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Are you average?

Are you average? | April Merritt | Exam Preparation Blog | 3/28/2011


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Are you average? Are you an average healthy adult? Or an apparently healthy individual? Do you know what those phrases mean and why they are important?

If you read this blog, or talk to us on the phone, you’ll probably hear the phrase ‘average healthy adult’ frequently. When you review the Certification Candidate Handbook, the description of the unique population or programming focus for the Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor is described as ‘apparently healthy individuals in a group setting (GFI) or one-on-one (PT).’ This means that as a personal trainer or group fitness instructor the people you are most likely going to be working with are average, apparently healthy individuals/adults.

Who are the apparently healthy average adults? Apparently healthy is a phrase that is frequently used; however there doesn’t seem to be a clear comprehensive definition. In general, ‘apparently healthy adults’ includes adults older than18 years of age and less than 65 years of age. Apparently healthy can include individuals who are asymptomatic and (in our situation) have no significant disease or physical condition that prevents them from engaging in physical activity. 

So why is this important for your studies? Well, we talked about it initially in the post about Special Populations when trying to figure out if you had to memorize all the different sub groups. As you study keep in mind that the ACE manuals are considered reference material as well as study material. This means that there may be information or sections or parts of the manual that aren’t as relevant to your exam prep although they may be relevant when you are a practicing professional.

This apparently healthy average adult concept applies when you are reviewing information about power lifting or plyometrics or anaerobic endurance training. These are examples of activities that fall outside the experience of the average, apparently healthy adult. Yes, you may have clients who are training for a body building competition. Or clients who are preparing to go all the way in their work basketball league. But…your average, apparently healthy adult client is focused on developing and maintaining a regular exercise routine that focuses on health improvement, fitness level improvement, and/or weight loss.  And this is the client your certification exam focuses on.

So does that mean you don’t have to study that information that applies to athletes, serious amateur competitors, special populations or other people outside the apparently healthy group? Of course not! That is all information you want to read, digest, and be familiar with. However, when you are studying…and reviewing…and studying some more, you want to make sure you focus on the average, apparently healthy individual. If you only have 30 minutes to review Chapter 11 in your 4th edition ACE Personal Trainer Manual (Cardiorespiratory Training: Program and Progressions), it’s a better use of your time to spend 20 or 22 minutes of that time focused on the average apparently healthy individual, then that last eight or ten minutes reviewing the ‘other’ individuals.

But what if you plan to focus on athletes or cancer survivors or older adult clients when you start practicing as a personal trainer or group fitness instructor? Great! And congratulations on having an idea of what type of population you are interested in! For the purpose of the exam, you want to focus your studies as described above. For your own interest you’ll want to read more in depth about your population of choice and check out the continuing education opportunities for once you are certified.

Questions about your study focus or what you should be reviewing? Just give us a call! ACE Education Consultants can be reached at 1-888-825-3636 x782 or at