I've known personal trainer, Paul Thomas for several years. He, like myself, is certified by the NSCA. During this past NSCA rectification period, he expressed his frustrations with the NSCA and decided that after almost 20 years he is letting his CSCS certification expire and is leaving the organization. He is not the only person to say this to me, which made me want to interview him about why he was making this decision. My hope is that those in charge at the NSCA read this and take his words to heart. Ive previously written about my own problems with the NSCA here so see that for more insights.
JC. What is your education?
PT. I have a B.S., Exercise Science from West Chester University, West Chester PA and an M.Ed. in Exercise Physiology from Temple University.
JC. What do you do?
PT. I provide on-site (home or office) personal training and fitness consulting services. I work primarily with older adults in the suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. The name of my company is Fitpro, Inc. which I started back in 1991. In addition to working with my private training clients, I also author a fitness blog, HomeWorkOutGuy.com, where I offer free workout and nutrition advice.
JC. What NSCA certs do you have?
PT. I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and have held that certification since 1996 – almost 19 years.
JC. What made you decide to give up your CSCS cer and leave the NSCA?
PT. My reasons for not renewing my NSCA certification are mainly economical. The cost of obtaining CEU’s in both time and money went up considerably this current renewal period. Personally, I always relied on submitting quizzes for the bulk of my CEU’s – $20 each to obtain 0.5 credits for each quiz. I would choose quiz topics that were most relevant to the needs of my clientele (older adults), which were far and few, but it really didn’t matter to me. I could always find a topic that would interest me.
Now, after almost 20 years, someone at the NSCA decided that quizzes should be worth 0.2 credits each instead of 0.5 credits each. That has the cost of quizzes going up by 250%, not to mention the extra time it would take to complete 10 – 12 additional quizzes to earn the same amount of credits you would’ve in previous years. This translates into hundreds of extra dollars and many additional hours needed to renew your certification – not a wise decision (in my opinion) by the NSCA, especially in this economy.
That, coupled with the fact that members are now being pushed to receive digital versions of NSCA publications (which I never read anymore for that reason) and still pay the same membership fee, is why I decided to part ways with the NSCA.
JC. Have you contacted the NSCA about how expensive it is to maintain the cert?
PT. No, I haven’t.
JC. Do you feel the NSCA helps you in your business?
PT. Other than having a good liability insurance policy through them, no, I don’t. My clientele consists mostly of older adults, ranging in age from 44 – 82 years, with the average age being about 60 years.
My typical client doesn’t know a CSCS from a CPA.
By no means am I suggesting that this is the fault of the NSCA – it’s simply the reality of who my clients are. However, if I was working with athletes at a high school or university, I’m sure my answer would be very different and I probably wouldn’t be doing this interview, but that’s not the case with me.
JC. Do you have any certs from other organizations?
PT. No, I don’t.
JC. Do you have any thoughts on the other organizations?
PT. As of now, I really don’t. I’ll certainly be doing my research on that very soon. I want to join an organization that provides more relevant information to the population I work with, which is pretty much the over-55 crowd.
JC. What do you like about the NSCA?
PT. What initially drew me to the NSCA was the fact that you needed a college degree to sit for the CSCS exam. That seemed (at least to me) to separate them from all the other certifying organizations, with the exception of maybe the ACSM and their Director certification.
For more on this see my post NSCA vs NASM for more info.
I also enjoyed reading their publications, even though I wasn’t working with athletes. They also provide a very comprehensive professional liability insurance policy, which I’ve purchased over the years and has served me well.
JC. What don’t you like about the NSCA?
PT. Other than the reasons why I’m choosing to leave – nothing. I have the utmost respect for the NSCA. But I have to admit; those reasons do have me a little soured on them these days.
JC. Do you feel the NSCA has lost its way?
PT. No, I don’t. When it comes to certifying fitness organizations, particularly regarding the training of athletes, I believe the NSCA will always lead the pack. However, they might have lost their way a little bit recently when it comes to member relations – I think I’ll just leave it at that.
JC. How can people, learn more or contact you personally?