Questioning Competency without Competency
If you have not had a chance to read the recent New York Time’s piece on Personal Training from Frank Bruni it is worth the three minutes. Not because it seems like a humorous attempt by the author to use every word from his thesaurus, nor because the author makes many valid points, or even paints an accurate picture of personal training as a whole; the real value of the read is in understanding people’s perceptions and, whether accurate or not, how those perceptions form opinion and how opinion is used in free press.
In any profession, particularly those with shorter history, there are varied levels of professional competency and capabilities. There is always a top 10% and a bottom 10%. This fact is evident by bad lawyers, bad doctors, and bad teachers; who like personal trainers are evaluated by professional qualification exams. These same professions though have many high quality professionals who give of themselves to make their profession stronger and provide an important service to society. While Mr. Bruni’s complaints and accusations are mostly his opinions and in only some instances based in fact, he certainly is not qualified to speak to the whole personal training profession. If he was, he would have used his time to help direct people to qualified professionals, who like the trainer he hired to lose fifty pounds (nice work), provide quality services and motivation to help people become healthier and feel better. Had he taken the time to learn how to identify a qualified trainer he would have mentioned accredited college programs, he would have talked about the NCCA accreditation for certification programs, identified credible certifying agencies, and he would have commented about continued education for ongoing competency enhancement in different areas of the field.
The NCSF, like other legitimate leaders in the industry, provides NCCA accredited competency assurance for stakeholders of the fitness profession. The organization works with colleges and universities to develop appropriate academic rigors in preparation for certification and careers in the fitness industry, creates professional development for advanced knowledge and skill enhancement, evaluates knowledge and skills based on valid research and sound principles, and sanctions professionals not meeting defined best practice standards to protect the public. The organization provides a benefit even Mr. Bruni would be proud of, had he taken the time to understand what positive work is being done in the industry. Hopefully in his next piece he will explain why physical activity is so important to prevent many of the ailments that are making our country suffer, both physically and financially, rather than using his space to focus on a few bad apples.
New York Times Opinion Piece