Theresa Cordova – From AAPTE Personal Trainer Student to a Tough Mudder

AAPTE Unique Tough Mudders –Theresa Cordova helps train a group of individuals each year to participate in a challenging fitness event.

Before working at The Academy of Personal Training Education (AAPTE), Theresa Cordova was a student. “Without having any prior experience in the fitness industry and with very modest personal gym knowledge, I was a little reluctant to begin the AAPTE personal training course,” she said. “However, I was determined to begin a career in the fitness industry, so I became a student of AAPTE in 2004. My experience has been and still is what I consider an amazing learning adventure. It has turned out to be the most important and valuable educational learning experiences I have ever had.”

She became certified, and was hired by a corporate gym who said they chose her because she had an AAPTE certificate. It was suggested that she achieve a dual certification since she didn’t have much experience in the field. So she became a student again – this time for another nationally recognized certification organization. “They taught me — the barbell chest press was the best exercise for the chest, but it may not be,” she said.

They taught her all kinds of things: How to perform squats correctly and that squats were the best exercise for glutes; Don’t let your knees go past your toes; You should only perform full squats … you should go all the way down, and you should never do partial squats and much more. But what was really important was what they did not teach her. “They did not teach me exercise may not be for everyone,” she said. “I might not want to put a hypertensive client on a barbell chest press. I might not want to have a client that has a compromised knee structure doing squats.”

She ended up not sitting for their exam — not because she didn’t know the material but because she realized the value of her AAPTE education. “I felt proud and distinguished to carry AAPTE credentialing,” she said. “I did not feel the need for the validation from an organization that had a one size fits all mentality.

“AAPTE exceeds the industry standards,” she added. “They don’t accept historical continuity; they challenge common and accepted theories. Most important they do not teach you what to think; rather they teach you how to think … they strive to bring a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanical and physiological efficiencies of exercise.”

Currently Cordova is the director of certification for AAPTE, where she maintains the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accreditation and is responsible for the AAPTE certification examination. She also develops course curriculum and teaches. As a personal trainer/health fitness instructor, she works with a variety of clients, both individuals and teams.

Cordova is also currently creating and coordinating an elementary school-wide based fitness programs “Fit Kids for Life” that educates students about the health benefits of exercise and good nutrition. She also started a nonprofit organization, Fit for Life, which advocates for injury prevention and overall wellness by providing science-based education, support and credible resources to fitness professionals, parents and teachers, and others.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Hofstra University and is currently performing research on the effect of verbal and tactile cueing (intent of action) on neuromuscular activation to complete her Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Adelphi University.

“The fitness industry is growing and ever-changing,” Cordova said. “Greater understanding of exercise sciences are evolving, new trends and training strategies are continuously appearing. So it is essential for fitness professional’s to stay current with the latest guidelines, knowledge and skills required to keep their clients safe while implementing appropriate, effective exercise techniques.

“AAPTE offers fitness professionals with coursework where they can expect to gain knowledge and skill application but also leave with an “educational experience” as we teach our students not what to think about exercise but how to think about exercise.”

For more information on the AAPTE program, click here.

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