An explanation of a new association
by Phil Kaplan
The AAPT is an acronym for the
American Association of Personal Trainers. I didn’t initiate
the AAPT. I actually rejected it when I was first offered
a position on their advisory board. With time, the founder,
Ray Simmons, a California attorney with the best of intentions
convinced me of the virtue of his mission, to create a true
association for quality trainers so they can be identified
and united. I viewed it as a long-term project, and before
I did anything proactive, I literally shut down the existing
AAPT, tactfully terminating their prior relationships. I have
since accepted a position as Acting President and over the
next 3 years hope to spearhead an internationally recognized
Why 3 years? Because although the
Personal Training field has grown in leaps and bounds, with
an estimated 400,000 individuals calling themselves personal
fitness trainers, our industry is in a state of flux with
varying health clubs accepting varying certifications, with
an absence of a true qualifying industry-wide standard, and
with a greater need for quality trainers than ever before.
Over the next few years continued debate, continued discussion,
and continued lobbying will in all likelihood lead to a "Personal
Trainer" being respected as a true professional. Along
the way, we will unite those trainers who have set the bar
exceptionally high and with a new unity the "ground army"
can lead the way. Three years from now I believe all AAPT
members will hold their heads high knowing they rode at the
crest of the wave of change, and of course each and every
one of them will be recognized as an established leader.
The AAPT is NOT a certification
The American Medical Association
does not “certify” doctors, but serves as an association whereby
doctors and medical professionals can commit to live by a
code of ethics and unite as a recognized force. That is the
intended direction of the AAPT, to benefit those quality trainers
who have self-regulated and continue to provide exceptional
quality of service.
In order to make the AAPT credible,
after terminating all prior memberships, we started with 55
hand picked trainers, recognizable names in the industry,
trainers who are walking the talk and living by a standard
of excellence. I wanted to make sure in bringing this association
public we would have absolute credibility.
We've selected for our advisory
board renowned functional training guru, Juan
Carlos Santana and long-time fitness educator par excellence,
Calabrese. We've also recruited respected fitness researcher,
Westcott as a contributor and an AAPT professional consultant.
Our Advisory Board, as our membership, will grow slowly and
meticulously, and we anticipate in 2005 appointing three additional
accomplished AAPT members to the Board.
Forum allows immediate interaction with the highest caliber
of trainers. I’d encourage all of you to begin
posting at the Discussion
Board at the AAPT
site. Over the next few months we’ll be adding chat rooms
for online meetings (both trainer-to-trainer and trainer-to-consumer),
we’re working diligently to find a health insurance option
for independent trainers, and we’ll be slowly and deliberately
growing our membership.
The AAPT has aligned with the National
Board of Fitness Examiners (nbfe.org).
Sal Arria posted a brief
note about their vision at the AAPT Discussion Board.
You can also listen to an
interview I did with Sal, or tune into the
live remote from the 2004 Personal Trainer Business Forum
where Dr. Arria appeared as a guest in order to fully understand
the direction the NBFE is headed.
We do not “take sides,” nor do
we form any public opinion of the virtues of any credential.
We’ll leave that to the experts in that arena. We are, however,
in recognizing that the first National Board exam will take
place in 2005, cognizant of the fact that the industry’s about
to change. The certification agencies are scrambling since
IHRSA publicly announced that the NOCA accreditation would
be “the one that counts.” There are several other accrediting
organizations that have played a credibility role in the certification
arena and we will explore each of the certifications to better
understand what may serve as an acceptable and legally defensible
The AAPT is presently in a position
to accept those accredited through NOCA
Research while still reinforcing the virtues of a nationwide
minimum requirement . . . a board exam. We will accept those
agencies with long-time recognition by the Medical Community
as well as University Degree programs. In a field on the edge
of change, we're methodically building our membership with
quality and credibility and the governing principles. In other
words, we see the change coming, and we'll prepare for it,
but we have a responsibility to accept what is presently most
respected industry wide.
The credentialing force behind
personal trainers is fragmented, and the calls I receive from
certification agencies run from abounding praise to threats.
I realize by accepting the Presidency of the AAPT at this
time, I’m in for an interesting ride, but those of you who
know me know my journey is governed by ethics, and if I’m
to be criticized, I consider it an opportunity to prove the
merits of a valuable association for fitness professionals.
Criticism means I’m having an impact. Most of the critics
call with a flawed understanding of our intentions. We are
not “rejecting” certification agencies, but we are slow to
add new acceptable certifications to our list only because
it is so vital that we maintain absolute credibility. As our
association grows to thousands and ultimately tens of thousands
of members, I realize the ability to screen each applicant
is severely restricted, but right now, in the developmental
stages, slow growth will ensure longevity. I hope you’ll find
pride in being a part of what is now a hand-picked association
of ethical credible caring trainers committed to excellence.
I want this to be a resource for true professionals to interact
at a professional level.
the AAPT now and for less than the fee most trainers charge
for a single training session, you form a bond, an affiliation,
with an enviable ground army. You'll be able to network with
top trainers from around the globe, trianers all willing to
live by a Code
of Ethics, focusing on issues ranging from business building
to training methodologies. You'll be included in our Trainer
Listing database, and with continued and ever-growing
exposure, the AAPT web site will serve as a source of limitless
The AAPT will feature an Opportunities
Posting where quality positions and opportunities for high
level trainers will be announced.
Upon enrolling you'll recieve a
business building audio CD and your AAPT decals which will
soon come to be the visual representation of quality in a
field where it is much needed. You'll also receive the monthly
AAPT newsletter with articles aimed at helping you build your
professionalism and profitability exponentially from month
to month. We'll also build a library
of articles written by experts sharing their advance and experiences.
Already you'll find a 2-part in-depth revelation of what I've
New Paradigm." Expect upcoming articles by Dr. Anthony
Abbott and personal training marketing guru Eric Ruth.
Here to Find out More About Becoming an AAPT member.
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