurs when halting a program and not challenging the boy to the same level.

We usually see the progress of the body decline when we work below our normal intensity for twice as long as it took to gain muscle or strength. 

To determine the credibility of a resource, we utilize evidence-based practice. This means that the things we use are based on research and thoroughly backed up.

When we are looking at the credibility of the things we use, we start by searching for any biases first, then reading the research, and then evaluating the research for the truth in it, and lastly, we look for consensus among the scientific community.

This is going to happen a lot in the process of continuing education and expanding the things we do with our clients. We want to ensure that we train clients in the best and most evidence-based ways. 

  1. Maintaining trust, credibility, and rapport with clients.
  2. Education regarding the basics of nutrition and weight managing guidelines.
  3. Education regarding the management of frequency, intensity, and complexity of a variety of exercises. 
  4. Education regarding the clients on how to manage the external factors affecting adherence. 
  5. Modification of the exercise techniques, selections, and intensities as needed the ensuring safety and promotion of goal achievement. 
  6. The motivation of clients to adhere to programs of exercise. 

Section 2

Be able to recognize and respond to the lapses in program adherence through the identification of barriers and the provision of solutions to ensure clients are consistently engaged. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The factors affecting participation and adherence to exercise programs are going to be broken up into personal, environmental, and physical activity factors. 

Personal Attributes

The main ones here will be the health status, demographic variables, history of physical activity, psychological traits and knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of the client.

These demographic variables are made up of variables like sex, age, income, and education.

These makeup makes us who we are and has a more indirect effect on exercise adherence.

The health status of the client will determine how likely someone is to adhere to exercise, and this essentially means the presence of chronic illnesses.

These are likely to be the populations of people that are less healthy anyways.

The history of physical activity is useful for us to see, as history is likely to be a good predictor of future participation.

Psychological traits like mood and stress will affect adherence greatly.

And then the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs are highly affected by everything else in these attributes, and they are important for how someone perceives exercise as a whole. 

Environmental Factors

These factors will be things such as access to facilities, time, and social support.

First, access to facilities is mostly related to the location of the facility itself.

This is a big limit to the kinds of gyms one can access and how easily accessed they are. Some of this can be helped by training clients within their own home setting.

Lack of time is likely one of the most common things trainers here for lack of entering into exercise.

So, one thing that trainers should always have in mind is time-efficient sessions for clients to further eliminate these excuses.

Social support can be a heavy factor, and this is one that comes from friends and family in regard to their view on the client in exercise. 

Physical Activity Factors

The two main factors in this section are going to be injury and intensity.

The presence of injury is one of the more obvious barriers to entry for exercise.

A lesser thought about the factor for injury is the possibility of injury also being a barrier to entry to exercise.

The intensity of the exercise program is a limiter for those that are intimidated by challenge and for those that have some of the pre-exercise limiting conditions in the screening process. 

The personal characteristics and factors influencing our lifestyle, communication, and preferences are going to be our demographic variables, psychological traits, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, and health status.

The obvious personal characteristics are with the demographic variables.

These variables are the education of the person, their age, sex, and income level.

Some of these change their averages based on their level of supervision in exercise, so sometimes that should be taken into account.

The health status is the presence of chronic illnesses, with things like diabetes and heart disease.

This will usually classify someone as unhealthy, and that will have a large role in adherence to behavior changes such as exercise.

The history of physical activity can define a person and influence their life. Usually, the presence of and the level of past exercise will indicate how future excursions in exercise will go.

Psychological traits play a role in everything done. These will include things like negative thoughts and moods and conditions like depression.

And then last is the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs, which play a role in exercise programs and life in general. 

We progress through the behavior change continuum linearly, but when it comes to sliding backward, we come into what is called relapse or lapses.

A lapse is simply a slip in the program someone has set up for themselves to follow, and when it happens many times or for a long time relapse.

These lapses happen quite often and should be planned for in order to be prevented.

An important part of planning for them is to address them before they happen with the client.

This includes ways that it may appear and then how to get back in the right mindset to defeat a lapse.

Another main thing to reinforce for lapses is the use of social support and the friends and family of the client in question knowing their role.

Personal trainers should do their best to provide social support also when they are outside of the sessions with things like texts and emails.

Creating a task involving climate will also create the right environment for the client to defeat lapses and possible relapses. 

  1. Identification of the possible barriers that play a role in adherence to programs and attainment of goals. 
  2. Implementation of strategies to help clients overcome barriers. 
  3. Adjustments to variables in programs. 
  4. The use of the right techniques, both verbal and nonverbal.
    Identification of the need for referral to the right allied health professionals. 

Section 3

Routine evaluation of progress for clients by use of data, observations, and feedback from clients in order to modify the exercise programs when needed.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

Nutrition is a tough part of the personal trainer and client relationships.

There are many things we can and cannot do in the ACE scope of practice. It is important that, first and foremost, if you do not know that you can give some advice or nutrition information, you instead refer the client to another health representative.

It is often seen that people ask for nutrition advice from their trainers since it is in the realm of health, but when it comes to ACE, the advice is to more or less refer and give very general information regarding nutrition.

Some of the assessments we may use for giving this general advice will be things like diet recalls and questionnaires.

These will allow us to give information regarding some changes that can be made, but not overall diet recommendations.

Some important guidelines to inform clients of are the pre and post-workout nutrition and hydration recommendations throughout the chapter, the effects of deficiencies and excesses of nutrients, how our requirements for nutrients may vary and change throughout our lives, and food that would make up a balanced diet on a daily basis. 

Programs will need to be modified based on the many things we find when initially interviewing and going through the preparticipation health screenings.

In the preparticipation health screening, we look at the ability of the client to get into programs based on their overall intensity.

Then within that, we may narrow it down with the modifications happening in the FITT principles and other things based on the questionnaires and assessments we do on the client.

Some other things we modify programs based on will be chronic illnesses, obesity, the stage of life they are in, and the presence of musculoskeletal issues.

These all play major roles in how we handle the design of our client’s programs. 

  1. Administering and selecting the proper assessments. 
  2. Interpretation and gathering of essential client data and feedback.
  3. Reevaluation and adjustments for the program goals when needed. 
  4. Recognition of the signs and symptoms of overtraining.
  5. Recognition of the changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and function of muscles, weaknesses, and imbalances. 
  6. Selection of exercises, equipment, and workloads to regress and progress the exercise programs when needed and based on client performance, health, and fitness.

Domain IV: Professional Conduct, Safety, and Risk Management

Overall Domain Goal: Complete the professional responsibilities through continued education, collaborating with the allied health professionals, and adherence to the standards of the industry and practices needed to protect the clients, facility operators, and the personal trainer. 

Section 1

Use the strategies of risk management in accordance with the recognized standards, regulations, laws, and guidelines to protect the client, personal trainer, and any of the other parties that are relevant for the minimization of liability. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The main thing that trainers should be focused on, is adhering to the scope of practice outlined by ACE.

This informs trainers on all of the things they can do legally and the things they are expected to do and provide for their clientele.

There can be some differences in state procedures in some small areas, and these should be thoroughly investigated, but the scope of practice will still cover everything for the trainers.

It is important for trainers to follow the laws and guidelines set by their governing bodies and to refer clients when that need may arise.

Other legal guidelines and laws revolve around avoiding negligence and obtaining insurance and other business laws that may relate to trainers. 

The trainer should thoroughly plan out their response to potential emergencies prior to training a client.

This will include emergency medical information for them, being taken immediately when possible.

This eliminates the possibly impossible situation where you need critical information, and the client is unable to respond.

Remote areas should be checked to see if they have the ability to reach 9-1-1 beforehand. 

Preventing injuries can be done through program design that is well thought out and periodized.
It is imperative that the trainers are well informed regarding the client and their potential high risk of injuries due to their age, previous injuries in their history, deconditioning of their musculature, and presence of some diseases.

Some of the things we should look to enforce in our programs to ensure we don’t injure clients are things like flexibility and elasticity, using effective warm-ups, and recovering sufficiently between sessions.

The flexibility and elasticity of the tissues is important to make sure we are able to move in the patterns we should have.

These programs for flexibility should follow all guidelines in Chapter 11, and these include things like the use of the main stretching protocols and doing so at least 2 days a week for most populations.

For warmups, we should implement these prior to all sessions in order to heat the body up and prepare for the training session.

This should follow the five to ten-minute recommendations and look to warm up the appropriate body parts while readying the body for more advanced movements.

Then, for recovery, we should allow time for the body to recover from sessions, and this often means not working the same part of the body many times in a row.

It can also include the use of stretch and self-myofascial release for recovering more efficiently. 

Negligence is found when a trainer has not provided service that is done as a reasonable and prudent person adhering to the established standards or the expected behaviors a professional would give in similar circumstances.

This is essentially what will happen when you have not followed the scope of practice and negatively affected a client.

There are four things that a plaintiff must establish in order to substantiate a charge of negligence:

– The defendant had a duty to protect the plaintiff from injury
– The defendant failed to uphold the standard of care needed to perform that duty
– There was some form of damage or injury to the plaintiff that happened
– The damage or the injury was caused by the breach of duty from the defendant

The scope of practice is defined as the legal range of services that professionals of a certain field can give, the settings where these services can be given, and the guidelines and parameters that need to be followed. These are all established for the protection of the public.
 
The ACE code of ethics governs the ethical and professional standards that ACE-certified professionals should follow when they are working with clients, the public, and other health and exercise professionals.

All the people registering to take the ACE certification exam must agree to follow these and uphold them throughout the exam process as a professional. 

Professional conduct regards the things that are allowed to be done when a trainer or general worker is on the job.

For these ACE trainers, it is the following of the scope of practice and the ACE Code of Ethics.

Liability insurance is quite important for trainers, even when they believe they are very careful.
There has been a recent rise in litigation throughout the entire field of health, so it has become very necessary for trainers to seek out their own insurance for their practice.

Personal trainers will need to seek out professional liability insurance that is designed for the coverage of activities in the health and fitness business.

It should cover the possible personal injuries that may happen within the training sessions.
Injured clients may not just sue for medical expenses, but also the many other kinds like lost wages, pain, and suffering, and loss of consortium.

The recommended level of coverage is set at 1 million dollars due to the high costs of those featured things that may be sued for.

There is an increase in the use of umbrella policies.

These would come from the insurance places you might already have and can sometimes be a small discount on the overall cost since it is featured with your current homeowners or driver’s insurance or any other plan.

There are also many established partners with ACE that offer their plans to these certified trainers.

  1. Documentation and security of the information that needs to stay confidential.
  2. Conduction of risk analysis for the minimization of liability. 
  3. Appropriate referral to allied health professionals.

Section 2

Document and secure the data of the client, communications, and progress while following the legal and regulatory requirements for maintaining confidentiality and minimizing liability. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The professional code of conduct and the ACE code of ethics don’t bring all of the responsibilities together.

Some of the legal responsibilities extend to the facilities, equipment, supervision, and instruction.

When it comes to the facilities, it is actually an obligation for the trainer to ensure that the facility they choose to use is free from reasonable hazards.

To do this, we should trainers should make sure that they inspect the physical environment prior to each session, and especially so when the area has been used by other gym-goers, if that is common for this setting.

Some of the things that should be considered are uneven floors, different floor surfaces, sufficient space for the session, functional lighting, heating and air conditioning up to code, and proximity to drinking fountains for refreshments.

Another consideration is when you are training clients, and you must share the space with other gym-goers.

For equipment, trainers are going to be held responsible for the equipment that they choose to utilize in the gym.

All equipment should be ensured to meet the highest safety and design standards and should have known times of checking for optimal safety levels.

Trainers assume the risk when using a client’s own equipment, and they should check them to the best of their ability and know that they are liable for anything occurring there also.

For supervision, we should utilize optimal general supervision and specific supervision.

General supervision is provided when we are overseeing a large group of people, and then specific supervision is used when we are supervising one individual doing a specific activity.
Last is instruction; here, the trainers should try to use instructional techniques that are consistent with the current professional practices.

Keep in mind that failing to give the proper instruction and showing off a movement, and then having a resulting injury, negligence is likely to be found.

We should be working to provide more instruction than necessary to avoid these legal cases. 

Record keeping is vital in this day and age, and with the use of HIPAA for the protection of clients in the healthcare arena, we must be methodical in its use.

Record keeping should be private and not easy for anyone to get into.

We should keep the medical history forms, exercise records, and incident reports all out of the view of the public.

HIPAA stands for the health insurance portability and accountability act.

It makes medical records private and mandated by the law.

This protected information would be anything that is identifiable health information.

For medical history, this is the current record for the client and their medical conditions, and any changes that occur throughout the program noted by the trainer.

The exercise record needs to be kept current with any specific notes from training and any changes or onsets for pain that have occurred. Incident reports are for emergencies or other injuries that may have happened, and these, too, should be kept private. 

Communication platforms like email and text can be used often for communicating with clients and the public to market yourself.

For marketing, we should uphold high ethical standards, and attention should be paid to the reputation of yourself.

Social media is welcomed for ACE trainers to utilize and is ideally best done when personal and business social media is not mixed.

We should keep social media for trainers separate and professional.

And all of the HIPAA should apply when trainers wish to use their client’s info.  

  1. Identifying and protecting confidential documents and information.
  2. Documentation and security of confidential information.
  3. Identification and implementation of the right protocols for the secured use of technology. 

Section 3

Enhance the competency with the use of credible resources in order to stay current with the practices, theories, and evidence-based research. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

The textbook has many professionals and organizations coming together to make up the concepts of training as a personal trainer.

These vary from the USDA making the dietary guidelines on the MyPlate website.

The ACSM makes guidelines when it comes to risk stratifications or exercising guidelines sometimes.

We have the ACE making, of course, the primary basis of this material. And there are many other organizations to consider on a state and federal level, along with other health organizations that govern the decisions in exercise training.

ACE professionals are encouraged to enhance and continue their education through the use of specialization, degrees, and continuing education credits.

The providers of these services will be places like colleges for degrees or some education events, other accreditation organizations, and healthcare fields outside of training.

These all allow trainers to add to their education and the things they can provide for the clients.

It is a good idea to expand the scope of practice and specialize in certain populations to further their knowledge and efficiency with clients. 

The certifications from ACE are going to be valid for two years upon earning it and expiring the last day of that month.

In order to renew, the ACE trainers should complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education credits and keep their certificates for CPR and AED training current.

The continuing education credits are there in order to keep trainers current with their information and show the latest findings for the field of health and fitness.

It can go along with the evidence-based practice that we aim to provide for our programs. 

  1. Identification of the right continued education courses and providers.
  2. Application of the right knowledge and skills achieved through continued education and professional development. 
  3. Identification of the right services and products with the use of the information found from credible sources. 

Section 4

Be able to prevent injuries by identifying and reporting the possible hazards while following the recommended industry and facility rules and protocols. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

Preventing injuries can be done through program design that is well thought out and periodized.

It is imperative that the trainers are well informed regarding the client and their potential high risk with injuries due to their age, previous injuries in their history, deconditioning of their musculature, and presence of some diseases.

Some of the things we should look to enforce in our programs to ensure we don’t injure clients are things like flexibility and elasticity, using effective warm-ups, and recovering sufficiently between sessions.

The flexibility and elasticity of the tissues is important to make sure we are able to move in the patterns we should have.

These programs for flexibility should follow all guidelines in chapter 11, and these include things like the use of the main stretching protocols and doing so at least 2 days a week for most populations.

For warmups, we should implement these prior to all sessions in order to heat the body up and prepare for the training session.

This should follow the five to ten-minute recommendations and look to warm up the appropriate body parts while readying the body for more advanced movements.

Then, for recovery, we should allow time for the body to recover from sessions, and this often means not working the same part of the body many times in a row.

It can also include the use of stretch and self-myofascial release for recovering more efficiently. 

When we are training, we should take into account the conditions regarding altitude, heat, and cold. 

When we are exercising in the heat, the precautions we take are to avoid things like dehydration, heatstroke, and heat exhaustion. Dehydration more easily occurs in these environments due to the added heat and sweating that will happen.

It is important that trainers consider these things when they aim to work out in the heat:
– Begin the exercise gradually when in the heat
– Always wear lightweight and well-ventilated clothes
– Replace the sweat lost with equal amounts of fluids
– Never use garments that are impermeable

It is important that when these symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke come along, we recognize them and work to reverse them quickly. 

The main problems with exercise in the cold will be associated with losing excess body heat, and this results in frostbite and hypothermia.

It is important to note the three things the body does to avoid this, which is vasoconstriction, non-shivering thermogenesis, and shivering.

Some precautions trainers should take for exercise in the cold are:
– Wear several layers of clothing
– Allow for good sweat ventilation
– Wear breathable clothing
– Replace the body fluids lost, the same as you do in the heat
– Monitor your body weight very closely

Exercising at higher altitudes is not usually forewarned by exercisers but people should be aware.

It should be understood that less oxygen is available the higher we go, and this affects how hard we can work.

High altitude is considered to start at 2,500 meters.

We should be on the lookout for altitude sickness like shortness of breath, headache, lightheadedness, and nausea.

It is also important for events and competitions, that we acclimate our bodies to higher altitudes before going to them. 

  1. Identification, responses, and documentation of emergency situations. 
  2. Identification, responses, and documentation of safety hazards.
  3. Instruction and supervision of effective and safe use of the equipment in many settings for training.
  4. Modification of the exercise based on the environmental conditions considered to be extreme. 

ACE Study Guide Overview

With our ACE study guide, you will:

  • Learn the Ins and Outs of the ACE textbook.
  • Pass the ACE exam after using this page.

We promise that you will benefit from our free study guide on this page, and you will breeze your way through the exam when the time comes. So make sure to bookmark this page. 

The free ACE Study Guide is split into four main domains of study covering all parts of basic exercise science. We then break down the domains into their main section.

One of the tips for our students is to supplement this content with quizzes. The dirty secrets from our staff include always hammering in your knowledge of the topics in the training courses with completion of practice exams.

Candidates need to cap their review sessions with this. If you can spend 30 minutes a day on Instagram then you can spend 30 minutes to take a practice quiz. Our reliable and trustworthy, concise but detailed study guide will step by step prepare you for your exam. You can also always supplement the physiology sections with a youtube video for explanation if you want to get more clear on any of the topics.

The entire A.C.E. or the American Council on Exercise, certification study guide is located on this one page for better consolidation, well organized and easy to follow. Make sure to bookmark this page for future studying and test prep.

We use this as an ACE CPT exam prep tool, and it pairs well with the ACE exam practice page as well.

The ACE test is one of the more challenging personal trainer certification exams, but not quite as hard as the strength and conditioning training certifications. The easiest CPT certificate exam is the ISSA personal trainer certification, and the NASM CPT certification is similar in difficulty to ACE.

The ACE fitness certification is also a nationally accredited personal training certification, which means that when you pass it, you can take your certification to any gym, and they will know that you have the requisite knowledge to work there and start earning a personal trainer salary.

This guide can also be a great starting point for anyone looking for an ACE certification outside of personal training, like if you are considering a health coach certification or a group fitness certification.

Because this page is a monster of information, we have added dropdowns that contain the answers to each section. This makes it much easier to scroll.

We have also added a handy table of contents to easily help you jump around the page to find what you want. You can access the menu button at all times on the right-hand side of the page.

This ACE certification exam study guide is a best friend for future test takers or anyone getting into fitness training. Use it often.

Be sure to go over the overall domain goal and the goal of each section prior to diving into the studying. The sections are made up of subjects ranging from 2 to 7 per section.

When studying, the goal is to read the subjects for each section and answer them all on your own. For these, each of the subjects will have the page numbers or the general chapters that we found the information in and used to answer the subjects.

You should then come back, use the orange accordions (they expand when clicked on) to show the drop-down information for each subject, and compare your answers to the ones we have.

At the end of the subjects, utilize the black accordions, and see the skills you should have mastered and grasped throughout the studying of the book’s domains.

Ensure you have mastered these skills by comparing them to your answers and searching the text for any you are unsure about.

This style of the ACE personal training study guide will allow you to have a general sense of the main subjects required to score well on the certification exam and should serve as a great study guide when followed in these steps.

Remember, the exam will use multiple-choice questions to test your knowledge.

There are many ACE exam prep tools and ACE study materials for use at Trainer Academy. We definitely recommend this and the other ACE certification study materials to ensure that you pass the exam, like our ACE practice exam.

Also, it would be helpful to read our ACE CPT Exam Info article, which will give you an overview of the actual test.

How long to become a personal trainer and pass the exam will vary from person to person, but using these guides will drastically improve that time.

What to study for the ACE personal trainer exam

Topics to study for the ACE personal trainer exam include exercise science, exercise technique, and program design using the ACE IFT Model, among other topics in the ACE curriculum. An ACE CPT study guide is the best bet for ensuring you cover all the topics you need to know.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best certification for personal trainers?

This is mostly down to personal or employer preference, but there are some things that help make things stand out and work in favor of varying certifications. This can be things such as accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies or simple popularity among certifications in the fitness industry.

Do personal trainers make good money?

Personal training as an industry is growing steadily in the current health and fitness industry. On average, according to the ACE Salary Report for Health and Fitness Professionals, you can expect an ACE-certified personal trainer to make about $52,000 each year. This makes it a great career to go into, and when considering that adding other certifications and specializations will make the trainer more money, it is quite a worthwhile career move.

How many hours do personal trainers work in a week?

Personal training is a unique field of work where you may be only training people individually for 25 – 30 hours a week. But, there will still be time after those sessions where you work on scheduling, invoicing, working out, and promoting your business. This makes for a somewhat full week, but it is filled with different jobs to get done.

How much time does it take to get ACE-certified?

From the time you purchase your course to the time you write the exam, ACE CPT grants you 9 months. This is the window in which you are expected to study, prepare for, and take the test. However, it is by no means the amount of time necessary to successfully prep and pass. We consider a generally reasonable amount of prep time before taking a final cert exam to be roughly around 3 months.

Is ACE accredited?

Ace is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), much like other top companies like NASM and ACSM. In addition, it is recognized globally as a quality certification to ensure knowledge in personal training. Not all certifications are accredited, so this makes the ace personal trainer certification stand out on everyone’s lists.

Is the ACE exam challenging?

The ACE final certification exam is somewhat difficult compared to other certifications offered by other companies. It doesn’t compare to the intensity of the CSCS from NSCA, but it is harder than the personal training certs from the likes of NSCA and NASM. The ACE personal trainer exam pass rate is 65%, which means you are more likely to pass than to fail, but the lower pass rate means you should nail down the information. The test is multiple-choice. It can be a good idea to go with other outside ACE personal trainer study guides and practice exams to ensure the best chance of passing.

How much does the ACE exam cost?

The ACE CPT exam cost is approximately $499 if it is your first time, and for a retake, it will cost $249. Given the retake fee, it is a good idea to make use of study materials such as our ACE personal trainer exam questions on this page. The practice test questions on that page are very helpful.

What other ACE fitness study materials do you recommend?

Through Trainer Academy, we offer these items: A free ACE practice exam, a free ACE study guide, and items within our study guides like our ACE audio study guide, flashcards, mnemonics, full practice tests, an ACE personal training exam cheat sheet, and much more. The ACE personal trainer manual can also be helpful.

The ACE certification exam is one of several possible options you can pick when choosing a cert. We have comparisons between ACE or NASM, NASM vs ISSA to help you pick the perfect organization for you.

If you look at ACE vs ACSM or the NCSF certification you can see that ACE is not the cheapest CPT certification, but it is one of the most popular.

The most well known certs tend to lead to an easier future personal training, because gyms know and trust the quality trainer they produce.

If you decide to pick the NASM exam instead of ACE, there’s a complete NASM study guide and NASM practice test.

We also have study tools for the very challenging NSCA CSCS exam, including a CSCS study book and a practice CSCS test.

References

  1. Waryasz GR, Daniels AH, Gil JA, Suric V, Eberson CP. Personal trainer demographics, current practice trends and common trainee injuries. Orthopedic Reviews. 2016;8(3). doi: https://doi.org/10.4081/or.2016.6600
  2. ‌Byrd BR, Keith J, Keeling SM, et al. Personalized Moderate-Intensity Exercise Training Combined with High-Intensity Interval Training Enhances Training Responsiveness. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019;16(12):2088. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122088
  3. ‌Jones AM, Dalleck LC, Weatherwax RM, Ramos JS. Changes in Fitness-Fatness Index following a Personalized, Community-Based Exercise Program in Physically Inactive Adults: A Randomised Controlled Trial. International journal of exercise science. 2022;15(4):1418-1429. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9797002/

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