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Professional- licensure, reimbursement, other

Exercise Physiologist vs Personal Trainer/Fitness ...
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Hi Mary,

You bring up some really great points that we as a field are working hard to clarify. It is important to start with outlining that ACSM currently identifies 3 different types of certified exercise professionals, 1. personal trainers, 2. exercise physiologist and 3. clinical exercise physiologist.

I don't believe it is who is "better" per se, but who has the proper training to best suit the needs of the individual they are working with. For instance as outlined in the exam content documents for each of these certified professionals, there are very specific tasks, educational and clinical requirements. It all comes down to the individual an exercise professional is working with and what desired outcomes they wish to achieve. A personal trainer may be the "perfect" fit for a 53 year old female who is assuringly healthy and looking to start a regular exercise routine. A personal trainer, with no advanced training or background, may not be the most qualified to handle a client who is in atrial fibrillation following a heart attack and who also has type 2 diabetes as a co-morbidity. Again, the specifics for each of these professions is outlined on ACSMs website. Since you are posting to the CEPA forum, I'd like to emphasize the extensive education and clinical training the CEPs undergo to be qualified to work with at risk populations. It is true that one may find several qualifications within a single exercise professional (i.e. started as a personal trainer and continued their education to become a CEP) but we must ensure that we are using the correct professional language for their qualifications and not just running around calling everyone who works in an exercise setting an "exercise physiologist", etc.

There are countless benefits to working/creating an multidimensional practice/environment. Since we do not have strict regulations in our field at the moment, it would take someone very in tune with the field to hire multiple layers of exercise professionals and assign their duties accordingly. Unfortunately, this is an area we are working to "tighten up" so that the medical field, fitness industry, and most important the general public have a better idea of who we are and what we do.

I'm happy to answer any more specific questions you have or dive deeper into this discussion with more direction! I hope you find this helpful in some way
Hello Exercise Enthusiasts,

As someone who has worked in just about all settings within our field, I have found that that there are varying levels of certifications and education required in both medical and non-medical settings for exercise professionals. (I know...speaking to the choir here!)

I have found myself in both settings questioning:

1) Are personal trainers better trainers than clinical exercise physiologists? 

2) Are exercise physiologists better at prescribing exercise as medicine?

3) Can you get both within an exercise professional?

4) What differentiates an "exercise physiologist" from a fitness professional/personal trainer in a non-hospital setting?

5) Have you worked with an "exercise physiologist" in a non-medical setting, where there are also personal trainers? How could you distinguish the two from each other?

I look forward to this discussion and any responses to the above questions to ponder!


Mary Stauder, M.S., RCEP
CEPA Membership Chair
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