Online Personal Trainer Course at PCDI

Our online Personal Trainer course will teach you to lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in a variety of exercise activities, such as cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching. You'll graduate with the skills you need to start a new career and pass the National Council on Strength and Fitness Certification exam.

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Lesson Group 1: Orientation: Ashworth College Career Program

Learning at Ashworth  

The goals and values of Ashworth College; time management; creating a realistic weekly and monthly study schedule; the nature and purpose of assessments; how to study effectively to prepare for and take an online examination; developing the skill sets necessary for success in the twenty-first century.

Introduction to Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Careers  

Introduction to career opportunities available in the fitness and exercise, sports psychology, massage therapy, and nutrition and wellness fields.

Lesson Group 2: Anatomy and Physiology for the Fitness Professional

Functional Anatomy  

Bone composition, growth, and health; joint classification, function, and care; skeletal muscle structure; biomechanical principles; internal and external forces affecting motion; body planes and directional terms; anatomy and physiology of the spine, pelvis, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, and cardiovascular system.

Exercise Physiology  

Energy, thermodynamics, and ATP; glycolysis, lactate, aerobic metabolism, and protein catabolism; fuel utilization, muscle tissue, force production, and fatigue; muscle fibers and contractions; metabolic equivalents; lactate threshold training.

Lesson Group 3: Health Considerations, Nutrition, and Weight Management

Health and Fitness 

Genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can impact health; the impact of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness, flexibility, and body composition on overall fitness level; five performance-related components of fitness; goal setting; national physical activity goals; risk factors and symptoms of coronary artery disease, diabetes, and obesity; methods of delaying or preventing physiological effects of aging.

Health Screening and Evaluation 

Benefits of pre-exercise screening and assessment; screening documents; evaluating assessment scores; factors that necessitate a medical referral; rationale for exercise testing; methods to improve test validity and reliability; common reasons for testing error; creating a needs analysis based on test scores.


Function of macronutrients and their impact on exercise; chemical structure of simple, complex, and processed carbohydrates; benefits of fiber; consumption of excessive sugar and its impact on society; determining carbohydrate needs for sedentary individuals, moderately active individuals, and competitive athletes; the importance of dietary fat; the relation of fat and disease risk; role of dietary protein; components of ideal pre- and post-exercise meals; role and function of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) guidelines; understanding food labels.

Weight Management 

Potential health risks of being overweight and/or obese; physiological, social, economic, psychological, and emotional factors that contribute to the prevalence of overweight and obese populations; the energy balance equation; body fat distribution versus total body fat amount; the effects of very low-calorie dieting; weight-loss strategies for lasting results and optimum athletic performance; restrained-eating and binge-eating disorders.

Lesson Group 4: Training Techniques and Considerations

Exercise Prescription and Program Considerations  

Purpose and benefits of warm-up; basic functions of cool-down; energy system specificity; considerations for exercise selection and order; training frequency and duration; perceived training intensity; training volume; rest intervals and recovery periods; tracking progression; three principles of exercise; weightlifting and cardiovascular training systems; training methods for targeted goals.

Practical Training Techniques 

Training environments and program implementation; fitness program segments; stretching techniques; lactate threshold; maximal heart rate; training intensities for deconditioned and healthy populations; conditions that affect training outcomes; benefits of resistance training; hormonal responses to training; the effects of detraining.

Special Populations  

Training methods for those with obesity-related inflammation; exercise considerations and benefits for asthmatics; resistance training for diabetics; benefits of regular exercise during pregnancy; types of cardiovascular disease and related exercise considerations; safe programs for children and the elderly.

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Program Description

In the Personal Trainer program, students learn the fundamental concepts and skills required by personal trainers working with clients in the health and fitness industry. Program coverage includes anatomy and physiology, health considerations, nutrition, weight management, fitness program design and implementation, and working with special populations. Upon the successful conclusion of the program, students will be prepared to take the personal trainer certification exam from the National Council on Strength and Fitness.

Program Objectives

After completing the Personal Trainer program, students will be able to:

  1. Explain how physical activity, diet, and lifestyle modifications are integrated to improve overall health and wellbeing.
  2. Describe the many techniques used to safely participate in cardiorespiratory and strength endurance training programs.
  3. List the components and procedures used to design personal health and wellness programs that address nutrition, body fitness and lifestyle modifications.
  4. Detail the development of specific diet and nutrition plans that meet the unique needs of various fitness programs for both athletes and non-athletes.
  5. Obtain professional certification as a Personal Trainer through the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF).

Get ahead of the competition with our online Personal Trainer course. Call us at 1-800-535-1613 or enroll online today.


*Certification Exam Requirements: Certification exam prerequisites vary. Please check with NCSF for their requirements.