Calling all personal trainers--

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    Oct 29, 2007 6:46 PM GMT
    I've decided I want to persue personal training and am weighing my options as far as where to get certification. So far I've noticed programs through the following: ACSM, ACE, NSCA & NASM. I've also heard of NATA (although athletic training doesn't seem to be exactly what i'm looking for).

    In your opinion, which is best? Unlike some, I actually have a passion for fitness and want to show other people how to enjoy it as well. So I really want the best education (short of another 4 year degree).

    Also, i've thought about getting some training/certification as a Group Fitness Instructor. Is it best to get everything from the same place?

    Thanks in advance--
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    Oct 29, 2007 9:15 PM GMT
    NASM is REQUIRED by 24 Hour Fitness and Life Time Fitness. LA Fitness is less particular.

    Each group has a slighty different view on approach, and each group has varying levels of acceptance.

    NASM is pricey, but, pretty much the gold standard, if you're wanting a cert that you can use about anywhere.

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    Oct 29, 2007 10:17 PM GMT
    I'm currently pursuing certification from NSCA and find their materials to be very high quality. NSCA is also one of the best regarded agencies in the world (aside from NASM). I don't think they offer a group fitness cert. I'd go with ACE for that. It's less expensive and you won't have trouble getting hired.
    It's great to hear that another passionate individual is joining the ranks! We need more people like you.
    Let me know if you have more questions. I'm happy to help (and also have significant insights into the industry as I also work for IDEA Health & Fitness Association).
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    Oct 29, 2007 10:50 PM GMT
    Genqb, I am certified by ACE and have found them to be very supportive of their trainers with a myriad of services including, job placement opportunities, continuing education, insurance and basically anything I've ever called them about with questions or issues. They are always helpful. ACE is widely accepted and recognized all over the world. There are more difficult certifications that carry a level of prestige with them (ACSM and NASM are two). UCLA actually offers a program that is a year and a half that gives you a degree in health sciences and fitness (ACSM requires this) and prepares you for the ACSM exam. You can always have more than one certification so if you are looking to get certified and get started in the business, I really think ACE is a good one. ACE also offers certification in Group Instruction and Weight Loss Management. The costs are reasonable and you can choose to prepare via a class or at home study. The exam is tough but I passed it on the first try (they told me only 33% of first time examinees do), then you can get started either by working for a gym or for yourself if you have the resources to support yourself until you have enough clients to make a living. It's taken me almost five years here in LA to get to a point where my new clients tend to be mostly referrals. Personally I'd recommend a part time job along with your training to begin with to even out the ups and downs you'll have until you can establish a steady base of clients. I tried on my own the first couple years and it was really hard scraping by sometimes. Then I worked part time the next couple years on top of that and it helped until I got to where I am now and have pretty much a full load and can't take on any more new people.
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    Oct 30, 2007 6:35 AM GMT
    Chucklet, Your local 24 hour may require NASM, but the ones I've belonged to prior to becoming a trainer would hire people who could barely SPELL fitness - and had weekend certs at best.

    The NSCA curriculum is like a college course in exercise physiology. The test is rigorous and the continuing education requirements extensive. I know - I'm NSCA.

    But they split their focus between personal training and coaching - and put a lot more energy into the coaching area despite the fact that most of their members are PT's. One other thing - while they give discounts to married couples in a household, they do not recognize same-sex relationships. I'm hoping this will change - but right now, they are NOT gay-friendly.

    So much for NSCA.

    I've also reviewed the ACE curriculum which is very good, and well-respected generally.

    My partner is certified with ISSA, which was co-founded by Fred Hatfield - "Dr. Squat", and while it doesn't have the cachet of the big 3 or 4, the materials are superb, the information is practical, and they seem to be ahead of the curve on working with special populations. I've encouraged others to try ISSA - and I've never had one come back saying they regretted the choice. The testing is creative, and relies heavily not upon your memory skills, but upon your ability to synthesize and articulate what you've learned. That gets high marks from me. Had I to do it over, I'd do ISSA in a heartbeat.
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    Oct 30, 2007 8:24 AM GMT
    No shit?

    Wow.

    Not here.

    Most clubs here are very strict.
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    Nov 01, 2007 1:35 AM GMT
    NATA--National Athletic Trainers Assn requires a degree in Athletic Training (my degree). If you ever see a sporting event and a player goes down, athletic trainers are usually the ones you see out on the field. Care, prevention, and treatment of athletic injuries are the primary focus. I don't imagine this is what you are after.
    AFAA is another fairly decent certifying organization for starting out. In some cases you can teach group fitness with a personal training certification but usually not vice versa. Before you can get certified, you need to have current CPR certification.
    Mike