HomeArticlesChristian Duque

Should Coaches Be Certified?

by Christian Duque

The question about coaches and certifications is very much a hot topic. Some coaches will tell you that certifications are just for training and that even when it comes to that, it’s more so for liability purposes than anything else. There’s trainers that have created their own innovative approaches and they have methodologies that fly in the face of what textbooks teach. The path towards certification is the path towards working at Bally’s, it’s not intended to train elite level competitors looking to win local, regional, national and professional physique-based titles.

Also, much of what’s taught in certification courses is fluff. They expect you to know each head of each muscle and how they work in conjunction with fibers, how stress factors in, and how and when the lifter should rest. Many coaches would feel insulted to sit down for an examination like this. They’ve known this stuff for years because they started training long before they ever took clients.

Many trainers have spent a lifetime reading everything they could find, from magazines to books to juried articles. The vast majority of coaches I’ve met in the bodybuilding world could easily teach courses at just about any community college, if not four year institution. They don’t just know health and well-being, they live it. They also understand that each client is unique and they structure training protocols around their needs and preexisting conditions. The same goes for the food and the supplements. While some coaches may be RD’s or work with RD’s, how much do registered dietitians actually know?

I’m not here to suggest that a layperson knows more about nutrition than a dietician, but there are exceptions to the rule, are there not? Let’s not stop there, let’s look at MD’s. Surely an uncertified coach couldn’t compare knowledge with a medical doctor. An MD probably has a biology-based undergrad, they went to med school, and then did a residency. They have studied medicine for almost ten years before going on their own. That said, how many competitors who are dehydrated and cramping from a contest that get to the ER, could be put in the ground by an MD practicing textbook medicine on a person that requires the kind of medical attention they just don’t teach in med school. They don’t teach young budding doctors how to deal with competitors so shredded that one wrong move could end them.

It’s not your textbook dehydration or exhaustion, it’s truly a unique self-induced state. No one in their right mind would push themselves to these dangerous limits… no one that’s not a driven physique-based athlete who is willing to go to hell and back to win a title. Some competitors are so committed they can stare death in the face and put it on hold just long enough to have their hand raised high. It really is do or die and if anyone’s to save that competitor’s life it may very well be a COACH and not a doctor. I’m not saying that’s always going to be the case or even sometimes will be the case, but the fact it COULD be the case is truly noteworthy.

The issue of certifications is rather silly when dealing with legit gurus of the coaching world; however, it might be a very useful tool when weeding out the wannabes. The really good coaches don’t usually have a body count. They’re not responsible for causing their clients metabolic damage, rather, it’s the wannabe coaches who copy others’ plans, who don’t like their clients asking questions, and who literally put their female clients on starvation diets. They don’t care about the hormonal damage they may be causing and they don’t care how much drugs they push, either. Their clients are simply a means to an end. They don’t see them even as people.

I know some of you think I’m exaggerating, but I’m really not. There are A LOT of really soulless people who have discovered that if they look a certain way, talk a certain game, that they can have vulnerable people eating out of their hands. And those who become their victims can be incredibly intelligent, successful, and driven people, but they can just as easily get played. I’ve seen it happen over and over. And for many, everything looks right so who’s to say, right?

A faker can have the physique, they can have a website,and maybe they got lucky with some genetic freaks who would have done well anyways but gave some positive testimonials to hang his or her hat on. There’s a number of ways for conmen and conwomen to pull this nonsense, but 99% of them would fail a certification test miserably. They don’t know how the body works, much less the anatomy of it. And not only wouldn’t they know it, they would be morally opposed to studying for the test. If they studied that would mean they cared, that would mean they actually wanted to hone a craft. Their goal is to profit off others and do so the easiest way possible. It’s to combat these jokers that so many in the industry are calling for certifications. If only the good coaches understood the motivation.

I suspect some of the accomplished gurus get it, but they have zero interest in sitting for exams or paying for certifications they don’t feel they need. So long as the top coaches continue to look down on certs this gives the bums masquerading as coaches the option to avoid being weeded out.

I, for one, like the idea of coaches being certified, but ultimately it’s caveat emptor (buyer beware). People have the right to hire whoever they want and as long as coaches are holding themselves as being certified when they’re not, then anyone can coach. It’s scary to think that anyone – even without a shred of knowledge or experience – can tell competitors what to eat, how to train, and what supplements to take. This is the world we live in. What’s your take on certifications? Do you think they’d weed out the bums who are actively hurting men and women in the fitness industry? Or do you think it’ll just come down to people doing their research and wisening up?

I hope you enjoyed reading my article, here, at Iron Magazine. As always, I look forward to reading your feedback in the comments. Please be sure to copy and paste a link to this article on your social media feeds.

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