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The HARD TRUTH About Personal Trainers

I’m gonna share a HUGE tip….

I'm talking about self-proclaimed personal trainers, celebrity trainers and social media influencers. There is a common misconception that certified equals qualified. Unfortunately this is the furthest thing from the truth. ANYONE can get certified and call themselves a personal trainer and the truth is anyone can CLAIM to be a trainer without any credentials at all. Most certs require nothing more than a self-study course and passing a multiple choice exam with at least a 70%. There is no higher education requirement, no board certification, and no regulation. There are few organizations that require any hands on training or experience, nor do they educate IN DEPTH about proper form, modifications, or working with injuries…and don’t even get me started on the nutrition and meal plan aspect of this. There are literally hundreds of different "certifications" one can get. Simply claiming to be a trainer and holding one of these certificates means nothing other than you can pass a test. Even the most nationally recognized certs have very few requirements beyond the exam.

What makes a good, competent, qualified trainer is NOT a piece of paper or being good at memorization. Good trainers are hard to come by. Great trainers are fewer and further between. Great trainers will be perpetual students, consistently working on continuing their own educations, will hold liability insurance, and will take the time to invest in their clients’ well being, mindset, and accomplishments.

Do your research before hiring a trainer or blindly purchasing a program. Ask for references from current clients. Ask for a call or a message exchange to discuss your personal goals, challenges, and mindset. Be sure the trainer asks YOU questions, collects your health history, and listens to your concerns. Even if you are an experienced exerciser, a trainer should NOT push the limits from the first session. I can't tell you the number of people I have seen get injured in an intro session because the trainer is trying to prove themselves to the client. It's NOT about the trainer and how tough or badass they are (yeah that’s a great quality for a certain type of client, but can this trainer work with you how you need them to?) It should be about getting to know the client and their body, their capabilities, their mobility, their imbalances, their strengths, and their mindset.

It's also important for me to add that because a "trainer" has a great physique does not mean they know how to train others. They may be great at training themselves for their specific goals, but can they meet you where you are and train YOU how YOU need?

I don't train my clients how I train myself, and I certainly don't start my clients with heavy weights and crazy variations...every individual has very different needs, imbalances, strengths and goals...and their programs should be individualized, based on the initial evaluation.

As for so called “celebrity trainers” and “influencers”, my opinion is this (however unpopular it may be)…

Simply because a person has millions of followers, reality shows, celebrities as clients, sponsorships, endorsements, a great physique, are part of an MLM fitness juggernaut or charges too good to be true prices…does not mean they know it all or they know ANYTHING at all. They may not even be qualified to do what they are doing. Some are just really good at self-promotion, others have a team of agents and PR people doing it for them, some just know the right people to invest in them and get them going (social media advertising isn’t cheap!) Some have a show worthy face, body, personality and shtick that quickly make them a household name. Some don’t care if they are infamous or even hated because bad publicity is still publicity…

Of course there are a few that have put time and effort into their education and truly CARE about helping others on their journeys, but that’s unfortunately a rarity.

Moral of this rant…

NOT ALL TRAINERS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Please be your own biggest advocate for your fitness and health. Educate yourselves on WHO you are placing your trust, time and money into. Will you be getting a screen grabbed program from Google or will you get a workout truly programmed by the trainer? Will you meet the trainer? Will there be any interaction beyond your payment? Will they be available to you for questions or will you get bot-generated responses? Will there be modifications appropriate for your level or for your particular injuries, weaknesses, goals?

If you have invested in one of these programs, and you are getting results, BRAVO!! I’m so happy you put time and effort into making it work for you. But if you have found yourself discouraged, unchallenged, unheard, and unsupported, rethink if this trainer or program is for you. And if not, seek out one that is more suitable for your needs.


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