Dr. Anthony Abbott
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The fitness world is a fascinating place.  It’s a lot like the wild west.  There is little regulation, and a lot of people like to overstep their boundaries.

On one end of the spectrum, you have personal trainers.  Although education isn’t the only factor in producing results, you should still scrutinize your trainer’s education.  Frankly, what they don’t know could potentially debilitate you.  The Exercise Science PhD who heads up our vocational school Fitness Institute International is also an expert witness in fitness-based court battles.  He has had to testify against a lot of trainers who have made uneducated mistakes.  Some of these mistakes resulted in permanent injury to the client.

We don’t say that to scare you.  We say it because it’s true.  Did you know there are personal training certifications you can take online?  Tyler decided to research them and see just how rigorous they were.  He was shocked by what he found.

He found a certification he could pass without actually using any of his exercise science knowledge.  He simply answered “true” on all of the true and false questions and “A” on the A,B,C, and D questions.  The certifying company then gave him his results (a 43%) online with a big note that said which numbers he got wrong.  There was no penalty for failing.  You only pay if you pass.  So, he took it a second time and changed the incorrect “true” answers to “false” and changed the incorrect “A” answers to “B”.  He passed with a 72%.  This is why your trainer is suspect.  It’s not because all trainers are inherently ignorant.  It’s just that there are several certifications like this on the internet, and your trainer may have one of them.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have medical doctors who step outside of their field of practice to give health and fitness advice.  Well, they’re doctors.  They’re smart, right?

Yes, they’re smart.  We won’t dispute that.  However, they don’t have to take exercise science and nutrition classes in Med School.  Only a quarter of Med Schools require even one nutrition class.  Doctors are trained to practice medicine.  Once they start writing books and making TV shows about exercise and nutrition, their advice is essentially worthless.  Go ask your next-door neighbor, and you’ll get an equally educated opinion.

So, if doctors and personal trainers aren’t necessarily reputable sources, who can you listen to?

Thankfully, you’re not thrown under the bus.  There are a couple university-level personal training certifications that have high standards.  These are the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).  If one of these trainers tells you something, chances are that you can believe them.  They have actually been trained in exercise science.  That’s not to say all other trainers are ignorant, but it is to say that these two certifications are the only two university-level ones.  Research your trainer’s certification and see if you’re comfortable with it.

Keep in mind that personal trainers are for relatively healthy people.  If you have some type of injury, go to a physical therapist rather than a personal trainer.  Any personal trainer who wants to rehabilitate you is playing with fire.  On the bright side, you can sue them after they permanently injure you.

For nutrition, even NSCA and ACSM certified personal trainers have limited knowledge.  The experts in nutrition are dietitians.  They are required to earn a bachelor’s degree, complete a 12-month supervised practice program, and then pass a national examination.

Be careful who you listen to.  Some people aren’t as qualified in the health and fitness field as you might think.  For more information on the dangers of some personal trainers, read this.



NOTE:  I re-wrote this article here.  It has better formatting.  I apologize for the lousy job on this one.  It just wouldn’t work, and it frustrated me quite a bit.  Ha.