T Nation

Ace Certification, Can I Wing It?


I'm thinking about getting my Ace training certification, but I'm wondering if shelling out a few hundred bucks for the at home training literature ect. will be neccessary? In other words how likely could it be that I just take it and pass based on my existing knowledge?


You shouldn't need all of it. Get the "ACE Personal Trainer Manual, Study Guide & Sample Test", or just the "Personal Trainer Manual, 3rd Edition." I think that the study guide and sample test are the most helpful. If you have any anatomy and physiology courses under your belt, that section of the test shouldn't give you any problems. They do have specific questions about their specific protocols for client interaction that you might not know without at least some study materials.


You shouldn't wing it, because their "right" answers aren't necessarily the right answers you know.

For example, I think most of the coaches who write for this site would fail the ACE exam, unless the coaches chose to unlearn most of the things they know.

In other words, get the material, lie on the exam, and get your certification.

(You might be able to tell that I don't think much of the ACE certification.)


I became certified from ISSA several weeks ago and to be honest there was a lot of questions I didn't know when I first recieved my materials and went over the test. I assumed I knew everything about training and program development and truthfully I only knew about half. Now most of the things I learned I'll never need for the basic client looking to improve their fitness level but if I ever branch off into professional athletic taining(which would probably require much more study anyway)I'll have a solid base. Plus from what I learned I'm able to drastically improve my own training and diet regime which was easily worth the $600 right there alone. To sum it up YES, take the course and learn as much as possible. Knowledge really is power.


How about you go for a NSCA or ISSA cert. instead? They're a lot better, even though the knowledge is a bit outdated. But credibility-wise, they're not even in the same range as ACE....


I'm going to agree with TC. There right answers WILL not be the same as yours.

I winged it through the NSCA exam, and thats supposed to be one of the tougher exams. I'm sure I would have to study, as well as achieve a bachelors degree for a CSCS, but their regular certification wasn't bad.

Then again, I have too much free time to study physiology.


Where do you live? Your location should play a large role in deciding what certification you should have. On the west coast, it seems like NASM is pretty big. I know back east NSCA was widely respected.

If you are going to use this cert. to find a job, call some gyms in your area and find out what they require. Even if you aren't going to work out of a gym, you will want whatever is popular in your section of the world.


Judging from my gym (it only has ACE trainers), you need to know how to:

--count to 15
--mispronounce muscle groups
--explain that Joe Weider invented weight training AND most of the lifefitness/paramont/cybex machines you are now exclusively using
--tell people NOT to over do it or they will most likely get too bulky


I got my NSCA-CPT certification without studying for the exam. IMO, it was retarded. If you've read half of the stuff on this site you know more than is tested over in most certification programs. In fact, I missed some questions because, as TC said, the knowledge is outdated.


TC is exactly right. About three years ago I showed up at the UofH campus cocky as hell I was gonna ace [no pun intended] the test. I don't even think I got half of the answers right.If you're gonna take it-which I don't reccommend-make sure you're prepared.


One of the least knowledegable people I know passed the ACE exam. He thinks he's smart but, whatever.

TC is right, you have to basically give wrong answers to get the right score. Just get their materials, study a few days and pass the test.

Come on man, make Stockton proud. :O)


I have taken the ACE cert and its a joke. I dont mean joke easy either. You need to read there bullshit fitness filler material to wing it cause common sense seemed right out the door when I took the test. and there was alot of questions that dealt with personal interaction with clients... WTF ever...

Took the ISSA one. Learned some new stuff.

I think we can see where Im going with this.

There is always the 24hour fitness cert... LOL J/k


I took the ACE exam many years ago without studying and passed no problem. If you can, go with NSCA, ISSA or NASM. Even if you have to study a little more, it is worth it.


Is ACSM certification still the one to get? Heard this was the "gold standard" but I guess everyone's got their favorites. Either way I took their practice exam and got an 89%. Maybe this one's a little more suited to T-Nation readers?


"For example, I think most of the coaches who write for this site would fail the ACE exam, unless the coaches chose to unlearn most of the things they know. "

That would be a very interesting experiment.


As long as you have the basics down you should be ok. And as long as you know postural analysis, what can effect it, hip flexors and their attachments, muscles that are weak and elongated or strong and short and what to strengthen/stretch to attain a neutral pelvis with clients that have an exaggerated kyphosis or lordosis or lack of lordosis and or kyphosis.


ACSM certification is made for people in cardiac rehab. It has nothing to do with being a personal trainer/strength coach. Knowledge of mechanics, periodization, etc, is non-existent. Everything has to do with how the body adapts to cardiovascular exercise both acutely and chronically.


Oh BTW just kidding about all that postural analysis....


Mixed views here. I do understand about the whole, "unlearning" what I already know and giving "their" answers. I'm also pretty aware that ACE isn't the best, but it will do what I need for now. Which is simply to get a job as a trainer, I'll see where it goes from there.

I was discussing this idea with my ART practitioner yesterday and he said it's pretty likely I could but it would obviously suck if I shelled out the $ and didn't pass. Then he lent me this book Essential Of Strength Training and Conditioning, National Strength and COnditioning Association. If I recall correctly he said this was the book he used to get his CSCS. Obviously way more in depth and no doubt the better route to go. But like I said, I'd really like to start training soon and the test is a little over 1 month away.

Not sure what to do but I'll figure it out real soon. BTW thanks for all the replies. And to those who PM'ed me I will be back to you soon, and thank you.

Oh yeah the exam is in Rutgers so maybe you can I can do lunch Cazzo,and then you can blow me :-0 Just kidding you large American.


im takin my nsca cert in june... i have the nsca book now... from what i've heard doctors fail that shit along w/ the cscs exam... if your a ncaa strength and conditioning coach you need those certs...