Advanced Certificate in Personal Training

Build the skills necessary to be a personal trainer. An extensive training program, to start a business or improve your career in the fitness industry.

Course CodeVRE016
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!


This is an fast expanding industry  - more people than ever before understand the value of exercise and the importance of a program that is tailored to suit them as individuals.

  • Be sought after - an expert trainer has waiting lists of potential customers
  • Be respected - be the best in the industry and your clients will respect you and your work
  • Work hours that suit you!

Where are personal trainers employed?

  • Self-employed
  • In gyms

A Personal Trainer is more often than not a self employed fitness leader who works one on one with clients, providing services that are more in depth and often with a broader scope than what a typical gym based fitness leader might offer.

A course such as this will take you well beyond the level of training that an average fitness leader will receive.


ACS has been training fitness professionals since the 1980's!



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Personal Training.
 Fitness Leaders Certificate VRE004
 Industry Project BIP000
 Motivation VBS111
 Life Coaching BPS305
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 13 modules.
 Food Coaching VRE110
 Sports Coaching VRE109
 Sports Psychology BPS106
 Advanced Aerobics BRE208
 Aquafitness BRE207
 Muscles & Movement (Human Biology II) BSC202
 Nutrition for Weight Loss BRE210
 Professional Practice in Counselling BPS207
 Resistance Exercise BRE206
 Business Coaching BBS304
 Cardiorespiratory Performance (Human Biology III) BSC301
 Sports Nutrition BRE303
 Weight Loss Consultant BRE307

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Personal Training is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What's Covered in this Course?

Part 1

UNIT ONE – Anatomy and Physiology and Exercise

Lesson 1. Introduction to Health and Fitness

Lesson 2. Exercise Physiology

Lesson 3. Exercise Principles and Cardio-respiratory Programming

Lesson 4. Physiology: Digestion, Excretion, Physiological Systems

UNIT TWO - Biomechanics

Lesson 5. Introduction to Biomechanics: The skeleton and muscles

Lesson 6. Biomechanics and Risk

Lesson 7.  Aquafitness, exercise, routines, and equipment


UNIT THREE – Program Design and Performance

Lesson 8. Fitness Program Design

Lesson 9. Delivering A Fitness Program

Lesson 10. Ergogenic Aids to Performance

UNIT FOUR – Safety, Injury, and Body Physiology

Lesson 11. Regulating Body Physiology

Lesson 12. Safety, Injury and General Wellbeing

Lesson 13. Fitness Programs for Special Groups

Practicum: Undertake 40 hours of practical at an approved fitness centre (under the supervision of a reputable instructor)




There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Describe the nature and scope of motivation, and identify the differences between people that distinguish the application of motivational skills to achieve a successful outcome
  2. Awareness
    • Explain the significance of knowledge and understanding to motivation.
  3. Tangible Rewards
    • Explain the effect of Tangible Rewards (eg: Money, Services, Goods) as a major motivator.
  4. Intangible Rewards
    • Explain the effect of intangible Rewards (eg: Security, Ethics, Gratitude, Belief Systems/Religion, Peer Pressure) as a major motivator.
  5. Negative Motivators
    • Explain how actions can be motivated by negative motivators (eg. Pain, Suffering, Discipline, Threats), and distinguish this type of motivation from that achieved through positive motivators.
  6. Initiating Motivation
    • Explain how to initiate motivation with an individual or group for a situation not previously confronted.
  7. Maintaining Motivation
    • Explain how motivation can be maintained or increased in both successful and unsuccessful environments.
  8. Applications
    • Identify a wide range of situations where motivational skills can be applied, and determine an appropriate way to initiate and maintain motivation in each of those situations.



There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • nature of life coaching
    • cognitive behaviour therapy
    • different approaches
    • the scope of life coaching.
  2. Individual Perception
    • psychology of self-perception
    • perceptual barriers
    • motivating clients to challenge their perceptions.
  3. A Well Balanced Life
    • the inter-relationship between psychology and physiology
    • stress
    • the psychology of balance.
  4. Coaching Processes
    • key coaching processes
    • assessment of the client's situation
    • dealing with emotions
    • setting goals
    • replacing negative habits with positive ones
    • leadership qualities in a life coach
    • imagination and enthusiasm
    • clarifying goals
    • recognition of limitations.
  5. Coaching Skills
    • understanding the communication process
    • body language
    • communication barriers
    • listening skills
    • assessing learning styles.
  6. Coaching and physical well-being
    • human nutrition
    • important factors in nutrition
    • physical well-being.
  7. Coaching and psychological well-being
    • the psychology of self-esteem
    • stress management programme
    • identifying stressors.
  8. Coaching Success
    • high achievement
    • coaching success
    • career guidance
    • managing your money
    • beginning a business.
  9. Goal Setting
    • values
    • aims and goals
    • types of goals
    • planning
    • future goals
    • steps for sucessful goal achievement
    • effort and attribution.
  10. Review and Adjustment
    • indications that a programme needs to be reassessed
    • client's lack of confidence
    • personality clash
    • over-achievers
    • health and safety issues.



This is the final requirement that you must satisfy before receiving your award.

There are two options available to you to satisfy this requirement:

Alternative 1.

If you work in the industry that you have been studying; you may submit a reference from your employer, in an effort to satisfy this industry (ie. workplace project) requirement; on the basis of RPL (ie. recognition for prior learning), achieved through your current and past work experience.

The reference must indicate that you have skills and an awareness of your industry, which is sufficient for you to work in a position of responsibility.

Alternative 2.

If you do not work in the relevant industry, you need to undertake a two standard work oriented modules such as Workplace Project I and II or Research Project I & II


These are designed to build extra skills which compliment job in fitness, personal training, sports or coaching.

A range of options are offered, to provide students the change of pursuing areas of specific relevance or interest to them. This way every student can build a slightly different set of skills, differentiating themselves from others in industry, and allowing them to develop a reputation as a "specialist" fulfilling a niche that is different to others.
In most countries, there are no legal requirements for being a personal trainer; however, there can certainly be risks and legal liability to consider if you are not properly skilled at what you do.


Exercise has an interplay with every aspect of our lives; and a good personal trainer needs to convey this understanding to their clients. Without exercise, food is not processed as well, and psychological health can be impaired.
While a fitness instructor may not need to focus so much on these other health aspects; an effective personal trainer does need to be more holistic if they are to properly help people and build a reputation that sustains their career; not to mention being of optimum service to the client.

Exercise is useful to reduce stress. As well as stress, it can also reduce a person’s risk of other major illnesses, such as strokes, diabetes, heart disease and cancer by up to 50%.  But today so many of us have less exercise than we should. We drive to places when we could walk.  We may have jobs that require us to sit down on a computer for hours of the day, we may watch TV instead of go for a walk, or play video games instead of playing netball or football, and so on.  The UK Department of Health call this sedentary life style – the “silent killer”.

"If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented"
(Dr Nick Cavill, Health Promotion Expert)

There is a lot of scientific evidence to show that leading a physically active life can lead to a healthier and happier life, reducing the risk of a lot of chronic disease, as mentioned above. But we can also improve our mental health with physical activity. Physical activity can boost our self-esteem, boost our mood, improve the quality of our sleep, increase our energy and also reduce the risk of stress, dementia, depression and Alzheimer’s Disease.

The National Health Service in the UK have conducted research and found the following benefits from regular activity.

  •     35% lower risk of stroke and coronary heart disease
  •     50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  •     50% lower risk of colon cancer
  •     20% lower risk of breast cancer
  •     30% lower risk of early death
  •     83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  •     68% lower risk of hip fracture
  •     30% lower risk of falls in older adults

But also they found there was a 30% lower risk of depression and a 30% lower risk of dementia.

So, how much exercise is required to improve a person’s physical and mental health? The National Health Service suggests that moderate intensity aerobic activity is the most important form of exercise. This means you are working hard enough to break a sweat and raise your heart rate.  This includes activities such as walking fast, pushing a lawn mower, or playing tennis. They suggest that 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity is important.


You don't become a competent personal trainer by undertaking quickie short courses - it takes time to learn properly and embed knowledge into your mind. It also takes a properly constructed learning experience supported by capable and knowledgeable educators such as this course provides.

This is the path we strive to set you on!

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Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
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