FOX43 Finds Out: Becoming a certified personal trainer in less than an hour

The push to get fit in 2020 is coming and with that people are looking for some motivation.

FOX43 Finds Out what questions you should be asking to make sure your health is in the right hands.

"The majority of people know that exercise is one of the most helpful things they can do to improve their health. A majority of people are not exercising regularly," said Doug Miller,  a professor in health, nutrition and exercise science at Messiah College.

He says the exercise science major has grown over the past 10 years at the college.

A lot of those students have become personal fitness trainers.

The course load for a 4 year degree is not easy.

"Exercise physiology, kinesiology, exercise testing and prescription, exercise psychology," are just some of the classes, said Miller.

Miller says there are certain certifications people get after graduation that require a 4 year degree.

According to the US bureau of labor statistics - there are more than 12,000 fitness trainers in Pennsylvania with about 17-hundred in south central PA.

What is unclear is what certifications all of those trainers have.

In Pennsylvania, trainers don't have to be licensed or register with the state.

FOX43 Finds Out found some website that allow you pay, take a test online, and get a personal trainer certificate.

That's exactly what we did on ExpertRating.com.

I paid $70 and got some course material, 21 chapters.

Then all I had to do was take a 40 question test in less than an hour.

You only need 50% to pass.

A lot of the questions were easy to Google.

Without studying at all, I passed with a score of 82.

With no time in an actual gym and just a computer to look up the answers, I can now say I'm a "certified personal trainer."

"Yeah that`s definitely a problem."

Ryan Zuver owns First Capital Gym in York.

He has a lot of certifications.

Since he's an educated personal fitness trainer, FOX43 finds out wanted him to ask me questions that, as a certified personal trainer, I should know.

He asked me 4 questions he says a personal trainer should know an answer to, and I got none of them right.

Experts in the industry say someone without the proper knowledge, should not be training people.

"The lawsuits that have come as a result of negligence on the part of trainers mostly are trainers now pre-assessing whether or not the person was ready for what they exposed them to," said Miller.

Here are some of the questions the experts say you should be asking a trainer:

1. What are your accreditations? Also, ask to see the proof. Here are some of the best: CSCS, NASM, NSCA, ACE, and  ACSM

2. You should also be asking that the trainer about their area of expertise and if they have different types of methods, so you don't get bored.
3. Finally, ask them what their goals are for you.

"This is your life. This is your health," said Miller.

We did reach out to ExpertRating.com, that's the site where I got my certification.

Now, the website did state that the test was not an open book test, however, there was no one there watching me to make sure I didn't cheat.

If I could Google the answers, so could everyone else taking the test.

We emailed the creators of the website about this and here's the response we were sent:

"The problem of googling answers is inherent in any form of online assessment that relies on the internet. We employ technology to overcome this issue through our LiveProctor feature that requires test takers to use a web cam while taking the test. Moreover, we randomize all the questions and refresh the test content at regular intervals.

However this is not foolproof, and assessments should always be used in conjunction with a personal interview. In many cases, gym owners ask interviewees to take the test in their presence, which is a good idea. In the future, more leading certification bodies like ACE will have their tests conducted in proctored testing centers, which is really the only perfect solution to this issue. Solely internet-based assessment providers like us (and most of the others) will also have to move in the same direction."

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43 wants to find out. Let Jackie know, send me a message on Facebook or shoot us an email at FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.

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