Note- many of us use a personal trainer and for good reason. A GOOD one can be invaluable fitness. But, sadly, many are…less than good. We wrote a book to help folks determine the professional competency of their trainer. The following snapshots the content. The book is available on amazon – see link below, and if you join our companion website you can download a copy. Thanks, and I hope you find the information useful!!

‘Certified or CertiFRAUD? Assessing the Professional Competency of Your Personal Trainer – Who’s Minding Your Store?

For a million GOOD reasons, many of us use a personal trainer. Trainers can be invaluable fitness partners by lending expertise and support, structuring achievement-oriented routines and teaching us new skills.

Sadly, for every good trainer another is dangerously incompetent, and under the guise of being ‘certified’ is actually ‘certiFRAUD.’ Like using any service professional, it’s buyer beware when hiring a trainer, then at the first red flag it should be bye-bye. But while it only takes one bad haircut or poor server for us to cross a salon or restaurant off our list, we sometimes linger with marginal trainers because we may be unaware of their deficiencies or unsure how to assess their professional capacity.

Loud and clear, trainers need to be carefully scrutinized considering it’s your very wellness that is at stake, an obviously significant outcome too vital to risk by working with someone who only MIGHT be able to help you.

O.k., I get it. How can I tell? What should I look for?

Ideally, and as structured in the book, you should interview trainer-candidates and then take complimentary sessions before signing on. Realize that YOU have the ultimate say about who GETS to work with you. Don’t accept at face value that you are prisoner to a gym manager’s assignment, and if after reading what follows it is apparent yours lack professional competency demand a new one.

So here goes. The following is a quick snapshot assessment to determine your trainer’s professional capacity:

First, ask what drew your trainer to training.

You are likely golden if it is an intentional choice of profession as this typically means that formal professional preparation has helped shape their attitude and aptitude. Beware if it seems training has been come by default (I didnt know what else to do), a sense it is easy (Anyone can be a trainer), or a way to hold onto one’s school-aged athletic ‘glory days’ (I peeked as the captain of my high school team), as this can mean inattentive preparation (I already know it all) and a certain extent of resentment, resignation, and hopelessness. None of us needs a trainer who carries any degree of hopelessness especially when mixed with deficient preparation!

Second, don’t mistake ‘well-intended’ for competent. A pleasant personality alone does not equate to possessing the professional expertise to serve YOUR wellness. Make sure your trainer is well-intended AND well informed with adequate and accurate content knowledge. (Content knowledge is the primary variable that separates effective from ineffective.)

Content knowledge red flags include:
–Prescribing repetitive routines
–Using dummied-down or inaccurate anatomical terms
–Stumbling to answer questions about health-related fitness principles
–Failing to provide corrective feedback – just saying ‘good job’
–Failing to maintain written records/plans
–Failing to explain why specific exercises are included
–Inability to articulate professional preparation
–Excessive copying of other trainer’s routines/exercises
–Inability to develop a plan specific to your characteristics, e,g, age

Listen to your intuition if you question your trainer’s professional capacity or now realize their INcapacity and take steps to make a new hire today. Don’t chance your wellness or subject yourself to ‘less-than’ benefit by working with one who’s attitude or aptitude is ‘less-than,’ or let their professional underachievement lead to your fitness underachievement.

For more information about hiring a trainer or assessing the professional competency of your current trainer, join our website then download your copy of our book from the Iron Footprint Fitness Academy.
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