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ACE or NASM certification?

by Beth
(NJ)

I am trying to decide which PTcert would be better for a newbie. I'd like to pass the exam and get to work ASAP. I live on the east coast and I've narrowed it down to these two. Any feedback would be helpful. Thanks

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ACE CPT exam is probably easier than NASM
by: Caroline Low

Hi Beth,

I just got certified through NASM and from talking to lots of people I heard that ACE is a lot easier than NASM to pass (so NASM is more highly regarded). I know trainers who were originally certified with ACE and now they are taking the NASM exam so they can get a stronger certification and better pay. It took me about 6 weeks to prep for the NASM exam, but it depends how fast you read and how easily the information sinks in!

Good luck!


Caroline Low
Owner, Aynala Fitness & Dance
www.aynala.com

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Cert
by: Anonymous

Either will do. Every certification is pretty much the same thing from the beginning of the text to the end of the text. The only real difference, is what sounds good to the gym. Certain commercial gyms demand NASM because it sounds and looks good. NASM is not that much different from ACE etc.... All certs are just a piece of paper with your name on it

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NASM
by: Tim D

Certifications are NOT created equal. It is hard to distinguish between a quality cert than is science based and is not simply a regurgitation or watering down of NSCA and the ACSM blended into a "comprehensive" program.

Some organizations are developed to better the field and put forth the best professionals in the industry, others are simply marketing ploys to generate revenue for a person/company that is more concerned with making as much money as possible while convincing the unknowing student they have what it takes to thrive in this field.

When I hire trainers, unless they come with more than 3 years full time experience, I require NASM,NSCA, and ACSM to weed out the field of candidates. I recognize ACE a solid cert but somewhat antiquated. So, I'll consider an ACE certified candidate with considerable experience, becasue that matters most. However, NASM preps you better for a wider range of clients, because the truth is, healthy 20 somethings that you can physically punish all day usually don't have the financial resources to hire a qualified trainer. You'd better be prepared to deal with limitations. NASM does this better than any other cert out there.

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Which PFT certification is best -Part 1
by: Anonymous

First and foremost, not all certifications are created equal. In fact, certification organizations, though very similar, have a slightly different focus. Additionally, all fitness organizations (including NASM) use guidelines from the ACSM and the NSCA. Does this make ACSM the gold organization? Absolutely not! So why do people constantly quote the ACSM and NSCA guidelines? Well, the answer is simple. Most certifying agencies do not have a research agenda. However, there are a few exceptions: ACSM, Cooper institute, and the NSCA. Therefore, when organizations make statements, since it should be based on evidence and scientific consensus, it is logical that they quote the research fellows. So does NASM specifically conduct original research? NASM appears to have conducted some research, however, their approach to PFT (though a good one) is not based on their original research. Rather, it is based on models from therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation medicine. So, does this make ACSM, NASM and NSCA the best choices? No!
Let’s consider some more facts. Currently only one PFT organization offers a mandatory practical exam and workshop to their candidates. This company is AFAA. Though this organization does not get as much praise as NASM or ACSM CPT, I think this is good for a professional without a degree or who never had the opportunity be involved in a formal academic preparation at a college or university. I would not have said this 1 year ago, however, I recently sat in on an AFAA workshop and the guy who presented not only had amazing credentials, but was an outstanding presenter. I really liked their workshop approach and the fact that they had a pretty decent practical exam set up. My concern with AFAA is that their content is about the same as all the other CPT organizations. So is AFAA the best for the entry level instructor. Maybe, especially if you’re coming in from a novice background and you’re looking for powerful basics.
Also, there are other organizations, such as ACE etc., who offer workshops. However, they do not offer a practical exam. I think that if an employer hire’s a new PFT simply based on them passing one of today’s exams (say NASM or ACSM) they will find themselves with a poorly prepared professional. At this point you might be wondering if I endorse any one organization over the other, and the answer is no. However, here is a list of what I recommend:

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Which PFT certification is best -Part 2
by: Anonymous

1) The ideal PFT should have had mentoring and training by a degreed professional and a certification that meats IRSA accreditation standard. (Keep in mind that NCCA is not the only acceptable accrediting body--based on IRSA’s recommendations).
2) If the aspiring PFT is non-degreed, new to exercise programming and somewhat hard pressed for funds, I recommend the AFAA certification.
3) If the above applies (but you have some money to spend) I recommend you attend the fitness institute located in Boca Raton, the cooper institute located in Dallas Texas or go through the CHEK institute for their Exercise Coach program.
4) If you have some experience but no degree, I recommend you attend the NASM CPT workshop, and then take the CPT exam.
5) If you already have a degree in the field and some experience. I recommend you sit for either the NSCA CSCS, the ACSM HFI, or NASM CPT.
6) Also, keep in mind that PFT is not currently regulated by law and that there has been an effort to prepare a national board exam. This is something you should also be aware of. The organization is the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE).

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simple answer
by: Anonymous

The simplest answer, especially if you are new, is to get the cert. that is recognized by the most gyms. THAT WOULD BE NASM. You just want to start working so you can gain experience right? Work is where you will learn the most. I'm not saying that there should be uncertified trainers, but you just need to get in first. You will see that there are a lot of people with sports science degrees doing some dumb things. Don't rely on the title to make you.

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so many certs out there
by: Anonymous

I'm acsm certified. There are so many certs out there these days that it doesnt matter what cert you hold. A piece of paper doesnt make the trainer, ones knowledge and experience is what makes a great trainer. I'm employed by golds gym and we have an excellent trainer who has been a pt for more than 15 years who holds an unknown hundred dollar cert. He's amazing. All the high end certs just focus on certain areas differently. Just because you hold a specific cert, doesnt mean its better or that you are a better trainer than the next person.

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I want to take the NBFE is Nasm affiliated
by: Anonymous

Is Nasm affiliated to NBFE i'm concerned because taking other courses witn nasm like ces and pes is an investment of knowledge and want to take the exam, i worked as personal trainer for 8 years, and since their working in getting cpt into licensing for all states as standard exam
wanted to know if nasm qualifies.

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State Licensure is State Siezure
by: Tim D

Right now I urge everyone of you to contact your state congressman, representatives and other legislators to vote down ANY licensure for personal training.

Do you NOT understand that the government, NOT YOU, will then determine what is considered reasonable and appropriate. They will create a "standardization", ie boring and doesn't work, doctrine that will ruin the industry. You will be a slave to state/federal law!

Your expenses will increase (taxes and fees) and your revenue will go down. You already pay too much tax; do you want to pay more? Before long, the government will tell you to offer pro bono services to the under privileged. With all due respect to those having hard financial times, don't take me with you. I'm sorry that someone can't afford to employ my services, but there plenty of inexpensive and FREE ways to get into shape. I even offer free advice on my blog.

The government is already taking exercise from our children in public schools. Now they want to take it from everyone else.

For those of us who have worked HARD to make our selves the best trainer/coaches we can be, we say to you - WORK HARD for your reward. Do NOT run to Uncle Sam cry for help. Face the adversity of learning and developing yourself to make you better. Do NOT cry because "Trainer Tom" is better at marketing than you. Or because Coach Sally uses exercises in an outside the box manner and get results for her clients. Praise them and learn.

Do NOT listen to academics who couldn't hack it in a free enterprise market. They want to make themselves feel better. They do NOT care about your future.

The beauty of personal training is that it is not boring. Your work environment, tasks, tools, and customers can change everyday or not all...BUT it is YOUR choice to do so.

You are your own boss...most of the time.
You set your own hourly rate.
You choose who you wish to train.
You work when you want to work.
You choose which exercises are best and most suitable for your clients.
You have freedom to experiment with protocols, sets, reps, techniques, combination, circuits, etc.

Do you want a stuffed shirt sitting in an office in your state capital or DC telling you how to do your job? No! Hell No. No one does. Why? Because that is called communism.

For some states it is too late. But, we live in country of voters. Act now and repeal any license of personal trainers in your state. YOUR future will thank you.

Tim

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Cofrit personal trainer certificate ?
by: Anonymous

Hi everybody. Please give me some help - if you know C.O.R.F.I.T certificate is it good or at least recognized within the personal fitness industry.

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CORFIT
by: Coach Tim D

Anonymous,
I've been a pro for over 12 years. I have my own facility. I would NOT hire anyone with this cert. Most certs are garbage. If you want to be a reputable coach/trainer I suggest CrossFit Football, CrossFit Level I, Starting Strength Barbell Cert with Mark Rippetoe, or USAW Level Coach.

I have attended many cert during my career. These are b y far the best in content, structure, instruction, and practical analysis.

Don't believe or buy the hype of all the garbage that is out there.

Pay a little more money to become a better coach. To not do so, would be tremendous disservice to your clients and yourself.

Rant finished.


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confused- online PT programs
by: Laura

I'm really interested in becoming a certified personal trainer. Both the Oxygen Magazine & Shape Magazine that I subscribe to advertise ISSA as a good place to obtain my certification as a personal trainer. Is this true? Or Penn Foster? I've just begun looking into this, but any help would be greatful! Thanks so much!\
Laura

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starting out
by: Jonathan Bolding

As a fitness professional of over 11 years and current holder of NSCA-CPT, NASM-CPT, NASM-CES, NASM-CES, as well as Premier-CPT, I would reccomend NASM-CPT. I began with the NSCA-CPT and while i enjoyed great success with NSCA pricipals there seemed to be a gap in programming. Most people who get into this industry are self confessed 'gym rats' who already have an extensive base of hypertrophy exercises. I would say that NASM will help integrate this knowoledge while incorporating corrective properties if done correctly. NASM does sometimes cause 'paralysis by analysis' with the extensive PT background, but too much knowoledge is never a bad thing, feel to free to contact me Jboolding23@gmail.com

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Your Choice Depends on Your Goals
by: MPearl

I ordered both sets of manuals, used off Ebay to help me decide. (Ace 4th Edition and NASM 3rd Edition). After spending a week reviewing them both, I firmly believe that it depends on what you plan on doing with your certificate and how you prefer to train as to which is ultimately the better choice for you.

Here are what I perceived to be the advantages of each:

NASM

~ Offers a concrete, structured program with specific exercises for accomplishing specific goals.

~ Once you learn the OPT model and the proper technique for all the exercises on each level of the model, the program is plug-and-play; you fill in the blanks based on each client’s fitness level and you instantly have a balanced, well-rounded program.

~ The exercises within the program are standard, well-known gym staples emphasizing flexibility, balance, core, cardio, etc. - including squats, lunges, instability exercises, short duration aerobics, plyometric exercises for advanced students, etc.


ACE

~ Allows you to apply your knowledge to create individualized programs from any number of exercise modalities.

~ Has a program where you can be on a list of CPT’s available to AARP’s affluent client base.

~ The new IFT model (2010) assists with creating a more structured prescription for CPT’s while addressing the rampant dissatisfaction that most clients (over 80%) claim to have experienced with their personal training programs by allowing greater flexibility and creativity in client programming and stressing the importance of CPT/client interaction and rapport.

It was well worth it for me to buy both sets of books and make these discoveries. These tests are expensive and time-consuming to study for and it’s important to choose the right certification based on your personal goals.

Hope this helps!

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best online programs for Certified Personal Trainer
by: Laura

I prefer to take an online program to study & obtain my certification as a personal trainer (that's not too expensive). Does anyone have any recommendations? NASM, ACSM, NSCA and ACE?



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NASM I hated ACE
by: Anonymous

I am open minded and I absolutely hated everything about ACe from day one. They do things "thier way" which is not the standard or universal method that nasm uses.
I have been a bodybuilder for 6 years now and traveled to gym around the globe.
Ace was an aufull experience for me and I dissagreed with almost half of thier information and even false information I see them posting in muscle magazines.
I spend over a thousand dollars on the ace study guides and retaking exams. Most of what ace says contradicts another thing they said previously and they have the most anoying rules and protocol, as well as regimen .
I studied nasm and passed the exam with ease.
The ace exam can take up to 4 hours and is full of trick questions.
-good luck

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Is it ok to use one for another
by: renee

Hi - I have the whole program for ACE and find it very difficult to retain and follow. A co-worker of mine has NASM material and brought the book and study guide into work for me to look over. I much prefer that program, I don't feel like I'm reading a insurance policy...over and over and over. Do you think it's possible to past the ACE test by reading the NASM material?

Thanks for your replies.

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ACE v NASM
by: Anonymous

looks like everyone is rooting for NASM..
i was literally about to sign up for ACE until i read some comments
as long as NASM is nationally accredited and well known im gunnu have faith in what you guys are saying and go w/ NASM.
can you take the ACE test w/ NASM knowledge??


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Guy Below probably has ISSA
by: Anonymous

Here is the Deal; all certifications are not created the same. I have read ACSM, ACE, ISSA & NASM textbooks, Study guides. I use the NASM knowledge to design my programs and take my clients to their desired goals. I am NASM certified which has helped me advance in my career. I am an independent trainer and have been for 7 years. I worked for several different gyms for 3 years. It is a cop out to say all certifications are the same and only certain gyms want NASM or such. So if someone drives a ford focus is it the same as a Lexus or BMW. Is muscle milk protein as quality as ISO PURE. Is AAA baseball athletes as good as MLB athletes? It is absurd to say there is no difference

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ACSM certification
by: dave

my understanding is that ACSM certification is looked upon highly and respected by the medical/ healthcare professionals. NASM and NSCA, ACSM are viewed with much respect by many gyms. It is also my understanding that ACSM addresses certain population groups such as diabetics, etc. anyone have any info on this?

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ACE vs. NASM
by: JJ

Some of these comments are RIDICULOUS. ACE and NASM are both accredited programs. They are both excellent programs.

I recently became ACE certified and had NO trouble passing the NASM sample tests they offered having never read a NASM book. Both offer structured programming and very good foundational knowledge.

Take a look at the 2 web sites for yourself to see what they each offer for after you are certified and choose which YOU believe will work best for you. I don't think you will go wrong either way.

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Go ACE
by: Anonymous

ACE and NASM both offer NCAA-accredited certifications, which is definitely something you want your cert org to have. NASM is OK, but I’d go with ACE for a few of different reasons. One, it’s a nonprofit, so you know they have to put all of their proceeds back into programs that help you. Two, they have people on staff you can contact with questions that come up while you’re studying. I can’t tell you how many times I called and e-mailed when I was going through the manual, and they always answered me in a timely manner. And, ACE stays with you even after you pass your test. They offer ConEd that helps you market yourself and develop business strategies, and a job placement board if you choose to go the club route. You can’t just choose based on who gives an easier exam. Take everything into account.

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Pick ACE
by: Anonymous

I hold the NSCA-CPT, ACE-GEL, and the NASM-FNS. Additionally, I have dealt with ACSM regarding an advanced certification. I chose the NSCA-CPT because I am an egghead and am interested in the anatomy and physiology as well as programming. I also hold a PhD in instructional design -- instructional designers design the tests. Any NCCA accredited certification will be accepted by almost all gyms.

All certifications are not created equal and people have a tendency to overestimate experience. It is possible to do something the wrong way for twenty years. Plus, most people don't have a tendency to keep up with the latest research. I know of personal trainers who keep their clients in the "fat burning zone."

Further NCCA certifications are held to a standard. The tests must be both reliable and valid. Each question is vetted. I would never hire anyone who passes a personal training exam online. I have had a couple of people ask me to take the ISSA exam for them. See the problem?

Here is my advice, contact each of the organizations and ask each the same fairly simple question. See who returns your call and kindly answers your question or goes above and beyond the call of duty.

ACSM never returned my phone call. I just wanted more information about one of their certifications. However, NASM was by far the rudest.

Another issue with NASM is that their trainers are scripted. That can be both good and bad. The good, a gym can substitute one NASM trainer for another. They all are trained to train in the same way. The bad, they all are trained to train in the same way. I deal with special populations. I am constantly being innovative, and because I have a pretty good knowledge of anatomy and physically, I can pull it off. Other people have commented that NASM trainers often cannot pass other organizations' certification tests. NASM doesn't put as much emphasis on anatomy and physiology as ACSM or NSCA do. However, they script your training approach which lessens the need to know. The only times you'll have to know those things is if you have smart clients -- clients who ask why this and why that?

The bottom line is this: Make sure that you know your stuff. Personal trainers have the power to both do good and to do harm. I have decided that because the NCCA accredited certifications offer different approaches but are all acceptable, to only earn NSCA, ACSM, and ACE certifications from here on out, because either those organizations offer the most respected certifications, or they offer the best customer service. Frankly, ACE and NSCA are the best at answering questions, returning phone calls, and supporting trainers. Actually, having career support counts for a lot.

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Is NASM valid worldwide?
by: Ilaria

Is NASM certification accepted in Italy?
I'm Italian, but in the US at the moment so I was thinking to get the NASM certification.

Thank you

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ACE or NASM
by: Barry

ACE, ACSM, and NASM (alphabetical order) are the top tier personal trainer certifications. Be careful, though, saying that one certification exam is easier or harder than another. I know a few trainers who hold certifications from more than one of the above, but the overwhelming majority of top-tier certified trainers just have one. As security for NCCA exams is tightly controlled, it is impossible to compare any two of them side-by-side. Furthermore, anyone who has two or more of the above certs would have had to take the exams at about the same time - within a week or so of each other - and then compare their scores for each, as exam content evolves along with each new cpt trainer manual edition. ACE, ACSM, and NASM manuals are each currently in their 4th editions.

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CPT and Nutrition
by: Sara

I am going to start earning my CPT within the next few months however I would like to be taught thoroughly in nutrition and anatomy as well. Ive looked at ISSA, ACE and NASM and honestly I cannot figure out which offers the best programs with high recommendations. Any advice/guidance will be greatly appreciated.

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