“(Certified personal trainer) it’s buzz word, that’s a trick word and it doesn’t mean a thing. It really doesn’t. ” – Marc Rabinoff Fitness Instructor and Expert Witness in Personal Training Injury Cases
I’ve been a Personal Trainer in Miami Beach for over 13 years now. My first certification was a 16 hour, two-day course where we took the exam at the end of the last day to get our certification. Looking back, I had a lot of experience in the gym at that time but I had little experience on how to teach other people how to exercise. If they were already in good shape, training them wasn’t a problem. However, if they were out of shape or had medical problems then I was really out of my element.
It took many continuing education courses and certifications to get to the point where now I train clients who have medical problems ranging from joint replacements to organ transplants to heart attacks and cancer. Although I have a background in biology and premedical studies, I had to learn how to modify the practical component of exercise to make sure I was giving my client’s with medical issues a safe yet effective personal training experience. I also have clients who are in better shape than me and have no health problems, but these are the easy people to train.
If you are considering hiring a personal trainer or even starting an exercise program on your own, I suggest you check out this video by CBS on how unregulated and dangerous exercise can be; especially if you’re in the hands of an unqualified personal trainer. In two cases, one client suffered acute renal failure after two workouts and the other suffered a stroke that ended his career. Check out the video here.
Here is what you should know about Personal Training:
- It’s unregulated. There is no governing body or laws regulating who can be a personal trainer.
- Working with an unqualified personal trainer increases your chances of getting injured. As you saw in the video, some exercise injuries can be life-threatening.
- Some certifications mean more than others. Some certifications you can get in a matter of hours, some take extensive measures to ensure trainers have to study rigorously to pass the certification exam.
- Just because someone is in good shape and has a great personality doesn’t mean they will be a good trainer.
- Since personal training is so unregulated, it can attract people looking to make easy money who value their income over your health.
All that being said, I still believe that working with a qualified personal trainer is the BEST way to reach your fitness goals. The catch is that they have to be good! Really good! Being a poorly informed consumer in this area may mean mediocre results at best or a life-threatening injury at worst.
Here are things to look for when hiring a personal trainer:
- Medical history. This is the most vital information that trainer can ask. If they don’t ask you about your past medical problems, then move on. They’re not worth your time. Period.
- Physical activity history. They should have a good understanding of your past experiences with exercise.
- Technique oriented. If they don’t instruct you on how to do an exercise properly or don’t correct your form, find another trainer.
- Listen to what you say. I always ask more questions about an exercise than give instructions. Do they tell you to “push through” when you feel a pain in one of your joints? Time to find a real professional.
- Vary your routine. Good trainers will change the exercises and how they’re applied to vary the stress on your muscles and joints. Any trainer who uses the same workout every session or with their clients who have differing goals and abilities isn’t worth what you are paying them.
- Invest in continuing education. If a personal trainer is regularly attending course and improving their knowledge and abilities, then chances are you have a good one. If they never go to courses and just read fitness magazines to get new training ideas, then you’re better off working out by yourself.
I love working in the fitness industry and I believe most trainers get into this business to help people. However, it take only one bad experience to have a serious injury. Be smart about who you hire and make an educated decision. Many people hire trainers because they like them. That’s great! However, if they don’t possess the knowledge and technical skills then you should look for someone who does. Ultimately, exercise is a science and coaching someone through exercise is an art. If you want the best results, find a personal trainer who does both!
Are you ready to make a real change and get the body you want? Then contact me here and we can get you started on Personal Training or Personalized Program Design that will include a safe and effective exercise, nutrition and supplement program that will get you results.