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Fitness Training Course Syllabus:

VFCC Fitness Training Certification Syllabus:                                                ENROLL NOW!



This eight-week program is designed for veterans and students interested in pursuing a fitness training career. Military veterans are targeted for enrollment to help them develop a niche in the fitness industry, but the course is open to non-veterans as well. The online course is taught by 27 of the most well-known and progressive health and fitness educators in the fitness industry. They are professors, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, biomechanists and some of the top personal trainers in the world. In addition, program support and guidance are provided by our team, a group of highly qualified veterans of the armed forces who all have extensive experience in the fitness industry.

The wellness industry is one of the 30 fastest growing job markets in the country. Because of VFCC’s employment partnerships with Gold’s Gym, 24 Hour Fitness, and other health clubs, students acquiring VFCC’s Level One Fitness Training Certification will have a unique advantage in securing employment as a personal trainer or fitness instructor in a gym or health club.

The course consists of online instruction, including videos, downloadable text, video-based questions and answers, questionnaires, and online workshops and webcasts. Students enrolled have access to support services, tutoring, coaching. Students also have electronic access to a Global Fitness Community and library.

Topics of study include human anatomy; the cardiovascular, nervous, digestive, endocrine, and energy systems; biomechanics; nutrition; physiology; behavior training; movement; personal training; communication; motivation; myofascial lines; metabolic techniques; basic exercise science; exercise equipment; liability and risk.

Students spend 8 clock hours per week and must complete 65 clock hours of instruction and pass an exam at the end of the course. Successful graduates will be awarded a one year Alumni Membership with the Veterans Fitness Career College Global Community and be eligible to sit (at no additional cost) for the      PTA Global Certification exam which is recognized internationally. Some students may also be eligible to have the course documented on a University/College transcript with our partners. Contact before enrolling if you are interested in having the course documented on a college transcripts you will need to enroll through one of our partners.

Prerequisites: None

Fees and charges: $995.00


Course content:


  1. Personal Training and Body Systems: Students are introduced to the field of Personal Training. Important systems within the body are discussed: cardiovascular; nervous; digestive; endocrine; and energy. The scope of common practice is presented and discussed.
  2. Physiology and Biomechanics: This module focuses on the skeletal system, muscle physiology, and biomechanics. Lifestyles are discussed. How to make serious work more fun is covered.
  3. Risk and Liability: Risk and liability are serious issues in this field of study. Recommendations are provided regarding the management of these, while maintaining a client focus. Benchmarks are presented.
  4. Fitness, Nomenclature and Equipment: This field has unique language and equipment which must be mastered. Utilizing these effectively takes time and practice. Customizing exercises and preventing injuries are focused upon here. The importance of flexibility is emphasized.
  5. Basic Exercise Science, Anatomy and Program Design: This module concentrates on adapting basic exercise science principles into individualized program designs. Functional anatomy, posture, weight loss, wellness and conditioning are topics of attention. Various approaches to program design are analyzed.
  6. Movement and Motivation: The importance of movement to good health is emphasized. Manipulating workouts and making them fun is covered. The importance of stretching and games are discussed.
  7. Exercise Progression and Workplace Practices: How to accurately assess progress is presented. Exercise progression and timing are discussed. Changing behavior and motivations are covered in some depth.
  8. Nutrition: Nutrition and body fat are focused upon in this module. Special groups – women, children, the elderly – are discussed. Effective practices are presented.
  9. Review The last session deals with final exam preparation and course evaluation.


Student learning outcomes:

Week One: Personal Training and Body Systems

• Upon successful completion of this module, each student will:

o explain the primary goals of Personal Training

o determine variations to scope of practice

o differentiate between Fitness Guru’s and Fitness Leaders

o describe the different levels of structural organization in the human body

o explain the physiology and related structures surrounding the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, digestive system, endocrine system, and energy systems.

• Themes:

o What Is Personal Training?

o Scope of Practice

o No One Right Way to Train

o The Human Body

o The Cardiovascular System

o The Nervous System

o The Digestive System

o The Endocrine System

o Energy Systems

o Trainer Tips

Week Two: Physiology and Biomechanics

• Upon successful completion of this module, each student will:

o define skeletal anatomy

o explain bones: purpose, shapes, development, and structure

o explain joints: types, structure, and purpose

o describe anatomical positions of the skeletal system

o explain the muscle physiology - skeletal, cardiac, and smooth

o describe unique structure, location, function, and means of activation

o explain biomechanics – the study of structure, motion, forces, and their effects on and within living systems

o analyze what is energy and how it can be controlled

o describe the macronutrients

• Themes:

o The Skeletal System

o Muscle Physiology

o The Muscular System

o Biomechanics

o Lifestyle Part 1

o The Fun Factor

Week Three: Risk and Liability

• Upon successful completion of this module, each student will:

o determine what constitutes negligence

o explain what is meant by vicarious liability

o describe the legal implication of indemnities, waivers, and exclusion clauses

o define what activities trainers are and are NOT insured to carry out with clients

o identify risk, as well as explain risk analysis, risk management, and monitoring for risks

o establish needs and expectations of clients through client orientation, health screening questionnaire, fitness assessment

o explain the 5 keys to having the primacy effect work positively

o explain the different levels of listening

o explain communication competence

• Themes:

o Liability Issues

o Risk Management

o Recommendations

o Client Orientation

o Fitness Markers

o Skinfold Videos

o Appendix

Week Four: Fitness, Nomenclature and Equipment

• Upon successful completion of this module, each student will:

o assess ability levels of clients and the programming needs and aspects relative to those programs

o describe the different types of fitness training programs

o develop individualize workouts for various clients

o explain and apply programming resistance training acute variables (e.g. repetitions, sets, intensity, tempo, rest, frequency, etc.)

o describe the importance of adaptation and the related concepts (e.g., super compensation, recovery, periodization)

o explain functional nomenclature

o analyze and compare gym terminology and exercise

o explain and demonstrate proper exercise with machines, cables, and free weights

o define the benefits and related concepts surrounding endurance training, as well as design a proper endurance program

o explain sports medicine and methods for proper sports injury prevention

o define flexibility, the benefits of flexibility, and methods for flexibility training

o describe aging and special considerations when working with older adults

o explain group training principles and how to structure group training programs

• Themes:

o Basic Fitness Programming

o Programming Resistance Training

o Customizing Gym Programs

o The Why of Nomenclature

o Gym Terminology and Intro to Exercise

o Intro to Exercise, Machines, Cables, Free Weights

o Endurance Programming

o Sports Injuries

o 4 Pillars of Performance

o Flexibility

o Intro to Older Adults

o Group Training

Week Five: Basic Exercise Science, Anatomy and Program Design

• Upon successful completion of this module, each student will:

o describe functional nomenclature through vertical logic

o explain the driver, triangulation, and action of functional movement

o explain how to manipulate and apply exercise through functional nomenclature

o describe human design and function

o explain forces that interact with the human body, the development of the muscle and fascia, the role of the nervous system, the integrative nature of the human form, and apply advanced training methods

o explain functional anatomy through a longitudinal perspective (head to toe)

o describe posture, the principles of posture, optimal posture, and the importance of good posture

o assess posture

o define and utilize the Program Design Model

o explain relative exercise endocrinology

o develop a unique fitness program for weight loss, lean body mass, wellness, or sports conditioning

• Themes:

o Exercise Science Nomenclature

o Functional Anatomy

o Viewing Posture

o Program Design Model

o Exercise Endocrinology

o Weight Loss

o Program Design for Lean Body Mass

o Program Design for Wellness

o Program Design for Sports Conditioning

Week Six: Movement and Motion

• Upon successful completion of this module, each student will:

o design a self-directed method of massaging or manipulating myofascial tissue

o explain the physiology and application of multi-joint flexibility for enhancing performance

o describe the principles and benefits of mobilizers

o define the core and the muscles of the core, as well as design core strengthening programs

o explain cardio/energy system development, programming, and limitations

o explain how to manipulate workouts based on goals

o describe the importance of and methods for movement recovery

• Themes:

o Self Myofascia Release

o Stretching

o Mobilizers

o Core / Games


o Cardio

o Manipulating Workouts

o Movement Recovery

o Clients Notes

Week Seven: Exercise Progression and Workplace Practices

• Upon successful completion of this module, each student will:

o analyze the Transtheoretical Model as it relates to client screening

o describe best practices for communicating with prospects and clients

o describe best practices for Personal Training Operations for assessments, exercise progression, and group training

o describe common workplace practices

• Themes

o Personal Training Operations-Client Screening

o Questionnaire

o Linking the Assessment to the Program

o Exercise Progression

o Program Design - Group Training

o Workplace Practices – Behavior Change

o Workplace Practices – Motivational Interviewing

o Workplace Practices – Participation Patterns in Recreation

o Workplace Practices – The Business, Marketing, and Advertising

Week Eight: Nutrition

• Upon successful completion of this module, each student will:

o explain energy need and energy balance

o define strategies for choosing dietary intake and helping clients improve

o describe carbs, protein, and fats - types and quantities needed

o define and discuss water, vitamins, minerals, and supplements

o describe pre, during, and post-exercise nutrition

o explain unique nutritional needs for older adults, pregnant women, and children

o describe the role and importance of exercise in medicine

• Themes

o Nutrition and Body Fat Management – Nutrition for PTs

o Nutrition and Body Fat Management – Management of Body Composition

o Exercise for Special Groups: Older Adults, Women, Children

o Exercise as Medicine

o How to Approach the Client on the Gym Floor

o What Not to Do as a Trainer

o Summary

Week Nine: Review

• Review

• Course Evaluation

• Final Exam Preparation


Student Assessment Criteria:

VFCC’s Fitness Training Certificate Program provides students with unlimited access to the 9-week online course, which consists of a total of 65 hours of video divided up into modules having several themes in each module. The course is taught over an 8-week period. Students review and prepare for an exam during the 9th and final week. Each week, students will be required to complete a set of related modules. The system is set up such that students must progress through the course sequentially. The system will not let them skip ahead. This is important because each module builds on the previously gained knowledge. To progress to the next week’s modules, students will be required to take and pass quizzes covering the concepts they just learned. Additionally, “Course Progress” tracking systems are in place for the student and faculty to see individual student progress. This lets everyone know if they are behind or not. Attendance and progress are monitored every week to assure progress is being made each week. A record of this progress is kept and available for review.

Suggested texts and/or materials: All available online

Suggested Instructional Strategies: Covered in Course Description

Description of field/clinical experiences:



   America's Heroes:

Employment Solutions in Fitness for Veterans

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Fitness Training, within a booming wellness industry nearing $1 Trillion, is "one of the 30 fastest growing jobs markets...ideal for veterans and transitioning service members."

According to current veteran statistics we have over 1.4 million active military personnel along with the 1.1 million military members who currently serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces. In addition to these 2.5 million military members, we have over 22.5 million veterans. That’s over 25 million Americans who have served or is currently serving in the Armed Services—that’s about 1 out of every 9 Americans "who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount of up to, and including his/her life" (American Legion Post 4, 2011).

According to a 2008 Department of Veterans Affairs report, 4.4 million of our veterans have been discharged since 1990—two million of which served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  In addition to these staggering numbers another 39,000 just recently came home from Iraq along with another 10,000 from Afghanistan which should be followed by another 23,000 in the summer of 2012.  

With so many veterans returning home in the last few years, we are seeing historic unemployment numbers with veterans. In 2010, the unemployment rate for veterans was already almost a full percentage higher than non-veterans.  By July of 2011, as the Iraq and Afghani-era veterans returned home, unemployment increased to a record 12.4%.

Transitioning out of the military is difficult enough as it is; add to this that veterans are now struggling to find any kind of employment—let alone an enjoyable and financially rewarding employment opportunity. In 2007, those veterans who did find jobs were earning less than $22,000 a year.

Veterans are in need of a sustainable and rewarding career option where they can support themselves and their families. As a viable career option many veterans have chosen to pursue a career in fitness.

With a recent rise in salary rates for fitness professionals, many veterans are finding opportunities to make twice the salary of what they could make in other career fields (i.e. $53,000 on average).

In fact, Fitness Trainers who develop their business and sales skills commonly move on to become Fitness Managers and Gym Owners who will often make 2- 3 times this amount earning incomes from $100,000 - $150,000.


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