I’m a CSCS – Now What?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in FAQs, Personal | 1 comment

I’m a CSCS – Now What?

People often ask me:

“What are you doing now that you have your CSCS?”

If I was in there shoes, I would want to know too. Taking the CSCS is a lot of work, and before you begin such an undertaking you should consider whether or not it would be worth it.

At the start of all our journeys to become a CSCS – we are all in different places. Some (like me) are switching careers and are looking for a way to establish ourselves as knowledgeable when it comes to strength and conditioning. Some of us need the certification in order to be employed as an S&C coach for the military, NCAA, or similar places of employment. Some, like Ryan Grella of cscstestprep.com are physical therapists and being a CSCS just makes sense for your job and career.

It all started five years ago…

For me it started when I got into training. I was bored of my desk job, bored of video games, bored of drinking and socializing. I wanted to build on something and improve myself – inspired by a friend of mine who got in shape doing P90X (yes, I know) I decided to learn how to get in shape & get strong. I started with a $50 set of adjustable dumbbells and a bodybuilding routine – and the changes came rapidly.


Working out 3x a week and changing your diet from complete and utter shit to something healthy can have a big effect in 6 weeks. Still had a long way to go, but from that point on I was hooked. I read everything I ran into online about strength training and tried any diet that made an ounce of sense or seemed plausible. I got stoked about it and wanted to share this passion with others – but I was just some dude who read a bunch of shit on the internet. So I thought I would get my CSCS, and I bought the book and practice exams. They ended up sitting around for a few years – between working, working out, playing video games and cooking I was too distracted.

A few years later I was pushing past intermediate levels of strength and hitting advanced in some lifts. Around this time I started getting injured – hamstring injury, back+abdominal injury, and finally a shoulder injury. I went to a sports medicine doc, physical therapy, massage therapists, and chiropractors. The results were ok, but took forever. Most of the time visits did a little bit, or close to nothing. I couldn’t really tell the difference sometimes whether it was just me resting or the work that was being done.

My First Experience with Bodywork

Fed up with injuries hampering my progress, I decided to try something new. Having heard of Active Release Techniques, I decided to give it a try. I looked up local practitioners and found a massage therapist who really seemed to know what he was doing: Thomas Wells. Using ART in combination a muscle testing techniques: Neurokinetic therapy my shoulder injury which I had been suffering with for 4 months was 80% better after one session. One session, $110 out of pocket…got me the results of 6 weeks of physical therapy & a dozen $20 copays. It was not only cheaper – it was faster. I was hooked, baffled, intrigued, and skeptical all at the same time.

The Transition

As I continued to get bodywork for my various ailments, I continued to ask questions about his techniques. It dawned on me that a happy, healthy, and fulfilling living could be had doing this work. Tired and bored of my desk job – i took the plunge. I quit, and lined up all of the following activities

  • Massage School
  • Active Release Techniques (lower, spine, upper) courses
  • Finishing my CSCS + writing on this blog + finishing the book
  • Neurokinetic Therapy

Fast forward to the present day

I’m working in a room right next to my mentor, Thomas Wells. Working on building my business and honing my techniques. Every day is different. Every client is different. Some cases baffle me, others are straightforward. The work is extremely fulfilling.

But at the same time it’s stressful. Learning how to run your own business is a challenge. You never really have “time off” – because you’re working for yourself. There’s always more to do. Learning how to cope with this is the major challenge. But that’s the point – i’m being challenged and growing.

Would I do it all again?

My CSCS certificate sits on my wall right next my ART Full body certification. It reminds me that I am an expert on strength and conditioning. Even though it is just a piece of paper, it boosts my self confidence – and in any service based business self confidence is key.

It also tells the client that when I assign them a corrective exercise for their ailment, that exercise is being chosen by someone knowledgeable.

I haven’t written on here in a while, and that’s mostly because i’m very busy. I’m working on my business website www.juliancorwin.com. It’s all a work in progress

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Benefits of NSCA Membership

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 in Exam Requirements, FAQs | 2 comments

If you’re visiting this site, it’s probable that you are looking to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  If that is true, there really is no question that being a member of the NSCA is a smart choice.

Let’s look at the numbers for exam registration:

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CSCS Exam Content

Posted by on Jan 3, 2013 in Exam Preparation, FAQs | 0 comments

Before I even start studying for an exam, I like to take a broad look at what kind of topics will be covered and if possible, try and get an idea of what questions will be asked.  Knowing these two things will help when studying, as I will know what to look for.

First place to start is the NSCA website, which has some great resources to get the ball rolling.  Know that the CSCS Exam is split into two sections:

  • Scientific Foundations (1.5 hours / 90 questions)
  • Practical / Applied (2.5 hours / 110 questions)

If we analyze all four hours of testing, the questions per topic break down like this:

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How Do I Get CPR/AED Certified?

Posted by on Jan 3, 2013 in Exam Requirements, FAQs | 0 comments

Getting CPR/AED certified is a requirement for the CSCS certification, but not for the exam itself.  You can in fact complete the exam, and later display proof of CPR/AED certification to receive your CSCS.

There are a number of ways to get certified, one is through the Red Cross.  Simply enter in your zip code, the appropriate certification, and search for a local listing.  For me, the cost of the class is somewhere between $90 and $110.  I chose Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED as my son was recently born so being able to CPR/AED with a pediatric bent is applicable to me.

Another great option for CPR/AED certification training is the American Heart Association, however briefly investigating the site reveals a way to reserve a spot in the class but no indication of the actual cost, though I admit this could probably vary by location.

An interesting third option is procpr.org, where apparently you can complete your certification entirely online at your own pace for an affordable $29.95.  I haven’t decided what option I will take yet, stay tuned!

Edit: I don’t believe the third option will be accepted by the NSCA!  A hands on portion is required.

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Should I Become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)?

Posted by on Jan 1, 2013 in CSCS Prerequisites, FAQs | 1 comment

Certifications for any specialized discipline confer a degree of authority on the subject matter they cover.  In the case of the CSCS – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, you are conveying a number of things:

  • You know the science behind strength and conditioning training
  • You have some basic knowledge of nutritional requirements for athletics
  • You are generally well educated (requires a bachelors degree)
  • You can handle emergency situations (AED and CPR also required)

This gives you a bit of a leg up on some other certifications.  The NASM certification for example, requires no college degree and exam preparation materials cost more.  As part of signing up for the CSCS you automatically become a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Assocaition (NSCA) and receive monthly publications pertaining to the world of Strength and Conditioning.

Coming from a science and math background myself this science-bias plus the monthly publication appeals to me.  If you are like me, and looking for a career change towards the fitness industry then the CSCS might be a great option for you.

Read all of this with a grain of salt, as I am NOT YET certified!  I started this website as a study guide, as I learn about the CSCS and the material it tests for I will write about it here and hopefully it helps you!

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