Monday, September 26, 2011

Pain In The Ass

So, every fitness professional has one thing in common: some letters after our name on our business cards. Currently I am a American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer (ACE CPT). I am the first to admit that it is not the most well-respected certification in the industry; in fact, it is often the butt of jokes by coaches on other blogs. I'm ok with it though, because it is just something I got to hold me over and get me into the industry. My certification doesn't define my knowledge; in fact, it has nothing to do with it. I am a much more intelligent and proficient trainer than one would expect from an ACE CPT.

This leads me to my current dilemma: my cert is about to run out, and I chose to not follow up with any of the CEU's necessary to renew. The two big bodies in the strength/fitness world are the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). They are the "big boys" of the industry, but really focus on different populations. The ACSM tends more towards special populations, whereas the NSCA focuses on an athletic population. In fact, the NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) is basically the gold standard for strength coaches. 

There are lots of big names in the industry with CSCS on their business card: Eric Cressey, Tony Gentilcore, Bret Contreras, John Meadows, Mike Robertson and Martin Rooney to name a few. However, there are plenty of notable coaches who DON'T have their CSCS: Jim Wendler, Dan John and John Romaniello come to mind. Dave Tate, Mark Rippetoe and Mike Boyle once held their CSCS, but may no longer be affiliated with that certification. 

Does not having a CSCS make those guys any less knowledgable? Certainly not. Thats ridiculous; but they can get away with it because they have been in the industry for decades and are extremely well known. In fact, Mike Boyle was BANNED by the NSCA, and they no stopped accepting CEU's earned under his tutelage. 

Which, again, comes back to my dilemma. Does it really matter which certification I get? Why can't I just let my ability speak for itself? Someone can pass the NSCA CSCS test or ACSM HFS test without ever stepping foot in a gym if they study hard enough, but that doesn't mean they can coach their way out of a paper bag. 

Unfortunately, it does matter. If I apply for a job at a reputable strength facility, they want to see that I have my CSCS. Just like a big financial corporation wants to see people with MBA's. You might be a business genius, but never bothered to take that test. Does that make you less beneficial to a company? Nope, but many people won't give you a chance without those letters after your name. 

This bugs me. Instead of sitting here and being grumpy, I'm going to go lift something heavy. Something I hope all the strength coaches out there can actually do!

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