CanFitPro Atlantic Canada Conference

This weekend I attended a Group Fitness, Personal Training and Mind-Body Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia hosted by CanFitPro.  CanFitPro, a division of Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc., is a national certification and continuing education organization.  I have some very firm opinions about the training, certification and ongoing credentialing of fitness professionals and this is my chance to air a few of them.

First, let me summarize some of the sessions in which I particpated.

Tracy Cipryk is one largely talented, energetic and savvy fitness diva.  In the premiere session of my day, she got my heart pumping and glands sweating with some cool cardio/interval with resist-a-ball choreography.  Later in the day she worked the room well with a fusion with resist-a-ball session.  There were some inspiring moves in the session and the opportunity to really put one’s own spin on the choreography.

Darren Steeves, a veteran class instructor and personal trainer who works for Dalhousie University and owns Steeves Training Systems, handed out all kinds of great information about corporate wellness programs.  For those of us looking to expand our work into an area where there is a large and meaningful impact to make, corporate wellness requires a planned and skilled approach.  Darren has cut a path for us and was generous in sharing.

I absolutely love Nathalie Lacombe.  She does the stand up schtick for all of us who are closet fitness comedians.  Thanks be to her energy, her ability to loosen up a group (of fitness professionals), and her way of  finding and elucidating  the pith of what we do and putting it our face in a fun and ah-ha kind of way.  So, we feel much better as a professional, as people who have worked hard to earn and keep our creds, and as movers in the world of health and fitness.

St. Mary’s University was a great place to host the conference — great spaces, great parking, lovely balloon guides.

So, why does a fitness professional attend a fitness conference?

Quite frankly, until this conference I personally had not given much thought to this question, beyond the obvious benefits of learning new information/skills/moves, staying on the forward edge of the industry, interacting with like-minded others, meeting presenters who are at the top of the game.

Fitness is not, unfortunately, a regulated field.  So, as a consumer of fitness services it is important to be cautious and inquisitive.  There are a number of highly reputable organizations which provide certification programs to fitness professionals and, after certification, require the accumulation of continuing education credits (cec’s) each year to remain current.  This is a good thing.  However, I only today realized that some people calculate exactly how many cec’s they need, set out to get them, and then do nothing beyond that.  The bare minimum.  Nothing more.  Is this the person you want to trust with the future of your health and fitness? Conference attendance only to obtain cec’s, rather than to learn and grow within the field is, to me, a very sad statement.

I was caught off-guard by this approach to ‘professionalism’ today.  I urge you to talk to your personal trainer, group fitness instructor, nutrition and wellness specialist, or other certified service provider to determine, for yourself, why they do what they do.  The personal trainer who does not have her own regular weight training program, the yoga instructor without his own regular yoga practice — these are strange and irregular beasts of the field.  Your time, your financial resources, your health deserves so much more than this.

Be an informed consumer.  Your fitness professional should be:

  • properly certified, through a nationally recognized certifying organization
  • cpr certified annually
  • properly insured in order to protect you in the event of injury
  • obtaining ongoing training and upgrading — beyond basic requirements and not from a magazine or from attending someone else’s class/program and then implementing it as their own

If you are in doubt or confused, contact CanFitPro and get information about what you should be seeking for your fitness investment.

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