Kemme Fitness

Complete Resources for a Functional Fitness Lifestyle

The certification debate…if barefoot nerds can have one, so can us Functional Fitness geeks

My good friend and another really cool guy are helping to lead a debate among the main proponents of barefoot and minimalist running. The proverbial question:  “to certify or not to certify.”

On September 3rd of this year, my good friend and barefoot running expert (yes you are an expert Jason) wrote this: “Barefoot running coach certification: why it’s a bad idea.” Then he followed up a few days later with another post.  See Jason Robillard’s website at Barefoot Running University for more great insight.

Then a really cool guy, the Maple Grove Barefoot Guy, a man with so much swag that he shares it with those around him, wrote a post about the benefits of barefoot running certification. His post is here.

The saga continued on October 9th with Jason’s response to MGBG. Jason wrote about the certification alternative with his post. Personally, I’m not sure where I fall in on this. They both have good points and so far I’d say Jason’s response is compelling. Personally, I have issues with certifications myself.

That brings me to our discussion – Functional Fitness Certification.

So what certifications are out there?  I googled that exact term and immediately came across the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA)’s Functional Fitness Specialist Certification Course for a reasonable $395.  Hmmm.  NESTA (National Exercise & Sports Trainers) has the same cert for $199. Ooooh, FiTour has one for $299, but on sale for $79. The list went on and on.

So where do I go for a certification?  Do I chose the cheapest (I am quite the cheap bastard)? Do I chose the most expensive, since that is probably better?  Do I go with AFPA because it is more well known?  Maybe I should go for the one that also certifies in Kettlebells, since that one is probably closer to what we do?

And what about the dozen to twenty people I have been training these part few years?  They have been been training with somebody who is…oh no…uncertified.  Can I actually train people, or should I stop sharing until I pay for one of those courses? By the way, I’m a great test taker and could most likely pass any online certification after studying the material, but that doesn’t make me qualified to teach anything safely and effectively.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-certification. Nurses, teachers, police officers, and fire fighters have certifications, and they are important ones. I like that my physician has a license.  But I have also seen certified police officers who are poorly trained (the certification itself is not rocket science). On the flip side,  I can easily imagine highly trained police officers who don’t have to do the yearly certifications by the State. They simply practice and research and train on their own. It would be up to the individual municipality to make sure their force is trained. See…this debate is not an easy one.

So weigh in will ya.  What do you think about the issue? What do you think about doing our workouts knowing I have no certifications?  Maybe I should start my own Kemme Fitness Functional Fitness Certification?  KFFFC? On second hand…maybe not.

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4 Comments»

  Harvey wrote @

I’ll make you a certificate if that will make you feel better. You can even pay me hundreds of dollars if you would like. However, I don’t think you need to be certified for this. Like you mentioned someone with a certificate of some sort wouldn’t be a better fitness leader than you because of that certificate. You’re kicking ass at this already so there is no need to pay someone to verify that.

  Kemme Fitness wrote @

Thanks Harvey. I will have to probably pay you $20 for the butt-kissing words though :)

  Shane wrote @

I’ve been thinking about this the last few days.

When it comes to certifications, pretty much no matter what the field, they are only as good as the certifying body. They have to have the respect of the rest of the field. So if you were going to choose one, I’d pick the best “bang for the buck” by going for the best price on the most prominent certifying authority.

Whether you should get certified is another matter. What is the goal, and will it meet those goals? If its to decrease liability because you are now certified to post training materials, will it really do that? If its to make you more legitimate, it may work because it might convince people to take you more seriously.

Whether you can certify other people is easy: you can. Every certifying body started out with people doing just that. But it goes back to my first point – the certifying body has to be accepted in the field. But if you do, I recommend you do “Kemme Fitness Certified”, and you can call yourself KFC. Then your mascot could be an old Southern guy in a white suit… wait. Nevermind. :)

  Kemme Fitness wrote @

Thanks Shane.

My goal has always been to share with as many people as I can. I do have an LLC, so I don’t think any certifications will protect me any more (I’ll let any experts chime in on that). I do see the point of how there are plenty of people that would feel more comfortable taking recommendations from somebody with a certification, so I feel bad for not being able to reach them.

I was thinking of Advanced Kemme Certification (AKC), but that might be taken :)


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