September 15, 2015



Today, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) announces its rebranded Professional Standards Program™. Formerly the Health & Fitness Program (HFP), the rebranding of the Professional Standards Program (PSP) reflects recent structural changes in the organization and reinforces CSEP’s Professional Standing as a certifying body.

“In an age of highly prevalent chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and an ever aging population, people are turning more and more to professionally guided training for their personal health and fitness needs”, said CSEP’s President, Lori Zehr. “CSEP’s Professional Standards Program produces the highest quality of exercise professionals in Canada, and under our newly structured organization CSEP anticipates a spike in memberships and certification demand in 2015/2016”.

Though many people rely on personal trainers and other exercise consultants for health and fitness advice, the quality of certifications varies widely. To protect consumers in this sometimes confusing environment, CSEP sets the gold standard in exercise science and personal training, requiring university-level courses in the field of exercise science, practical and written exams, and many hours of quality, hands-on experience. CSEP brings the very latest in evidence-based physical fitness research to its curriculum and examinations through a partnership between its Certifications – the Professional Standards Program, and its Academic and Research branch – the only certifying body in Canada to do so.

Exercise is Medicine® Canada (EIMC) is a national CSEP initiative, and with the Professional Standards Program, raises awareness for exercise as a response to physical ailments such as obesity and the multitude of chronic diseases increasing in prevalence in today’s society. Jonathon Fowles, EIMC Liaison Committee Chair, was asked to appear before the senate standing committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology on May 28, 2015, on the obesity crisis in Canada. Dr. Fowles stressed to the senate committee the impact healthcare professionals can have on physical activity levels and the importance of qualified exercise professionals in supporting Canadians in meeting physical activity recommendations. “Even with instructions from our healthcare professionals, knowing what to change in healthy behaviour and how to do it is not an easy task. Through EIM Canada, CSEP’s Certified Personal Trainers and Exercise Physiologists can directly help Canadians in meeting physical activity levels that can significantly contribute to health and well-being and reduce costs to the health care system and society”.

Through the Professional Standards Program, CSEP raises the bar on certification of health and fitness professionals and establishes nation-wide standards in this largely self-regulated industry. The Professional Standards Program offers two levels of certification: the CSEP Certified Personal Trainer® (CSEP-CPT) and the more advanced CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist® (CSEP-CEP).

Both certifications are continuously updated to reflect the most recent discoveries in relevant research and practice. Members of the media are invited to contact CSEP for more information about the certification process, the need for nation-wide standards, and the organization’s recent structural changes.

Media release on behalf of the CSEP Professional Standards Committee, the principal body for physical activity, health and fitness research and personal training in Canada.



About CSEP:

Since 1967, CSEP has been Canada’s voice and resource for exercise physiology, health and fitness, providing leadership in research, education and practice to improve health outcomes for Canadians. True to its mandate in promoting evidence-based research and practice throughout the development of standards, policies, and guidelines, it upholds its title as the Gold Standard in Exercise Science and Personal Training. CSEP currently has over 5000 members.

CSEP founded the Health & Fitness Program in 1981 to address the needs of personnel working in the health and fitness industry. These needs ranged from consumer protection through regulatory standards, to improving appropriate recognition of fitness personnel with advanced qualifications. These needs continue to be addressed and are the founding principles of the re-branded Professional Standards Program.

The crux of CSEP and its Professional Standards Program are its certifications: the CSEP-Certified Exercise Physiologist® (CSEP-CEP) and the CSEP Certified Personal Trainer® (CSEP-CPT). Through CSEP’s standardized core competencies, written and practical exams, and mandatory professional development, both certifications ensure that CSEP’s certified members’ knowledge and skills align with cutting-edge research in exercise science, physiology, health and fitness.

The scope of practice differs between CSEP-CPTs and CSEP-CEPs. A CSEP-CPT works with apparently healthy individuals or those with a stable health condition, who are able to exercise independently; the CSEP-CEP, CSEP’s most advanced certification, performs various health and fitness assessments, prescribes and supervises exercise programs, provides counselling and healthy lifestyle education to a broader swath of the population, including those with chronic conditions. Through both certifications, CSEP aims to provide clients with the highest quality service from their exercise physiologist or personal trainer.

Evidence Based Research: CSEP’s policies, certifications, and guidelines are grounded in evidence-based research (qualitative and quantitative information that meets rigorous academic research standards and is peer-reviewed). Through evidence-based research, CSEP remains a leader in exercise science and in doing so, its members are privy to cutting edge information that situates their work at the forefront of exercise science research and practice. Evidence-based research informs CSEP’s re-branded Professional Standards Program.

Media Contacts
 Kaleigh Maclaren,
Communications Coordinator, Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
(613) 234-3755 x231,

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