Is your personal trainer qualified to be your personal trainer??

So, you have a personal trainer or want to hire one… That is great! But how do you know they are qualified? How do you know they didn’t just wake up one morning, decide they were good at staying fit and eating healthy themselves and so they thought they could do it for other people…? And why should it matter if they did?

Do personal trainers need degrees and/or certifications to practice their trade? In my opinion, of course they do and you should want them to.

When receiving my degree in kinesiology, professors often discussed the “apparently healthy individual.” This was the ideal client whom had no signs of physical complications to impede them from exercising without modifications… This is a what I would call “baseline,” the place from where one needs to start learning about the body and how to manipulate it. I know what to with a healthy person and now I can go on to learn what to do with someone who has a shoulder injury or high blood pressure or lower back issues that have never been diagnosed.

What I learned after about 1 month of actually personal training is that this “apparently healthy individual” does not exist! Everyone has something going on with their bodies, however minor the adjustment that’s needed to either repair or work around the issue, a trainer needs to know what to do. Our friend who has woken up one day and professed their new job title isn’t going to know what to do…

This is when things get scary… Ok, maybe there’s nothing wrong with you today and you’re getting great workouts… But, then you step funny off a curb and hurt your ankle. You didn’t fully sprain it, but it’s tender and now it hurts to perform many movements you were able to do before. Will that trainer know how to help you rehab the ankle so you can return to normal functioning as soon as possible?

You sit at a desk all day, that’s an immediate clue to a qualified trainer as to how to set up a program to help improve strength in areas that need it and conversely stretch out areas that are tight. An unqualified trainer could have you doing tons of exercises that exacerbate your problems.

I work with so many clients that have been injured by poorly trained or completely untrained “personal trainers” and I want to get the word out! Ask for credentials/qualifications! Even if a trainer is referred to you by a friend or family member, ask these questions anyway:

Do you have a degree in an exercise science?
Do you have a certification as a personal trainer or fitness instructor?
Are you CPR certified?
Do you have personal training insurance?
And especially is you are pregnant or just had a baby: do you have separate training to work with pre and post natal women?

And if they answer no, don’t get sucked in by a good deal, there’s a reason they are so cheap! I give my clients the best prices possible and am always happy to work within their budgets. Training with a friend or taking a shorter session are great ways to stay within your budget and workout with a great certified trainer.

Qualified, well educated personal trainers can do amazing things with your body, not just help you get into your skinny jeans 😉

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