The Skinny on the Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant exam
I’ve talked to quite a few people lately about passing the LWMC (Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant – an ACE advanced-level certification) exam. Several have been people who were unsuccessful in their first attempt, and a few were first time LWMC test takers. All wanted to know what were the tricks to passing the LWMC certification exam. The problem is that there aren’t any ‘tricks’ to passing, simply hints and suggestions about the directions of your studies.
The Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant certification focuses on using an integrated approach to tackle the issues of behavioral change and weight management. Helping a client lose weight and then maintain that weight loss through lifestyle change requires knowledge of exercise science, nutritional science, and behavioral science…as well as the ability to turn this information into practical tips and programs.
When I talk to people about the LWMC certification I always stress a couple of things. The first is that this certification builds off of your Personal Trainer knowledge. The LWMC certification (and manual) assume that you are familiar with the basic principles of assessment, program design and program modification for a generally healthy individual. You should know this information already if you hold the personal trainer certification. Those candidates that are coming from a nutrition background or even someone coming from a group fitness background may need to brush up on these personal training principles. For GFI’s, you will want to review not only the principles, but also how they apply to an individual rather than to a group.
The LWMC certification takes your knowledge about working with healthy adults, then focuses on the special population of those trying to lose or manage weight. There is a special emphasis on individuals who are overweight and/or obese. So when you are looking at topics like assessment and program design, remember what you know as a personal trainer then focus on how that topic is different and/or modified for the specific population of the LWMC certification.
A second thing to recognize is that the LWMC exam focuses strongly on the psycho-social aspects of the overweight and/or obese population. This includes working with motivation, health behavior counseling, and behavior modification. The LWMC certification places a strong emphasis on behavior change, and the test questions reflect this. This population may have significant barriers to exercise, no positive associations/experiences with exercise, and no idea how to motivate themselves to start and continue a program. There is significant coaching that needs to occur when you are operating as an LWMC. The physical aspect of assessing your client’s fitness level and developing a workout routine for them is important, but working with their feelings/expectations/motivation is as important if not more important.
I think this second part is where people sometimes struggle with the LWMC certification. So much of what we as fitness professionals (particularly personal trainers) do is focused on the physical response of the body. How a client physically responds when we apply certain principles of force/resistance/overload etc. But where that is a big part of training an average healthy adult, it is a smaller part of training an overweight and/or obese client. Understanding this requires a shift in our mentality as trainers.
As a final note, don’t forget to be familiar with basic nutrition principles such as RDA/dietary guidelines and how to utilize them. Understanding nutrition and the body’s needs is a vital part of the LWMC certification exam. Does everyone know the basic formula for weight maintenance?
Weight maintenance is when calories in = calories out. Yes, it really is that simple.
For more details on the LWMC, head on over to the LWMC certification page.
Questions? Contact one of our Education Consultants at 1-888-825-3636 x782