Choosing the Right PT!
If you have decided to invest in a personal trainer then it is paramount that you know who you are trusting with your health. Unfortunately, this industry currently has limited governance over who can call themselves a personal trainer. The generally recognised standard is someone who has sufficient qualifications to gain level 3 status on REPS (Register of Exercise Professionals). This is the very minimum you should expect from a personal trainer and anyone worth their salt will have considerably more.
When looking for a personal trainer, you should check for three key attributes: solid academic credentials; coaching experience; and further relevant vocational qualifications.
An undergraduate degree in sports science, biomechanics and physiotherapy are all good starting points as are industry qualifications such as the UK Strength and Conditioning Association accreditation and the National Strength and Conditioning Association certification. This foundation is an essential base but can only further a client’s journey if the trainer has the ability to successfully coach and impart this knowledge. Being able to teach or coach is a skill, but understanding the why and the how ensures training is carried out safely and efficiently. Vocational qualifications combine knowledge and coaching by focusing on specific techniques or areas of expertise. Many of these vocational qualifications are excellent, but too many operate on a show up and pass basis. This means that many trainers lacking the academic foundation can boast long lists of vocational certificates without truly understanding how these techniques interrelate with other exercise programmes or underlying conditions. For example, performing single leg unilateral squats is a great exercise, but not if you lack the core strength and stability to even perform standard bilateral squats safely.
All three attributes are necessary and complementary to one another. A good trainer may have one or two of these: a great trainer will have all three.
So when choosing a personal trainer, get what you are paying for and opt for someone who has both the knowledge and the experience to deliver that knowledge. Know what you are paying for and then enjoy the process.