The Truth about Trainers: How to Know if You're in Good Hands

It has come to my attention that many people think I’m a trainer. While the fact that people even value my opinion as much as a professional is incredibly flattering, just because I lift heavy weight does not give me a certification, it simply means I have a fabulous coach behind me. Their statement only shows that people think all trainers and even a “fit” layperson have the same degree of knowledge, which brings me to share a kind of shocking truth: the system of training is actually quite flawed.

There is no governing body for trainers. For example, lawyers have the American Bar Association, which ensures that every lawyer meets the exact same requirements of knowledge. While lawyers meet your legal needs, trainers meet your bodily needs. Therefore, the lack of consistency between trainers’ knowledge and who you trust to improve your health in a safe manner should be alarming. Just like you are picky with choosing other health professionals, you should also maintain that same attitude when choosing a trainer.

While continuing education is required as part of certification renewals, most places and people do not ask if they are up to date. I have seen this first hand while working in both corporate and boutique gyms. Trainers are not asked to show proof of continued education, which is an important part of training. While a certification gives you the basic knowledge, advanced expertise is what sets someone apart. Considering how new the field of research on the subject is, there is new information constantly being discovered about how to maximize performance. Wouldn’t you want your trainer to maintain a level of knowledge both through reading and experience?

No trainer is exactly alike. Someone can spend years working out and be confident about being healthy but that does not mean they are giving you the correct information or techniques that will work for you. Find a trainer that is passionate about what they do, that will take the extra step to be knowledgeable and help you in your quest to become a better and healthier you.