People usually associate health care with titles like doctor, nurse, surgeon or therapist. But arguably, the most valuable health care title is often left off the list: personal trainers. Like the great Benjamin Franklin once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A trainer helps prevent many issues today’s average American faces regarding their health and wellness.
Why does the personal trainer get left out? The biggest issue with training as an industry is the lack of a governing body to ensure competence and consistency in professional practice. Online certificates, weekend crash courses and a high school or collegiate athletic career often make up a trainer’s professional qualifications. Unfortunately, a lack of oversight forces the consumer to do their homework when choosing a trainer.
When picking a trainer, potential clients should look for three things.
- Education: Did they take the time to get a degree? There is a lot of value in spending the time and money to get a degree. It demonstrates that the trainer had to pass tests measuring their knowledge of the human body. It also indicates a dedication to the profession instead of something to pass the time while looking for a “real job.”
- Experience: Who have they trained before? Where did they work? What kind of results were they getting with these clients? Do they have testimonials? The longer the trainer has been in business and the more experience they have, the more confident potential clients can be that they will provide a great experience.
- Personal fitness: While aesthetics are subjective, fitness is essential for a personal trainer. Sometimes appearance is overblown, especially with younger trainers; however, the trainer must walk the walk if they will be guiding others along the path to physical fitness. Be wary of personal trainers who don’t seem to follow their own training advice. If they cannot maintain a healthy lifestyle themselves, it should call into question the sustainability of their program. This does not mean a trainer needs to have 5% body fat and look ready to star in this summer’s Hollywood blockbuster, but they should look the part of a physical fitness expert.
So why go through the hassle of finding a personal trainer in the first place?
Personal trainers tend to have a better success rate for weight loss and body composition improvement compared to other health care professions. While there is no definitive reason for this trend, there are some good guesses about how this has come to be.
- Trainers help their clients achieve consistency in and out of the gym. Having an appointment encourages compliance with a program, and ultimately that compliance is the key to success. The consistency of training 2-3 days a week and recording nutrition regularly creates accountability. And accountability works!
- A trainer will push clients harder than they will push themselves. No matter how well-intended an individual might be, they will always get a few more reps, sets and pounds with someone else’s encouragement.
- Workouts will be safer and more effective. Transforming a body in any direction is a skill; if someone doesn’t know what they are doing, they won’t make effective progress or, worse, injure themselves. Working with a trainer for 90 days is more effective than a year of work at the gym solo. Knowing the proper techniques ensures meeting personal goals more efficiently and safely.
What about group classes?
Group classes tend to be less effective than personal trainers. The main reason for this is it’s one size fits all. While individuals can adjust the weight and the pace at which they go, people have very different goals and abilities that cannot be accounted for in a group class. To get the best results, individuals need a plan designed for a singular YOU, not all of you.
What about joining a gym?
Gym memberships are inexpensive and have lots of equipment and amenities; however, they still lack accountability and information. Gym membership models are designed to have people sign up and stay home. Less than 10% of general gym members actually attend the gym. And for new members who show up, valuable time and effort is wasted trying to figure out how to use complicated equipment without supervision. For many, commercial gyms can lead to stress, anxiety and embarrassment. Gym memberships tend to cater to those already in shape and have an effective program in place.
For those looking for nationally-certified personal trainers with degrees in related fields and resumes that include actively competing in strength sports, check out BEAT Personal Training. BEAT personal trainers are walking the walk and are excited to bring new clients along the path to personal fitness.
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