Changes of Opinion

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” Zhuangzi

Things I’ve changed my opinions on over the last year (or so)…


Two of the three views taken during an Overhead Squat Assessment (NASM CES)

Assessments. What hasn’t changed: (1) The need to perform an assessment before training the client. (2) That every movement serves as an assessment.

What has changed: Specifically going from a complex and time consuming assessment that could put clients in positions or movement patterns they couldn’t perform to a simplified approach.

The simplified approach can be regressed or progressed if an easier or deeper testing is required. The influences were Martin Rooney of Training for Warriors and The 1,2,3,4 Assessment by Dan John.

Guess what happened after moving to a simplified approach? Clients still got screened and results still came out the same.   I’m still adding new screening tools to my toolbox.


The value of one certification over another..sort of.
NASM,NSCA and ACSM are the top three most recognized Certified Personal Trainer credentials.  My opinion that any of the three can get your foot into nearly any gym, at least within in the United States. None of them guarantee that you will be a passably good trainer, or that you can apply the lessons taught.  You simply passed a proctored test.

What has changed: My recommendation differs if you are working for yourself, or the employer accepts a range of certifications. That range includes NCSF,NFPT,ACE,NESTA,NCCPT and ISSA along with  (too many in my opinion) other alphabet organizations.

My suggestion now is to pick one,don’t let it limit your learning and don’t consider it a lifelong marriage.

“Master Trainer, Certified Personal Trainer, Correctives Specialist, Performance Specialist, Nutrition Specialist, Women’s Fitness Specialist, Golf Fitness, Youth Specialist, MMA Conditioning, Group Training Specialist, Senior Specialist, Sports Nutrition Specialist, Weight Loss Specialist and (even more stuff) Certified.”

Yes, all this followed a persons last name.  Maybe it is me, but two thoughts come to mind: (1) Jack of all trades and (2) Overkill

Trainers with multiple suffixes.
This happened after seeing a person sign their name with FIFTEEN trainer suffixes after their name, and another with the modest self-given title of “National Master Trainer and Celebrity Trainer”

Personally, If I’m impressed by anything it would be the suffixes that are notably difficult to obtain and cannot be self-awarded.

I’m in the process of going the other route and reducing letters after my name. This doesn’t mean I am skipping education or courses that award suffixes.  It simply means I’m electing not to use them on the majority of my marketing material.

In the last few years only one person (which ironically was another trainer) even bothered asking what I have. Reducing the letters after my name hasn’t hurt my earning potential and the acquisition of new letters didn’t automatically increase things.  These days I’m highly selective of where I spend my money.

Enjoy the letters after your name. Take pride in earning them, but keep it real.

Open Book Tests.
I still prefer proctored exams, but an open book test shouldn’t be underestimated.

Yes, there are those by design that are overly easy to pass.  However there are others that are quite difficult and require deep familiarity with multiple textbooks. Rote memorization will disqualify you on the essay format answers.

Open book tests tends to create a false sense of security, but that security is misplaced.  For example, when the testable material comes from SuperTraining (over 500 pages of exceptionally dense information), the Science and Practice of Strength Training (over 200 pages, also quite dense)…and 16 other books, discussions and DVD’s you cannot simply speed read/page flip your way through things.


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