Walk into any mainstream gym and odds are high that you can find a personal trainer for an additional fee. But there’s a fine line between “personal trainer” and “salesperson,” and on the surface, it can be hard to tell the difference. Here are three reasons personal trainers are not all equal, and what you can do to ensure you’re investing wisely.
The Industry isn’t Well Regulated
There are lots of roles in the fitness industry, but rules, regulations and responsibilities that are clearly designated in one part – think physical therapy or dietitians – don’t apply to the realm of personal training. That’s because there is no single regulatory body that mandates guidelines, and there is no governing law that stipulates what someone must do or earn before they can use the term “personal trainer.” That’s why certifications are so important, but there’s a catch. A certification alone may not mean much.
Certifications Vary Widely
Certifications in personal training vary in price, difficulty, prestige and requirements, with the low end of the totem pole available via mail. Other certifications require a bachelor’s degree for the opportunity to even sit the exam. What does that mean to you? Ask about a potential trainer’s certification – and be specific. Reputable certifications will require things like CPR-certification, written and practical exams, baseline score levels, and continuing education to remain certified. The harder the exam, the more qualified the trainer, and certifications from the following are among the most highly regarded for personal training:
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
- The American Council on Exercise
- National Strength & Conditioning Association
- The Cooper Institute
There are a handful of reliable, respected organizations beyond these, so if your trainer shares one that’s unfamiliar to you, take the time to do a little research.
A certification alone doesn’t mean your trainer knows how to safely and effectively train you. There are a lot of intangibles that make someone a really effective personal trainer, because this is a profession that requires the distillation and personalization of extensive knowledge into what works for a given client. Then there are factors like personality fit, motivational style, accommodations for old injuries, etc. It’s true that every experienced trainer started from square one, which is why new trainers should work closely with those who have been in the business before starting with clients of their own. Ask your trainer for references to get an idea of what current and former clients have to say.
If finding a personal trainer who’s both experienced and certified is important to you, we invite you to meet the trainers at Framework Personal Training here in Reno. Contact us today, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.