BBB Warns: American Sports and Fitness Association Offers Consumers Quick and Easy Certification for CashTuesday, September 7th, 2010
At 5 feet tall and 80 pounds, 11-year-old Julianna doesn’t look very much like a weightlifter. The Webster Groves, Mo., sixth-grader says the biggest thing she ever lifts is her 5-year-old brother. Until a few days ago, she thought a kettlebell was a something to ring, not a piece of weight-training equipment.
Recently, Julianna took and passed an online test for the St. Louis-based American Sports and Fitness Association — a 75-question exam that qualified her to become a certified, card-carrying kettlebell instructor.
How difficult was the test? She finished it in 10 minutes with a score of 89 percent, after the website gave her most of the correct answers on her second attempt. “I wish they would do that in school,” she said.
Kurtis Scott Lippman of Affton, Mo., is president of the American Sports and Fitness Association, which was incorporated in Missouri in September 2007.
Better Business Bureau says that the association’s testing program illustrates an ongoing problem in the area of personal training and exercise certification. People with few qualifications and virtually no knowledge of a subject can receive official-looking certificates indicating an expertise in everything from sports nutrition to kickboxing by simply visiting the website, answering a list of questions and paying $99 or more, depending on the type and length of certification. And don’t worry if you can’t answer the questions the first time through. The American Sports and Fitness Association tells you which answers you missed and lets you continue retaking the test until you get 70 percent correct, the score needed for certification.
“It’s embarrassing for our industry,” said a personal trainer for a well-known St. Louis area gym. “You can be driving a truck one day and working as a personal trainer the next.”
Steve Ball, associate professor of exercise physiology at the University of Missouri at Columbia, called many online certification programs “a joke.” He said businesses around the U.S. “come up with a fancy (more…)