Tuesday, September 11, 2018

What's in a Name?

By: Joel Luedke

What's in a name? Do the letters behind someones name really mean anything? Do they even matter?  We have some pretty strong feelings behind this topic and we haven't been shy about it.  In this post we want to dive into our reasons behind why we think is extremely important to find someone that not only has credentials (they aren't everything) but has the full knowledge and background to back up what they say and they are continuing to evolve in their thinking over time.

Disclaimer: certifications aren't everything, expertise can be gained in other ways and that isn't just experience.  To maximize your ability to get accomplished what you want you have to find that unicorn of a person/coach that has both and will continue to progress their career as they work with you.  Here are some of the basics we think you should take a look at.

Experience vs. Expertise
We reference this idea a lot below and we wanted to clarify.  Experience can be just time spent doing what you do.  You could have 10 years experience being a personal trainer but just because you've done it 10 years doesn't mean you're an expert.  Expertise is so much more and requires continual learning and laser focus.  You can strive for expertise (it's hard to achieve) at any point in your career regardless of experience and we just wanted to make sure that is clear.  On to the name game.

Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach (CSCS) vs. Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) vs. Health and Wellness Coach
Not all personal trainers are created equal.  There are some fantastic ones out there that have years of experience, a ton of continuing education and are really into what they do.  That is fantastic.  There are also ones that take a weekend course, pass a test and think they have it all figured out.  These...not so good.  We trend to the CSCS because of the requirement of needing a degree in a related field in order to complete the test.  This help ensure formal education to get more of a base of knowledge than most CPT exams require.

That being said, both are light years ahead of someone who is claiming to be a health and wellness coach.  These can be dangerous.  Anyone can come up with a workout, make you sore and call it a plan but there isn't one behind it, it is just something to keep coming back.  (See 'Training Like the Everyday Athlete").  Be cautious if there is a sale coming behind it as well as often is the case.  Do they truly have you best interest at heart?

Registered Dietitian (RD) vs. Nutritionist vs. Wellness Coach
Formal education in nutrition is extremely important.  Not trying to fit one type of nutrition plan or 'diet' to everyone is also key.  The highest level of nutrition education is becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD) or doing some PhD work in nutrition.  Following close behind is someone that becomes a nutritionist (CISSN, PN1) where you have to demonstrate a very proficient knowledge of nutrition in order to pass the exams.  This demonstrates knowing more than slinging
supplements and talking about eating healthy.  You have to find someone that really understands how the body works when it comes to nutrition and be able to explain to you how your body might react to different diet types.  

Do NOT settle with nutrition.  There are so many things that factor into it and how your body reacts with nutrition and how nutrition can affect your body and you don't want to put that into the hands of someone that is picking nutrition up as a side gig.  Again, watch out for a sale behind the recommendations in this area.

Athletic Trainer (ATC)/Chiropractor (DC)/Physical Therapist (PT) vs. Anyone Claiming Medical Knowledge.
As with nutrition and exercise you can't short change education and expertise in this area.    If you are going to someone for medical advise you have to be sure that the practitioner you are going to see is someone with the education to back that up.  There are a few exceptions to this rule but they are few and far between.  Nothing trumps formal education, strong continuing education and a focus on wanting to stay at the forefront of their profession.

Be highly cautious of personal trainers and others that don't understand the mechanisms and ideas behind what they are 'prescribing' you.  This can often lead you down a dangerous path of problems and more complications than is needed when it comes to dealing with pain and injury.  We can't emphasize enough how important it is to be able to know what your practitioner has done with their academic and professional career and knowing what they see as most important in your care.

Names can be important and doing your research has never been more important in a day where everyone is an 'expert' and many out to make a quick buck. Do your due diligence and take care of yourself.  As always if you have questions or concerns we are more than happy to help try and clear things up.

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