In a recent conversation with my sister, I learned that she was one of the many whose New Year’s Resolution involved losing weight and going to the gym. To help her keep this resolution, she decided to hire a personal trainer. She made her selection based on two criteria: 1) she saw this person in the gym regularly and 2) he looked like he was in good shape.
When I asked her about his training and certification, she had no idea. Her response to me was, “How am I supposed to know? I assume the gym wouldn’t allow him to train there if he wasn’t qualified!”
I think my sisters assumptions and response are all too common. How does the average consumer know what makes a “qualified”, “competent” trainer? Even if they are “certified”, in a self-regulated industry, are all certifications equal? Is certification enough to distinguish someone as qualified and competent?
So I sent my sister back to ask her trainer the following questions:
1. Is he certified? If so, what did his certification require? What other education and training does he have? Is his certification current and what type of continuing education has he taken to maintain his certification?
2. How long has he been training clients? (AND CHECK REFERENCES FOR CURRENT AND PREVIOUS CLIENTS)
3. What is his experience working with clients that may have her specific health conditions (i.e. 49 year old female, high blood pressure and cholesterol, family history of heart disease, relatively sedentary lifestyle.)
4. What is his training plan and approach for HER? What are their goals for her progress? How does he use assessments to track her fitness?
5. Is he certified in CPR and AED?
So, I’m still waiting for the responses, but now I’m wondering if this is enough information to gather to help her make a decision.
What other criteria should she check to make sure this individual is qualified to provide safe and effective personal training?
How would you feel if a client or a potential client asked for this information?
If it were your sister, mother, spouse, child— what questions would you ask?
I really look forward to your input! If we, as fitness professionals, can’t distinguish a “qualified and competent” personal trainer from the rest, how can we expect consumers to do so?
I look forward to hearing from you!
To learn about W.I.T.S. fitness certifications and special offers for continuing education and our online Fitness Business Institute, please visit http://www.witseducation.com/w8-certifications.html