Our Story

The NCEP Story

  Our original office and gym in Inglewood, California in the early 2000's.

Our original office and gym in Inglewood, California in the early 2000’s.

The Origins: A need for Holistic Personal Training

The National College of Exercise Professionals (NCEP) has a unique history, one that is organic in growth and has evolved over time. NCEP was born out of the original Sports Club Company in Los Angeles in the late 1990s where Michael DeMora, the Founder and President of NCEP, was a Fitness Manager for the Sports Club Company. Eventually, Mike became the Director of Education for the prestigious Spectrum Clubs, a new (at the time) gym chain that branched out of the Sports Club Company.

In this position of Director of Education, Mike came in contact with hundreds of clients who appreciated his holistic approach to health and fitness, and the type of functional training that became a staple of the gym chains he managed. Out of these experiences, combined with his elite education with two masters degrees, Mike realized that there was a need — a need for a “better” way to educate people about health and fitness that went beyond the confines of a gym and encompassed wholesale lifestyle changes. Thus, operating out of a local office in Southern California, Mike created NCEP as an alternative personal training certification, along with other courses, that focused on functional training through a holistic approach. Throughout the 2000s, NCEP has taught over 3,000 trainers, or more accurately, what we like to call “exercise professionals,” who have gone on to great success in the field. Since these early days, he has worked to build NCEP from the grassroots — focusing on people, relationships, and cutting-edge research in ways that make NCEP different among its competitors.

NCEP in the Present: Re-imagining Personal Training Certification

Remaining faithful to Mike’s founding, today, NCEP is a rapidly growing company seeking to offer would-be personal trainers a more hands-on way to seek certification through our acclaimed Standard Certification course, among other courses we offer. NCEP is now national in scope, teaching courses in cities all over the United States with a team of instructors and exercise professionals committed to “teaching it forward” in a personalized way.

While we are a smaller company than some of the certification mills in our industry, we are growing in our reputation and recognition. As we like to say in our courses, “we’re small but we’re mighty” or as Shakespeare wrote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” We continue to work harder and smarter than our competition, and offer a lower price with a much better value — and pride ourselves on doing things the “right way” no matter what.

The NCEP Difference


A Unique Focus on Functional Training

There are many significant difference between the National College of Exercise Professionals and other organizations, and those who take our courses know why. For starters, we are a fitness education industry group dedicated to the most cutting-edge exercise science, primarily in the form of “functional training.” The best gym club companies in the fitness industry are embracing the functional training approach — and we truly believe that our methods take this approach to an even higher level while still being the foundation of our Standard Certification course. We also offer a variety of other proprietary courses and continuing education workshops related to functional training, such as what we refer to as Athletic Performance Enhancement (APE) and a focus on bio-mechanics and advanced body assessments. The fact that we also include these various philosophies as part of our introductory course illustrates our commitment to functional training and focus on human movement.

NCEP is accredited by the National Exercise Therapy Association National Board of Certification, and we work with many high end health club companies around the country. We are a preferred certification and education provider for the Sports Club Company (owners and operators of the Sports Club/LA clubs across the country), the Oregon Athletic Clubs (an elite club chain in the Portland area), and the Honolulu Club (the finest club in the state of Hawaii). We have also worked closely with many other top national club companies including the Spectrum Clubs, Lifetime Fitness, Golds Gym, Fitness 19, and most recently, Retro Fitness, in addition to being an accepted certification at Equinox Sports Clubs.

Putting the “Personal” in Personal Training Certifications

Another major difference in our approach is our personalized model of education. While many — if not most — other certification companies require online exams at a testing center, we strongly believe in teaching our classes live and in person. We believe that people learn best with visual interaction and demonstration because, after all, personal fitness itself is based on personal interactions and demonstrations between trainer and client. Online tests, we feel, are antithetical to our industry despite its widespread prevalence and convenience for the certification companies. Instead, all of our courses are taught in-person, and we maintain a low student to faculty ratio often generally under 15 students per class to offer a more conducive atmosphere to learn. We believe firmly in “getting out” into communities and teaching our classes at the club level. Most of all, what makes our courses special is our staff dedicated to teaching students the most up to date information in an easily digestible manner. Our courses offer a holistic approach to fitness, and always include information about sales and professional etiquette — we seek to make sure individuals who take our course are not just ready to become personal trainers, but true “exercise professionals” in the field.


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