Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trainers without certifications

This has been popping up more and more lately, so I thought I'd meditate on it for a moment.
Whatever your gig is, I think we can all agree that it's important to be qualified to actually do it. Usually this means some schooling and then a piece of paper saying you understand the basics. In my realm this is the personal training certification.
Now I am standing at the front of the line when it comes to declaring that most of what you learn getting this thing will not relate one iota to what you actually do with clients. I use waaay more of my RKC, FMS, etc. skills working with clients than I do my ISSA CFT. However, the CFT gave me my foundation. Regardless of whether I use them or not it drilled me in on some basic stuff.
Now here's the meat of it. If you are a personal trainer, particularly one trying to make a career of it, and you do not have your personal training certification you are wrong.
Just to clarify this, your RKC is not a personal training certification. Your Crossfit Level One is not a personal training certification. No matter how much you may want it to be, it just isn't. I also don't care how many times some guy you work with has declared he learned more in blah blah blah than he did from his PT cert. That does not mean he learned nothing from his PT cert.
I've seen some discussions lately on forums where people talk back and forth about shy you don't need a PT cert. Here's the thing though... can you tell me why it's bad to have one? Probably not.
So this brings me to my ultimate conclusion. If you are trainer working without a PT Cert you're telling me something. Not that you don't know what the quadratus lumborum is or what it does, you are telling me that you're not serious.
PT certs aren't hard to get. What's 3-6 months out of a 20-30 year career? You're really trying to tell me you can't take the time?
I'm not buying it.

Now a word on Master Trainers...

I've seen more and more self-proclaimed 'Master Trainers' popping up. I know a few Master Trainers. Someone else had to tell them they were Master Trainers. None of them declared it. If you're a 'Master Trainer' you don't have to tell people, it's obvious. My whole philosophy of learning in regard to strength training revolves around one guiding concept: I know nothing.
This has served me pretty well. I come across things everyday that just leave me scratching my head, but that's okay. I look it up. I do a google search. Turns out a vastus lateralis is a real muscle and not a Star Trek character like I thought it was.


  1. I agree with a lot you have to say Jordan, but I still don't feel a PT cert is necessary. I've found that people never look into a trainers credentials beyond seeing if there is a group of letters following their name. Doesn't matter what they are, so long as there is something.

    Of course I'm not saying a PT cert is worthless, no doubt some good stuff can be taken from one. But I'd rather invest my limited funds to training I KNOW I'll use i.e. RKC, Z, or workshops with real Master Trainers.

  2. It's not really about people looking into your credentials, it's about foundation and intent. If you have your GI Bill it will pay for some certs.
    Other than that I think this is a case where we will have to agree to disagree.

  3. I know far less than I did 2 years ago. Or even 2 weeks ago.