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Education vs. Experience

Jan 31, 2012


In today's world there are numerous “personal trainers” in the industry with some sort of acronym behind their name. Much to my amazement, clients stereotypically do not delve much into their trainer's background and/or credentials.

My goal today is to explain the process of becoming a certified personal trainer and make some headway into all the acronyms that are generally hogwash.

Who can become a personal trainer? ANYONE if you are over the age of 18! All you have to do is go online, take an exam, go to a center and/or take a 2 day course! And BAMOOLA, you're a certified personal trainer. Crazy! So literally, on Monday you are John Doe the genetically blessed ripped guy at the gym, and then Wednesday, you are a certified personal trainer. Now you can tell others how to get into good shape.

This is why I got out of the industry – it was becoming more toxic than ever with narcissistic “know it all's!” These self absorbed know it all's believe they can help 52 year old Betsy loose her belly fat and make her knee pain go away by implementing the same protocol that they use on themselves. Enter Show Up Fitness. We are here to TEACH people how to workout correctly. Education is power and we are not going to dupe you into buying training by doing squat tests or balancing acts that make you feel inferior. As an instructor, I've educated over 100 students who have graduated and are now legitimate certified personal trainers! I know what it takes to be a successful trainer – education!

How do you expect to understand injuries, human anatomy, nutrition and biomechanics by reading a book and taking an exam? The industry is corrupt. Soon, we are going to see a change with the Fitness Professional Licensing Act which would require ALL trainers to take 300 hours of classroom training with 50 unpaid internship hours. All of our students have completed between 300-500 hours and are gaining their experience via Show Up Fitness's Trainers In Training (TNT) program.

What are the most respected certifications? Unarguably, they are the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). The highest certification in the industry is the NSCA's Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS). The most well known may be the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), but they are the Microsoft of the group; trying to monopolize the industry.

Some gyms only accept NASM. I have a college degree in Kinesiology, teach other personal trainers in a school based setting and have the ACSM certification. In some gyms, I wouldn't be qualified. How can this be? It seems that they would rather have a trainer who buys materials for roughly $800 and then take an exam at a testing center. Hmmmmm, someone say politics and/or endorsements? Imagine if you were a gym owner and big brother approaches you and says, “Hire only individuals with Cert A and you guys will get 10% kickback.” What would you do? Exactly! $$$ is evil unless it is from your grandma on Christmas! They never, EVER look out for the client's best interest – only their pocket book.

Here is a chart that goes over the difference between the top 10 certifications in the industry and how much they cost / length of the programs.

One of the best quotes I heard from a world renowned trainer was, “a good trainer doesn't train you on the first day.” This is sooooo true. They should sit down with you, review your goals and health history and then begin to understand how your body works. It is going to be a learning process to find out your strengths and weaknesses. Be hesitant if any trainer ever tries to sell you things such as anti-oxidants, vitamins or supplements. They are trying to hit sales quotas and the majority of the time these supplements are overpriced and do not even work. There are some good trainers around, but also a lot of crappy ones. Be diligence and find out which one can TEACH you and not just TRAIN you.

Ohh I almost forgot, make sure to be super nice to someone today! Pay for a stranger's coffee, wink at someone or smile whatever works for you! Most importantly, eat your vegetables; drink your water and SHAKE AND BAKE!!!!

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