Brian Sutton

Fitness Professional Online Radio Show- FPO 001

Girl: Welcome to the Fitness Professional Online Radio Show, where fitness professionals from around the world come to get updates, share ideas, and learn from the pros. You can visit us at and on Facebook at Now your host, Doug Holt.

Doug Holt: Hello, and welcome to Fitness Professional Online Radio. Thank you for joining us today. I am your host Doug Holt. Today, we’re gonna have a very special guest for you, Brian Sutton from National Academy of Sports Medicine. He’ll be joining us on the phone here in a little bit.

First, I wanna talk to you a little bit about has it just opening up to the industry here. has contained the information from industry experts and online community where you can answer questions and have monitored by experts. Product reviews, is your independent product reviews that will be given by yourself and industry experts that will be covering for you. Unbiased reviews. These are not paid reviews that we take from anybody else. These are just reviews that we do ourselves and we welcome you to send your own reviews there as well. Online seminars, I know this thing by the end of the year, a lot of you professionals are actually looking for continuing your education units or kinda scrambling on the last minute. will give you a list of online seminars that you can go to, that will be up there in the near future. As well as maintaining an industry calendar of events. A complete and partial list of events there. We are not represented by any one particular organization. We are an independent company which makes us different than anybody else that right there, right now. Mastermind group. You can join the mastermind group led by some of the top professionals around the world. With that be, specialization in business, personal training or rather, health nodalities. These Mastermind groups are limited or are restricted so they are by application only. And you can also find this radio show and podcast available online. As lieu of other services that we offer, this is free for you, the Fitness Professional and please give us feedback as we always want to be better.

This thing and the podcast, we wanted to thank you those who submitted questions via our Facebook page, as well as email, and those of you who called the hotline. Our number here is 805-500-6893. Again, that’s 805-500-6893. Feel free to send questions to If you go ahead, leave your question brief and to the point. We’ll try to address those online if we have time here. As well if you leave your name, we also give prioritization to the registered users here. Again, registration is free at You can also become friend here on facebook as well and we want to thank you for joining us in this first episode. So, without further ado, let’s go ahead and get into call with Brian Sutton.

Brian Sutton is the Fitness education Program Manager for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, commonly known as NASM, a global leader and providing evidence-based certifications and events credentials to health fitness professionals. Brian is instrumental in the development of NASM’s education courses from initiation to launch, working alongside with some of the brightest minds in sports medicine to create the most comprehensive courses in the industry. In addition, Brian works as an Adjunct Faculty Member for California University of Pennsylvania in the Exercise Science and Sports Studies Department. Brian has two masters degrees and slew of certificationsto booth. He’s a regular contributor to several fitness textbooks, publications and has been featured as an expert in the field of health, wellness and fitness for, and Brian resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his beautiful wife Leslie and amazing daughter Hanna. He enjoys a variety of outdoor and sporting activities, including golf, basketball and hiking. Let’s patch up the phone lines to Brian Sutton.

Alright, we’re on the line with Brian Sutton. Brian, thanks for joining us today. I know you’re moving, so it sounds like you’ve got a lot in your plate. I appreciate your being here.

Brian Sutton: Not a problem, I’m happy to be here. So, thank you very much for having me.

Doug Holt: Yeah, no problem. Brian and I have a long history. We go back quite a way. Lots of stories have been told. We’re gonna talk about those today. So bunch of questions have been sent in. A lot of people are really excited when they found out that you’re gonna be our first edition, in this episode. As I was I, of course. And we’ll start right off with some questions that people sent in for us. On the first hand, we’ll talk about just a little bit, how did you get start in the fitness industry?

Brian Sutton: Well, that goes back, quite a way, it’s actually, around when you and I first met,we were both working *coughs* excuse me, in a gym on a university and always love fitness, I love playing sports, and I love everything about exercise and training. I even like the training aspect more than the competition aspect. So I started working out at a small gym, seeing clients went through aces actually their program, at UC, Santa Barbara and then from there it kinda expand into where I am at today. Actually, I never thought of having a full-time career in the fitness industry. I always thought of suit and tie in order to go to work. Perhaps, I started out as an accounting major during my undergrad and it took a few years of working in sales and other corporate American type of jobs that I didn’t enjoy. I had a, to look back, and what do I really enjoy and how do I go out to it? That’s how I came out in the fitness. I love fitness. I did work as an independent trainer for quite a few years. In addition to my sales job, I just decided, “you know what, I’m gonna go after this one hundred percent,” and contacted NASM, got my foot-in-the-door there and then, it took off from there. It took several years of hardwork to get to where I am at today but really, it all started because I love fitness and I decided, I’m won’t form a life I’m scorned, go ofter one hundred percent and so, made it happen.

Doug Holt: That’s great. So, you’re working full time, did you know, personal training kind of put aside, ‘coz you know, it’s too your passion and to go really after it, sounds like.

Brian Sutton: Yeah absolutely. I love working with clients. I still love working with clients, and so I would work my eight to five job and I would train under myself all the individuals in the mornings and in the evenings. And I thought, why am I wasting all these time for me to be in the job that I don’t like. So let’s see what we can do about this. So, when I contacted NASM, actually, my first job with them was sales which I do not, which I am not a sales person but I thought, you know what, this is the right organization to be with so over the course of my first year of employment with them, I read every single book that NASM has ever published, I went to every single workshop. I did as much as possibly could. I was in grad school at the time.And was like, “I get to learn as much as I can so that I can eventually transition to education which what I did.

Doug Holt: That’s great. Actually, most people in this industry, enter the industry because of the passion in fitness and often a lot of people take that day job like you did. But very few people have ever, if ever, have attained the level of education and the roles that you’ve maintained. I mean being adjunct professor and also working at the NASM, you’ve really learned a lot pretty quickly and that’s pretty amazing to see.
What’s your current role or working, by your current role with the NASM.

Brian Sutton: I work in the Product Development Department. And I oversee basically, all the new fitness products that come out so it’s helping to write and edit a text book, it’s creating the online presentations that we offer, it’s diecting photoshoots and video shoots. It’s helping to write exams, any type of exams whichever material that we offer. So really, taken an idea, whatever topic you want to know about, body-building, training for golf or personal training. And I work with several subject matter experts and say, “Okay, let’s create this course and that’s essentially my role – to take a product from initiation all the way up to launch. And so, that’s I’ve been doing for the last six years now and I absolutely love it ‘coz I got to have a direct impact among others in the industry and I get to learn.

Doug Holt: That’s amazing man. Amazing. You know probably what the next question’s gonna be gonna be but I just want the listeners to know, what kind, which role actually in the University of California in Pennsylvania, I know you’re in the Exercise Science and Sports Department, what are you doing for them?

Brian Sutton: I’m an Adjuct Faculty so I teach two different classes mostly in fitness wellness or sports performance program design classes. So teaching individuals how to develop and organize, and create, specialize, individualize exercise program for their clients. The classes that I do teach also help people prepare for the NASM certifications that we offer. And actually what’s pretty exciting, it’s on my plate right now, how Cal-U’s updating several classes and myself and my co-workers said, we’re working with the Cal-U team to update their curriculum. So all students that go through these classes, we’re working, we’re fixing the curriculum for the bachelor’s and master’s classes to update that curriculum. Yeah. It’s a lot of, in Cal-U, it’s an online program. So it’s full of working professionals. The bachelor’s program is an eight-week semester and the master’s program is fifteen-week semester. We’re right now, I teach two different classes and I’m helping Cal-U update their curriculum.

Doug Holt: Wow, your plates are double full man, sounds like. It’s fantastic. Haha. A lot’s going on.

Brian Sutton: Haha. Absolutely.

Doug Holt: Is there anything new that’s going on now at the NASM?

Brian Sutton: We’ve got a lot of projects in our plates that I can’t go into details unfortunately about when they’re gonna be launched or anything like that because time is always shifting depending on the priority and resources. But, we got a lot of products coming out. We’re launching our newest, Certified Personal Training Course here. Relatively slim, it’s in the website. So, that’s been my major project that I’ve been working on for the last fifteen months. We’ve updated the book, we’ve updated all the presentations, we’ve updated all the practice exams, and all the ancillary products that we’ll go with the.. So the new CPTs that can be best Certified Personal Training course in the industry. We’ve put a lot of time and money into this product so, it’s gonna be awesome. But then, we’re still working on five other continuing education that will be launched next year. So, it’s one of the things, we’ve got a lot on our plates, we’re always understaffed but we have a great team. We work really hard and it’s fun. It’s really an exciting place to be, but, you have to put nailed it in the nose that it’s actually a lot of work. But I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Doug Holt: That’s awesome. It’s always good to hear that people, especially great people like yourself, still doing what they love. Well, that brings us to the next question. NASM has been going in a lot of directions, you’re in the forefront of that. But where do you see the industry as a whole? Some people questioned this. There’s personal trainer but I assumed a good portion are. Where do you see the industry in the next one to two years?

Brian Sutton: I see some shares in the industry, a couple of years away, I think, one trainer, is tapping more into technology. So whether social media and reaching clients through social media. One of the partners actually that I have in NASM is working with Share Care. which was started by Dr. Oz and Oprah and a couple of other big people in the health and wellness space has started this website called and NASM is actually working with them. It’s actually a lot like writing a text book.

Doug Holt: Okay.

Brian Sutton: And I think a lot of trainers can tap into this sort of online community where trainers can communicate directly with clients, answer their questions, provide phone coaching, provide online coaching. The old corporate model, I think, is dying. My personal opinion, I think, smaller gyms and privates studios are gonna be the new wave. Small time boot camp classes are obviously picking up. So it’s a lot of different things. And of course, modalities. There’s a different training tool for everything now, whether it’s with stability balls or TRX, big battling ropes or a maze to condition. So it’s a fun industry because it never stays the same. It’s always evolving and changing.

Doug Holt: Absolutely. Lately, you’ve been on a spot here then. You talk about a lot of these before. Is there anything in the industry that needs to go away or should go away?

Brian Sutton: Yeah probably. Well, granted that I work for the NASM so I might be biased about this, but I think that the certification should go away. We need to get to rid of those. I don’t know how because the industry is self-regulated but nobody should be able to jump in the internet and buy the certification for 50 bucks and call themselves a trainer. I would like to raise the standards.

Doug Holt: *laughs* Some strict standards?

Brian Sutton: I would love to see some strict standards whether that comes down to a natural exam, a natural exam that the individuals have to take, whether that’s licensure by state, by physical therapists and dietitians. They have to deal with it to have a license to wherever state they are. I don’t know what the answer is but what I do know is hopefully this fly by night certifications become a thing in the past. And I think, it starts ultimately at the gyms and studios where these trainers are getting hired. If they ask for standard certification has to be accredited, and those other certifications that you’re holding are wired, and won’t be around much longer.

Doug Holt: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. We have a lot of conversation on that, online as well and anyway I know you’re moving today. I appreciate that even if you’re on a rough spot, were glad for having you back on the show. There’s so much I want to talk to you about. But I want to get into, if you don’t mind, some questions that people submitted. I want to get into at least a couple of these today and everybody, we would have Brian back on at a later time to see and follow up. So Brian, to another time, I want to shoot some of these questions off to yea’.

Brian Sutton: Yeah, yeah. Fire away.

Doug Holt: Okay. This one is sent by Scott Bernman from New York and Scott asks, “I’m new to personal training but I’ve been working out all my life. What do you recommend I do to learn more?” Haha. Brian I’m gonna fire out.

Brian Sutton: Haha yeah. I’ll start with a, oxygen accredited certification. Obviously, I like to recommend other exams but there are several good NCCA-accredited or DEGC-accredited exams certification out there. So, I always think that the best place to start is education. Learn the science, learn about behavior modification. So when you start training clients, it’s not as new as it could be without that experience behind your back. I also think it’s a good idea to, if it’s possible to find a mentor in your area, there’s a lot of really good seasoned professionals that are more than happy to help someone brand new to the industry. And once you are certified and you are working, don’t stop. It doesn’t end with the certification and it doesn’t end with the fallback of the business. So go into workshops and conferences. Take in some advance courses or advance specializations. You can take in a college course. Those are lot of great ways to keep you going in the industry and staying on top of the latest trends and of course, learning new science and application tool to it. Personally, myself, I subscribed to a lot of journals. And I’m always reading a lot of journals, whether through NSFPA, NASM idea, stuff at the NASM, we have a lot of stuff that I get privileged to read. So I’m always reading and evolving. You cannot stop learning. So, take those small steps and you’ll be amazed how far you can grow in a short amount of time. And look back to what you’re doing five years ago to now, I bet your training systems and your training techniques and the way you work have completely changed. And you also, progressed with a little help.

Doug Holt: Absolutely. I think that’s a great advice. I think I saw Mike Boyle speak one time and I think you said that, if he’s training the way he trains five years ago, even three years ago, maybe he had to assume himself. He can’t fault somebody in becoming more educated, right? That will keep growing.

Brian Sutton: That, absolutely. Yeah. I saw Mike Boyle speak not so long ago and I saw a video of himself from part of the late 90’s, early 2000’s and then in the video, one of his clients, and he said the exact same thing, “I get critics telling me I’m changing. My philosophy and my training style are tiring,” and he answers, “Well, I sure hope so. I’m learning new things, so yeah absolutely.”

Doug Holt: I know, I know, he also dedicate a big chunk of his week just to keep reading and studying. Speaking of critic, it’s so easy to be a sideline critic to cheek other professionals out there but like yourself, Mike Boyle and many others who are actually out there putting themselves on the line, putting out there just for people and continously learning, So I have to give you guys a lot of props for doing that. It’s easy to critic somebody. It’s very hard to submit your ideas to open form for public, you know open for critiquing.

Brian Sutton: I coudn’t agree more and you’re doing the same thing, as well Doug. So, cheers to you. In many industries, especially in this industry, there’s a lot of critiques out there but you have to have a lot of thick skin. Especially if you’re passing about your ideas and go after it. We have the same business in the end of the day though, to help our clients. That’s, that’s the main goal.

Doug Holt: Absolutely. Absolutely. If you’re not getting critique, you’re not doing things out there well enough. Let’s move on to another question, Brian, if you don’t mind. This is from Shannen from California, she says, “How do you make a name…” or she asks, “How do you make a name for yourself in such a saturated market.” I’m guessing she’s talking about personal training but this is just general marketing question. That one up to you, Brian.

Brian Sutton: Yeah, she’s talking about personal training, yeah, it’s tough. There are a lot of trainers our there, and that’s a tough question. But I always come back to have big influence on me and what they did, I think that’s a great strategy to emulate number is reputation and customer service. So, when you’re with your clients, your providing exceptional customer service. If you’re doing everything you should be doing with those clients, you’re gonna be your best source of communication to have new clients. So, word-of-mouth is an awesome training, it’s the best marketing you could ever have. Ask your client preferals. If your clients love you, they’re gonna talk about you and vice-versa. If you do a poor job, there gonna talk about you. So I think one starts with providing real customer service and treating each and every client as an individual. I also want to tap into some, tap into some technology. Practically, it’s also media. I know a lot of trainers out there are getting new clients or even just staying in touch with clients through linkedin, facebook, twitter, different type of social media accounts. So, I think that’s a great avenue that someone could follow to get their name out there and create their own websites. So don’t ignore technology, I think. It’s a huge factor. Last thing I would do, this is something that I know Doug’s been involved with and some of my mentors throughout the years have been getting involve in charity works and functions. So whether, it’s pretty small thing, local charity events, hosting parties, dinner parties, getting involved in community. I think that’s a great way to get your name up there and people will understand what you’re passing about and they will follow you and join in your business. So I think, having a really good PR marketing campaign where you’re the captain of the local community, can involve the charities can get your name up there.

Doug Holt: I couldn’t agree more Brian. And I know our, my fitness business, as far as strings to your conditioning specialist, we do, we donated to charitable organizations all the time. I’ll hrow in to Shannen just to give her example, we had a last party here, like clients appreciation party. We tied that in with forster children and the Rotary Club of Sta. Barbara where we were based and we donate money for fund-raisers and donate all the money to children. And we’ve raised, if I’m not mistaken about forty five hundred dollars just for foster kids and that’s with the party we were already throwing. So, by tying things like that, although a little more established, a lot of giving back to the community can come into win-win situation. The kids get the money and we went out there to get PR avenue for us. Although the real reason we did that in this point for us, was to give back. Yeah it’s great what you’re doing. And I like to tell Shannen, we have a tons of articles on marketing and business applications on So go there and read those and post some questions in the community forum. A lot of people, Brian, myself will answer those questions for you. But marketing’s marketing and although in this point of the business, most of us is in this business because of our passion of helping people, it is a business and we have to treat it as such. I think I heard, maybe it was Patrick Embou and Todd Dirkener, someone said that, “Hey if you don’t treat it like a business, you can’t help people.” Something along those lines , it stuck on me hearing that years ago and it just made a lot of sense. If we don’t have a business and our doors are not open, then we can’t actually help more people get out there and get fit.

Brian Sutton: I couldn’t agree more. Yeah. I ask someone to tell me one time, “Personal trainers are afraid to ask for a sell.” Yeah, because they don’t want to come off a the salesperson. But the sell is the first step of helping somebody. You will never make the sell and you can’t provide services. It’s the same thing as marketing. You have to get out. You have to talk to get your name out there. Actually one of the things my wife and I have been doing lately is we’ve been working with MG Walk-in Foundation. Leslie walks every year on that and to help her raise money for the event, I offer free personal training services. If they donate to the cause, to walk-in in the event. And so, little things like that can definitely help get your name out there. So the other walkers are asking about personal training with me because they wanted to get in shape for the next walk-in and so on and so ford.

Doug Holt: Someone as established as you is doing it has shocked me that more people aren’t doing it are just getting out there. I mean there really goes to show that even though you’re kind of on the top of the industry, you’re still out there giving back to the community as for the name of yourself.

Brian Sutton: Yeah, you know what, to be more honest that’s more interest in giving back but you can take that type of approach and give back and acquire the business at the same time. So like what we said earlier, it’s a win-win.

Doug Holt: Yeah, really is. We have time for two more questions here, for Bri. Let’s see. Erik from Arizona. No last name given but let see what he has to say, “Which exercise is better exercise for improving your vertical? Back squats or front squats?” What do you think about that, Brian?

Brian Sutton: Good question. There’s probably a few different theories on that. Reading some of the journals on Shane coaches, reading through the JSCR condition research on, I think it’s very popular for coaches to prescribe the front squat. Now, that’d probably because of the actual load on the body rather than spinal loading directly on your back, it comes upfront, so you can keep the torso a little more erect. My whole thought process on this is don’t work out this exercise in a vacuum. What I mean by that is to try to scheme it so, if you want to improve somebody’s vertical jump, don’t just compare back squat to the front squat. Let’s look at everything. Okay, does the half-V reach the ideal range of motion? Do the ankle, do the knees, do the hips, in order to perform a consorted job. If you’re down then maybe perhaps we have to work on some flexibility, for the calves, for the hip flexors. Are they able to fire their glutes proper? Maybe they’re inhibited a little bit. And then, let’s prescribe a program for the athelte that individualize whatever movement faults they have. Whatever strength faults they have. So that then can correlate to a more powerful vertical jump. So don’t look at it as this exercise versus that exercise. It’s really part of the tip so whatever program is appropriate for the individual, whatever muscle activitation exercises harness the individual then whatever appropriate strength training and explosive pliometric tower exercise we can cue for this person to help for the vertical jump.

Doug Holt: So that’s all it is in there in the NASM OPT model?

Brian Sutton: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. What the OPT model is, it’s a system where we look at different research outlets. Okay, there’s benefit in stretching, there’s benefit in core training, there’s benefit in pliometric training, speed, agility, quickness and resistance training. All of these types of training out there, okay but how we cake all of these and combine it to a systematic, progressive type of model? That’s what really OPT is, it’s taking all of these forms of exercise and how can we combine it into one and make it progressive based on the individual needs of the athletes. It is was, initially developed for athletes and then over the years, but you know what, it works for athletes, but it also works for the general public. If I need to improve my running back forming type or whether I have a forty year old mother who wants to lose weight, after giving birth, it really does work to individualize. But it’s not a comparing exercise of modalities versus other exercise of modalities versus can we take all the good things of everything and mold it into one.

Doug Holt: Excellent. That’s great. I can say that we’ve known each other… shoot. For almost fifteen years and so, I always learn something when I talk to you. It’s great, Brian. Thanks, man. Really appreciate that. Well, on to the end of the show, just one random question. It’s time for everybody to scram everybody off. It was something from those question books or table topics. So are you ready for this?

Brian Sutton: Sure, go ahead. *laughs*

Doug Holt: Alright. If you have to spend a year living alone on a remote cabin, what would you spend your time doing?

Brian Sutton: Man. Um, haha, I would probably… Alone in the cabin, alright. I would probably, would I have access to books?

Doug Holt: Sure.

Brian Sutton: Okay, I would probably be doing a lot of reading. I would probably be doing a lot of exercise. And probably, gosh, I really don’t know. Try to learn my way of the lands. You know, how to live off the land. ‘Coz how to survive would be number one but if I was by myself, that would be interesting. That would be really intrinsic experience, where I would learn a lot about myself. I don’t know. I am private person to begin with but as I find my ideal situation so far, I would do a lot of reading, a lot of exercise and try to learn as much as I can about the land.

Doug Holt: That’s fantastic. Hey Bri, thanks so much being on. I love to have you back. I know you’re moving today so, thank you, thanks for Leslie and Hanna for us, for taking you away a little bit. I love to have you back. We didn’t get through even maybe a tenth to the questions that we wanted you today, from the listeners that posted those right away. For our first episode. I think that went a lot from what we thought are we gonna get. So I apologize everyobody else that submitted the questions that we weren’t able to get to with it. But Brian, can people find you in facebook? I know that they can find you in and we’ll pose this radio show as well up there and on the facebook page. But where else could people get a hold of you?

Brian Sutton: Sure, you can email me at You can find me on NASM facebook page as well. I’m answering questions there quite a bit. Particularly if it’s related to content. So if you have a question about nutrition or exercise, feel free to post it on there or find me in facebook. I’d be more than happy to help, or you can just send me a direct email. That’s fine.

Doug Holt: That’s great. Thanks Brian, and if they need they can just find you on that cabin in the remote woods, right?

Brian Sutton: *laughs* Right. Probably training like Rocky did in the Rocky IV, chopping a board and running uphill *laughs*

Doug Holt: Haha. I can see you doing that. Great, thanks so much, appreciate it. Have a great day.
Brian Sutton: Alright, thank you. You too, ba-bye.
Doug Holt: Wow, what a great call. I think I can talk to Brian forever and just always learning things. We go a way back. Thank you for joining us for this first episode. Again, if you have any questions, please submit those to or call in our hotline at 805-500-6893. From myself, Doug Holt and the staff here at, we want to thank you for joining us and we’ll see you next week for another show.

You can join in the conversation at If you have any questions for Doug Holt or the staff about Fitness Professional Online Radio, please feel free to email us at or call us at 805-500-6893. Have a happy and healthy week.

FPO Team

FPO Team

We exist to give a voice to Fitness Professionals around the world in order to help exchange information and build our community. We, professionals, are the answer to many of the World's health concerns. By educating ourselves, and helping one-another, we can create a better world for ourselves and those around us. 
FPO Team

Latest posts by FPO Team


News collects all the stories you want to read