Why Certification Matters and Red Flags for Health Consumers

As most of you likely know by now, I have become a PRO TRAINER for canfitpro. I’m quite proud of this as it was a huge amount of work as well as a very large investment. I take so much pride in what I do as a trainer. Especially when it comes to providing safe, effective workouts for my clients.

We have quite a unique situation here in the Kootenay’s. We are in need of Personal Training Specialists. This isn’t the case in the large centres, where there is an abundance of certification course offerings. I have so many contacts locally who are all crying for trainers. So, yay me! I see an opportunity, and I go after it! I’m going to train trainers! I love what I do and I want to share it!

Ok, well lets face it. Pretty much anyone can take a personal training course and get certified. With some studying and practical application, you can do it. Hell, I mentored someone who had never set foot in a gym as they had found a passion for fitness working out in their basement and now wanted to help people change their lives. If you think I’m kidding – I’m not. Unfortunately, this is a true story. This person went on to pass their theory and practical exam and was now ready to become a trainer. They were ready to take people’s bodies and get them into their best health. I hope you can hear the tone of my voice while reading this.

The fitness industry sucks. You see, there are people like myself who take their positions very seriously. I took my certification course, I wrote my theory exam, which I will brag that I got 96% on and then I went on to pass the practical exam with flying colours. I worked hard, studied hard, but my learning didn’t start when my course started. I was always reading and researching all things fitness, long before I became a trainer.  I had been a dancer until I graduated high school and then became an aerobics junkie during university because it was the closest thing I could find to dance.Think old school step class with some of the hardest choreography! I’m definitely dating myself.

My education didn’t end after my certification either. I do not remember the last time I read a book simply for pleasure. I fall asleep after reading some sort of book on fitness, nutrition, mental health, etc. I have built a very strong network right across the country and I continue to build. I am constantly asking questions. I am always curious. I can never ever get enough.

I don’t have a human kinetics degree or a phys-ed degree or a kinesiology degree. Just recently when advertising my new course offering, I received the response from a gym owner that they only hire registered kinesiologists. Wow… lucky for them! I can’t imagine what their rates are like. But, I’d like to quiz some of those kinesiologists on their anatomy that they likely took in first or second year of university [wink wink].

What I do have is a marketing research degree. That degree and my prior jobs have allowed me to build a very successful personal training business. An inquisitive mind can be a blessing and a curse. I am always researching “what’s out there” knowing that the fitness industry, especially since the emergence of social media provides a plethora of crazy shit to the general masses.

Shortly after I became a personal trainer, I also started noticing the myriad of different fitness companies that had their own certifications. This really confused me… So, I could essentially – with some really great ideas and knowledge and savvy business skills – put together my own certification program and sign people up online and charge them whatever amount of money I wanted and “x” number of months later they could call themselves [insert fancy title here]. Hmmm…

The fitness industry is completely unregulated. Actually, let me call it the “health” and fitness industry. A few years ago, I wanted to pursue some sort of nutrition training. Something that I also have a huge passion for. Again, completely unregulated – BUT – because I am an ethically and morally responsible person and abide by MY personal trainer code of ethics – WHICH includes not to provide nutritional programming other than basic nutritional advice for clients, I wanted something that would allow me to provide that service to clients. I spent HOURS researching which program to enrol in. My PRO TRAINER had a Holistic Nutrition Diploma for which she spent three years studying and a huge financial investment along with it, only to have the Alberta government strip her of her rights to use those letters behind her name. A retaliation of sorts from the registered dieticians who were frustrated by the same thing. No regulation. I understand, although unfortunate because I believe this program in particular is highly accredited. But, I just wasn’t willing to invest in three years and thousands of dollars. After deciding upon which program to take, I went with Precision Nutrition, which I am still happy with. It was very science based and mostly in-line with my own nutritional beliefs.

Doctors, accountants, nurses, physiotherapists, massage therapists, mechanics and financial planners all have colleges, associations and regulatory bodies that they must belong to that set standards and continuing education. Consumers have no protection within the health and fitness industry to guarantee that the person they hire to entrust their bodies with is competent in what they do. Oh, yeah – I’m certified. I got my certification online through [insert one of 800 online options]. Oh you tore your ACL last year – no problem, oh you have an artificial shoulder? Oh you have rheumatoid arthritis, a herniated disk, diabetes, high blood pressure – sure I know how to handle all that! I will fix you right up in no time – ok – start off with 800 jumping jacks, 500 power squats and oh – let me also sell you this shake.

Ok – you get my point. I’m feeling a little feisty today. Yes, there are other certification bodies than canfitpro that are very well accredited and recognized. NASM, ACE, BCRPA (as well as other provincial certs) are all very reputable. What I love about canfitpro is that it is nationally recognized. I attend their conferences, I receive newsletters with the latest trends and research. I’m required to update my knowledge and CPR on a yearly basis and it comes with a network of highly supportive teammates. Just yesterday I had a teleconference with another PRO TRAINER in Halifax who has been working in the fitness industry since 1986. She was so supportive, positive and excited to help me! I am so fortunate to be a part of a professional organization that lifts each other up and SHARES knowledge and support. Its a highly competitive industry, so to have others who are willing to mentor you [insert at NO CHARGE or MLM fee], is an amazing feeling. I get to interact and talk to REAL people, I get to go do conferences with REAL PEOPLE, I get to talk to so many highly energetic people face to face with the same passion for helping people that I have. Not online, in person. We need so much more of that.

Please do your research. When you are about to entrust your one and only body to someone – make sure they know their shit.


~xo Olivia