Our motto at the PTDC is “by trainers, for trainers.” The goal is to get the best of the best—the best insights and advice from the most successful fitness pros.

After seven years, we think we’re starting to get the hang of it.

This year was a particularly good one. With so many outstanding contributions from so many of our favorite experts, it was hard to settle on just 17. As we like to say, every article we publish is a home run for somebody. Each, we think, delivers important career-boosting advice in a fun and accessible way.

We hope you enjoy reading (or re-reading) these articles as much as we enjoyed bringing them to you. And just wait till you see what we have planned for 2019.

Top Article of the Year

How to Build an Online Following from Scratch — Steven Mack

When a young trainer from Missouri pitched this story, we responded by issuing a challenge: Drive to the Fitness Summit in Kansas City and ask some of the best-known fitness and nutrition pros to share how they built their online following. To our surprise, he said yes.  

Just a week after the summit, Steven delivered transcripts totaling 12,560 words from the experts he’d interviewed. (As you can see, we cut it all down to a more manageable size.) 

The result: a unique and entertaining look at the origin stories of seven industry standouts: Kelly Coffey, James FellMike DoehlaRyan KetchumMike T NelsonMark Fisher, and Greg Nuckols.

Turns out, there’s no single way to build an audience from scratch. But reading this story is a good start.

Here are the rest of our favorites:

Personal Training

What I Learned from 15,000 Training Sessions in a Commercial Gym — Dean Somerset

Confessions of an Online Training Virgin — Chad Landers

I Wanted to Train Elite Athletes. This Is Exactly How I Made It Happen — Yunus Barisik

10 Tips for Training Clients in Recovery — Kelly Coffey

Gym Operations

Joe Dowdell Got Screwed Out of Building the Gym of His Dreams. Here’s How He Recovered — Lou Schuler

Three Mistakes That Could Cost You $100,000 and Sink Your New Gym — TJ Allan

Program Design

How to Change a Workout on the Fly in a Crowded Gym — Ethan Benda

Stop Training Your Clients Like CrossFitters, Bodybuilders, or Powerlifters — Kevin Mullins

Three Ways to Write Better Training Programs — Tony Gentilcore

Nutrition and Weight Loss

In Defense of Counting Calories — Daniel Lopez

Five Ways to Help Your Clients Lose Weight — Menno Henselmans

The Myth of Fat-Burning Workouts: How the Body Fights Back, and What That Means for Trainers and Clients — Christian Finn


Is “Saying No” Really the Difference Between Successful and Very Successful Fitness Pros? — John Berardi

How Much Should a Personal Trainer Keep Personal? — Hayden Perno

Why Personal Training Is So Much Harder for Female Fitness Pros — Brittany Byrd

And finally, here’s one that’s …

Just Plain Weird

Your Client Asks You a Crazy Question. How Do You Answer? — Geoff Girvitz