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Educate Yourself

Education is essential to being an awesome trainer and instructor.  It's actually so important that I devote a full chapter to education in my video eBook, "Moving from Good to Great, A Fitness Professional's Guide to Being the Best."  And you can check out that chapter (for free) below.  You'll get my 8 tips on educating yourself.

 You'll also find other resources below, such as my suggestions for Certifications, Continuing Education and suggested reading.   So go on... Educate yourself. 


Get Certified

Being a Certified Fitness or Pilates Professional means that you have a base knowledge to work with clients on the only body they've got.  I'm always amazed at the number of people who don't complete their certification, but are still training clients or teaching classes.  It's like someone going to med school, but not taking their boards, and still practicing medicine.  Would you want to go to that doctor?  I know I wouldn't. 

So take the time and put in the work.  Show your clients, and yourself, that you have at least the base level of knowledge to teach movement.  Getting certified helps you, the client and our whole industry.  And, it's never too late, so if you're not yet certified, get started today.  Check out my picks for some certifications below.   They're certainly not the only ones out there, but I think these are right at the top in terms of quality.  Whichever certification program you're thinking of taking, be sure to do your homework and find out if it's the right choice for you.  Getting certified takes a lot of time (if it's a decent certification) and a lot of money (and you really do get what you pay for), so make sure that you're not just jumping into one because it's cheaper or easier.  Most instructors wear their certification like a badge, with pride, because they know how much work it was to achieve it.  Make sure you choose wisely so you can be proud too.  


Pilates Certification

Most people don't know that I've taken a number of different Pilates Certification programs throughout the years.  But 15+ years ago, I found the certification that was perfect for me.  STOTT PILATES® by Merrithew™ had everything I was looking for.  It's anatomically based, it's got the best manuals and DVDs on the market, and there's a path for you to move up to an Instructor Trainer and more if that's what your goal is.  So that's my number 1 pick for Pilates Certification.  John Garey Fitness & Pilates is the Licensed Training Center for LA and Orange County, California.  So come and train with us, or check out the link for a Licensed Training Center near you.  I am also Certified through Pilates Method Alliance (PMA).  It's not a training program, but it is an accredited national exam, so I think it's important to show that you have that knowledge as well.  Many Pilates programs use PMA as their exam.  The STOTT PILATES Certification exam is more challenging in my opinion and so if you pass that exam, you should pass the PMA exam as well.  However, I strongly recommend that you review of the PMA study guide because there are some differences, such as in the names of exercises.  This is definitely one instance where I feel more is better.

Get Certified at Our Merrithew™ Licensed Training Center

Get STOTT PILATES® Certified Near You

Get PMA Certified


Personal Training Certification

Being a certified Personal Trainer sets you apart and adds credibility to the profession as a whole.  It's so important to know about the human body and understand the systems of the body and how that relates to training.  There are many personal training certifications out there and some are great and some are, in my opinion, a waste of time and money.  Be sure that the program you pick is not only nationally recognized, but requires a certification exam that is accredited.  There are two organizations with which I have experience and that I feel are top notch.  Although there are quite a few others that seem very good to me, I'm only going to talk about the ones I know first hand.  The first is the American Counsel on Exercise (ACE).  This is what I consider to be a baseline certification and a great starting off point, especially for those without a background in physical education.  It covers all of the basics and has a solid standard of knowledge that you must attain in order to pass the exam.   The second, National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is much more in depth, in my opinion.  It is geared more toward those who already have a base knowledge or those who are willing to put in more time.  I have an advanced certification through this organization called CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist).  You'll take away valuable, and sometimes different, information from different certification programs.   I strongly believe that you get your return on investment from great programs, whether it's one, two or more - so don't limit yourself.  Keep learning.

Get Certified Through National Strength and Conditioning Association

Get Certified Through American Council on Exercise


Group Fitness Certification

If you teach Group Fitness, you should be certified.  There are again a number of programs that offer certification.  You can choose to get a specialist certification, such as Indoor Cycling, TRX Suspension, or Total Barre Training.  Some of these require that you already have a more general Group Fitness Certification from an organization such as ACE (American Counsel on Exercise) or AFAA (American Fitness Association of America).   I recommend a general Group Fitness Certification and then specialist certification.  I'm certified through Schwinn Cycling, TRX, Indo-Row, and many others.  These are usually one day certifications that are very specific a single the type of exercise.  Below are my picks for certifications.

General Group Fitness Certification

Get Certified Through The American Council on Exercise

Specific Group Training Certifications

CORE™ Athletic Conditioning and Performer Training - This is the perfect program for Pilates instructors and Group Fitness Instructors that want to train specific athletes or specific types of conditioning.

Total Barre™- Barre Programs are really popular at the moment and this one by Merrithew™ is a personal favorite

TRX Suspension Training - Suspension Training is such a great workout.  This training program is packed with great information

Schwinn Cycling - I was really impressed with this one day training.  I recently took it and found that it would be great for a newer instructor and for a seasoned instructor alike.

Continuing Education

Once you're certified, you're certainly not done.  In order to stay current, most good organizations require you to take continuing education.  You earn credits and can re-certify once you attain the required number of continuing education credits, usually within a specific period of time.  This can be accomplished by attending workshops at large conferences, studios, or by taking some of the specific training I included above in the Group Training Certification Section.  

Continuing Education is also a way to refresh yourself and stay motivated, learn new things, and keep your classes and clients motivated as well.  Here are some of my favorite conferences: 

IDEA World Fitness Conference


PMA Conference

Below, you'll also see how you can train with John Garey Fitness and Pilates in Long Beach, CA.  If you'd like to train with me directly, check out my upcoming schedule below and remember, you can always catch me here on John Garey TV.


Train With Us In Long Beach

Learn from me and my expert team in person.  Join us at John Garey Fitness & Pilates for our various certification courses, foundation courses, workshops and conferences.  Check out these links for more details.

Anatomy Workshops

CORE™ Athletic Conditioning and Performance Training™

Total Barre™ Training

ZEN•GA™ Training



Train With Us Online

  • Workshops - The Workshops Series is our on-line manual for Pilates and fitness exercises.  We cover proper form and execution, the anatomy, biomechanics, regressions and progressions for each exercise. We also give programming tips.
  • Workouts & Classes - The Workouts & Classes videos are our on-line workouts and workshops.  Some of the videos are with John by himself and others are with John teaching one or more participants. You'll get tips on how to cue and correct the exercises and other teaching skills to help you become a better instructor. We cover both fitness and Pilates and both combined in our series. Download the notes with our convenient PDF, which includes thumbnail photos of all of the exercises quick reference.
  • eBook - Moving From Good To Great - A Fitness and Pilates Instructor's Guide To Being The Best. Tailored for fitness & Pilates pros who want to be the best. This members' only eight-part video book is available to you immediately after you begin your 2-week Free Trial.  Check out our free chapter, Get Educated, above.