Much has been written about how personal trainers only need a certification which they can get just by passing an exam. The question is not how hard your personal trainer had to work to become a trainer, the question is how hard and how well your personal trainer works to get better at what they do and how they will work for you. It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks, this is your personal trainer!
Does a trainer need a personal trainer/personal training certification?
Legally? No. Ethically? Yes. Is it generally accepted by fitness and athletic clubs that a trainer must be minimally certified? Yes. A personal trainer should be certified which means that they have passed an exam that shows that they have the minimum skill set requirement to start work as a personal trainer.
Should I get a personal trainer who has a degree in kinesiology, physical education, or exercise science?
More education is always a good thing, but more education does not necessarily equate to better application. We have seen tremendous personal trainers who only have one certification (but not recommended, they should have several, ideally) and we have seen fantastic personal trainers who have a degree.
What matters most is what the personal trainer does with what they have learned. Find out, in conversation, what your potential personal trainer does to keep up with their education.
Ask, “There is so much information, how do you keep up with it all?” If the personal trainer says something like, “I’ve been doing this a long time”, or “I used to be an athlete myself”, you should run away, fast.
It would be much preferred for your potential certified personal trainer to say, “I try to keep up with going to workshops regularly”, or “I study constantly to keep up as best I can”. They should show humility and respect for how much there is to know while still displaying an interest in growing and getting better.
You expect to get fitter and better so why shouldn’t your certified personal trainer ALSO be expected to get more skilled and able to train you every day??
How important is experience as a personal trainer before training me?
Experience helps, but practicing the same things for years is not years of experience, it is only experience if the trainer is learning, growing, and adapting. That being said, how long your personal trainer has been training should be much less important than their work ethic, belief in you, and desire to work as hard or harder than you to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
Don’t look for years of experience, look for the ability to help you understand concepts without saying things like, “I know what it is”, or “I’ll tell you exactly what the problem is”, or “when this happens, it’s always…”. These are signs of a lesser quality trainer by painting concepts as absolutes rather than many ways to solve a health or fitness problem.
Should I expect my personal trainer to be in shape if I expect him or her to get results for me?
Whether or not your personal trainer is in great shape tells you absolutely nothing about their ability to help you.
You’re going to have to ask them, and should, about what they do to take care of themselves if having an “in shape” personal trainer is important to you. Just remember, that you are saying it matters to you, it doesn’t matter whether a coach, teacher, or trainer is in great shape at this moment, it matters whether they can get you where YOU want to go.
A personal trainer or coach with a great body is nice, a great ability to help you is better.
What must qualities or skills must a personal trainer ABSOLUTELY possess before taking my money and asking to see me multiple times per week?
- Valid certification (if you want, ask who they’re certified with and then look it up and ask questions if you aren’t satisfied with that organization. Don’t listen to someone else pretend to tell you whether a certification is or is not valid)
- Sincere and obvious desire to see you succeed (not someone else, who cares, just you)
- More likely to ask questions for more details and background than give you quick answers to your questions (this shows that they want to get as much information as possible before deciding or taking action, they care to bring their very best to you).
- Clearly enjoy what they do (they should look and act like this is the place and the moment where they most want to be, with you)
- Focused on you (you are the most important person in the room)
- Display the knowledge and skill that leads you to believe they deserve your time, effort, and money