Surf around on any of the major social media networks these days—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and especially Instagram—and you’ll likely get an eyeful of fitness selfies: photos of chiseled physiques or people staging “caught in the moment” snapshots of themselves at the gym or just after they’ve finished exercising. Social media’s eye-candy culture has become a perfect platform for fitness pros and enthusiasts to inspire others to get in shape and show off the physical outcomes of exercise with “selfies.”
fponewsletter_teaser: Have you heard? Tennis star Anna Kournikova will be replacing Jillian Michaels as a personal trainer in Season 12 of The Biggest Loser, a hit reality TV show on NBC. Kournikova is expected to be a powerful motivator to Biggest Loser contestants, inspiring them to embrace the kind of drive that elevated her to elite-athlete status. But members of the fitness community are wondering: Is this former professional tennis player qualified to be a personal trainer?
The fitness industry requires personal trainers and fitness instructors to become certified and keep that certification current withcontinuing education. Certification is what sets fitness enthusiasts—people who are familiar with and enjoy exercise—apart from fitness professionals, who have undergone specialized education to teach fitness with safety and proficiency.
There is much talk about certification, accreditation and licensure in the fitness industry today. As you start your career, it is important to have a grasp of this trio of topics because they can affect your ability to get hired and work legally. Just the terms themselves and their word cousins can be very confusing-—so confusing, in fact, that this article includes a glossary to help you navigate through and clearly understand the differences among them.
How do you succeed in the fitness profession? Whether you’ve just gotten certified, you’re returning to a fitness career or you’re an experienced pro who wants to develop new skills, the answer is the same: keep learning. Continuing education is a career necessity that becomes increasingly important as the fitness industry grows more sophisticated, diverse, specialized and evidence-based.
The fitness industry has come a long way in terms of credibility and standards since the days of fuzzy leg warmers and terry cloth sweatbands. In fact, industry standards have risen so much in recent years that many companies will hire only those fitness professionals who have obtained their certifications from organizations approved by independent entities, such as the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
The November-December 2008 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal (2008; 5 , 16) reported on proposed legislation that would require personal trainers in Washington, DC, to register with the mayor and submit fees biennially. Registered personal trainers would be regulated by the Board of Physical Therapy and would operate within a scope of practice delineated by the board. Now, other states are following suit.
The new field of personal or life coaching represents a rich avenue for career development for fitness and wellness professionals. At national and international industry conferences, coaching sessions are on the rise, and significant numbers of instructors and trainers are expanding their careers by adding coaching services.
What Is Coaching?