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Speak Out:

Is Certification Enough?

According to the sidebar “Certification’s Impact on Staffing” in “The Certification Balance” by Lisa Liddane (July-August 2003 IDEA Health & Fitness Source), certification is more important than both experience and degrees when it comes to hiring or promoting fitness professionals. How can the knowledge gained from a 4-day weekend certification compare with that from a bachelor’s or master’s degree? Hiring a personal trainer based on his or her certifications and experience is like hiring a construction worker to design a bridge. I’m sure the worker has experience building bridges, but I’d rather hire an architect or engineer. Anyone can obtain a personal trainer certification, but that does not make one qualified to design and monitor exercise programs for clients.

I have heard the opposing argument from fitness directors: Many personal trainers with degrees and “book smarts” do not exhibit expertise in the gym. It’s true that education doesn’t help unless one can apply and communicate the knowledge. But in most professions—even those close to the fitness industry (such as physical therapy, athletic training and physical education)—one must have a degree in a specific field to get a job. Why is this not the case in fitness?

Certifications have a place, but to gain respect and move the industry forward, we must acknowledge the importance of an academic education.

Jason Karp, MS, PhD student

(exercise physiology)

Running Coach and Personal Trainer

Bloomington, Indiana

Is the Government Making Us Fat?

In “The Great Diet Debate” (July-August 2003 IDEA Health & Fitness Source), the author suggests that “experts are wondering if the traditional government dietary recommendations are responsible for our expanding waistlines.” When was the last time these “experts” checked out the purchases consumers make at the grocery store? In my opinion, the vast majority ignore the Food Guide Pyramid. A trip to the food court at any mall in America clearly demonstrates that the real culprits are supersized, fast-food meals and a sedentary lifestyle, not the Food Guide Pyramid.

Julie Sturm

Jazzercise Instructor (and U.S. Citizen)

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Kudos to Denis!

Thank you for your article “The Best of the Best” (July-August 2003 IDEA Health & Fitness Source) and in particular for choosing to honor Denis Semenikhin. I met Denis in Moscow, and he was my personal trainer for several years. He is an amazing motivator with a superior level of expertise in fitness. He truly helped me achieve my goals! I am thrilled that he has been persistent through Russia’s turbulent times and realized his dreams.

Robin Solomon

London, England

Thanks for the Inspiration!

Thank you for the opportunity to associate with such great people at the IDEA World Fitness and Personal Trainer Convention®. It appeared the content on weight loss all struck a similar chord. People struggling for weight loss are eager to learn, but also skeptical and frightened. They look to professionals for the truth and a bit of gentleness. You don’t have to look far to see advertising that insults body image and self-esteem.

With IDEA standing behind the education of professionals, we can realize significant changes!

Michael Scholtz

NOVO Wellness

Hendersonville, North Carolina

Thanks so much for a wonderful convention. You and your staff really outdid yourselves this year. I just love seeing all of my old friends and making new friends. The presenters were excellent and the event was well organized. Bravo to your entire staff.

Norma Shechtman, MEd, MS

2003 ACE Group Fitness Instructor

of the Year

Irvine, California

I just got back from the conference in Anaheim . . . loved it, loved it, loved it, and I feel great! Thanks so much! You did a great job putting this together. It was a great event.

Marie-Elizabeth Finamore

Scottsdale, Arizona

Thank you for including me in the IDEA World Fitness & Personal Trainer Convention. It was an amazing experience for me both personally and professionally. I always go believing I will be too busy to be inspired, but every year I am amazed at how reenergized I feel. The awards ceremony was awe-inspiring, the attendees were so engaging and the venue was top-notch.

Being at this show felt like being at an amazing family reunion-I couldn’t imagine missing it! I have to say my favorite part was the mechanical surfboard at the Rockin’ California party! For the record, I took it to top speed!

Jay Blahnik

Body Dynamics

Laguna Beach, California

Attitude Check

What our industry does is so much larger than ourselves. We have the power to change and improve lives in a community, a state, a country, the entire world, one person at a time. But our work starts before we get to the gym—with our attitudes and how we treat others.

At this year’s IDEA World Fitness and Personal Trainer Convention, I was very pleased with the professionalism of the presenters and expo staff. But I was disappointed in the behavior of many of my peers. I saw attendees being impatient and rude to hotel employees, service providers, presenters and IDEA volunteers. For example, people waiting in coffee lines, which they could see were long when they entered them, would get mad at the poor coffee server when they felt they were going to be late for their next sessions. And I saw some attendees in session crash lines badgering IDEA assistants. Kudos to the volunteer staff for handling these situations. My feeling is that if we choose to crash a class, we need to be patient.

On a different note: It’s great to see so many people working to improve themselves and amazing to see how far we’ve come in this industry in the past 20-plus years.

Deno Bell

Executive Director, Fitness Express

San Diego, California

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October 2003

© 2003 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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