In Defense of Trainers

22 Mar

Thank you to everyone who checked out my RunPhone’s post! Glad to hear some of you like them, I love sharing new finds with everyone.

Today’s Workout: I had a 8 x 400’s on the half marathon training schedule.  I did them all at 8.0 on the treadmill so ~7:30 pace, with a warm up, cool down and 400 jog in between.  Overall distance = 5.5 miles.  It actually wasn’t as hard as my last 400 workout so maybe all these longer runs are helping my endurance!

Today I wanted to discuss an article I found the other day in Women’s Health. The article is entitled “Dangerous Personal Trainers” so I was immediately intrigued.  As I’ve mentioned before I am a personal trainer, and have been for almost four years.  As I read the article I was angered, shocked and frustrated all within the five minutes it took me to read it.  Please go read it now if you haven’t yet.

I hesitated even sharing this article with other people because it paints such a poor picture of personal trainers.  It makes it sound like a majority of trainers are not certified, do not have degrees, and have no idea what they are doing. THIS IS NOT TRUE. YES there are plenty of trainers out there that should not be training but it is YOUR responsibility to make sure that you don’t hire these people.

When you join a gym you normally get to do a free PT session as part of your membership. You can choose which trainer you want to do this with.  If you don’t ask the gym will just assign you to anyone, typically the newest trainer on staff will do a majority of these free sessions.  So how do you avoid getting someone who doesn’t know what they are doing? ASK! Most trainers certifications, backgrounds and degrees should be posted on the gyms website or somewhere inside the center. If it’s not request this information before you decide on a trainer.  If the gym refuses you this then run away fast!

What should you look for when trying to pick a trainer in terms of qualifications?

  • Certification: EVERY trainer should be certified, if they are not then DO NOT hire them.  The best certifications are NASM, ACE, ACSM, NSCA, NCSF and NFPT.  This is what I have found from my experience in reading about training certs, there may be other good ones out there but these are the top (in my opinion..feel free to argue with me!).
  • Degree: Not all trainers have a degree in exercise science but if you have the choice of a trainer that does have an educational background vs one that does not always choose the trainer with the degree.  I learned so much more in my 4 year degree in Kinesiology that helps me every day to be a good and safe trainer.  Yes there may be great trainers out there without degrees or with degrees not in an exercise field but I personally would always recommend someone with one.
  • Experience: This is tough because I know it is hard for some new trainers starting off if no one ever gives them a chance, BUT if you can find a trainer that has at least some sort of experience always pick them over someone who is completely new. I started off training as a sophomore in college so I gained a ton of experience as a college trainer before I entered the real world fitness work force.  Not everyone gets that chance but the trainers that have been around for years are more likely to be more knowledgeable and effective.  It is not an easy industry to survive in so if you can make it for a few years there is a pretty good chance your clients are seeing results.

If you still aren’t sure who you want to be your trainer after you have looked at their qualifications there are a few more things you can do..

  • Watch them: Find that trainer when they are working with another client and watch them.  Do they seem comfortable communicating with the client? Does the client look like they are having fun? Do the exercises look challenging, yet safe? All of these are things to take note of when watching the trainers
  • Talk to them: Ask if the trainer has a few minutes to chat.  Explain your fitness goals to them and ask how they would be able to help you.  If you don’t feel comfortable in that quick chat with the PT or they don’t know how to answer your questions, try someone else.
  • Evaluate their fitness: This is a controversial one and I am sure not everyone agrees with me, but if your trainer looks lazy and out of shape do you really want them to train you? Now I am not saying by any means every female trainer should be a stick figure and every male should be a body builder, but they should look like they are attempting to keep themselves healthy.  You should see them regularly working out at the gym and making good food choices.  If you watch your trainer sit on the computer and binge eat fries behind the PT desk all day every day, you might want to choose someone else.

Hopefully these tips will help lead you to the right trainer for YOU. The trainer that works well for your friend may not work well for you and that’s okay.  As long as you are choosing a trainer you are comfortable with, you know is educated enough to help you reach your goals, and someone you will enjoy working with then you should have an excellent personal training experience.

And with that I will stop my long-winded rant about training.  Hopefully you got something out of it.

Have you ever worked with a trainer?

What was your experience like?

Did you do any research on your trainer before you hired them?



10 Responses to “In Defense of Trainers”

  1. Sarah S @RunningOnWords March 23, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    I would love to hire a trainer to get my slacker butt in gear, but I just can’t afford one. The cheap ones don’t seem to be very good most of the time. Thanks for this information! I’m definitely going to bookmark it for future reference.

    • Ashley March 24, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

      Yes it is expensive but if you find a good one its usually worth the investment! But I agree don’t go cheap and waste your money on someone who doesn’t know what they are doing.

  2. Shannon Heisler March 23, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Great commentary Ashley! I love the trainers I’ve been working with at Crossfit Instinct in Springfield. They know their stuff. I’m loving your blog. Hope you are well!

    • Ashley March 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

      I’ve heard Cross fit is really good! Glad you found good trainers since I’m not there to help out the Springfieldians 🙂 haha kidding!

  3. movesnmunchies March 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    oo ima check thta article now!! i worked with a trainer for a bit and LOVED him– you defintely gotta suss it out though! this is great for me since i wnt to be one!

    • Ashley March 24, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

      Let me know if you ever have any questions about becoming a trainer!

  4. katshealthcorner March 23, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    I have always wanted to work with a Trainer! It is so much fun! And so cool to have an individualized workout! 😀


    • Ashley March 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

      You should for sure look into it!

  5. Allison @ Runs A Latte March 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    I’ve never worked out with a trainer before, although sometimes I watch other people’s sessions and steal the moves. 😉

    So cool that you’re a personal trainer – it’s kind of my dream, but I know there are so many out there…

    • Ashley March 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

      There are so many opportunities though! You should look into it if it’s your dream..its a hard industry but very rewarding!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: