personal training schools

How to pass NASM CPT (Chapter 6 breakdown)

How To Pass the NASM-CPT (Chapter 6-review)

The National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Training Certification (NASM-CPT) is EASY. As I say in the video, DO NOT get any more certs after you pass the NASM-CPT (NO CES, FNS, WLS, PES etc) -it’s a waste of your TIME & MONEY. NASM’s science is outdated: unstable surface training is inferior to stable i.e. a goblet squat is superior in activation and safer than a stability ball squat curl press, there’s no need to static stretch before a workout (chapter 7), perform the Durnin Womersley body fat caliper test (chapter 6), do a Shark Skill or Davies test on an athlete (chapter 14), hypertrophy is achieved via maximal tension & intensity NOT time under tension via a 2–0–2 tempo and their programming SUCKS. I really tried to use a better word than “SUCKS”, but putting an obese client on a stability ball for 20 reps with a 4–2–1 tempo is not appropriate. On page 551 & 552, NASM says it best:

“Currently there are no government regulations that require personal trainer to earn a certification or college degree; howeer, most gyms and health clubs enforce certification as a minimum requirement.”


YOU DO NOT NEED A CERTIFICATION TO TRAIN (Unless you want to train at a corporate gym like Equinox, 24-hour or Crunch.) Our suggestion is:

1- Learn the foundation of anatomy, movement and nutrition

2- Internship. Learn how to train people under the supervision of qualified trainers. 

3- Focus on career growth by learning from the likes of Tony Gentilcore, Bret Contreras, Eric Cressey, Dean Somerset, Chad Waterbury, Sohee Lee, Craig Liebenson, Dr. McGill, Dr. Mike Israetel, Holly Baxter, Ben Bruno and the ISSN. 

NOW that you understand that you DO NOT need to get NASM certified, if you WANT TO, here’s how to pass it with ease…

This video will help break down chapter 6 (if you’re looking for a chapter by chapter breakdown, with flashcards, test questions, and what you should read vs not read/study, purchase our STUDY GUIDE HERE.

For chapter 6, focus on the overactive and underactive muscles / tables (a complete breakdown can be seen on page 196 in chapter 7), cardio tests (Rockport & YMCA 3-minute step test), compensations for the 4-posture tests (Over head Squat, Single Leg Squat, Push & Pull), and the 5 performance tests (Bench Press, Squat, Push-Up, Davies & Shark Skill) performance test. Know BMI range for overweight and Obese, what is hypertension, subjective vs objective information, body comp and the 4-sites for the Durnin Womersley (bicep, tricep, subscapularis, and suprailiac).



Dissecting Focus

By: Jimmy Dabney

The core of excellence lies within our focus. We all want to perform at our very best and reach our full potential; now to make this happen, we must learn how to focus properly. Excellence begins to exist only when we connect with each step of the process as we move forward in achieving our goals. Every moment is important in the pursuit of raising our level of consistency. I would like to dissect our focus into six different sections: Commitment, Mental Readiness, Positive Visions & Images, Confidence, Distraction Control, and Ongoing Learning.


Commitment: Committing to constant learning and growth will help enhance our focus. While pursuing our dreams, it is imperative that we develop the mental, physical and technical skills to become the very best version of one's self. Learning about focus can directly affect our mood as well as the outcome of our performance. As we apply the lessons learned from each experience we can then take steps towards improvement. Setting clear goals and resisting inevitable obstacles will help us hold onto our commitment as we continue to pursue personal excellence.

Mental Readiness: Preparing, training, and performing with optimal focus and with the right intensity, will help us become successful. A positive mindset is a crucial component that can enhance our ability to create positive learning opportunities. We then must take advantage of every training and performance opportunity to build momentum towards reaching our goals. Once in rhythm with this perspective, we can find simple joys within the process and stay positive during the various ups and downs we encounter.

 Positive Visions & Images: Using positive visions and images within a practice or a performance can help us see what our potential looks like. Creating positive images may not be as easy as it sounds, especially with the struggles faced along the way. However, the mental, physical and technical skills acquired through the learning process, and the improvement of executing these skills, will help us visualize the images of the steps we need to take to get to where we want to go. Positive thoughts, images, and visions are an inspiration to keep striving towards reaching our goals and our dreams.

Confidence: We all have potential and the capacity to overcome obstacles. Commitment, mental readiness, and positivity can give us the confidence needed to make smart choices and reinforce our focus. Incorporating confidence in our daily actions will speed up the process of achieving our short-term and long-term goals. Conversely, the lack of confidence will slow down the process and cause roadblocks on our journey. Takeaway: Trust and believe in yourself; knowledge is power (see ongoing learning.)

 Distraction Control: Staying present can help to reduce stress, maintain positivity and enhance our focus. Performing consistently well requires us to regain a positive focus once we get distracted (as we all face distractions daily). Reconnecting with our best performances from the past can help us reconnect to the skills needed to create another successful experience. Making it a priority to adequately rest will help our mind to stay on the best path towards personal excellence.

Ongoing Learning: Finding joy in what we do will help us take small steps towards achieving our short-term and long-term goals. Reflecting on lessons learned from past experiences will improve new and upcoming performances as well as help us target relevant focus areas for future improvement. Most importantly… ACTING on these lessons learned will be necessary to continue our growth process and help us be successful on an ongoing basis. Remember this is a fluid process where, ironically, there is no finish line. Life gives us an opportunity to continuously SHOW UP and improve at what we love to do. The commitment to become mentally ready and use positive visions and images will help strengthen our confidence to control distractions and enhance ongoing learning. Focus is always within our control, so now go out there and use it!

Written by: Jimmy Dabney, Show Up Fitness Strength Coach, MS

HELP NICK (HUNGER) - How To Become A Successful Personal Trainer


How To Become A Successful Personal Trainer

Do you want to make personal training and health coaching into a career? You need to understand and implement the acronym HELP NICK from the book How To Become A Successful Personal Trainer. In the next 8-blog posts, I’ll educate you about the characteristics of successful personal trainers: Hunger, Energy, Looks, Personality, Networking, Intelligence, Concocky and Knowledge (experience.)

The infamous 6-figure income can be achieved with an assortment of the mentioned characteristics, but the more that you have, the greater the likelihood that you’ll be able to make personal training into a career. Most importantly, when you learn how to HELP NICK, you’ll be HAPPY with your life as a trainer and not burn out like most self-taught trainers (thanks to crappy associations like NASM who don’t give a rats ass about you, they just want you to take all their certs for your MONEY!) When you come into the fitness industry with unrealistic expectations, it’s VERY common to burn the candle at both ends and quite within your first two years. My goal with these next 8 posts is to change the way people look at the fitness industry and avoid the high attrition rate. Let’s begin with Hunger.

How NOT to be a successful Personal Trainer.

How NOT to be a successful Personal Trainer.


The example in the book I use comes from motivational speaker Eric Thomas, How Bad Do You Want It…

Trainers hyper preach about GRINDING and WORKING HARD, but realistically, they’re barely SHOWING UP. The unwritten oath that you’re about to make as a personal trainer is that you work when your clients don’t. That means get used to training at 4am-8am & 5pm-9pm. To be hungry means training and working when your competitors aren’t (weekends, holidays, early mornings etc.) As a new trainer, you need to train everyone, including but not limited to: younger, older, shoulder injuries, back problems, knee post-op, stroke, athletes, fat loss, hypertension, type II diabetes, lateral epicondylitis, coronary artery disease (CAD), HIV, special needs, dyslipidemia, and NPC competitors. Once you’ve been training FULL-TIME (25-35 hours per week) for 3-5 years, you’ll probably be be ready to specialize.

During the initial five years of training, you need to be able to weather the storm of losing clients and a 20-30% decrease in pay due to holidays and vacations. In my experience, most trainers quite within the first 6-9 months because they had unrealistic expectations about the world of training. Personal training IS NOT about training athletes, kids, Instafamous and/or celebrities, it’s exactly the opposite. Learn how to work with the general population for 3-5 years, and then you’ll be ready to turn your PASSION into a career.

Watch what I have to say about HUNGER with an interview from 2016 Personal Trainer of the Year NSCA - Nick Tumminello.

Chris Hitchko – CSCS, Author, Owner, and Lead Instructor at Show Up Fitness West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Dublin, CA.

How To Be Part Of The 20%

How To Be Part Of The 20%

Why do so many personal trainers quit within a year?  Let me help you become apart of the 20% and be awesome!  

101 Trainer Mistakes from The PTDC (The Personal Training Development Company.)

 Read full article from The Personal Training Development Center Here

101 Trainer Mistakes

With a new class beginning at The Show Up Academy this week, I always begin with this masterpiece by Jon Goodman and Personal Trainer Development Center.  This is a great article for NEW and VETERAN TRAINERS TO READ (please read and comment on your favorites and/or things you'd add or take out!) I may not agree with all, but that's the awesome thing about learning and growing as a trainer.


Here are my favorite:

#16 - Great book for every trainer to read. How to Win and Influence People. If you're a trainer and haven't read this... TISK TISK TISK.



#24- Testimonials. I read in a book that the problem with the unemployed is they don't treat their time as if they're employed. You need to be training the hours you want to work. That means as a new trainer, offer up your time to everyone: bar tenders, baristas, bookstore clerks, actors, friends, EVERYONE! Your time isn't free. Each person you train needs to commit to 3x a week, post pictures, write a YELP/GOOGLE/WEBSITE review, and at the end of 8-weeks, send you at least one referral. If not, they'll be fired, or have to pay.

#39- IMO, A lack of confidence comes from the lack of education and shitty entry standards into the fitness industry. I'd say 99.9% of trainers who graduate from the Academy have more confidence than the average trainer.

#73- It's free advertisement. Get with the program.

#87 - SHUT UP; ask your clients questions, no one cares about your drama.

Disagree with:

#8 Smoking during breaks. You're a trainer and you smoke (cigs; not happy smoke)? I don't see it. I'm bias because I've never smoked (guilty of drinking like an Irishman), but I've never understood the whole smoking and being a trainer thing.

#23 I don't necessary disagree with, more so would modify to, "it takes between 6-10 contacts to close a sale."  Stop being transactional by trying to sell so fast. Add value first, present the options for their success, and then follow up, be consistent, offer free sessions to get them back in, send articles, happy birthday notes, and truly show that your trying to help. Eventually, a good amount will come around.

#26 Not giving homework. Who can honestly raise their hand and say they loved homework in High School or College? As a nation who's morbidly obese, the last thing we need is homework, we need challenges. When I challenge a client or student to read a book, drop bread / rice / grains for a month, or take up yoga, they take it upon themselves to subscribe when the time is right. People are naturally competitive, they want to SHOW UP to the challenge. At the end of it all, they're the ones who did it, not someone telling them what to do.  To empower people is something great coaches can do.  

#65 Coffee on the floor. I agree if you're holding your cup of joe with two hands, slowly sipping it, while mundanely counting out reps for your client- ya that's bullshit.  Keep your coffee within eyesight, or behind the water cooler and during a rest period take a sip and then get back to coaching.  It seems to be accepted that energy drinks, protein shakes or pre-workouts are OK, so why not coffee?   It's all in context.


Mistakes that I see trainers make that I would add:

- Get trained by other trainers (similar to #78). If you don't invest in a trainer, how can you expect to see the value in your own services? It's like a dentist who doesn't get bi-annual cleans, WTF?


- Investing in your clients. I think all trainers should invest 10% of what they earn back into each client. Buy them gifts, take them to lunch, happy hours, and / or events.

- Leaving your client unattended / THE FINAL DESTINATION GAME. Passive negligence is a thing. I always go through worse case scenarios. What if a client were to trip over a dumbbell, fall into the corner of a plyobox and roll into the mirror hitting their carotid artery?

-I would combine a bunch of them into= Deliberate Practice, which includes: reading at least an hour a day (nutrition, bio-mechanics, kinesiology, psychosocial development and business), going to workshops quarterly, getting trained by top fit pros, keeping up with trends by reading magazines monthly, and interning at specific interest groups e.g. physical therapy, diabetic or cancer clinics, high school strength coach, or RD's.  

- Working at a gym and understanding the corporate world. I have heard so many bitter trainers leave quality gyms like Equinox because "they're taking too much from my sessions." It may seem unfair to get paid $22-30 per session when the gym is charging $110, but my question to you is, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? You're replaceable. You have a state of the arc facility to practice and hone your craft. I challenge every trainer to get 5- clients in a week WITHOUT using any sort of brand representation. You're not a trainer for Equinox, or Show Up Fitness, you are you. The brand is why people show up (hence #9.) I'm sorry, but you wouldn't have a clientele if it wasn't for the brand on the back of your shirt. BE GRATEFUL and you're time will come. Instead of getting bitter, learn from your experience and become better.

Overall, I love The PTDC to supplement content for The Show Up Academy and thank everyone who's ever contributed. You're the ones who trainers need to emulate.  Keep on being awesome :-)