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ACSM is it just for medical purposes?

I am looking to get certified as a personal trainer either through NASM or ACSM.

I currently live in Dallas and since The Cooper's Athletic Center is often mentioned by my peers as a good source to get your certification I have been leaning toward that a bit.

NASM and ACSM both seem similar, and I was looking more into ACSM than NASM, until I started reading that ACSM seems more geared toward the medical field, i.e. rehab, healing, etc. Although I find those are incredibly noble fields, I was not sure if this is right for me.

I have worked out for many years, but am new to personal training and wanted a certification that is entry level but also decently prestigious. I mainly want to help average people whether in shape or not loose weight, gain strength,improve their conditioning and live healthier lives. Pretty basic stuff. Since I am new to this I was wondering if ACSM is too specialized, or aimed more for people who want to make this a full time career through becoming specialized trainers in the medical field?

Am I reading to much into what ACSM does or is? Can someone please explain.


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by: Anonymous

I'm ACSM certified. Where I work about 85% of the trainers are NASM, but that's only because a lot of the trainers started out as interns from a nearby college that promotes NASM.

Both are great and respected certs. ACSM is definitely more clinically based in their approach. It is extremely well-respected and usually more recognized by doctors and those in the medical field.

NASM's approach is to teach you to be a personal trainer in a practical setting. An example of the difference:

ACSM's text will explain the science behind stretching all the way down to the neuromuscular responses, etc. NASM's text will actually show you how to stretch, but not necessarily the science behind it or as in much minute scientifically detail.

I would recommend either and choosing depending on a few factors to consider:

1. What is your background and experience in fitness? (Even your own personal experience as an athlete, etc.)

2. What direction do you want to take your career? Are you going to have to get the "approval" of doctors and nurses?

The ACSM trainers I work with have or want to go into rehab, (mainly Cardiac Rehab), or Physical Therapy. Some Sports Performance. I personally focus on working with those who have physical disabilities, chronic diseases, such as Cancer. Not to say that those of us who have ACSM don't also trainer athletes, etc.

The NASM trainers at my club are more specifically into straight-up training relatively healthy clients such as athletes or the guys who want to get back into shape. Power-lifting, etc., etc.

But again, each cert has its purpose in terms of name recognition, but in the end they're both well-respected and the real test of what a cert means is how good of a trainer you'll be. Have a good rapport with your client, cue them well, encourage, help them, let them see results--that's what will prove what the four capitalized letters following your name will mean.

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