Dear Editor,
I am writing about your “One Last Thought” in the February 2005 issue (“Here's a Little Something to Chew On”). I see similar actions played out in not only my local gym, but also with our student athletes on our sports teams. The student-athletes I work with often ignore the urges of coaches to eat healthier. Despite leading by example (I am an Ironman triathlete and marathoner), these athletes continue to eat chips, fast food, soda, etc., instead of fruit, “real” energy bars, and the fluid replacement drinks they need to perform well, study well and be fit. Then they wonder why they don't feel well, look fat, feel tired and don't play well.

Conflicting information from TV, ads, magazines and peers will continue to drown out the message fitness professionals are offering. We can only reach the few who take to heart the message and get the positive results, creating a new form of “reverse peer pressure.”
Mark Carbone
Strength/Conditioning Coach for St Joseph's College
Brooklyn, NY

Dear Editor,
The National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) is the credential that I think all personal trainers should prepare to obtain in order to ensure secure careers and recognized competence (January 2005, “Taking Measure of the Boards”).

By April 2005 the first national board exams for personal trainers will become available. The NBFE is not an accrediting body or educational organization. Its purpose is to provide nationally standardized examinations for different levels of personal training based on scopes of practice, no matter what school or program a person attends — a system used by other health professions. In fact, the NBFE has been patterned after the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), which certifies all physicians. The NBME will be providing oversight for the NBFE.

While it's not yet mandatory for a certified personal trainer to become board certified, the NBFE Registered Personal Fitness Examination is the only exam that is based on national standards and scopes of practice. The NBFE will provide a list of NBFE registered trainers to the public and medical organizations. Physicians and chiropractors understand national boards and will aggressively lobby to national, state and regional associations that they refer patients to board registered trainers.

Most every recognized profession, medical or allied health care group, uses National Boards. And if individual states resort to licensing or regulating personal trainers, more than likely they will use a standardized National Board as a prerequisite for licensure, like other health professions do. And, many experts also believe this is the first step towards widespread and accepted billing of insurance for personal training sessions. Preliminary work has already begun with a group called Alternative Link to establish specialized billing codes for that specific purpose.

I believe the time is near when personal training will be recognized as a true and accepted member of the allied health professions.
Tammy Petersen, MSE
American Academy of Health and Fitness