“Master” Personal Trainer

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Not long ago I had the opportunity to glance at an employment application that I found rather amusing.  I can expect a little padding in any resume’, but this one caught my eye.  Among this persons qualifications were not just one, but THREE designations as a “Master Personal Trainer.”    This sort of “title inflation” has happened widely in the martial arts, particularly in the West.

Wow, that sort of title pretty much trumps my regular certified personal trainer title right?

Not so fast, let me explain.  When I’m done, I can be fairly certain you will be as unimpressed  as I was.

In this specific case, the individual possessed numerous certified personal trainer credentials  but only two were current.  While each organization does present similar material, each has their own particular view.  This by itself is a good thing since it provides a wide range of viewpoints.  In this case, only 1 of his agencies held particularly high name value…too bad it was one of the ones that lapsed.

No degree, no specialized area of concentrations, no high level sports achievements, no client testimonials made available and less than ten years of experience.

Two of his MPT designations could be earned by completing a set number of courses when purchased in a bundle pack.

The third MPT designation is actually an in-house title given to trainers that complete 2000 training sessions.  Mind you, the average training session is generally 30 minutes in most commercial gyms.  A not too busy personal trainer can complete 40 training sessions per week quite easily, which means that they can achieve “Master” status in well under two years.

Aside from the exceptionally gifted, I cannot think of anything anybody could be considered a master of in less than two years. 

The minimum age and educational requirements to be a Certified Personal Trainer in the United States is 18 years old with a high school degree or general education diploma.  This means your “Master Trainer” may not even be old enough to legally drink.

A few of my co-workers achievements: 

– Several with degrees in exercise science related fields.

–  A few with 20+ years of experience in training.

– Numerous current and former national level competitive athletes including bodybuilders, physique competitors, ultra-marathon runners, martial artists and collegiate athletes.

– At least one that has been on a national group exercise advisory board.

Amazingly none of these people consider themselves Master Personal Trainers.

I’ve said it before, I believe the credential is only as good as the trainer that holds it. Higher name brand credentials do indeed open up doors the lesser known certifications cannot, but that does not necessarily make trainer A any better than trainer B.

What happened with this applicant you ask?  He was indeed hired, he was largely unprofessional, lazy and overweight but was a good salesman.  He seemed to have a very good knowledge of nutritional supplements but his ability to train clients was limited to those without any major movement issues, despite his claim of being able to work with anyone. 

I wonder when “Grandmaster Personal Trainer” or “Supreme Grandmaster Personal Trainer” will become available for purchase?

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