Is there a difference between a personal trainer and a health fitness specialist?
There are so many titles in our industry (personal trainer, fitness expert, exercise specialist, exercise physiologist and the list goes on). Makes one wonder if there is any difference between them all or is it self-aggrandizement? What's your opinion? Is there a difference?
As an employed HFS at a corporate wellness center my duties not only include utilizing my personal training knowledge with supervising workouts, fitness testing and prescriptions but also implementing strategic program and marketing plans, monthly reporting statistics, ensuring compliance to equipment preventative maintenance schedule, and creating and delivering fitness incentive programs to our members.
We can think of the health aspect as goals or actions to delay death and avoid disease.
I think there's a sense nowadays (and not just in our industry) that everybody has to find their niche, specialize, make their mark; hence all the different (yet very much the same) titles that are emerging.
I guess if it makes you feel better to call yourself one thing over another, or if you truly believe one term describes you better than others, go for it. Otherwise, keep it simple.
Besides, as it is so many people don't really understand what a personal trainer is or what we do...Do we really want to start confusing people even more??
Personal Training Certification requires no special degree and can be obtained through a variety of different agencies. That being said, there are still many personal trainers who are very well educated. Don't let credentials be the only judging point.
As far as what they actually do in the field? I'm with Julia, Danielle, and Debbie. HFS certification is clinical in nature and often goes beyond fitness prescriptions.
you all can see for yourself :D
FYI, the ACSM HFS is not a clinical certification. The ACSM states this on their website specifically. This does not mean that one cannot work in a clinical environment with a ACSM HFS credential. The ACSM HFS may be the credential that they require in order to work in that specific clinical environment. Generally, they ask for the CES and RCEP
The industry has only two NCCA accredited certifications that are clinical in nature. They are the ACSM CES and RCEP.
A personal trainer is someone with or without a formal degree in exercise science, movement, kinesiology etc with our without advanced credentials.
A health fitness specialist(again a term used differently among other certifications) which is a problem, is someone who has shown and demonstrated competency in both cognitive and psychomotor proficiency with comorbities, injuries and chronic conditions(not chronic pain).
What the industry is going to see is a level or category system of the following:
Category or level I personal trainer-someone who can work with only health individuals.
Level II-Are personal trainers who are able to work with individuals with chronic diseases(simple)
Level III-Are personal trainers that tend to work with multiple issues(ie. hip replacement, history of COPD or cancer) or an athlete with a history of an ACL reconstruction and/or other injuries.
The level system makes sense and is not licensure unlike physical therapists, OT's, dentists and lawyers, but the industry NEEDS IT now!!
This is a similar system that is being conducted in Australia and in the UK with REPS and is onthe way here in the US, so get ready. We need to deliniate a person's knowledge, abilities and skillet to allow them to work with the appropriate clientele. It is down the pike..More to come...
Take care, Danny