Articles Tagged with: nordic personal trainer certificate
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5 top online personal trainer courses in Europe

Online education has developed significantly over the last 10 years to the point where it is now possible to get a strong education in vocational and practical skills through the online / e-learning world. However, the online space also offers low-cost, low-quality fitness education. It is essential to do your research and ensure you are clear on what are the key factors to look out for before parting with your hard-earned cash and investing valuable study time to get certified. In this blog, we will make it 100% clear what will help you identify the better quality online personal trainer courses in Europe. We will even provide you with an overview of 5 top online course options.

Fitness in Europe

Personal training and fitness instruction are very popular professions that provide high levels of job satisfaction. Up to 74% of personal trainers stated they were very satisfied with their jobs, according to a recent report. The strong and ever-growing European fitness industry is now valued at €28.2 billion. Europe has 63,644 fitness clubs amassing 64.8 million members across the continent, according to the 2020 Deloitte market report. The fitness industry is a strong vibrant market that needs committed, motivated and well-qualified fitness instructors and personal trainers to sustain its growth and longevity. Could you be part of this rewarding industry? If the answer is ‘Yes!’, then keep reading as we guide you on how to get qualified alongside your existing commitments. Let’s start by identifying some guidelines to follow when reviewing online personal trainer courses in Europe.

Online personal trainer courses: Quality guidelines

If you search the internet for ‘online personal trainer courses in Europe’ the search results will turn out literally millions of results. Behavioural studies suggest that 91% of people do not read past the first page of internet results, but usually just amend the search term instead. This means that the first page of results will be those with strong ‘search engine optimisation’ (SEO) on their website. This is not necessarily a guarantee that you have found the best quality courses in your search. We encourage a little more diligence in your research, maybe looking beyond the first page of results. We also suggest that as you thoroughly look into each training provider and that you compare your findings against the following ‘quality’ criteria.

  • Accredited/approved online courses only – this means that an independent standards organisation has reviewed the quality of the online personal training course and can verify that it reaches a specified level of quality. EuropeActive and EREP’s are the organisations with the most widely accepted professional quality standards for the fitness industry in Europe.
  • Verified independent reviews – these are genuine customer reviews provided using an independent review service e.g. Trustpilot, Yelp, or Google reviews. Reading past performance and experience from students who took the course can help to reassure you before purchase. Student testimonials included directly within a website can easily be selected to only show the best feedback, ignoring any negative comments. An independent review service will showcase all feedback, both critical and praiseworthy.
  • Course content and assessment clearly explained – a company who is confident of their quality and materials will be transparent about the subject matter they cover and the methodology of the assessments used within the course to test and check student knowledge and skill development.
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  • Course duration – in simple terms quicker is not always better when it comes to educational quality. Some courses may offer unlimited time to completion. This is not always desirable, especially as online education already requires a higher degree of self-discipline. Without time restrictions it is all too easy to put off study to another day and before you know it days become weeks, weeks become months and the course doesn’t get completed. We recommended that you choose a course with a specified time limit to encourage proactive learning, but enough leeway to allow you to adapt to your personal circumstances.
  • Check for course pre-requisites – this is a list of essential items or previous education that must be in place prior to being able to take the course. Some personal trainer courses may appear cheaper, but on further investigation, they have previous, and sometimes substantial, requirements to be eligible for registration.
  • Tutor support – not all online personal trainer courses offer expert tutor support. Most will offer some level of support, but be thorough to check what this is. Ideally, support should be available from a qualified and experienced personal training tutor, not just from the customer service team. Live support may come in the form of emails, messaging services, phone calls, or even video calls with a real tutor in order to provide the best support to your learning experience.
  • Price – the cost of a course is an important factor that cannot be ignored. It would a fair generalisation that in education you often receive back what you invest. Lower priced courses usually offer a reduced service level to justify the reduced cost. Often, though not always, higher-priced courses offer a higher level of service and quality as a reflection of the higher fee. Our advice is to seek for the best quality product and service that you can afford within your budget. If you are attracted by a low-cost course, double-check they meet the quality criteria listed above. If they do not meet the criteria, be sure you are willing to accept the reduction in service level before you purchase.

5 online personal trainer courses in Europe

Online courses can offer several benefits that make it an attractive option for learning new skills such as:

  • No physical class to attend and thus no specific geographical location required for study – access available wherever there is an internet connection.
  • The course timetable is usually adaptable to your personal daily schedule and can fit around your needs.
  • Lessons are available to watch/read multiple times if needed.
  • Course content can leverage many helpful digital features that can make the learning process more effective than the traditional live classroom model.

We have done the research and identified 5 online personal trainer courses in Europe that you may wish to review to determine which works best for you. It is important to note that these courses are those that offer all their education through e-learning, there is no face-to-face, in-person classes or another blended form of learning required. Some do require attendance at a specific venue for the final course assessments, but not for the learning process. Let’s begin with the comparison table that reviews the main items.

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Comparison of online PT courses in Europe (Open image in new tab to Zoom)

Nordic Fitness Education

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NFE offers a 100% fully online programme through their Nordic Personal Trainer Certificate. The programme of study is all in English and requires a minimum of 4 terms of study, totalling 24 weeks. During this time the learner is required to complete 6 modules and a voluntary fitness internship, totalling 290 hours of study. The course has been independently accredited and graduates are registered as Level 4 personal trainers on the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREP’s). Importantly the course also includes the Level 3 Fitness instructor standards. Previously unqualified individuals can start their journey to becoming a fitness professional with NFE and be confident both the Level 3 and 4 professional standards are included.

NFE state that students will always have access to an assigned personal tutor in every module who is available to support your education and grade all the assessments. NFE charge a moderate price for the higher level of support and service on offer. They offer a monthly payment plan to help spread the cost. NFE also have a very high, independent student rating to show that their graduates are very pleased with the more personal, higher service level provided.

Origym

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Origym is a well-established educator that delivers fitness instructor and personal trainer courses across the UK and Ireland. They offer most of their courses in a blended learning format, but they do also offer a distance learning option through their online PT certificate. Origym courses are accredited by the NCFE in the UK and EREP’s across Europe. In order to be eligible for the personal trainer course, it is essential that students are already fitness instructor certified. These essential requirements are not included in the low-priced Origym personal trainer course. They offer flexible payment plans to help spread the cost. Origym offers all their learning through their e-learning platform. The final theory exam and practical assessments must be taken at one of their specified physical locations across the UK or Ireland. This may be a problem for international students outside of these two countries.

DS Personal Training School

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DS PT school offer an online distance learning personal trainer course option for Swedish speaking individuals. The course is delivered online, with the final assessments requiring attendance at one of their 4 specified venues across Sweden. They are clearly focused on serving the Swedish fitness market. The course appears to be thoroughly assessed which is usually a good sign of quality standards. It is accredited by EREP’s as well to provide an additional sign of reaching an independently approved standard.

DS PT school provide a summary list of the subject matter that they cover on the course. However, little mention is made on the website of how long the course takes, nor the level of support that is offered by the tutor team. The tutor team credentials are available to review. DS PT school is the most expensive option of the 5 courses we reviewed, but they do offer a payment instalment plan to help spread the cost.

Intensive PT

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Intensive PT is a rapidly expanding Swedish company that now offers an ‘International’ online personal training course. This appears to mean that a version of their established Swedish language PT course has been translated and is now available in English as an online distance learning option. The course has been independently verified and graduates are eligible for registration with EREP’s. The Swedish site identifies all the tutor team with a short biography of their qualifications, but this is not present on the online, distance learning site. The level of tutor support for the online course is not clarified and may need to be established through communication with Intensive PT directly.

The course details state that there are no time limits on the study period. Students are allowed to progress entirely at their own pace. This may work for the truly self-motivated student, but maybe a factor to consider if you need more encouragement and accountability to complete your learning journey.

Online Trainer Lizenz

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Online Trainer Lizenz is a German branded company that is focusing purely on the German online personal trainer market. They have expanded rapidly and taught 1000’s of students to date. This is a sign of their successful marketing and effective educational product that they offer in their Fitness Trainer A license. The course is specifically for the German market, only available in the German language. They only have educational endorsements from German standards of recognition in ZFU and TUV-SUD.

The website indicates the course is on par with the Level 4 European Qualification Framework, but they do not currently hold EREP’s professional approval for the fitness industry. OTL have a very high approval rate on their independent reviews. This is a reliable indicator that customers are happy with this lower-cost product. It is clear that Online Trainer Lizenz has positioned themselves in a more budget price bracket with a reduced service level compared to other education providers. But several signs show they are offering good value for the price and keeping their customers satisfied.

Conclusion

We have only highlighted 5 of the more prominent online personal trainer courses in Europe in this blog (as of Jan 21). The fitness education industry is developing all the time. Training providers continue to improve their product offerings and release new course options. In time there will likely be more choice. You may find through your own research that other training providers offer a suitable online personal training course in your country and language. By all means, if you have checked these courses against the quality criteria above and you are happy with what you have found then, by all means, get registered and get qualified. There is a vibrant fitness industry waiting to receive you!

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The power of small group personal training – Episode 11 with Lincoln Bryden

Summary

Group exercise may be an exciting additional option and revenue stream for fitness professionals and especially personal trainers who usually invest their time only in 1 on 1 training. Rather than using the large group class structure usually adopted by exercise to music instructors, personal trainers may choose to utilise a small group personal training structure to still benefit from the peer-to-peer motivation and the overall group training buzz. Lincoln Bryden is a highly experienced, veteran of the group training world and shares important insights into the methods and principles behind the all-important group training skills.

Guest biography

Lincoln has a BSc degree in Recreation Management and Sports Science and is the founder of his own business, Total Fitness. He specialises in delivering quality training and instruction to aerobic, step, and dance group exercise instructors and personal trainers. Lincoln has presented group exercise internationally all over the world, including Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany, France, Hong Kong, and Mexico. An upbeat and engaging presenter, Lincoln has also created 20 fitness videos.

In between organising his own fitness and dance days, Lincoln had a TV Slot on the popular Big Breakfast TV Show, teaching street dance fitness. He is the European Master Trainer for Metabolic Effect, which is a hormonal fat loss and lifestyle company. Lincoln is responsible for delivering ME, indoor and outdoor group exercise and Personal Training courses.

Lincoln’s Fitness Training Downloads website specialises in providing quality fitness and group exercise training for professional instructors. For those that require a personal touch his Fitness Training Academy provides monthly coaching, webinars and tutorials.

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Lincoln Bryden

Episode content: Small group personal training

In this episode, we discuss how personal trainers and other fitness professionals can benefit from group fitness/exercise, including:

  • what has brought the PT and group exercise worlds together in recent years?
  • the factors needed to excel as a group fitness/exercise instructor
  • the importance of class preparation
  • how small group PT can offer connection and belonging
  • challenges of delivering an effective group fitness experience
  • top instructional skills/tips to succeed as a small group personal training coach

If you enjoy this episode, then please rate the show and share it with your friends so they can benefit from this free expert information. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please subscribe to the Fit to Succeed podcast on iTunesStitcherPlayer FM or the full version on YouTube so you will receive each update immediately upon release. To enjoy more engaging expert interviews, visit our full podcast library.

Website: www.fitnesstrainingdownloads.com

Connect with Lincoln on social media:

 LincolnGBryden

 lgbryden

 @lincolnbryden

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Big News! Accredited fitness education online

We are very pleased to announce that our 5-star rated, online personal training course has now been recognised by the international fitness standards organisation, Europe Active! We can now state with some pleasure that we offer professionally accredited fitness education.

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In fact, we are the very first training provider across all of Europe to successfully demonstrate that we can meet all the rigorous theoretical, practical, and assessment standards required by Europe Active through the use of a purely online learning model of delivery. By developing innovative online learning together with expert, personal tutors supporting our students, we have finally cracked it! We were able to build upon the earlier success of our parent company, Keilir Academy, who received Europe Active accreditation in 2017 for their blended learning, online/face-to-face IAK personal trainer certification programme.

Europe Active Accredited PT course standards

It has taken a huge amount of work to break this new ground, as Europe Active, quite rightly, wanted to be sure that students taking our personal training course were not at any disadvantage compared to those who choose a more typical face-to-face learning approach. The Nordic Personal Training Certificate offers an exceptional opportunity to become a skilled, internationally recognised fitness professional regardless of your location across Europe. This is especially helpful to those who live outside of the big cities and towns who may have found it difficult to attend a face-to-face training course, where the majority of training providers within the fitness industry are located. We are proud to have proven beyond any doubt that we provide a truly effective learning journey for our current and future students who embark on our accredited fitness education.

Approved EREPs logo

All our Nordic Personal Training Certificate graduates are now eligible to be registered on the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREP’s). This provides each graduate with professional recognition for their personal training certification across numerous European states and with each of the EREP’s national partners, which includes REP’s organisations in Russia, Australia, the United States, India, and the Middle East.

EREPs courses by country March 2020

Find out more about our high quality, accredited fitness education and online personal trainer course by visiting the NPTC course page.

Did you know, 74% of PT’s rate their job as highly satisfying? Start your journey to become a personal trainer and experience a job that you enjoy every day.

Read all our independent reviews from certified students on TrustPilot.

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perfect-your-posture-nordic-fitness-education-blog

Perfect your posture

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We are living in a modern world that often requires us to engage in repetitive movements. Often we may need to adopt long-term fixed positions that impact on human posture and movement capacity. Office employment, manufacturing work, packaging lines, schooling, computer gaming, driving, commuting, long distant flights and many other elements of modern living dictate our fixed bodily positions on a daily basis. As human posture adapts to our modern environment the knock-on effect on our movement capacity can have significant negative implications on physical fitness, movement purity, and even athletic performance. Let’s dig a little deeper into methods to help combat the modern environment and how to perfect your posture.

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Impact of prolonged seating at a computer work station

What is posture?

Posture has been defined as the ‘attitude or position of the body’ which should be able to fulfil three important functions:

  1. Maintaining the alignment of the body’s segments in any static position: supine, prone, sitting, quadruped, and standing
  2. Anticipating change that will allow for engagement of voluntary, goal-directed movements such as reaching and stepping
  3. Reacting quickly to unexpected perturbations or disturbances in balance or centre of gravity

This clearly indicates that the concept of posture includes both a static and an active/dynamic state of being. Maintaining effective posture is vital for balance and control of the body when motionless as well as during a wide variety of different types of human movement. To provide for the long-term health of the spine, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and feet, developing the ability to stay within optimal postural parameters is a desirable goal at all times when holding static positions or moving in three dimensions. This is much easier said than done as habitual postural position is predominantly controlled through subconscious neural controls and is rarely at the forefront of our daily thinking.

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Anatomical anterior posture

Human movement

The conscious mind is usually preoccupied with goal-oriented movement, rather than the exact positioning and motion required for each specific joint involved in a larger chain reaction of physical movement. Thank goodness for that! Can you imagine trying to apply your conscious mind to control every muscle, joint and body part to synchronize different joint angles, tempo’s, range of movement, joint impact, joint loads, and other biomechanical responses just to perform the basic function of walking? The conscious mind boggles at such complexity in an attempt to perfect your posture. Thankfully our more powerful subconscious brain can manage all of these immensely detailed neural functions without our focused mind needing to be invested in this.

The body has numerous sensory receptors, called proprioceptors, found within the muscles and joints that help to provide neural feedback regarding one’s own limb and spinal position, speed of movement, and the forces passing through the muscles and joints in order to subconsciously control any necessary response. Perhaps the most well known of the primary 6 categories are the muscle spindle and the Golgi tendon organ. All proprioceptors constantly gather vital information on behalf of the nervous system to ensure we are fully aware of and can respond to our own daily movements and the forces that we are subjected to constantly throughout each day.

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Sway posture with altered spinal alignment

Muscular imbalance

Where joint or muscular dysfunction has crept in unawares, resulting in posture and movement purity corruption, subconscious human movement may no longer fall within an optimal range. Such adulterated movement will likely lead to a shift in centre of gravity, faulty loading through the muscles and uneven forces passing through the joints (see sway posture example above). If left unchecked the chronic application of such faulty movement can lead to muscular tension, fascial adhesions, joint wear and tear and the gradual breakdown of important structural tissues. These undesirable, dysfunctional outcomes can be managed and reversed if they are identified, and a suitable corrective strategy is introduced and applied in an effort to improve and perfect your posture.

A corrective strategy should involve a carefully planned process of adjustment and relearning of motor control. An effective way to support a client and plan to correct their faulty movement patterns is as follows:

  1. Carry out a postural assessment and identify any existing faulty positioning
  2. Carefully assess movement purity and identify any visible restrictions
  3. Determine the dysfunctional muscles based upon the posture and movement assessment observations
  4. Mobilise joint and muscle range of motion where limitations exist
  5. Select relevant activation exercises for any under-active muscles within the kinetic chain
  6. Apply an appropriate level of intensity within each stage to ensure good position and technique are always paramount
  7. Gradually progress the physical challenge towards optimal function provided movement purity is maintained

It would be impossible in a simple blog to cover all variations in postural position and movement dysfunction. But here is an example of a common and relatively simple dysfunction to address.

The Flat Back posture

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Hyper kyphosis of the thoracic spine

Joints position:

  • Thoracic spine in a flexed position – resulting in protracted shoulder girdle
  • Cervical spine in an extended position – resulting in forward head carriage
  • Pelvis is in a posterior tilted position
  • Hips are in an extended position

Overactive, shortened muscles that most likely require stretching:

  • Hamstring group
  • Rectus abdominis
  • Upper trapezius
  • Sternocleidomastoid
Stretches for kyphosis

Underactive, lengthened muscles that most likely need strengthening:

  • Mid-trapezius and rhomboids
  • Neck flexors
  • Lumbar erector spinae
  • Iliopsoas
Exercise for kyphosis

These stretches and exercises may become part of an effective workout preparation strategy for 10-15 minutes before each gym session. They can even be done as part of planned light activity on a rest/recovery day. Committing to the regular application of such a strategy can be a powerful tool in resolving imbalances to help progress and perfect your posture. This will, in turn, improve functional daily movement, which ultimately will lead to better performance in the long term.

Check out our course

We teach similar posture and movement analysis content within our flagship certification, the Nordic Personal Trainer Certificate, within the Consultation, Testing and Programme Design module.

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High-intensity Intermittent Training (HIIT) science – fact or fiction?

High-intensity training has been a hot media topic over the last couple of years, from magazine and newspaper articles to prime time television shows on the BBC. It seems that the idea of achieving as much benefit within less time is a solution that appeals to many people in a world where available workout time is at a premium. However, the idea of using higher intensity training to boost physical benefits is certainly not a new one. Early research by scientists like Bahr, Tremblay and Tabata, all of which have become renowned in this field, date back to the early 1990s. Take note that not everything published in the media or blogosphere on high-intensity training is justified by the scientific literature. Fitness professionals and enthusiasts often use the basic concept of high-intensity interval training and embellish the truth a little, perhaps unknowingly, to suit their own desired outcome. The intent in this post is to glean the facts around this popular training method from the scientific literature so that you are correctly informed going forward in your utilisation of HIIT as a training modality.

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  • Tremblay showed in 1994 that a 15 week HIIT programme reduced total skinfolds 14 mm subcutaneous body fat compared to a 20-week endurance training (ET) programme that only reduced by 4mm total skinfolds. The HIIT protocol being 3.5 times more effective.  The ET programme was steady-state exercise beginning at 30 minutes at 60% and progressing to 45 minutes at 85% HR max as the test subjects were able. The HIIT protocol was 30 minutes of short bursts, beginning at 10 x 15-second bursts progressing to 15 x 30-second bursts as the test subject was able.
  • In 1996 Tabata published a study demonstrating that 8 bouts of 20 seconds at 170% VO2max with 10 seconds rest in between each set had the same benefits to the aerobic system as 60 minutes of steady-state training at 70% VO2max. However, the HIIT protocol also caused a 28% improvement in anaerobic capacity that was not observed in the low-intensity protocol.
  • Borsheim and Bahr are renowned for their work on increased metabolism following exercise, also known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). In 2003 they carried out a substantial review of the scientific literature and showed that exercise intensity has a curvilinear relationship with EPOC whereas exercise duration is linear. Increased EPOC for 8-12 hours after intense training periods was common.  In simple terms, you get more bang for your EPOC buck by driving CV intensity up rather than spending longer at moderate intensities.
  • Talanian in 2006 showed that a 2 week (7 sessions) aerobic HIIT training protocol (10 x 4 min, 90% bursts with 2 min rest periods) significantly (up 25%) increased muscle fatty acid oxidation.
  • Trapp in 2008 showed that HIIT training is effective even in overweight deconditioned women as well. A 20-minute cycling HIIT protocol was compared to a 40-minute steady-state cycling regime of the same frequency for 15 weeks. Both groups had similar CV improvements but the HIIT group had significantly greater body fat loss on legs and trunk and improvements in insulin resistance.
  • Boucher in 2010 reviewed the available scientific evidence surrounding HIIT and concluded that while there was valid evidence to show it is more effective at decreasing both subcutaneous and abdominal body fat compared to steady-state training, there is also clear evidence of individual variation in response – not all participants appear to receive the same level of fat loss benefit.
  • Resistance training has also been shown in scientific studies (Melby 1993, Laforgia 1997) to influence EPOC and fat burning when lower volume, higher intensity weight training is utilised in preference to higher volume, moderate resistance work, but the research is still ongoing in this field.

While this is just a brief look at some of the science on high-intensity training, it does illustrate that in comparison to steady-state exercise, the benefits of HIIT training are:

  • it may be as good at providing aerobic training benefits
  • it is better a stimulating anaerobic training benefits
  • it significantly improves body fat reduction
  • it increases EPOC for up to 12 hours’ post-training
  • it improves insulin sensitivity to working muscles

It is important to note that the majority of these studies have been performed in a highly controlled environment and most often using a cycle ergometer (bike) or a treadmill. Whilst it is reasonable to assume these benefits may also carry over to other training modalities, such as circuits, group training or resistance work there is much less current evidence to suggest this is true. Perhaps in time the science will more fully support and provide confirmation that high-intensity training has a broader application across a range of training modalities with the same beneficial results.

In the meantime, while we wait for science to catch up, it is clear that the many different methods of HIIT training can be great fun, they definitely save on time in the gym and it can deliver a real motivational boost to your training. If it does provide an increased fat burning boost as well, then all the better!

Do you love fitness? Ever thought about making a career out of your passion? Find out more about how you can do that through the Nordic Personal Trainer Certificate from Nordic Fitness education. 

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