Certified Personal Fitness Trainer Performance Standards


Certified Personal Fitness Trainer Performance Standards

The  following performance standards are general categories of standards and competencies that you will be evaluated on in your written and practical examinations - i.e., performance standards are demonstrable behaviours that illustrate knowledge.

Health Related Benefits and Holistic Approach to Physical Activity

Performance Standard I

Certified Personal Fitness Trainer explains the benefits of physical activity and develops recommendations regarding type, intensity and amount of physical activity to promote health and wellness.

Competencies

  • Describe the mechanisms by which physical activity may lower risk of chronic lifestyle diseases (e.g., cardiovasculardisease) and disability
  • Describe the extent to which physical activity can impact major chronic lifestyle disease risk factors

Performance Standard II

The Certified Personal Fitness Trainer integrates a holistic approach to physical activity and lifestyle, and in conjunction with the client, implements elements of the active living concept into exercise and fitness program design, implementation and modification.

Competencies

  • Apply current recommendations regarding physical activity for disease prevention and management.
  • Demonstrate various approaches a Trainer could take that value individual choice and diversity.

Anatomy

Performance Standard I

The Certified Personal Fitness Trainer applies knowledge of human anatomy to the development and evaluation of program design.

Competencies

  • Identify the major muscle groups, including: Latissimus Dorsi; Trapezius; Serratus Anterior; Erector Spinae; Deltoids; Rhomboids; Pectoralis Major and Minor; Rectus Abdominus; Internal and External Obliques; Transverse Abdominus; Biceps; Triceps; Iliopsoas; Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus; Hamstrings (Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus); Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Medialis); Rotator Cuff (Subscapularis, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Supraspinatus); Sartorius; Gastrocnemius; Soleus; Adductors; Abductors; wrist extensors and flexors; Tensor Fascia Lata; and Tibialis Anterior, Multifidus, Quadratus lumborum
  • Relate major muscles and their prime movements at major joints in the body to movement when instructing clients
  • Identify the types of joints, including Fibrous, Cartilaginous and Synovial (e.g., Ball and Socket, Saddle, and Hinge) and describe how bone structure influences joint function.
  • Relate the location and function of the major bones and major joints to movement when instructing the client
  • Identify joint structures and connective tissues, including Joint Capsule, Synovial Membrane, Articular Cartilage, Joint Cavity, Ligaments, and Tendons.
  • Identify the major bones, including the Femur, Tibia, Fibula, Pelvic Girdle, Vertebrae, Scapula, Ribs, Cranium, Humerus, Radius, Ulna, and Clavicle.
  • Identify and describe the anatomical limitations to joint range of motion (flexibility).
  • Describe the various neuromuscular reflexes (e.g., stretch reflex, inverse stretch reflex) and how they affect range of motion and joint stability.
  • For a given exercise, identify the stabilizing muscle/muscle groups, and their impact on continued exercise execution.
  • For a given exercise, identify the synergist muscle/muscle groups, and describe their impact on continued exercise execution.

Movement Mechanics

Performance Standard I

  • The Certified Personal Fitness applies knowledge of biomechanics to the development and evaluation of program design

Competencies

  • Identify the major joint actions, including flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, rotation, circumduction, hyperflexion, hyperextension, dorsi-flexion, plantar-flexion, pronation, supination, eversion, and inversion, protraction, retraction, elevation, depression, transverse abduction and transverse adduction.
  • Define and describe muscle actions and identify phase of movement (e.g., concentric, eccentric, isometric).
  • Describe how to balance conditioning exercises for the muscles surrounding the major joints.
  • Identify and utilize the concepts of proper body alignment and their impact on exercise prescription and outcomes, including risk of injury.
  • Determine how to modify exercise position stability, and state which of the following three (3) factors is responsible and how: i) the base of support, (widened vs. narrowed) ii) the centre of gravity (raise vs. lower), or iii) changing the relationship between centre of gravity and base of support
  • Using the principle of levers, explain how to vary the intensity of an exercise.
  • Identify the pros and cons associated with static and dynamic stretching and when each is most appropriate.
  • Identify and utilize the concepts of external resistance applications, the pros and cons of each, and the appropriate application of each.
  • Define and describe common movement mechanic issues, and appropriate exercise prescription to mitigate risks as associated with each.
  • Demonstrates the use of correct mechanics to control speed of movement
  • Defines the terms “single joint” and “multi-joint” exercises and identifies which exercises are examples of each
  • Demonstrates the importance of specific breathing techniques during each exercise
  • Demonstrates proper lifting and spotting techniques within each exercise
  • For a given exercise, identify the stabilizing muscle/muscle groups, and describe their impact on continued exercise execution
  • For a given exercise, identify the synergist muscle/muscle groups, and describe their impact on continued exercise execution.
  • For a given exercise, identify the agonist/antagonist muscle/muscle groups, and describe how their relationship improves or diminishes movement economy.
  • Utilize the concepts of torque, proper body alignment, levers and stability to ensure joint safety and movement effectiveness.
  • Define and describe common movement mechanic issues, and appropriate exercise prescription to mitigate risks as associated with each.

Exercise Physiology

Performance Standard I

  • The Certified Personal Fitness Trainer applies knowledge of exercise physiology to the development and evaluation of program design.

Competencies

  • Describe the acute exercise responses for each of the following systems: i) cardiovascular, ii) respiratory, and iii) musculoskeletal.
  • Describe the primary aerobic and anaerobic energy processes (ie: ATP, glycolytic, oxidative) within the human body during rest and during activity/exercise (aerobic or anaerobic), and how they impact program design (e.g., rest, recovery).
  • Describe the relative contribution of anaerobic and aerobic energy during the following: warm- up, aerobic/cardiovascular workout, muscular strength/endurance, and selected physical activities.
  • Describe the long-term training adaptations of the basic fitness components.
  • Identify and describe environmental factors (i.e., heat, humidity, cold) that can affect the body's response to sustained physical activity.
  • Compare and contrast the signs and symptoms of acute and chronic physical distress with respect to overtraining, high intensity exercise, dehydration, environmental factors; and recognition of requirement for referral to aligned health professional.
  • Utilize techniques to control and monitor exertion – both by the Trainer and by the client - to prevent doing too  much exercise too soon or too vigorously.

Performance Standard II

  • The Certified Personal Fitness Trainer applies knowledge of muscle physiology to the development and evaluation of program design.

Competencies

  • Identify the impact of eccentric contractions and muscle soreness related to unfamiliar exercises and beginning exercise participants
  • Identify the force production possible with common types of resistance training equipment, including dynamic constant, dynamic variable, dynamic progressive, and isokinetic
  • Describe the physiological changes that occur to the structures within the muscle (motor unit, muscle cells, myofibrils, actin, and myosin) with training (aerobic or anaerobic), including neuromuscular recruitment, muscular hypertrophy, body composition, metabolism, muscular strength, bone mineral density, muscular endurance, blood lipids, and glucose and insulin levels
  • Define a motor unit and describes the changes that occur with resistance training (muscular strength, endurance, and hypertrophy)
  • Identifies the structure of muscle: myofibrils, muscle cells, actin, and myosin
  • Identifies the function of muscle fibres, myofibrils, muscle cells, actin, and myosin in training (aerobic or anaerobic)
  • Compare and contrast the different muscle fiber types and how each impacts training outcomes

Performance Standard III

  • The Certified Personal Fitness applies knowledge of cardiorespiratory physiology to the development and evaluation of program design.

Competencies

  • Identify the average range for resting heart rate as well as the range for target exercise heart rate for an individual of a stated age and gender
  • Describe the oxygen transport system and how a trained individual differs from an untrained individual
  • Predict the maximal oxygen consumption using a non-exercise predictive formula for an individual of a stated age, gender and physical activity level.
  • Apply mechanisms for regulating blood flow and pressure responses to exercises (where applicable)
  • Apply mechanisms for regulating ventilatory responses to exercise (where applicable)

Performance Standard IV

  • The Certified Personal Fitness applies knowledge of the endocrine system to program design

Competencies

  • Recognize the role of glands and hormones in metabolism and weight management
  • Recognize the role of glands and hormones during exercise and recovery from exercise
  • Explain hormonal responses to various forms of exercise (aerobic, anaerobic)

Principles of Exercise Prescription

Performance Standard I

  • The Certified Personal Fitness applies a practical and theoretical knowledge of exercise conditioning principles to program design.

Competencies

  • Explain the purpose and value of warm-up and cool-down activities to clients
  • Identify appropriate warm-up and cool-down activities according to the type and intensity of physical exercise, environment and client needs and condition
  • Identify the components of physical fitness and describe the importance of each to overall well-being.
  • Describe the principles as related to, and required within, balanced total body exercise programs applicable to various levels of client aptitude, needs and wants.
  • Apply evidence-based principles related to the frequency, intensity, time (duration), and type of exercise (FITT) for improving each of the following fitness components: flexibility, cardiovascular fitness (aerobic and anaerobic) and muscular conditioning (strength and endurance).
  • Demonstrate a competent application of various resistance training modalities to improve strength, endurance and hypertrophy and plyometrics.
  • Utilize effective techniques for monitoring intensity for all components of fitness.
  • Describe and demonstrate understanding and application(s) of Target Heart Rate as an integral component of exercise prescription
  • Compare and contrast different techniques for improving joint range of motion (flexibility), proprioception (golgi tendon organs, muscle spindles).
  • Prescribe functional exercises that are intended to assist in the performance of daily activities and general fitness.
  • Explain the specific order to the performance of the components of fitness and prescribed exercise including the recommended duration of each component.
  • Describe the following training methods and principles as they relate to training: continuous training versus intermittent training; isometric strength training versus isotonic strength training; static versus dynamic stretching; weight-bearing versusnon-weight-bearing exercises; progressive overload, periodization, metabolic energy production and costs, oxygen transport, and phases of training.
  • Prescribe exercises that specifically enhance the adaptation of the required system(s) and/or muscles to enhance the performance of a particular exercise, activity or sport
  • Demonstrate a competent use of WHO’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Health in exercise prescription
  • Describe, explain and demonstrate safe, effective cuing and technical instruction for proper exercise/movement execution to maintain body alignment and client safety.
  • For a given exercise, analyze its intended and actual purpose, potential risks to joint structures, and describe and demonstrate modifications or alternative exercises.
  • Identify and describe common injuries including their mechanisms, signs, symptoms and risk reduction options.
  • Understand how to use variety to develop competency and proficiency in the various components to achieve goals, such as: settings (e.g., weight room, pool, aerobics class, gym, yoga class, park…); equipment (e.g., balls, therabands, dumbbells, machine weights, outdoor equipment, body bars, etc.); benefits & disadvantages of each type; common training myths & misconceptions,; environments (e.g., recreational class, competitive club, masters vs. youth team, sport vs. leisure environment)
  • Explain the PRICE principle (i.e. prevent, rest, immobilize, cold and elevate).

Client Assessment & Counseling

Performance Standard I

The Certified Fitness Trainer demonstrates safety in all aspects of planning and delivery of fitness/exercise/activity programs with emphasis on methods for preventing and managing injuries.

Competencies

  • Describe the responsibilities and legal liabilities of the Trainer as associated with a participant’s personal injury background, and physical activity/exercise screening (ie. pre- screening methods such as the PAR-Q+, eParMedX, eParMedX for Pregnancy, lifestyle questionnaires).
  • Familiarity with medical conditions, health conditions, and medications that affect exercise.
  • Describe a Trainer’s professional limitations regarding the physical activity participation of adults who arenot apparently healthy.
  • Describe precautionary measures for beginning exercise participants that are designed to prevent injury and increase safety for all components of fitness, exercise and activity.

Performance Standard II

  • The Certified Personal Fitness demonstrates skill in the application of principles of adult learning, communications, human behaviour and leadership/coaching models in promoting and enhancing exercise adherence.

Competencies

  • Demonstrate the ability to goal set and design exercise programs based on evaluative results and client discussion, including likes and dislikes.
  • Describe and utilize the Stages of Change, counseling styles, SMART goal setting, motivation techniques, adherence and barrier reduction techniques, and client-centered assessments.
  • Demonstrate how to use effective communication and counselling skills when working with a variety of participants.
  • Identify intrinsic and extrinsic factors that may motivate adults to participate in physical activity.
  • Describe the limitations of Trainers and client information with respect to: Freedom of Information & Privacy (FOIP) legislation, confidentiality, document storage and information sharing.
  • Recognize social and cultural barriers to exercise and personal training sessions.

Health Assessment

Performance Standard I

The Certified Personal Fitness demonstrates competence in performing health assessments contained within the Client Assessment Profile (i.e., BMI, height, weight, WC, RHR, non-exercise predictive VO2 max) and in explaining test results.

Competencies

  • Demonstrate capacity to administer the following protocols: resting heart rate via wrist palpation, height, weight, waist circumference (NIH protocol), BMI calculations, Target Heart Rate.
  • Describe and demonstrate utilization of non-exercise VO2 max estimations to determine client’s physical aptitude prior to exercise prescription
  • Describe and demonstrate utilization of visual flexibility assessments (knee extension, bilateral knee flexion, trunk flexion, trunk extension, Thomas Test (hip extension), Back scratch test (shoulder rotators)
  • Familiarity with various assessment protocols (power: long jump, med ball throw, 20M sprint), (strength: bench press 1RM + safe spotting techniques), (cardiovascular: Rockport walk test, Cooper run test), (flexibility: sit & reach)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of norms and percentiles.
  • Describe test results to enhance motivation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use test results to guide program design.

Delivery of Personal Training Sessions

Performance Standard I

The Certified Personal Fitness prepares the client, environment and equipment for personal training sessions, seeks ongoing feedback during the session, adapts the program and exercises as necessary, and successfully brings exercise sessions to an end.

Competencies

  • Obtain permission for use of public spaces if required
  • Identify, obtain and prepare the resources and equipment needed for planned exercises, improvising safely where necessary
  • Demonstrates the ability to establish a rapport with clients and help clients feel at ease in the exercise environment
  • Assess clients’ state of readiness and motivation to take part in the planned exercises
  • Establish mutual trust, openness and a willingness in clients to take responsibility for their own fitness and behavior change
  • Negotiate and agree with clients any changes to the planned exercises that meet their goals and preferences and enable them to maintain progress
  • Demonstrate empathy and patience when working with clients embarking on behavior change
  • Determine client’s prior knowledge and skill in the exercise
  • Progress or regress exercises according to clients’ performance
  • Demonstrates correct spotting techniques in the exercise environment
  • Ensure clients can carry out the exercises safely on their own
  • Keep appropriate records of personal training sessions in relation to the overall program (e.g., adherence, attendance, client feedback
  • Allow sufficient time for the closing phase of the session
  • Explain to clients how their progress links to their goals and the overall program
  • Leave the environment in a condition suitable for future use
  • Agree how to maintain contact with clients between sessions
  • Plan and agree to a timetable of sessions and review dates with clients
  • Use a clear format when writing exercise plans and programs

Risk Management

Performance Standard I

The Fitness Trainer will demonstrate knowledge of risk management, insurance, and liability issues as they relate to Personal Training.

Competencies

  • Knowledge of the law’s criteria regarding negligence, duty, performance standards, liability and competency.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of types of liability (professional and business) and insurance (loss of business income, buy – sell, death of a partner/shareholder).
  • Describe the responsibilities and legal liabilities of the Trainer as they pertain to the business of personal training (Scope of Practice, professional liability insurance coverage
  • Familiarity with Consumer protection law.
  • Knowledge of current legal issues in the fitness industry.
  • Describe and demonstrate adequate safety procedures and their recommended schedules to provide a safe training environment at all times. (i.e.: equipment maintenance, equipment cleaning, environmental factors, hygiene).
  • Know the set of emergency procedures for the primary locations of testing and training (i.e. facility, employer) including first aid, support procedures, referral procedures and follow-up.
  • Professional Aspects of Personal Training 

Performance Standard I

The Certified Personal Fitness demonstrates professionalism through continuing education, registration, effective resource networking and following evidence-based practices

Competencies

  • Familiarity with the latest research and exercise techniques (e.g., specialized training for special populations).
  • Uses evidence-based training guidelines (where possible Canadian data)
  • Explains the value in referrals, networking and resources (books, other professionals, websites, magazines, clubs, organizations, associations).
  • Acts as an informed resource to colleagues and clients

Performance Standard II

The Certified Personal Fitness demonstrates professional conduct, engagement and customer service and hospitality within the exercise setting.

Competencies

  • Describes steps to ensure client confidentiality of information collected
  • Adheres to the scope of practice while working with clients
  • Acts in accordance to the code of conduct amongst clients, colleagues, health practitioners, etc.
  • Maintains accreditation throughout the career life span

Business Aspects 

Performance Standard I

The Certified Personal Fitness demonstrates an awareness of entrepreneurial skills such as business plan development, career option assessment, client record keeping, administration and financial management relating to the business of personal training.

Competencies

  • Identify various career paths.
  • List exercise and business equipment required for the business of personal training.
  • List and describe the various Personal Training business practices.
  • List various Personal Training business resources.
  • List and describe the components of the organizational structure (sole proprietor, contractor, employee, incorporation) and financial components of a Personal Training business (record keeping, bookkeeping, setting fees).

Performance Standard II

The Certified Personal Fitness exemplifies professionalism through ethical business practices (e.g., client recruitment, retention & referral practices, conscientious marketing strategies & promotions) in building a personal training business.

Competencies

  • Understand basic marketing strategies and terms (target market, population base, demographics, sales, marketing emphasis/focus, pricing strategy, market share, positioning/place, branding, competition, SWOT), appropriate means (e.g., radio, medical journals, and business magazines), bang for your buck (cost of flyers, business cards, seminars, free sessions), deliver what you sell (sales vs. operations).
  • Describe retention and referral strategies.
  • Compare and contrast marketing plan vs. business plan.
  • Describe basic steps in setting up a marketing budget.
  • Compare and contrast ethical vs. unethical marketing practices (e.g., bait and switch).
  • List resources available for researching your target group’s demographics, other health-related consultants and your competition.

Basic Nutrition

Performance Standard I

The Certified Personal Fitness explains Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating as it relates to achieving exercise potential as well as basic concepts and principles related to the caloric values of food.

Competencies

  • Using Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating, identify the food groups, describe the main principles of the guide, and state the recommended servings per day for adults from each food group.
  • Identify the recommended number of daily servings for each food group for healthy living.
  • Describe the caloric content of the three primary nutrients. (ie: protein, carbohydrates, fat)
  • Describe and demonstrate caloric expenditures for weight loss and gain, at rest and during activity/exercise.
  • Explain the concept of energy balance as it relates to an exercise plan for healthy body composition.
  • Explain how changes in body composition influence basal metabolic rate and subsequent energy balance.
  • Describe and demonstrate an understanding and application of Body Mass Index (BMI), and discuss this measurement’s limitations.
  • Describe and demonstrate an understanding and application of Waist Circumference as per the National Institutes of Health (NIH) protocol, and its limitations.
  • Describe a leader’s professional limitations when discussing nutritional information with participants.
  • Reappraise client's body composition at agreed stages of the program.

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