This weekend I attended the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) workshop at Salem State University.
For those of you who don’t know, I am planning on taking the CPT exam in a couple of months because I am looking to expand my current fitness credentials. I wasn’t required to take this workshop before the test, but I wanted the optional hands on experience because I felt it would help me while studying. I learned SO much in exercise prescription, program design, pre-screening assessments, anatomy & kinesiology, nutrition, and much more. I actually didn’t want the workshop to end because I wanted to keep learning more.
Is this what college was supposed to feel like?!
Anyways, during the workshop there were so many times I kept thinking, “I can’t wait to blog about this” or “This would make a great blog post!” I am excited to (hopefully) soon have another certification under my belt to back my blogging. I’m excited to maybe even do some personal training along with my group exercise classes on the side. So don’t be surprised if you start seeing a lot more informational posts regarding the things I learned!
Plus, blogging about them will just help me study and reinforce the material because that’s the kind of learner I am.
The first thing I’d like to share are ACSM’s guidelines for getting enough exercise and what the standard recommendations are for cardiovascular, muscular strength/endurance, and flexibility per week.
Take a second before you continue reading. What do you think are the recommended norms for each of these fitness areas? Do you think you already get enough exercise?
ACSM has a principle called the F.I.T.T.E Principle to assist personal trainers with health fitness programming. The components of F.I.T.T.E make up any standard exercise program for a client and include the following aspects:
- Frequency – the number of sessions per day and week, how often you are exercising
- Intensity – how challenging the exercise is, or the amount of effort/work invested in a particular exercise
- Time or Duration – the length of the exercise session, varies based on intensity and type
- Type or Mode – how are you exercising, what exercises will be performed?
- Enjoyment – the principle that it needs to be made fun in order to be a success
- Frequency: 3 – 5 days a week
- Intensity: 57(64) – 94% of your maximum heart rate (HRmax) OR 30(40) – 85% of your heart rate reserve (HRreserve).
- Time or Duration: 20 – 90 minutes
- Type or Mode: Running, cycling, swimming, etc. Anything that targets large muscle groups.
More to come on the intensity calculations later!
- Frequency: 2 – 3 days a week
- Intensity: 2 – 4 sets, 8 – 12 reps, 8 – 10 different exercises, with 2 – 3 minutes of rest in between sets
- Time or Duration: An appropriate time as to not deter adherence (less than an hour)
- Type or Mode: Total body (using free weights, machines, bands, balls, kettlebells, etc.)
- Frequency: 2 – 3 days a week minimum, but every day is recommended
- Intensity: The stretch should push to mild discomfort but should not generate pain
- Time or Duration: This depends on the type of stretching. For static stretches, 15-60 second holds. For PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching, the isometric stretch should be held for 6 seconds, followed by a 10-30 second static stretch, and repeated 4 times.
- Type or Mode: Pre-Exercise requires dynamic stretching with optional static stretches that are held for less than 10 seconds. Post-Exercise requires static stretching or PNF stretching for the recommended times above.
More to come on the different types of stretching later!
Question of the Day: What do you guys think? Do you get the recommended amount of cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercise in each week?
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I work out at a very high intensity twice a week. Once I week I’ll do yoga or go for a leisurely jog or something. I’m not sure I even meet those guidelines!
Don’t those guidelines seem excessive? At the very least awfully overwhelming for an individual just trying to start an exercise program?
I’m glad you asked this question, as I was hoping someone would! I actually asked the same thing in my workshop this weekend. For a newer client that is just starting out, you would start them at the low end of the spectrum. So for example, since cardio is 3-5 days a week – start them at 3. And since it’s 20 – 90 minutes, don’t have them doing an hour and a half of cardio – start them out at 20. Maybe even a walk/run alternation to start. Also note the percentage range for intensity. For heart rate max, 54% would be used for someone just beginning an exercise program from a sedentary lifestyle. Then as you progress with slow increments of level changes, you can begin to slowly add things in. Same for strength – start with less sets, etc. and slowly progress as to not overwhelm!
Very helpful. Thanks!!!!
Very good! I too wished that it wasn’t ending. I sure thought a lot more about muscles being used when I taught cycling today! Good luck in all that you do Athena. I like the blog!
Thanks for the feedback, Jenn!
Interesting!! I definitely hit the cardio and mostly hit the strength, but it sure does take up a lot of time! if you want to be in shape and healthy, you really have to make working out (and eating healthy) your number one priority, which isn’t always easy!
Does pilates count as strength or flexibility?
I would say there are comments of both in Pilates. I’m not Pilates certified, but there is a lot of core strength involved!
I want to become a CPT. I bought the books to study and I’m waiting for those. I’m currently s first year exercise science student. I have a lot of knowledge of the things you talk about from one of my classes already. I have a strong background in anatomy as I was a nursing student prior to switching majors. And I’ve exercised my whole life and competively ran. Having said all that, do you still recommend that I take the workshops? Thank you in advance for any advice. I want to do my best but also not pay for something I may not need.
Hi Amanda, it’s hard to say for sure not knowing your exact comfort levels with the material. But I would say with your background you might not need the workshops. Good luck!