There is also the connotation, based partially on a reality, in my opinion, that many personal trainers are there to keep lonely people company, similar to a hairdresser, but more frequently. In my experience, and observation, the reason for this can be due to the fact that the barrier of entry into the realm of personal training is quite low; in some instances, you just have to look good, and maybe get a simple certification, then you are ready to start, and, if you’re charming enough, will probably get clients. So if you want money, but don’t really want to really want to work to build a business, you will charm people into hiring you, then all you have to do to keep your clients is keep charming them…..several years and dollars later, you are still charming your clients, who feel they need you, but they are in exactly the same place.
This dependency that some people have towards their trainers, in my opinion, take the responsibility off the client and place it all on the trainer. This creates a lose-lose situation, where, if the trainer were to go on vacation for a couple of weeks, the client would be completely helpless and never take any responsibility for his/her outcome.
Also, with the advent of the internet, people who don’t want a good-looking companion, can now find virtually all the information they need, exercises and generic programs, online. So what do they need a personal trainer for?
It doesn’t have to be that way, hiring a trainer does not have to be a huge commitment; it can be a good compliment to your workouts. Hiring a good trainer is better seen as a tool to get you to where you want to go, and stay there, as opposed to good-looking eye candy. Because there are so many “trainers” out there, where do you begin?
IS YOUR TRAINER QUALIFIED?
Trainer qualifications vary quite a bit, as there is no real governing body, as with doctors, per se. A trainer can have a doctorate degree in Exercise physiology, or just a weekend course from the internet. Although this is the case, a lot of gyms have their requisites for certification, which may help the situation. There are a few nationally known certifications that are well known, such as NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACE (American Council on Exercise), or CAN-FIT-PRO (Canadian Association of Fitness Professionals), located in CANADA.
However, if you find yourself at a local individually-owned gym, there may be trainers there that have no certifications at all, or one that is very basic. Basing a trainer’s qualification on outward appearance or charisma can blind someone from the trainer’s actual qualifications, so some due diligence needs to be done here.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRAINERS?
Aside from general qualifications including a knowledge of anatomy, physiology and exercise structure and execution, trainers can have specialized education and/experience in one or several domains.
Some of the specializations include post-rehabilitation, or helping the once-injured transition back from physical therapy to the gym; contest preparation, as in preparing for a bodybuilding or physique competition; sports preparation, such as training for a marathon, or basketball, etc.; and seniors, as in training older adults, who have special needs and considerations. Other special populations include pregnant women, and adolescents.
When looking for a trainer to meet your needs, it’s important to ask whether the trainer has enough experience to be able to deal with them.
DO YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR?
It's a known fact that some of the big chain gyms do not pay their trainers very well. Some gyms have a pay scale based on the number of certifications you possess, however when you hire a personal trainer, is the price you pay within reason or within the going rate for a trainer?
Some trainers have lots of experience, and some have lots of education. If a trainer has been in the field for many years, they may charge more than someone who is just starting out of school, or recently certified. That being said, some trainers do not continue their education to keep up with the ever-changing field, so, again, some due diligence is need to be done. That being said, some independent trainers are open to negotiation. Having been guilty of this too, this minimizes the credibility of the profession as a whole, with trainers trying to undercut other trainers.
SMALL GROUP PERSONAL TRAINING
Small group personal training is a service that has picked up in recent years. It allows personal training to be more affordable to the general consumer, allowing the quality trainer to be paid his/her worth, plus it provides good small group motivation amongst the participants. The only downside is that it is slightly less personal than one-one one training, so that needs to be taken into consideration when shopping around for services and trainers...however; there are people who prefer that.
ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINING
Online training offers a unique way for trainers to offer their services to many more people, without it having to be local. It also allows them to charge a more reason price, while still giving value. The possible setback to online training is it is not `personal` like one-on-one personal training done in person. Another issue is that most anyone can set up a system for online training, regardless of whether or not they are certified, as far as I know. That being said, online training can be a great compliment to hiring a trainer...a winning combination can be achieved for optimal results!
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