Personal trainers can be expensive, and while it is easy to see why it is a worthwhile investment to hire a personal trainer, it should also go without saying that a personal trainer who does not help you achieve the results you want is nothing more than a waste of money – a lot of money. Not all personal trainers are created equal. It is important to keep in mind that just because a personal trainer looks the part and wears the fancy gym clothes, it does not necessarily mean that trainer is qualified to guide you through your routine. So, what credentials should you look for in a personal trainer? Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. College degree. The basis for any personal training credential is a college education. Colleges offer a variety of study programs for those interested in pursuing personal trainer certification. For example, there are one-year certificate programs (which do not culminate in degrees) that require students to take courses in physiology, kinesiology, sports nutrition, injury prevention, weightlifting, and other basic courses that supply a fundamental understanding of fitness, suitable for moving on to the personal trainer certification examination. Degree programs from two year associates degrees to six year master’s degrees cover a broader range of exercise-science education.
2. Certification. There are a number of certifying bodies, including IDEA Health and Fitness Association, National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE), and National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA), among others. Your personal trainer of choice should hold a certification from an accredited program offered by organizations like those mentioned.
3. Other credentials. In addition to exercise-science education and certification, personal trainers may also be certified as registered dieticians. Registered dieticians must complete intensive programs of study to learn about proper nutrition, and this knowledge is extremely valuable to anyone who is interested in reaping the full benefit of having a personal trainer. Therefore, it is a good idea to find a personal trainer who holds either the registered dietician (RD) or registered dietetic technician (RDT) designation.
4. Specializations. If you have an interest in a specific area of fitness, then it is a good idea to look for a trainer who is certified in that specialty. For example, you can find personal trainers that are certified in kettlebell training, yoga, Pilates, boot camp, Tai Chi, and a number of other areas of fitness.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when you approach the task of hiring a personal trainer. Personal trainers are not one-size-fits-all so do your research and think very carefully about what is most important to you in your fitness routine, and then use the guidelines here to choose a qualified professional.
About the Author: Cliff Asta works with a group of personal trainers in San Francisco. He helps his colleagues to create professional resumes and to better learn to explain their specialities to potential clients.
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