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Alex Carthmil - The Fitness HandbookHey, I’m Alex.

I created the The Fitness Handbook out of passion, frustration, and a longing for something more from this industry and community.

I wanted to create a reliable reference you can consistently trust is providing you with accurate and applicable content from the best in the world.

I understand how frustrating it is to plug a question into Google, read 3 articles with 3 different answers, and 30 minutes later you’re left with the same question you had when you started.

TFH does the work for you. We cut through all the clutter and misinformation, so you don’t have to.

Thank you for reading, check out a category that interests you, and please do not hesitate to reach out to me if there’s anything I can do to help

-Alex Cartmill

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 “Alex Cartmill is a trainer who definitely brings out the best in his clients. With his encouragement, I was able to accomplish things that would have been impossible on my own. He has a 100 per cent positive attitude, and that includes when he’s correcting mistakes. Alex is very knowledgeable about exercise and fitness, and he’s totally committed to helping his clients attain health and well-being through a fitness program. To sum up: If you have the chance to train with Alex, take it.”
– Glo Patterson

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Why You’re Going to Fail

I work with a lot of personal trainers, both at the Personal Trainer Development Center and the National Personal Training Institute in Portland, OR.

And I know why you’re going to fail.

You see, the trainers who don’t find success are usually looking in the same places. They’re making the same mistakes. Following the same, dead-end path.

This is a good thing, though. Ironically (or maybe not), the trainers who sit down and dissect why their peers are failing, and not why they are succeeding, are already one stepping stone ahead.

Because here’s the thing: I see countless avenues a successful trainer can take, but I also see failing trainers making the same mistakes time and time again.

I genuinely assume that everyone reading this is either a fantastic trainer, or, at a minimum, has the potential to be a fantastic trainer.

And that’s exactly why I need to share this with you.

I shifted my focus to educating trainers because I want nothing more than to see this industry continue to flourish, and it starts with us.

I know why you’re going to fail, and I want to ensure you don’t.

You think information will separate you from the pack.

A couple years ago, Jon Goodman put out a mentorship opportunity. I applied and made it to the final round of phone calls (nervous as hell).

He asked me one question that changed my outlook on life, “What makes you better than someone 20 years older, with 10 more years of knowledge and experience than you?”

“Ummmm *insert some generic bullshit answer*”

I flopped.

I sat on that question for a year before coming up with an answer that satisfied me. I sent Jon my response a year later, which sparked our personal and professional relationship that’s still alive today.

My answer revolved around the fact that information will never be the reason you’re better, or different than someone else.


Information can be memorized and regurgitated, the most common tactic in education today. The things that truly matter, and that will truly make you a great trainer, take years of trial and error, failure, and personal growth.

Gaining more facts is rarely the answer.

Now, I teach anatomy at NPTI. I’m not saying that all trainers shouldn’t have a base-level knowledge of anatomy, physiology, exercise science, etc. because they should. And it’s tough to be a great trainer without this knowledge.

But, I want you to avoid the fallacy that getting more information is the best way to separate yourself.

Remember, people buy trainers, not training.

Your client isn’t your top priority.

I’ve never met a great trainer whose clients were not his/her top priority (at work). Period.

It’s obvious when this is not the case.

Right when I began thinking about entering this field, Tim Henriques said to me, “There’s good money to be made it fitness. But if you’re here for the money, the work that follows will seem daunting. If you’re here because you love it, the money will find you.”

Friends, this could not be more true. The best, and wealthiest trainers are the ones who consistently take care of their clients in and out of the gym, and love doing it.

You don’t put an emphasis on psychology, and enjoyment.

 This is a big one.

For the majority of clients, education is not their limiting factor.

They haven’t been sedentary because they need someone to teach them to move.

They’ve been sedentary because they feel like they can’t move, and they’ve come to you for help.

If someone is hanging on the edge of a building, to help pull them up should you say, “Hey, you just need to adduct your shoulders and flex your elbows to activate your biceps and lats. That’ll get you where you want to be. Cool? Cool.” Eh, probably not.

Oftentimes your clients will be hanging on the edge, and they will likely know how to pull themselves up, they just need help doing it.

In your initial meeting, find out why they are really there. Discover their true motivations, and what has been holding them back.

Your focus should be on adherence until regular physical activity is second nature to them.

One way to boost adherence early on is to ensure your clients are having fun. If your first 3 or 4 sessions are a little slow with not a lot of substance, but your client who hates the gym is actually looking forward to coming back, pshhh. 100% worth it.

Remember, the most well-thought-out program does absolutely no good if it sits on your client’s counter.

About the Author

Alex Cartmill is an independent personal trainer, and trainer of trainers. He serves as the Head Coach for the Online Trainer Academy, Associate Editor at OnlineTrainer.com, and instructor at the National Personal Training Institute of Portland, OR. Alex currently resides in Portland with his pup Charlie, and enjoys hiking, writing, and old video games in his spare time.

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