MS Fitness Challenge

Anything But Typical

Working with people who have MS presents a unique challenge. Typical client obstacles for personal trainers may include lack of understanding of proper body mechanics, or weight machine usage. Everybody has to fight fatigue and motivation. But when your client literally can’t stand or hold a weight, you need to approach training differently. That’s why the NFPT MS Fitness Training Specialist Course was created. With the expert knowledge and direction of David Lyons, the course seeks to prepare personal trainers for the unexpected when working with MSers.

Here are a few videos of workout routines for individuals with MS. Watching each one should give you a better understanding of the extremely individual nature of developing a fitness program.

Lisa – Leg Workout

Lois – Upper Body Workout

Lois – Leg Workout

Patty – Leg Workout

Patty – Upper Body Workout

Tyler – Upper Body Workout

Yvonne – Evaluation

Yvonne – Leg Workout

Limited ROM Arm Workout

Learn to Work with MS Clients For FREE

Do you have a desire to change the lives of those struggling with MS? MS Fitness Challenge and the National Federation of Professional Trainers want to reward you for getting certified.

Apply for a 2019 Scholarship that reimburses you for the cost of the NFPT MS Fitness Training Specialist certification course.

Developed with David Lyons, the NFPT MS Fitness Training Specialist certification course teaches the techniques essential for working with people who have MS. Training MSers is not the same as regular gym members. This training course prepares you with what you need to know to provide a supportive and safe training environment.

Requirements for the scholarship:

  • Complete the NFPT MS Fitness Training Specialist certification course
  • Train a person with MS for at least a month
  • Fill out the scholarship application

That’s it! If you qualify, we will reimburse you for the cost of the training course. Download the application now for complete instructions.

MSFC Welcomes its new Trainers with Heart that have received the MS Fitness Training Specialist certification course scholarship in 2019 through our EMD Serono Trainer Scholarship Program:

Stephen Glaus – Manheim, Pennsylvania

Lamail Spain – Charlotte, North Carolina

Alyssa Stanley – Online Coach

Lauren Smith – Bristol, Massachusetts


MSFC is proud to announce our certified trainers who have become Trainers With Heart for Multiple Sclerosis and have committed to helping those with MS in their area live a lifestyle of fitness. If you live in the area of one of these Ambassadors, please let us know and MSFC will connect you to him or her.

Angie Gensler
Angie GenslerSuffolk County, Long Island, New York, USA
ISSA Certified Trainer
MS FITNESS Training Specialist Certified
CPR/AED Certified
MFC GYM 5 year member
MSer since 2004
Promera Sports Athlete
Previnex Ambassador
Amy Schwartz
Amy SchwartzNorthern, California, USA
ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
NFPT MS FITNESS Training Specialist Certified
ISSA CPR/AED Certified
Precision Nutrition Certification Program Student
MSer since 2016
Lachlan MacKinnon
Lachlan MacKinnonLlandybie/Swansea, UK
BSc personal training (chronic health conditions)
Level 3 personal training
Level 2 gym instructor
Level 3 nutrition
Level 2 Occupational therapy
MS Fitness Essentials
BACPR instructor
Cancer Prehabiliation therapist Technician
MSer since 2013
Roy Crossley
Roy CrossleyAdelaide, South Australia
Diploma in Fitness/Exercise Therapy
Personal trainer of MSers since 2010
Volunteer with MS Society of South Australia and NT
MS Certified Trainer
MSFC Australia Ambassador
Jed Kobernusz
Jed KobernuszRoseau, Minnesota, USA
Specialized in Traumatic Brain Injuries and chronic pain diseases
Creator of The 365 WOD (Workout Of the Day) Journey
MS Certified Trainer
MSFC Roseau/Warroad, Minnesota Ambassador
Nick Holmes
Nick HolmesWiltshire, United Kingdom
MS Fitness Essentials Trainer
Owner Route 2 Fitness: MS Fitness Challenge location, UK
Level 2 Gym Instructor
Level 3 Personal Trainer
GP Exercise Referral
Pre/Post Natal Exercise
Level 3 Deep Tissue Sports Massage
Les Mills Tribe Coach – Elite Body Combat
Les Mills Classes – RPM, Body Pump, CXWORX, GRIT Series
Froso Luca
Froso LucaMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
Fitness Professional-Nutrition Coach
4 x IFBB International Figure Champion
Volunteer for Peer Support for MS Australia
MS Certified Trainer
MSFC Australia Ambassador
Rolfe Renee Theron
Rolfe Renee TheronGauteng, South Africa
American Council on Exercise (ACE) MS Certified
Athletic Certification & Training Commission (ACTION) Certified
Battling an MS similar disease for 7 years
MSFC South Africa Ambassador
Flora Psarianos
Flora PsarianosConnemara, Co Galway, Ireland
Certified Fitness Trainer
Owner of Connemara Fitness
Currently Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification student
MS Fitness Training Specialist certified
MSer since 2012
Katelyn Eitner
Katelyn EitnerManheim, Pennsylvania, USA
Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science
ACE Personal Training Certification
MS Fitness Training Specialist certified
Mark Desa
Mark DesaMississauga, Ontario, Canada
Creator of, a resource to inform and empower others with neurological disorders to take control of their health through fitness and nutrition
NFPT MS Fitness Essentials certificate
canfitpro Personal Training Specialist
Assistant Muay Thai/Savate/Boxing coach
Brown belt in Chito-Ryu karate and is training towards his black belt
Wayde Barnhart
Wayde BarnhartEaston, Maryland, USA
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
MS Fitness Training Specialist
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Kids Coach
CPR and AED Certified
Specializing in Sports Strength Conditioning, Youth Fitness, and MS Fitness Training
Melissa Abramovich
Melissa AbramovichMilwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Certified Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor
NFPT MS Fitness Trainer Specialist
Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC)
AFPA Multiple Sclerosis Fitness and Wellness Specialist
200 CYT (Yoga)
Pilates Mat 1, 2 and Reformer
Step Reebok
Les Mills Tone
Black Belt Krav Maga
Deputy Black Belt TKD
Gary Gutowski
Gary GutowskiRaleigh, North Carolina, USA
NYPD Retired
Owner of doABLE FITness solutions
NASM Certified Trainer
CPR Certfied
MS Fitness Training Specialist Certified
Rob Patzner
Rob PatznerMiami, Florida, USA
NFPT certified since 2008
Master trainer certified
Cancer recovery specialist
MS specialist trainer
Phil Roberts
Phil RobertsMishawaka, Indiana, USA
Personal Trainer, 20+ years experience
Pn1 certified nutrition coach
AFAA certified personal trainer
CrossFit l-1 certified trainer
MS Fitness Training Specialist certified
Rachel Haddad
Rachel HaddadDetroit, Michigan, USA
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
NFPT MS Fitness Training Specialist
Meditation Coach
CPR and AED Certified
Founder of Chronic Fitness Detroit
WFPB Nutrition
Twanna Davis
Twanna DavisLas Vegas, Nevada, USA
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
AFAA Group Fitness Instructor
MEDFIT EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION MultipleSclerosis Fitness Specialist
Zumba Instructor License
Aqua Zumba instructor License
Robyn Nord
Robyn NordNaples, Florida, USA
NFPT Certified Personal Trainer
NFPT MS Fitness Training Specialist
NFPT Cancer Recovery Specialist
NFPT Fitness Nutrition Specialist
AFAA Group Fitness Certified
Owned and operated Extreme Fitness full service Gym and Pure Energy Training Studios in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Certified GROOVE Facilitator
CPT and Group Fitness Instructor at Fitness Together of Naples FL, The Commons Spa and Fitness and Joyful Yoga in Bonita Springs FL
Online personal trainer
Mike Anzovino
Mike AnzovinoYorktown Heights, New York, USA
Certified Fitness and Nutrition Coach
MS Certified Trainer
Owner at The how Approach Health & Fitness
MSFC Yorktown Heights Ambassador
Rick Hess
Rick HessMeridian, Idaho, USA
Owner Anytime Fitness Meridian Idaho
ISSA Certified Trainer
NFPT MS Fitness Training Specialist Certified
ISSA Nutritionist
ISSA Strength and Conditioning Certified


Merck KGaA’s EMD Serono sponsors MS Specialty Fitness Training Program

Exercise is important in managing multiple sclerosis, but going to the gym can be intimidating. So EMD Serono, the North American biopharmaceutical arm of Merck KGaA, worked with Dave Lyons, a bodybuilder who has MS, to sponsor the specialized MS instruction needed for athletic trainers.

Lyons, who founded MS Fitness Challenge in 2012 along with his wife Kendra Lyons, worked with a personal trainer certification company to create a specific program for trainers at gyms to more effectively work with MS patients. EMD Serono sponsors trainer scholarships.

“Not only are the Lyons’ great advocates for the MS community and with their MS Fitness Challenge encouraging people to get out there, be active and take control of certain elements of their lifestyle, but it’s also good for EMD Serono because it helps us focus on the patient as a whole, as opposed to just how our therapies interact with the patient,” David Nichols, senior director of advocacy and state government affairs at EMD Serono, told FiercePharmaMarketing.

Merck KGaA has plenty of reason to support MS patients, with the German pharma leaning heavily on key med Rebif, an interferon treatment. And the fitness challenge isn’t EMD Serono’s first effort to do so; the company also runs the support network MS LifeLines.

EMD Serono’s partnership with the Lyons and MS Fitness Challenge will run through the end of the year, but the drugmaker will likely extend the effort, Nichols said.

“The MS Fitness certification will be regularly updated and evolve as time goes on,” he said. “… Ultimately, we’d like to see trainers working around the country to help MS patients. We know there’s a demand out there for it.”


Visit EMD Serono’s MS Lifelines site here.

April 25, 2018

Thank you to all those who visited our booth this week and took part in our #ImBalancingMS activity. We donated $100 for each participant. And now we’re thrilled to present MS Fitness Challenge with a donation of $20,000 to continue their mission of educating people with MS on the benefits of exercise and nutrition.

— EMD Serono

EMD Serono raised $20000 for MS Fitness Challenge
EMD Serono raised $20000 for MS Fitness Challenge

NFPT MS Fitness Training Specialist Course

MS Fitness Essentials course

Those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis often feel hopeless as this disease presents symptoms that can often feel debilitating and physically and mentally exhausting. But there is hope through wellness and training techniques that will improve the quality of life for those struggling with this disease.

Explore the daily struggles faced by people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and apply the concepts this course teaches about how to safely work with MS clients in an encouraging and active way. ‘MS Fitness Training Specialist’ gives a foundation of knowledge to build from so that certified trainers can understand the needs and limitations presented by MS clients.

If you are a certified personal trainer or allied health professional, then this course is a great stepping stone to understanding what it will take to train clients with Multiple Sclerosis.

Working with David Lyons and the MS Fitness Challenge has been an inspiring collaboration that I quickly began to realize the significance of when getting to know the roots of this organization. David has been there and done that, he models perseverance and does what he does for the greater good of the people he serves. The National Federation of Professional Trainers, NFPT, is excited to partner with David and the MS Fitness Challenge to bring awareness and education to certified personal trainers who can expand upon their scope of practice to include serving clients diagnosed with MS. Together we will help more people achieve improved daily living, mentally and physically, through fitness and exercise.

The course sheds light on the highs and lows of the MS client experience. Especially important, attention is given to the emotional needs of MS fitness participants. Finally, there is clarity regarding the basic foundation necessary to work with this demographic.

Thank you, David Lyons, for sharing your journey so that others with MS may participate in life.

Esta M, Corrective Exercise Specialist

This course provides the insight and depth that’s required to train peopl wih MS. It goes into prevention for injury, very informative, inspiring with David’s story and has up to date information.

This course is a vital resource for trainers who work with people with MS. This course provides a vast and comprehensive guide to maintaining physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle. David’s story will inspire those with MS and shows that anything is possible.

Jed K, Certified Exercise Physiologist - ACSM EPC

This was a well structured, concise and easily understood curriculum that I learned much from and have applied daily since.

I found this course to be an invaluable tool in helping me train my clients with MS. Thank you, David.

Jim N, Master Trainer | Nutrition Coach | Functional Therapist

NFPT has been certifying personal fitness trainers since 1988. Our organizational mission is to equip trainers and their clients with the education and tools that are needed to address America’s growing health concerns, and to promote fitness around the world. NFPT provides fitness trainers with the educational tools and resources needed to develop and enhance performance skills for the safe and effective training of apparently healthy individuals in a one-on-one or small group setting. Performance and knowledge-based skills are assessed by a legally defensible certification exam which, upon successful completion, earns the individual a NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) title.

Visit NFPT >>


Please help us help those suffering with Multiple Sclerosis improve their lives through health & fitness. We are a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and 100% of all donations go to the cost of the MS Fitness Challenge program. Every dollar helps a person with MS and is a tax deductible donation.