ACE Personal Training Manual Chapter 1 Role And Scope of Practice For The Personal Trainer

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I have been studying the ACE Personal Training Manual for several months. First, I read all of the chapters and took notes. Furthermore, I am sharing those notes with you which are all from the manual. 

Notes From Chapter 1 The Role and Scope Of Practice For The Personal Trainer

ACE suggests 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Two-thirds of the adult population is overweight and physically inactive.

Role Of The Personal Trainer

First of all, personal trainers assess client’s level of physical activity and fitness to help them set and reach their fitness goals. Secondly, we demonstrate various exercises to help clients improve their exercise technique. In addition, we monitor clients progress as part of our job. Finally, we advise clients how to modify their lifestyle outside of the gym.

Scope Of Practice Of The Personal Trainer

Scope of practice refers to the legal range of services that can be provided, settings in which they can be provided and the guidelines and parameters to follow. Additionally, personal trainers must always stay within their scope of practice.

Professional Responsibilities And Ethics

We must gain permission to speak to a physician and maintain client confidentiality. Passing the ACE exam means we are minimally competent. The primary purpose of certification is to protect the public from harm by meeting competency in knowledge, skills, and abilities. Personal trainers always need to apply knowledge in a safe and effective way while minimizing risk and exposure to harm.

We must work within the defined scope of practice to provide effective services to clients. When we do so, we gain and maintain support from the healthcare community. We also avoid the legal ramifications of providing services outside the professional scope of practice. Designing effective exercise programs can help clients with their weight loss goals. Personal trainers can also utilize the tools available at and educate clients about the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines. We should refer clients who are looking for more detailed nutritional programming to a registered dietitian (key concept).*

Personal trainers should never make recommendations that contradict the healthcare team. Our job is to provide one-on-one and small group exercise instruction to healthy individuals. Some clients may need to obtain a physician’s release before beginning an exercise program. 

Studying For The ACE Exam

The ACE personal training exam has 4 domains. Client interviews and assessment (31%). Program design and implementation (33%). Progression and modification (19%). Conduct, safety and risk management (17%).

To study, we should review and understand each of the 15 task statements.  Then, we should review the knowledge and skills statements associated with each task. As we study, we should refer to the exam content outline and take the practice tests.

The exam will test our knowledge and skill, including: developing and enhancing rapport with clients, collecting adequate health history information and determining the appropriateness of a referral, conducting assessments, designing and modifying exercise programs to help clients progress towards goals, motivating clients to exercise and adhere to the program and acting in a professional manner and within the scope of practice.

The ACE Certification Candidate Handbook can be downloaded online. The ACE Code Of Ethics governs ethical and professional conduct of ACE certified professionals.

ACE Certification Renewal

ACE certification is valid for 2 years from the date earned and expires on the last day of the month. We need to complete 20 CEUs in 2 years and have a current CPR and AED certificate to renew our certification. Continuing to stay current with the latest findings in exercise science and keeping our services in line with the most recent guidelines is important. 

ACE Personal Training Referrals

Referrals are an important part of being a personal trainer. If a client wants to lose more weight than is advisable, refer them to a dietitian experienced with body image issues. During the first meeting with a client, we should conduct a health history assessment. Then, determine if they need a physician’s referral prior to exercise or if they have limitations or contraindications for certain exercises. All personal trainers need to carry professional liability insurance.

Supplementation & Scope Of Practice

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Unless a PT is also a registered dietitian, they do not have the expertise or legal qualification to recommend supplements (key concept).* When we offer services outside our scope of practice, we can be at risk for legal prosecution. For example, we can educate clients on the benefits of massage but we should not give massage. We should never diagnose, help clients implement a diet, continue their PT exercises, give massages, recommend OTC medications, or become a therapist (key concept).*

Accreditation and Continuing Education

ACE is third party accredited by NCAA, which is the standard for accreditation. Seventy percent of ACE personal trainers have advanced degrees. If we want to go further we can earn an additional certification in a new area of expertise.

Personal training is a service profession. We should be outgoing, excellent communicators, motivators, sensitive to the needs of others, in excellent shape, good at sales and personable and motivating.

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