T Nation

Professional Education

This may seem like an odd question but would like to hear opinions. Please bear with my brief history just to give a little of my background. I have, since the age of 12, been interested in and studied human physiology and the effects of exercise on it. This was the age when I began weight training as well.

By the time I went to college, basic biology, anatomy and physiology classes seemed to, almost, be merely a review of what I had studied on my own in high school. Well, I graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Texas in Tyler in 1992. At that time there really wasn’t much work in the field that interested me, so I went to work for an Athletic Club as Athletic Director and personal trainer.

After 5 years at that job, I went to work for EAS and have been in the supplement industry ever since. Now, I would like to learn a more, or even re-educate myself, in the field of exercise physiology and strength training, not necessarily to go out and get a job, but merely because I really enjoy studying that field and applying it to my training as well as others.

I am opening my second Powerhouse Gym here in South Florida and starting a supplement company of my own, so my career is well in place already.

So, now to my question. I would like to further my education without getting a Masters Degree (due to my location and lack of a University in my area) in strength training and/or exercise physiology. I have been out of the “business” for so long that I do not know what organizations are the best of the best. If I were to get a “true” strength training certification, what organization would I look to? I am not looking to just get a one week, personal training cert. Is a certification the best way to go? What about attending continuing education in those fields? Should I join a professional organization? If so, which one/s?

I would like to get myself back into the circle and possibly even use my knowledge professionally in the near future whether at my gyms of even at a local high school. Who knows?

I would appreciate any input, whether brief or extensive. Thank you for your time.

the top 3 certs are ACSM, NASM and NSCA. If your looking for a strength cert then maybe look in the NSCA-CSCS

NASM,NSCA. Check out the Resistance training specialist cert.Is is a biomechanics cert related to exercise and gross motor movement, if you are interested in that sort of thing.Get both of CT’s books.Get Siff’s Supertraining and Pavel’s Beyond bodybuilding (its like a paint by numbers workbook of some of the Siff data.Good theory there…z


I may be moving to Tampa at the end of summer. I would love to talk shop then.

I have a CSCS cert, but never studied for the test. I merely listened to the tapes on the 4 hour drive to the testing site. The just skimmed the chapters until 3 in the morning. The test was a breeze as someone with a very strong strength and coaching background…and a nerd…LOL

Internationally, NSCA is probably the best known.

Now, I would love to be certified by the NASM, but you need a degree in a “related field”. Here are the fields:

*Related degree fields include: Athletic training
Community health
Exercise physiology
Exercise science
Health science
Human movement science
Physical education
Physical therapy
Sport science

Since I was a Histroy / Philo major in college, I cannot be certified by the ACSM or the NASM.

As a person who attended a NESCAC school (true nerd), and has read pretty much every Russian text available on training, I sometimes scratch my head and wonder how an undergraduate degree from some po-dunk state school (no offense to all you state school people out there, but I started out at UF and the level of academic rigor was a joke, so I transferred) in Biology, Health Science, Nutrition, Phys Ed, Sports Science, etc are necessary to have a certification…if you demonstrate knowledge and the ability to apply the knowledge.

Just a quibble on my part, but I am sure Mike Clark has his reasons for letting some fat-assed nutritionist be eligible to be certified over people who took difficult classes in college. The funny thing is that majors like BioChem (which I was until boredom got the better of me) isn’t listed. I guess you have to be “smart” but not too smart. Half of the degrees listed there are the ones that the dumbest guys I know enrolled in due to ease of classes…

So there is my rant.

That being said, I believe the NASM certification may be the koolest out there, and I may get the materials just for my own personal knowledge… I get clients due to results anyway, not what four letters are after my name.

Mike actually has a very solid progression he uses for functional training.

Now, I am going to assume his application of force training matches the functional progression…

Maybe I am assuming a bit much… but, I am going to fork out the money after a summer of speed camps…

In doing your own studying, I would Read the books listed above, then move on to Kurz and every Russian manual you find at elitefts. If you have to double take in reading the authors name, then you can be sure there is something solid contained within.

Poliquin, King and the rest are all good also. Siff and CT in particular do a good job of making the complex easier to understand. Like Pavel’s work, CT’s books are excellent, but just applicable versions of the old Ruskies…with some Canadian gems also.
Francis’s seminars are good, but both cover similar topics, so the latter might be all that is necessary.

I guess that is all for now.

I will keep an eye out for you this summer as my move draws near…

Coach JR

[quote]Jumanji wrote:
Now, I would love to be certified by the NASM, but you need a degree in a “related field”. Here are the fields:


Really when did this happen? i was foruntate enough to be one of the last people to take the NASM CPT test only last july, now you have to go to a test site but last I heard anyone could take it

Gentlemen, thanks for the great input. Over the weekend I found a few of my old college text books…Exercise Pys, Biochemistry, Biomechanics and Anatomy/Physiology. Don’t know why I kept a few, but glad I did, although they are outdated I’m sure. They have pictures of guys with white tube socks pulled all the way up to their knees and really short shorts. Man, I’m getting old. I’m sure I didn’t dress like that in the late 80’s early 90’s.

Thanks again for the input everyone. Jumanji, let me know when you get closer to moving to Tampa.

I have asked this before but don’t think anyone replied.

Can you go for the CSCC with an unrelated degree? As long as its a BSc, BA, MA, MEng etc?

Are there any big strength coaches who did not get a degree in exercise physiology or kiniesology before certification?


You must have knowledge to get a CSCS certification.

No degree in a related field is required. Just a degree is…

I have no idea about the degrees of Big Time S&C coaches.

When I judge a S&C coach it is by the deltas realized in the athlete’s performance while under that coach, not degrees, not titles, not certs, not fancy weightrooms…

I don’t even know if Louie has a degree, but if I had a powerlifter, I’d go to him for my knwoledge base, not some clown who applies cookie-cutter HIT based programs to 400 student athletes… regardless of their nervous system propensity, etc.

That may seem a bit rude, but the point is to make the athlete better, safely. As a former athlete who was an SEC walk-on, and has coached in HS and College, I am not so very impressed with most “systems”… lacking to be sure.

As a CSCS certified trainer, I feel that the information contained in NASM’s PES Certification may be the most current and cutting edge… so to speak.

I cannot say for sure since I haven’t appealed their “related degree” rule, but I will be pursuing that cert this fall.

I hope that wisdom prevails in theri decision of a piece of paper vs. knowledge and application.

We’ll see.

Good luck to you.

it’s all about how hungry you are. Degrees are nice but with the advent of the internet and the ability you have to just buy course textbooks you can acquire that knowledge. Yes it will take longer but you can if your hungry. Degrees are more for working with prefessional teams, to do with CW or CT do, which is privately train athletes it is not required

Ah thanks for the reply. You see I am doing a degree in Mechanical ENgineering as this field interest me very much. I would also like to know if other careers were still a possibility and I like the idea of training athletes very much. Obviously a related degree would be much more appropriate but my interest are so varied its difficult to choose what to do. I still have no idea what to do with my life but owning my own training facility and training athletes sounds like a dream job. Designing sports equipment and cars sounds like a dream job too though!