A psychology course designed specifically for fitness professionals
Accelerate clients’ results (and your success) by mastering communication and motivational skills
Discover how to effectively motivate your clients and help them change behaviors, pursue their goals, and reignite your passion for coaching, without burning out or adding to your current workload.
I’m Dr. Lisa Lewis.
I’m a licensed psychologist, certified addictions counselor, Doctor of Education in counseling and sport psychology, and fitness enthusiast.
As featured in “T Nation, The Personal Trainers Development Center, The Fitness Summit, and Girls Gone Strong.
My career in psychology started in 2002...
While earning a Master’s degree in clinical counseling, I followed up on a connection I made with a psychological consulting firm. This firm did psychological assessments and completed player profiles for the New York Giants. After taking my first trip to a college bowl game in the winter of 2003, I was regularly invited to come and help the consulting firm at bowl games and the NFL Combines.
My work with Professional Sports Consultants, and by extension the NY Giants, was an amazing experience. In between profiling and assessments with the consulting firm, I moved to Boston, started working at a substance abuse treatment facility full time, and in 2006 I gained admission to the counseling and sport psychology program at Boston University.
Grad school was the hardest thing I’ve ever done (next to giving birth, of course).
I was working full time, running an intensive outpatient program at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s Comprehensive Addictions Program (SECAP) in Boston, living alone, supporting myself, and also trying to be a full-time doctoral student: classes, practicums, and saying yes to every opportunity that came my way.
As I moved through the counseling and sport psych program at BU, I realized what I loved most of all was motivation, self-improvement, and self-enhancement. I loved these topics more than traditional sport psychology, and I gravitated toward exercise psychology, positive psychology, and performance psychology.
I completed my dissertation research on exercise motivation among inner-city minority adolescent females, and graduated in 2012 with my doctorate in counseling and sport psychology.
Afterward I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Tufts University counseling center, earned my license as a psychologist, and worked as the associate director of counseling services at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science University in Boston.
Meeting a strength coach genius changed everything
As I was grinding my way through the program at BU, in 2009 I met Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, who would eventually become my husband. His passion for strength training combined with my passion for wellness and performance psychology catalyzed an interest in working with fitness professionals.
As I learned more about Tony’s work, and his clients, I realized that coaches’ communication, counseling, and psychological skills are even more important than their physiological and kinesiological knowledge base.
After years of running my own private practice, where I did a combination of psychotherapy for clients and performance enhancement for athletes and high-achievers, I noticed a giant lack of support for strength and nutrition coaches, personal trainers, and physical therapists.
I realized how tough it was to be a fitness professional and that there was a lack of education and support for the psychological challenges and barriers to being an effective coach.
I started consulting fitness professionals, both in my office and online. The amount of frustration, annoyance, and pain I could feel when consulting fitness professionals repeatedly highlighted the need for support and education of fit pros who are eager to help their clients achieve their goals.
I also relied upon my experience providing inservices for various gyms and their staff, tailored to their goals and issues, as well as workshops and seminars for fitness professionals on psychological topics like motivation, behavioral change, negative thinking, goal setting,
Fitness pros kept saying,
“This is the stuff I REALLY need in order to take my coaching to the next level! I wish I could learn more. How can I read/watch/learn more?”
Aside from the books and peer reviewed articles I’d read on motivation and behavior change, I had no real answer for this question! I realized there was no material out there that addressed psychological issues and skills in fitness settings the same way I was in consultation and at speaking engagements.
After a few years of discussing this issue with my husband Tony, and with the strong recommendation and support of my friend Sarah Ellis Duvall, PT, DPT, CPT, CNC of Core Exercise Solutions, I decided to create a course for fitness pros that would address foundational psychological phenomena and teach evidence-based skills for enhancing performance, changing behavior, and facilitating change among their clients.
And so the work began!
My experiences as a counselor, a professor, a consultant, an exercise instructor and strength training enthusiast combined to help me design a curriculum that is grounded in research and theory, and brought to life by application and real-life examples of how to implement the material.
I created a curriculum that begins with theoretical frameworks for motivation and the nature of behavioral change, and then builds upon that an evidence base of research in health and fitness settings. Then, I added application of the material — and lots of it. How-to’s, To-do’s, and interviews with some of the biggest names in the fitness industry, to learn about how they implement psychology into their own work.
See what other fitness professionals who invested in this have to say about it:
“Since I opened Human Vortex Training in 2007, I've put a lot of focus and attention on helping build the athletes up not only from the strength & sports ability side, but also through the mental side. In endurance sports, and basketball, it takes mental toughness, and having a strong mental toolbox to compete and achieve at the highest levels.
Psych Skills for Fitness Pros is a resource I wish I had access to back then, as it is packed full of incredibly impactful tools, and allows you to better understand how to connect with and help your athletes at that next level.
This course is an absolute must for any fitness professional or coach who wants to take their coaching towards world-class levels, or to be able to have a greater positive impact on those they work with, and interact with on a daily basis.”
Menachem Brodie, Head Coach, Human Vortex Training LLC, USA Cycling Expert Coach, USA Triathlon Coach, NSCA-CSCS, Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist
“I’ve had the luxury of working with Dr Lisa over the past several months with a fitness client and it has been immensely helpful. Not only does she have a great ability to get to the root cause of why a client is stuck, she understands what it is like to work with fitness professionals too. This is a very rare combination in my experience and definitely needed in the fitness world. If you can work with her in person or are able to get her course, I would highly recommend it. Do it!”
Mike T. Nelson, CSCS, CISSN, PhD
“This comprehensive course provides evidence-based information that every fitness professional needs. The content is provided clearly with realistic application examples relevant to the client-fit pro relationship. I plan on going through this course twice, it was so good!”
Dr. Lori Brodie, DNP, MSN Ed, MS Psy, RN-BC, CNE Personal Trainer (ACE), GGS-1 Certified Coach (Girls Gone Strong)
“Psych Skills for Fitness Pros is what the industry has been missing! I've been a coach for 14 years and can only image how much more I could have understood and helped my clients if this information was available a decade ago. Lisa does an incredible job breaking down concepts and provides ways to implement them immediately. If you are a coach who is serious about becoming better, this should be first on your education list. It's not just sets and reps anymore. If you're in the fitness business, you're in the human behavior and psychology business. This is a game changer.”
Amanda Wheeler, CSCS