The slippery slope of “personal trainer shopping”.

A few weeks ago on the way down to Boston, a conversation arose about training and trainers. Pretty much everyone I know knows my stance on just what I think a trainer should be, and it’s shocking to me to discover that there are people out there who don’t hold to even half the standards that I request of a trainer.

Physical fitness, primarily fitness achieved at gyms, is on the rise. More women in particular are starting to discover that weight lifting doesn’t always mean bulking and looking like Chyna from WWE. More men are out to achieve that Adonis body to not only feel good about themselves, but to maybe woo some of the ladies as well.

Because of the uprise, we see more and more people taking on the role of “Personal Trainer” who are inexperienced and haven’t the slightest clue what they are doing. And that’s dangerous. People coming into the fitness world seek out trainers because they have no idea where to start, what to do and are searching not only for that starting point, but a guideline to follow to achieve their goals. When they hire a trainer, they’re expecting that person to be knowledgeable about what exercises will work for their needs and goals as well as how to properly execute each exercise move. If the person has an injury, that trainer is expected to know how to adapt a workout for that person that doesn’t make the injury worse.

If they’re not certified, that means the odds are high that they do not have proper schooling and training themselves, and they possibly don’t have a full understanding of the human body or how it works. Just as they possibly don’t have a full understanding on the types of exercise, why form is important and the rest of the important things educational training programs from places like ACE, ISSA, NASM or ACSM would teach in their personal training courses.

But, here’s the kicker, at least in my world: Even if they are certified, you still need to be careful when choosing a trainer. Just because they’re certified, they can still be a bad pick.

How you ask?

You really want to look at the trainer’s lifestyle. It’s a sort of “Do they practice what they preach?” kind of deal here.

I know I personally, want a trainer who is fit and lives a healthy lifestyle. I’m paying this person a lot of my hard earned dollars to whip me into shape, keep me healthy and give me the tools to continuously succeed with my goals. I don’t want lumpy who I just saw get the two-cheeseburger deal along with a 20-piece nugget from McDonald’s telling me that I need to go home and eat plain chicken, spinach and rice.

I’m not saying that a trainer needs to be jacked like Jay Cutler or cut like Dana Lynn Bailey in order to be able to do their job correctly. I’m just tossing out there that it’s probably a good idea to find a trainer who (is certified first) at least looks like they don’t sit on the sofa, channel surfing when they’re not taking peoples money for training. Soft bodies are fine, they don’t need to be sculpted, but at least look like they take care of their bodies – remember you’re paying them to show you how to best take care for yours and theirs should be a leading example or damn close to it.

It’s a slippery slope, this world of training and fitness. It’s also a pretty damn expensive slippery slope. You want to start out ahead of the game, not behind it, because otherwise you don’t have much of a chance in getting up to the top where your goal(s) await you.

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Mother. Photographer. Writer. Founder of Fit Fridays for Mental Health. Former powerlifter turned weightlifter. Coach & Nutritionist. Spondy/PCOS/Endo. Bully breed advocate.

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