My personal training certificate is through the NSCA, the National Strength and Conditioning Association. To keep your certification, you have to renew every 3 years by completing 6 CEUs. It doesn’t sound that hard, except .1 CEU=1 hr. Ok, so every 3 years I have to spend 60 hrs on continuing education. No big deal. Except the NSCA puts a cap on how many CEUs you can receive for one activity. And there are categories (workshops, at home studies, other certifications) with their own limits of how much you can do. In other words, I have to spend a lot of time in conferences, reading books, and taking tests in order to maintain my status as an NSCA-CPT.
This year is a certification year, so I’m scrambling to complete my CEUs. On Saturday, I attended the Illinois State Clinic. It was a day of lectures from various professionals in the field. I love these types of conferences. There’s something about being surrounded by like-minded people and getting inspired by what they’re doing. But I was filled with anxiety as I drove up to Chicago for the day. What if someone asked me where I work? It’s a question you would expect someone to ask, especially at an event like this. Well, I’m a stay-at-home-mom.
So what are you doing here?
I had my obvious reasons. We all were attending because we needed the CEUs. That was a sufficient excuse to be at this conference. But for me, that implied another question: why do you need to remain certified?
Sure, my son is an infant and someday he’ll go to school and maybe then I’ll enter back into the work force. Or we’ll have more kids and need the additional income. Or someday I might go crazy at home and we decide that the best thing for the family is for me to get a job. All reasonable arguments for me to keep certified. Except I renewed my certification 3 years ago like I was supposed to, but I had just quit my job as a trainer. In the last 3 years, I have had a lot of jobs but none of them were training or even in a related field.
There are a lot of things keeping me from pursuing a job as a personal trainer, even at a part time level. The hours are awful; I mean really horrible. Most people want to train first thing in the morning before they go to work, or in the evening after work. In other words, the time my family has together would become prime working hours for me. But also, it’s really frustrating. People hire personal trainers expecting to get results just because they showed up to their session. I can work a person to the bone but if they go home and binge on the crap food they keep tucked away, they just aren’t going to get the results they want. And they always blame the trainer. In some ways my experience as a trainer brought me back down from my ideal world into reality: it’s hard work and sometimes people fail no matter what you do.
So why to I keep spending the time and money for a certificate that has little value for me? I don’t know. Honestly, I have no idea. Right now I’m just holding onto faith. Faith that it will become meaningful to me again. Faith that my failures as a trainer will someday be redeemed. Faith that I will understand how to better motivate my clients to be compliant. And faith that I will find my niche as a trainer. But none of that will happen if I throw it all in the trash today.
So I’m doing the work to keep my certification. I’m going through the motions and trying not to worry about the future. But that’s always been my biggest struggle: taking things one step at a time.