Importance of health science education for personal fitness trainers.

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Journal of strength and conditioning research, ISSN: 1064-8011, Vol: 16, Issue: 1, Page: 19-24

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Malek, Moh H.; Nalbone, David P.; Berger, Dale E.; Coburn, Jared W.
Fitness Instructors Knowledge Assessment; health science education; personal fitness trainers; Medicine and Health Sciences; Psychology; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Sports Sciences
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Using a questionnaire developed for the current study, the Fitness Instructors Knowledge Assessment (FIKA(Copyright )), we examined relations between commonly used indicators of knowledge (training and experience) and actual knowledge in the five areas of (a) nutrition, (b) health screening, (c) testing protocols, (d) exercise prescription, and (e) general training knowledge regarding special populations. FIKA provided reliable measures of knowledge in these areas, which are of critical importance in developing an optimal fitness program for the client and for avoiding unnecessary injuries. A survey of 115 health fitness professionals revealed that a bachelor's degree in the field of exercise science and possession of American College of Sports Medicine or the National Strength and Conditioning Association certifications as opposed to other certifications were strong predictors of a personal trainer's knowledge, whereas years of experience was not related to knowledge. These findings suggest that personal fitness trainers should have licensing requirements, such as a bachelor's degree in exercise science and certification by an organization whose criteria are extensive and widely accepted, before being allowed to practice their craft.