Is Your Trainer Trained?
Do you ever wonder what the initials after your trainer’s name stand for? Or what initials should a trainer even have? EALM asked fitness trainer Tiffany Chag, CSCS to let us know what credentials a personal fitness trainer should have and what they mean. Here is her response!
Chag shared “It is most important that the trainer has an up-to-date personal training certification accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA).” Just so you know, some require a four-year college degree while others take only 20 minutes to complete online. She let us know there are many personal training certifications out there, but there are three widely recognized personal training governing bodies and their respective certifications.”
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA): offers both the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification and the Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification. The CSCS is the most recognized and respected certification in the fitness profession, intended for trainers focused on maximizing athletic performance. In order to sit for the four-hour exam, you must have a four-year college degree. The CPT, also highly regarded, is intended for trainers working with the general population.
- American College of Sports Medicine—Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM-CPT): Like the NSCA-CPT, this certification is intended for trainers working with the general population. As stated on its website, the ACSM, “advances and integrates scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.”
- National Academy of Sports Medicine—Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT): This certification is also meant for trainers working with the general population and focuses more on corrective exercise through balance and functional movement. They created the Optimum Performance Training (OPT) model to design personal training programs.
Tiffany made us aware of additional certifications trainers may earn. “Many trainers complete certifications for special populations such as triathlon training, pre- and post-natal, weight loss, and youth or seniors. Trainers can also obtain certifications focused on different modalities of exercise, such as: kettle bells, TRX (the black and yellow rope you see hanging around your gym), or spinning/cycling. If you’re looking for something in particular, ask if a trainer has a specialty certification or if they’ve ever worked with someone in a similar situation. Most trainers will gladly provide referrals, if you’re interested.”
Tiffany Chag’s Words of Wisdom for the World of Fitness:
“Ask questions! I can count on one hand the number of times a prospective client has asked about my background—this always surprises me. The more you learn about the trainer, the more likely you are to find the right match to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
Working with a trainer should be challenging and should push you outside your comfort zone, but mostly…it should be fun. In between catching your breath, ideally you’re able to eke out a smile!”
Laura Cipullo and EALM’s Words of Wisdom for the World of Fitness:
Look for the initials CSCS, CPT and or NASM-CPT. Ask questions and make sure you don’t push too hard to cause injury!! Also check out www.destructivelyfit.com to see if your trainer has been trained to work with eating disorders.