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Archive for May, 2014

Working in fitness talk at MMU

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Manchester Metropolitan University

As a proud Alumni and current student (adding a second degree) I have always been happy to help out the university, its students and staff.  At the beginning of this year I was approached to see how I could help the careers service, particularly at the Crewe site to help students on sports and exercise related degree programmes to prepare for the inevitable day when they have to start work for real.

On the 9th May 2014 I had the massive honour of giving a talk to some students at Manchester Metropolitan University, the subject was Working in the Fitness Industry.  It was great to interact with the students and members of staff who attended and help them to better understand what working in the fitness industry was all about.  The key one being dispelling some of the myths that surround the word ‘personal trainer’.

The talk covered a number of subjects but started off with a bit of my history and some stories of the wide and varied jobs that I had held within the fitness industry.  The talk then moved onto any analysis of the fitness industry and the various job roles open to graduates.  Finally we discussed the range of training that was available to graduates and how this can help them find a job that suits their personal circumstances.

I has a great day at the Crewe site and look forward to this talk being a regular fixture on the careers calendar. As usual if you have any questions about how to get into the fitness industry or anything in general please feel free to comment, e-mail or social media me!



Why does my heart rate go down as I get fitter?

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Cardiac Output

I am often asked about the relationship between heart rate and fitness level, this very simple physiological reading can provide a good guide of of how fit an individual is.  On a basic level as a person gets increasingly cardiovascularly fit you would expect to see a reduction in their resting heart rate.

I am going to make an effort to explain the technical reasoning behind this relationship.  To fully understand how this works we need to grasp three main terms stroke volume, heart rate and cardiac output.

Stroke Volume

This is the amount of blood ejected from the left ventricle per contraction.  The average adult has a stroke volume of approximately 70-80 ml per contraction, where as in a more trained individual it can be as high as 100-110ml per contraction.  This increases with the level of activity you are engaged in  and can get as high as 200ml.

Heart Rate

This is the number of times that your heart beats per minute, in a healthy adult an average resting heart rate of 60-80 BPM (beats per minute) would be considered average. This can decrease to 35-50 BPM in more well trained individuals. As you exercise or increase the demands on the body this will increase, and over time with age your resting heart rate will increase year on year.

Cardiac Output

This is the amount of blood pumped out of the left ventricle into the aorta per minute.  This meas that it cn be worked out using a simple equation:-

Cardiac Output = Heart Rate x Stroke Volume

If we look at the average person with a stroke volume of 70ml and a heart rate of 75BPM at rest, so if we work this example through:-

Cardiac Output = 75 x 70 = 5,250ml/min (5.24L/min)

To answer your question

As you get fitter your heart becomes a more efficient pump as this happens your heart increases the amount of blood it can pump out per beat (stroke volume).  So to maintain a given cardiac output the heart does not have to beat as often, thus reducing the heart rate.

So in our example above, if our client increased their cardiovascular fitness levels and achieved a stroke volume of 80ml. This would correlate to an increased fitness level, to maintain the 5.24L/min that they require at rest their heart would only have to beat approx 66bpm as opposed to 75bpm that they needed in their less fit state.

Ultimately this reduction in use of the heart and increased efficiency means that there is less wear and tear on the heart itself and translates into reduced risk of a range of heart related conditions.


Become a personal trainer

Friday, May 9th, 2014

As you are all aware I am an avid fan of social media, oh and writing… Over the last few years as I have become more widely known in the fitness industry through my regular columns in PT Magazine, REPs Journal and many other industry publications.  I often get sent questions from those who are already working as personal trainers and also those who would like to get into the industry.

So I thought I would pop a post up here to answer the most common question I get…’How do I become a Personal Trainer?’

It is really a two step process:-

Get the training

For the last 5 years I have been involved in the training of personal trainers as an tutor/assessor/IQA and course writer/developer.  This allows me to have a detailed insight into the training of personal trainers.  In my experience there are a number of things to consider when looking at training, and finding the right course for you.

Initially you need to make sure that any training provider you are looking to use is REPs approved.  What that means is that your course has been recognised by The Register of Exercise Professionals, ensuring that the course meets the minimum industry standards set out by Skills Active, is transferable (now across most of the world) and will be recognised by employers.  It is easy to spot REPs approved courses by looking for the REPs logo on the literature of a training provider.  For more information about REPs and what they do have a look at their site here.

You then want to make sure that the training company is well recognised and experienced in the delivery of the qualifications that you are looking to get.  You should look into the length of time that the company has been operating and check things such as social media and try and interact with existing and past students and find out their experiences.

A key aspect of your enjoyment of the course is the person who will be teaching you, they can make or break a course.  If possible you should try and meet the tutor before enrolment, this can normally be arranged by contacting the training provider or by attending open events at the training venue.  This will also give you a chance to ask any questions you may have fact to face with a representative of the training company.

As a personal trainer the minimum qualification level that you will need is a level 3 personal trainer qualification, this allows you to work in a gym as a personal trainer or to work on a freelance basis for yourself.  Many of the training providers also offer a wide range of additional qualifications as part of training bundles to allow you to work with a wide range of clients.  The qualifications you chose should be considered carefully as you want to make sure that you get the right qualifications for the specific job role you are seeking to get after you have completed your course.


Get employment

You also need to know a little bit about the various job roles in the industry, I will be doing a short article on the subject over at my blog on for any of you that might be interested.  This should be up in the next few weeks, when it is I will post a link here!  But in shot the fitness and wellbeing industry is growing and through a recession has seen a sudden spurt with new gyms opening up around the country.  There is also still a massive demand for personal trainers, and most importantly the results that they can get clients.

As many of you know for the past 5 years I have been teaching new Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors, I have worked for a number of companies but the one that I tend to recommend due to the fact that they tick all the boxes on the points mentioned above is Fitness Industry Education (, they are well worth a look if you are interested in training to become a personal trainer.

As usual if you have any questions or would like to chat about the industry, your training or anything really do give me a shout!