Hiring a Personal Trainer

You’ve decided that 2017 will be the year you get in shape.  You know this will take work and that you would benefit from having a professional guide you along the way.  How does one determine if the Personal Trainer they are hiring is really any good?   There are some landmines in the personal trainer ranks.


Trainers who are not certified,educated or experienced.  Social media status doesn’t equate their actual level of ability, it simply means they were able to gain a following.


Insider Fact: MLM supplement trainers don’t fare well when confronted in open forums or in the presence of trainers actually educated in the nutrition sciences.  Does this mean MLM supplements are poison? Not at all.  It simply means the product is overpriced and typically overhyped for what it is and that in many cases superior over the counter products exist for less cost.

Trainers using personal training as a bridge to get you into various multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes.  Personally I could care less if the trainer likes Shakeology,Spark or any of the other seemingly endless MLM supplements of choice. They shouldn’t be pushing the product off on clients as its minimally a conflict of interest, and typically violates most CPT organizations code of ethics.  Even worse is the MLM Trainer that tries to recruit other Trainers, and by extension their clients (aka “the easy warm leads that I’ve already formed a trusting relationship with.)

Trainers without relevant experience in training clients with your particular needs or age.

Interview your possible future trainer, ask to see the following…
A CPR/AED certification: The legitimate ones required a hands-on component such as through the American Red Cross or American Heart Association. Above all other things this represents lifesaving skills.  Some trainers include Advanced First Aid/Advance Life saving skills.


Their College Degree if they claim one: I would go so far as to check the school if you’ve never heard of it.  Possession of a degree isn’t an entry-level requirement and the majority of certifications do not require one.  Furthermore, there are plenty of people with degrees unrelated to the Health and Exercise sciences working as trainers and coaches.

Training certification: I’ve honestly never been asked to provide a copy of mine.  I believe most people assume every trainer is qualified to do their job.  When viewing a Certified Personal Trainer certification you are looking for one of two dates, the issue date or the expiration date.  CPT certifications are valid from 1-4 years with 2 years being the industry majority.  To maintain their CPT certification a certain number of continuing education hours must be met along with a few administrative needs.  I have run across CPT certifications being presented that expired ten years ago.

This includes any areas of specialization that they claim. If I were to claim that I am a specialist in training clients with Type 2 Diabetes and Post-Partum…what documentation and education do I possess to back that up?

Proof of Liability Insurance (Independent Contractors).  The industry standard minimum is a $1 million USD policy.  Commercial Trainers are typically covered under their employer but can elect to purchase additional insurance.

Nice, but not strictly required would be the ability to speak with any of the trainers current or previous clients.  Ideally ones that had similar needs to your own.

Your initial Consult: You are taking significant risks if they did not conduct an evaluation/assessment of your health history and put through a workout day one. You may really want to get going now, which is cool, but the assessment sets the foundation of where you start.  If for example, you could not touch your toes it would dangerous of me to make you pick-up loads from the floor until you can touch your toes.

What about the Non-Certified, but experienced trainer?  They are out there too, and vary just as widely in quality.  The immediate question would be asking them if the are certified or not, and if not, is it specified in their liability waiver so that the client is informed of this.

In my amateur-Lawyer opinion still opens the trainer up to tremendous liability as competence cannot be proved so easily. The easiest way to do so is by obtaining one of the established certifications. To the Non-Certified (but highly experienced and capable) trainer I sincerely recommend obtaining a certification and insurance.  You are one bad training day away from a lawsuit and bankruptcy.


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