Misconceptions about Personal Trainers

25 04 2012

While I was in Orlando working toward my quest to improve the health of individuals , I felt that I have stumbled on several road blocks. People I talk to either tell me that I’m not big enough to get them to where they want to be, or that they don’t want to get “huge/big.” These thoughts probably cross every average Joe/Jane’s mind when they see a personal trainer. Those who don’t want to bulk up think that personal trainers do only that, while those who are looking to bulk up think that personal trainers should be ex-bodybuilders. What happened to those people in the middle who just want to be healthy or improve their performance? That’s right, they think they can do it by themselves. Road block number 3.

By Doug ShamMisconceptions about a Personal Trainer:
I’m here to clarify some common misconceptions about personal trainers so that people can be educated and have a better understanding of what we, as professionals, are available to do.

- Many personal trainers must be certified through a national accredited certification program before they can work at a fitness facility. These certifications educate trainers on exercise physiology, exercise prescription, nutrition, working with special populations (i.e. older adults, youth, chronic illness, and pregnancy), and anatomy. Some certification programs, such as American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), require you to have a B.S. in Exercise Physiology, Exercise Science, or related field before being certified. To find a certification that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) please visit http://www.credentialingexcellence.org/NCCAAccreditation/AccreditedCertificationPrograms/tabid/120/Default.aspx
– Whereas physicians are licenced to prescribe exercise to patients, they are not trained on prescribing specific exercise programming to individuals. Therefore, personal trainers should be searched out to have individualized exercise programs designed to meet the client’s specific needs. Personal trainers should communicate with physicians and build a partnership to improve the overall health of individuals.
– Personal trainers do not specialize in only bodybuilding. In fact, all certified trainers are never taught how to train in bodybuilding within the certification program. Rather, programs and education classes teach a personal trainer the exercise physiology and biomechanics in exercise to improve strength gains and muscle size.
– Personal trainers are trained to teach individuals how to exercise properly to optimize their health, while improving on their physiological and physical characteristics (i.e. weight management, endurance, agility, speed, muscle mass, and power).
– Personal trainers come from a wide background. Some may only have a high school diploma, while others have a Masters or Doctorate in an exercise related field. Some were/are bodybuilders, athletes, fitness experts, nutritionists, or an exercise enthusiast who want to help others stay health.  There is no problem in asking for a trainer’s credentials before making your selection to hire him or her. Remember, this is your body that they’re altering.
– You are paying for a professional’s help to improve your health, not just to look good for a cruise. Trainers ask for high prices because they are providing a service that will ultimately alter your health. Like doctors, dentists, neurosurgeons, and even massage therapists, we are all in a health care profession and go through continual education to keep up with the latest research and practices to keep you as healthy as possible. Personal training is a health care service and should not be thought of as a luxury service. Unfortunately, personal training sessions are preventative care services which are not widely covered by health insurance, and thus are thought of as a supplementary service.  However, if you think about the amount of money you pay on health insurance premiums, paying for a personal trainer to improve your health, and therefore lower those premiums, might be a cheaper way to go.

As I continue to work in this field that I love, I know that I will have to deal with the stereotypes of personal trainers. It will be my duty as a professional to explain how times have changed since the world of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Atlas, and the like, and have moved to a way of health care and wellbeing.


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