How well do you know your fitness professional?
There are three types of education fitness professionals achieve. They can earn a college degree, become certified and/or licensed. Do you know the difference? Due to the lack of regulation, education requirements for fitness professionals are typically determined by their employers. When trusting these individuals with your health and wellness it is important you choose the right professional.
Degreed Fitness Professionals:
Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, and Physiology – A four-year degree covers topics such as psychology, nutrition, human anatomy, physiology and biomechanics as well as topics relating to motion analysis, injury prevention, post rehabilitation and physiology for the aging. Practicums, labs and hands on learning are an essential part of the curriculum. Upon completion, they are able to take blood pressure, read EKGs, administer fitness tests, and have the knowledge to work with special populations (diabetes, cancer, heart disease). Careers vary from athletic directors, cardiac rehabilitation professionals to corporate wellness. Those that wish to pursue medicine, physical therapy, dietetics, or similar fields choose to continue onto graduate programs.
Associate Degree in Health Fitness Science – This two-year degree generally prepares individuals for personal training. Curriculum topics cover physiology, biomechanics, fitness analysis and nutrition. AAS programs are usually offered at community colleges, and many schools allow students to complete these programs either online or on site. Some of the better programs include hands on, supervised internships that allow students to practically apply their skills before they sit for industry fitness certification examinations.
Certified Fitness Professionals:
A certified fitness professional must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma, and be certified in CPR/AED. To become certified in Personal Training or Group Fitness, one must pass an exam hosted at a testing center. A certification is required to teach group fitness classes or personal train clients. Those that are certified must complete required continuing education credits to maintain their credentials. CECs vary by the organization. After passing the initial exam, there are many specialty certifications available. For example, a personal trainer may become certified in Active Aging if they work with the elderly. A group fitness instructor may get certified in Pilates to teach this specialty class. Many forms of fitness have certification programs ranging from one day to multiple yearlong programs. For example, complete a YogaFit Level 1 over a day or become a Registered 200-hour Yoga Instructor over a year.
Not all certifications are created equal. There are a variety of organizations (ACE, AFAA, ACSM) that create and offer certifications in multiple specialties (Group Fitness, Personal Training, Corrective Exercise). These certifications are then accredited by organizations (NBFE, DEAC, NCCA), but be careful there are plenty of certifications that are not accredited. NCCA is the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and is the gold standard for fitness certifications. Those that hold a NCCA accredited certification are featured on the United States Registry of Exercise Professionals®(USREPS®), an internationally recognized registry of exercise professionals in the United States.
Licensed Fitness Professionals
There are multiple group fitness formats that require teachers to become licensed. For programs such as Zumba, Piyo, or Insanity, group fitness instructors must complete a day long training. They must stay current in order to be qualified to teach by paying monthly fees. No other training is required.
The knowledge and expertise of the professional you are learning from will impact your success. Would you trust a doctor that was self-taught by reading books, experimented on his own, and simply passed a test? In our experience, successful instructors have knowledge of human anatomy, human physiology, training techniques, first aid and sports nutrition. At Hit the Floor we value expertise and education. We are not just a trainer, but a fitness specialist and therefore call our service Private Fitness Training. Our primary HTF professionals are degreed in the field, hold a NCCA accredited Personal Trainer Certification, multiple specialty certifications, and fulfill HTF’s comprehensive company training. We have knowledge and expertise to work with special populations. At a minimum, our secondary HTF professionals hold a NCCA accredited Personal Trainer Certification, multiple specialty certifications, fulfill HTF company training, and work under a Primary HTF Professional to learn and grow.
How well do you know your fitness professional? Be informed and next session ask about their credentials.