Let me be absolutely honest with all of you. I am not a big fan of fitness certification, and if I had to choose between a certified fitness instructor who looked fat or a fit looking fitness instructor with no certification, I would choose the fit looking guy without any papers. Reason being, I have just heard too many stories of certified personal trainers who are fat and out of shape, and their clients…. Don’t get any better after 2 years (I wrote about this a while ago. To read that posting, click here) For this reason, I truly believe that a personal trainer is only as good as what he himself has experienced… so if he is fat (he has experience), he will probably be great at telling you where to eat your favourite foods. If he is fit, he will be good at telling you how to be fit. Just getting a cert doesn’t mean much in my books if you look like the only weight you ever lifted repeatedly was your TV remote.
Since I started Fitness Malaysia, I have been approached by numerous self acclaimed Fitness Gurus who all wanted to sell me their certification course. I always look at it with a suspecting eye and always found holes in the material and most are nothing more but marketing scams trying to milk money out of the booming fitness industry. Not too long ago, I met Kasey Akira, an ISSA certified fitness instructor from Alaska. As usual, he had a fitness instructing course he wanted to sell and so I went to meet him. I went with the same level of suspicion until he showed me his material – OK, pretty impressive. So I asked him some questions on fitness and exercise (which I usually do to test the validity of the program) and waited to see his answers. OK, so this guy really knows what he is talking about and could answer my questions. Impressive, but 1 last test. I asked him about results that I see in the gym but didn’t know the explanation as to why it happened (like why do you become stronger after taking a week off from the gym). So I asked him to explain. Guess what – he flipped to a page on his program and showed me a diagram and explained to me why it happens. It was a scientific explanation on how the muscles work and why you become stronger. Not just an opinion, but a scientific explanation. I was impressed. When I got home, I actually researched his answer and guess what… it checked out.
Being fully impressed, I called him again after that and we met a few more times and we are now working together to introduce his scientific fitness course to everyone in Malaysia. This course was designed by him, pulling together the wealth of knowledge that he has gathered through his studies and research over the past 10 years. We are tweaking the contents a little to meet the needs of Malaysians, but I truly believe, this is most superior fitness instructing course out there. So what is this course called? It’s called Am-FIT – American Fitness Instructing Touchstone. The course itself is broken up into 2 parts:-
1) Kinesiology and Biomechanics
2) Nutrition Science for Fitness
Once you complete both courses, there is a written exam and also a practical exam, where you will need to coach 1 individual while being monitored by the examiners. The coaching includes coming up with a work out routine and diet plan based on their needs and goals as well as coaching them through a full 1 hour personal training session. So you not only memorize a whole bunch of nonsense and then vomit it out on exam day, you actually have to perform it in a real life scenario. If you pass it, then, you will earn yourself a certificate. If you ask me, this is the kind of certificate that I would believe.
This course not only covers what gym rats should do, but extends beyond that. It teaches the whole science of training everyone:- from an old lady who just wants to shed a few pounds to professional body builders, weight lifters, power lifters, professional athletes (sprinters, high jumpers) to marathon runners. So when teaching you about how muscles work, the course covers the entire spectrum and not just body building and weight loss. In essence, completing this course, will make you competent enough to train professional athletes, if the need arose.
Since I am working closely with him on this course, I am currently attending the course as a normal participant. Why am I excited about the course? Well learning the exact science behind fitness and the reason for getting results we get are truly mind blowing. I no longer have to say “I don’t know why it happens, but trust me it does work”. Now I can truly explain to people why they get the results they get.
Just as a teaser and a preview on how good this course is, try answering the following questions. The real answers will be revealed in next weeks postings, but if you don’t mind, just post your answers as comments.
1) How long should you rest between sets?
2) Is being flexible beneficial to all athletes?
3) Name 2 exercises you can do to train your lower abs?
OK, I know I have been bragging about the course and how great it is, but I am just excited with everything that I am learning. But before I end this post, there are things that even Kasey does not know, and when he doesn’t, he always tells me he doesn’t know. He is honest about it. There are even parts of the course that say “Based on our current scientific understanding, we hold this to be true for the moment” Anyone who tells you they know everything about fitness is a liar. If you meet a trainer like that, run away as fast as you can.
Anyway, look forward to hearing your comments and of course, your answers to the question