ISSA Fitness Therapy Certification vs. Personal Trainer Certifications
ISSA Certified Fitness Therapist since 2004
I get emails about becoming a certified trainer a lot so I thought I would write a quick post about why I chose to become an ISSA Certified Fitness Therapist vs. NASM, NSCA ACE or NESTA personal trainer.
When I first got certified in 2000 I chose IFPA because it was fast, easy, and cheap. They claim to be the leader in PRACTICAL fitness education and I can tell you that is true. IFPA provided me with enough knowledge to review and write about exercise dvd's, weightloss and fitness books, and other fitness products for bellaonline.com. It also got me a part time job at Bally's when I first moved to AZ but....
I knew IFPA was only a starter cert and that if I decided to become a full time trainer or start my own training business I would need something much better so I looked into ACE, NASM, NSCA NESTA, CHEK, and ISSA personal trainer certifications.
I chose ISSA Fitness Therapy for a variety of reasons but mainly because it allowed me to specialize from the start. Initially when I started training I thought I wanted to work with other moms struggling to lose post pregnancy weight. Turns out I'm much better at working with older folks who seek out training for fatloss as well as a variety of serious issues including pain, cancer, arthritis, posture correction, depression, chronic fatigue, breathing problems, insomnia, etc.
No other entry level certification trains you to handle special needs like the ISSA Fitness Therapy cert. In addition to this ISSA places a lot of value on all CHEK courses that are required to become a CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach and CHEK Exercise Coach/Practitioner which is what I saw myself doing in the future (finally have all my pre-reqs for both).
So my choice had a lot to do with a bigger plan and not just getting a job as a trainer. Of course a lot has changed since then and I'm not working with clients 8-10 hours a day anymore because I'm spending a majority of my time running this site but all of the courses I've taken over the years to maintain my cert are what give me a unique perspective on fitness that you won't find on many other small blogs/sites like mine.
My education and experience working with the special needs population is what has made FreeWorkoutsGuide.com one of the most highly ranked sites online and what draws visitors ages 35-65 on a regular basis (most sites/blogs like mine cater to a much younger crowd).
So my advice when choosing a certification is to plan ahead and think of the bigger picture. What do you want to do with your life beyond getting your first training "job". Once you know that your decision will be much easier. There really is no best certification and any good fitness expert will tell you that it's continuing education that actually matters most...but there is a cert that is best for you and that all depends on your goals.
What certification did you choose and why? How is that working out for you and do you have any questions for other trainers or advice for people looking to get certified? Please feel free to share below.