Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What is a "Certified" Fitness Instructor certified in?

I think most people would not find it shocking to learn that "certified" fitness instructors are not certified to be competent or knowledgeable about exercise, physiology, nutrition and all those things they claim being experts at, but upon registering for such classes, must present a current certification from the Red Cross or similar certifying agency, that they have taken a Basic First Aid and CPR course -- which an academy, or institute of pretentious sounding names operating out of a P.O. Box -- will duly certify they have seen.

That's all they are certifying -- and that such individuals have paid the $500 for the one-day or weekend class of indoctrination of how to sound like an expert -- by referring to an undocumented and unattributed manual, not to be shown to anyone else who hasn't paid for that course in certification.

One of the first things they do, is tell one the formula for calculating the vaunted "Target Heart Rate" -- as though that was some kind of universally agreed upon standard -- instead of just an arbitrary formula based on nothing more than age, ignoring that the differences between the best conditioned in that age and the worst, is much greater, than their difference in age.

While a person at 80 is probably not as fit as that same person at 18 -- that does not necessarily say that an exceptional individual at 80 is not more fit than a severely handicapped person at 18 -- and that is why real medical professionals usually take an individual's unique medical history and profile, as the single most important factor to consider about the health of that individual.

One of the great presumptions fostered by mass education, is that everybody begins and ends equally with every other -- rather than the notion promoted by Roger Williams in the early '60s -- competing along with "target heart rate" and other popular notions through the mass media -- that the differences in individual variations in almost every measurable scale, varied so greatly that such generalizations were bound to lead one to erroneous conclusions about individual manifestations and outcomes. Most of his work was done with nutritional tolerances -- showing that one man's meat was another man's poison -- which predates the age of food allergies and tolerance -- but has obviously been noted through history.

And so it was that although penicillin was a wonderful miracle drug, to some, it could cause death in a few. In fact, it wasn't until the '80s that I recall seeing the first book that proclaimed it was the first book describing milk, or lactose intolerance -- as a fairly widespread phenomenon, which up to that point, even the medical profession denied. However, Dr. Tom Dooley, had described it previously in The Ugly American, as the reason some countries being sent this food as aid were suspicious, and used the powdered milk instead, to whitewash their houses rather than drink the toxic to them, beverage.

Around the '50s, 60s, and '70s, there was an increasing drive by the institutions to generalize everything for mass consumption and marketing. The universities themselves, made the generalization of everything, its holy grail. The average became the standard, the ideal, what everyone must strive to become. The IBM mainframe computer, processed and distributed everything anybody needed to know. The New York Times, wrote all the news fit to print. That was the world we evolved from.

And so if one has a chance to get ahold of one of these manuals for these classes -- they are written in the style and manner of "the experts say," while notably never citing any specific studies or individuals. They've merely codified all the hearsay that has passed down from generations of physical education teachers and wives tales to sound like contemporary science -- while having not a shred of it except the authoritarian manner of expertise without merit or substantiation.

Most honest people who actually know something, realize it is a bogus credential -- like many are, these days. The major promoters of such certified training, have been the health clubs -- hoping to monopolize/legitimize that business, which they have not been successful at for the last 25 years -- since the peak of the Nautilus machines required them as basic instruction for using their machines.

The claim by its inventor was initially that the machines were so perfect that even a fool couldn't fail to get results using them -- to the explanation that the reason people weren't getting fabulous results, was that each repetition needed to be personally supervised by himself -- or by a person previously trained and authorized to supervise such a workout. That was the rationale for the certified fitness instructor who would vouchsafe that the machines were being used properly and effectively, and therefore gains would be forthcoming -- as guaranteed.

By the '90s, those machines fell out of favor. However, the selling of such certifications have remained a lucrative business.


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