Anna Kournikova is a personal trainer? That was news to me when I heard that Anna Kournikova was hired to be one of the personal trainers on the Biggest Loser. Most people know Anna Kournikova as a tennis player, but is she a certified personal trainer? I looked into this just in case you too wondering about it and discovered some interesting things.
Is Anna Kournikova Certified?
I did a Google search for “Anna Kournikova personal trainer” and “Is Anna Kournikova a certified personal trainer?” I couldn’t find any proof that she was certified until I found websites where I read that that Anna Kournikova is certified by the ISSA – International Sports Science Association.
That’s great, but the bigger question is “when was Anna Kournikova certified?”
So I called the ISSA and asked them. The ISSA told me that Anna Kournikova was certified as a personal trainer on December 23 2010 – less than 1 year ago!
Her certification expires on 12/23/12 by the way.
When does taping of the Biggest Loser occur? I'm guessing that since they are showing this season on TV now, that they probably taped it several months ago. Maybe in March?
I'm saying this for a reason. I believe Anna Kournikova became ISSA certified not because she wanted to be a personal trainer. Rather, Anna got ISSA certified because NBC made her do it, so when people like me ask “is Anna Kournikova certified” they can say “yes she is.”
As far as I’m concerned, this was a calculated move by NBC.
But certified or not, does Anna Kournikova know as much about exercise as Bob Harper – or even Jillian Michaels for that matter? I don’t think so. Bob and Jillian were likely doing personal training long before the Biggest Looser made them household names.
Has Anna Kournikova actually trained anybody- outside of the Biggest Loser? It’s a good question and I don’t know the answer.
Remember being “certified” is not the same as being “qualified”.
What is the ISSA Certification?
What I know about the ISSA is that it works like this: People study at home on their own and then when they are ready, they take a test that is mostly essays.
I believe there is also a video portion also where people demonstrate exercise technique.
Then people send the test back to ISSA to be graded.
ISSA personal trainers – please give me more insights into the ISSA exam and certification process.
I've taken essay tests in college so I can tell you that essays are pretty hard. Essay exams are good because they help demonstrate a greater level of understanding than a test that’s made up of multiple choice or true and false questions. That’s very good.
But I have to wonder why Anna chose the ISSA? Why not ACE or NSCA or NASM or AFAA? Heck, why not AAAI/ISMA for that matter?
What sets ISSA apart from many other certs is the fact that it is a take home exam. Anna took the test in her home. If I can play devil’s advocate for a moment – essay test or not – how do we know Anna actually studied and took the ISSA test herself? How do we know she didn’t have any help?
This is an advantage of ISSA over other organizations where people take a test that’s proctored in a classroom.
I’d like to think she did it all on her own – and she probably did for all I know – but is there any proof?
I have to ask this question because the timing of “Anna Kournikova will be on the biggest loser” AND “Anna Kournikova is ISSA certified”, are so close to each other- just a few months apart.
It’s almost like she got the Biggest Loser job and NBC said – “you have to also get certified”.
If Anna was certified a few years ago before anybody heard she would be on the Biggest Loser I would not be asking this question.
Let me be clear. This is not a “my cert is better than your cert” argument. I've met people who were ISSA certified and they really knew their stuff!
I've said many times that I put knowledge over certifications any day of the week.
Anna Kournikova and The Biggest Loser
Most of us have known for a long time that the Biggest Loser is more about TV ratings and “branding” than actually helping people. Unfortunately, most of the powers that be in the fitness industry have been too chicken to tackle the issue of the Biggest Loser.
For example, most of the “big names” in fitness stick their heads in the sand about the questionable practices of Jillian Michaels when she was on the Biggest Loser.
Has anyone ever read an article that was critical of the Biggest Loser in IDEA Fitness Journal, Fitness Management or any other fitness related publication?
The only thing I could find was an article in the LA times that was critical of the Jillian Michaels Kettleball DVD.
All that notwithstanding, I think hiring a professional athlete to play the role of a personal trainer takes things to an even lower level.
What if there was a reality show about doctors giving people advice about medical disorders and Anna was hired as one of the “doctors”? We all know there would be blood in the streets over the outrage by physicians! The fitness industry on the other hand just seems tickled to death that “personal trainers” are getting some national attention.
While personal trainers are not doctors, personal trainers do PRESCRIBE the most powerful drug in the world – exercise. Hence my analogy is valid. Does Anna Kournikova know how to properly prescribe exercise?
I know a lot of ISSA certified personal trainers are cheering that Anna Kournikova is ISSA certified because it elevates the ISSA organization. That’s fine and I have no problem with this, but I am also pretty sure that all of those other ISSA personal trainers know a lot about fitness and health. I am just not sure how much Anna Kournikova knows.
The Biggest Loser is giving a national platform to Anna Kournikova, someone with practically zero experience actually doing personal training, within less than a year of being “certified”.
Being certified does not mean being qualified.
What do you think?