80/20 Part II

80/20 Part 1 can be found here:  https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/8020/

I received some hate mail following the release of my blog “The 80/20” I believe it struck a nerve,especially for a person with an axe to grind.   I considered posting the comments and my responses, but decided that it wouldn’t be worth the time nor effort as no particular point raised by the other amounted to much.

I stand by my opinions, and I’m not the only one holding those thoughts.

The 20% often make efforts to raise people from the 80%. Sometimes they are successful, other times not. They do this to make things better for all in this profession, and truth being told educating trainers can be a very fulfilling venture that can also be rather lucrative.  In short, there is no shortage of potential students, but they need to be willing to learn and possibly start from a day one start point.

There exists a sizable group of people calling themselves fitness professionals, nutrition experts or “master trainers” without the time, sweat and invested thought to earn the titles. It’s an insult to those who spent years,even decades undergoing exhausting education, training, and studies just to become good at what they do.

To put this in perspective, part of the requirements for one of the legitimate Master Trainer programs,  or at least to my knowledge the most legit at the Certified Trainer level, requires  three specializations and the CPT designator,two years experience and a little over 1000hrs in client training. The minimum entry requirements are fairly high,a live assessment of coaching skills using the companies training model  is required and only 50 or so candidates are accepted annually.

In my opinion two years and 1000hrs isn’t very long to be considered a Master but the person passing all those requirements is likely to better than average at a number of things when it comes to training others.

In my opinion the non-growing trainer population cheapens what actual coaches do. They are glorified rep counters and too many who claim to be “nutritionists” really just recite rote memorized diet rules without any real thought or nuance.

This is not confined solely to the gym meatheads, entry-level trainers or the MLM supplement sellers. This includes those that hold legitimate education and credentials. Education or number of letters after your name alone don’t cover all the bases.

I’ve witnessed and crossed paths with plenty of “educated but incompetent” certified trainers who confirmed my standing belief that education doesn’t equal expertise and neither equals coaching skill or coach-ability.

…not to mention the fact there have been people known to lie about the certifications, specializations or degrees they held.

(Left) Last year a person was claiming particular NASM certifications.  (Right) A month ago the person was outed for NOT having said  NASM certifications.  A quick check revealed they now have one of them, and it might be only be recently obtained. If the person is willing to lie about what amounts to a home-study course (admittedly not an easy one) then everything else gets called into question. Also,it’s CHEK Institute certification, not check or cheque.”

Solutions to this problem could be difficult. I believe it starts with the coursework minimum expectations and moves on the hiring process. I believe there should be a deeper test and practical component. As it stands, in some cases you could “pass via app” and there are gyms that will hire anyone that looks the part to train others.

I personally believe physical literacy and empathy (aka time spent under the bar moving uncooperative loads) along with academic knowledge via text and live coaching is required. Simply thinking you understand something because you can duplicate what you’ve seen on YouTube sits somewhere between arrogance and ignorance.

Licensing has been brought up as a means to control, or at least limit this problem. The problem with personal training licensing is it could potentially remove ones ability to have a professional opinion and design truly personalized program, or even be restricted to a model or method that someone else, that possibly NEVER trained anyone, deemed appropriate.

NASM,ACE,ACSM (and the other groups) are responsible for determining a minimal level of competence according to them. The written test only assesses a minimum academic level of knowledge,as taught by the individual licensing body and the tests vary in difficulty from very high (70%+) failure rates to rather easy to pass. Regardless of pedigree,the trainer is responsible for knowing how to do what the certification says they know how to do.

NCCA accreditation only ensures certain administrative measures have been met. It does not guarantee a higher level of instruction or serve as measure of course quality over non-accredited courses.

It is up to the trainer to make themselves better.

It is up to the hiring managers to hire only the truly qualified through a more complex screening process.

It is up to the true professionals to raise the bar.


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