Certification renewal and professional skill

Below is a link on a piece about doctors, but it reflects a frustration I’ve felt for a long time in my industry. It’s not exactly the same, as medical science undergoes some serious advances in the how and why frequently, but the reality of day to day practice is often quite similar with CPT’s like me.


Board Certification and Fees Anger Doctors

I feel exactly the same way about fitness certifications. I’ve been practicing as a Certified Personal Trainer for 24 years, and 6 more years earlier I  was working as a Personal Trainer before certifications existed. Every individual certification I took once they became available enhanced my general expertise though did not add much to what was already generally known, and provided specific knowledge of a new area of fitness. The process of renewing all these certifications is utterly pointless, however. The fact is, and I mean this literally, is that in terms of general fitness, the knowledge base is exactly the same as it was in 1950. The only change that has occurred in terms of exercise related science is that the theories of how and why aerobic and anaerobic exercise works were CONFIRMED. That’s it. The only areas of fitness that have undergone any appreciable change deals with training a healthy pregnant and postpartum woman, and even there, the science has not changed in 15 years. Yet every two years I’m forced to sit thru the exact same workshops and listen to mostly the same exact presenters tell me the same exact information every two years, at some considerable personal expense and time to me, and then submit forms to my certifying body that I have done so and pay them a significant renewal fee. Failure to pay the fee, or take the redundant classes, means loss of certification, which is treated in our industry as if ACE, NASM, NSCA, and the dozens of other certifying bodies, will somehow retroactively siphon everything I’ve learned and put into practice out of me. 

I’m not arguing that specific exercise techniques don’t deserve certification. A trainer should have to prove expertise in Power Lifting if they want to call themselves a Power Lifting Coach or Expert. Power lifting has a very complex skill set that must be mastered. Same is true for CrossFit. Body building. Or any specific sports conditioning. But once the knowledge is honestly acquired, it’s done. Again, how and why these exercises work has nothing to do with the specifics of the exercise. They all adhere to the same basic principles of exercise science and that has not changed in 100 years. There is nothing new in the world of aerobic exercise or anaerobic exercise. Nothing. Differing systems or ways to organize a workout don’t change the science one bit, so why do I need to keep proving I know the fundamentals at personal expense?


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