Fast Friday: Choosing a Fitness Professional

It’s Friday again and today I gave the final for my yoga classes. It was sad as I’ve really enjoyed having those students in class each Friday morning. It was an activity that got me out of the house and made me feel less like Mom and more like Me again….and now it’s done. 😦

But enough about that and on to the Fast Friday Tip for you this week. This week we’re going to talk quickly about two things. The first being the Day 43 reading in the Gates’ book because he makes an interesting postulation regarding the regaining of weight after weight loss. He says, “that many obese people find their efforts to lose weight thwarted because, as they return to a healthy weight, they also return to their former selves – to smaller selves, selves that were in ways they found intolerable. At some unconscious level, the pain of obesity can be preferable to the pain of reexperiencing those old selves, and so the weight begins to come back on.” (p.57)

This, and my workshop this past weekend got me thinking about how daunting of a task it may be for people in need of a fitness professional to find a good one….and more importantly, the right one.

So, here are some tips:

  • Look for a trainer that, at a minimum, has a Nationally Accredited Certification. Click on that link and choose Fitness and Wellness to find out which ones fall under that category through NCCA. They should also be current in their certification as well as CPR and hold personal liability insurance. This tells you that they’re serious about their profession and have the right tools to start with.
  • If possible (and if you are a person with a special condition like pregnancy, osteoporosis, someone who has suffered a cardiac event, etc) I would highly recommend finding a trainer who is certified and also has a Bachelor’s or higher in any of the following fields: Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, Health and Human Performance, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, or Biomechanics. If I’m missing one there I’m sorry. I would also take a trainer who has one of those degrees as a stand alone because they should have a strong enough basis to train you, but again, look for CPR and liability insurance.
  • Look for the trainer with the most experience and who your friends and family recommend. Make sure that one or both of the first two qualifications are met, but you want someone that other people trust and enjoy working with.
  • Look for a trainer who has a similar philosophy as yourself. If they are only into one type of training and it’s not your thing, don’t choose that trainer. Remember that it is PERSONAL training that you’re signing up for, so it should meet your personal wants, interests, and needs.
  • Finally, remember that more expensive does not always equal better. Some trainers are in it for the money and others to help people and most are somewhere in between the two. Find someone who won’t break your bank, but offers you the most of what you’re looking for.

There is only one thing I didn’t put on the list here because it’s my only DON’T for finding a personal trainer:

Do Not hire any trainer who pushes supplements or promises to write you a diet plan. Personal trainers are not licensed nor certified to act as nutritionists or dieticians in any of the 50 United States unless they hold a Master’s Degree in Dietetics and/or Nutrition and have passed their state exam to act as such. It is out of their scope of practice to write you a meal plan or prescribe any kind of supplement and is illegal to do so, label themselves as such, or give advice that could be construed as medical advice.
With all of that in mind, here’s a great post from Fit Feminist on a similar topic you should check out: On Athletic Teachers: Finding Your Coach(es) 
Have a great weekend! 
Have you ever hired a personal trainer?
What was your experience like?