by Barry Bassin
(Long Beach, CA)
Unless you hold more than one personal trainer certification, it is almost a certainty that you think the certification you have is the best one. Even more so, everyone brings a personal fitness bias into their decision about which certification to pursue. Likewise, what you want to do as a trainer once certified has bearing on which certification you'll probably choose. Of course, there are those who just want the easiest certification to obtain, but my comments are not for them.
For me, ACE, ACSM, NASM, and NSCA (alphabetical listing) are collectively the best, and each enjoys respect and acceptance within the fitness profession. Each gives would-be trainers an excellent education in anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology. And each gives a good grounding on exercise and nutrition.
If strength training, including bodybuilding is your background and your forward-looking career goal as a trainer, NSCA and NASM will probably be your first choice. If working with mostly non-athletes, and especially with mature adults and special populations, then ACE and ACSM should have the most appeal.
I chose ACE for my main certifications (personal trainer and health coach) because I wanted to work with a diversified client base. I am presently lead trainer at my gym. I train a regular client base of 21 people, totaling 35 sessions in a typical week. My clients range from high school students through several clients in their 80s, and every age in between, and with myriad health conditions (each cleared by their physician for exercise). My ACE credentials have served me well, as does my ongoing study about exercise program design for special populations.
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