It's amazing having worked in the fitness industry since 2005, some of the fads and training methods I've seen come and go. Some give fast results, some are here to stay and some are just downright dangerous.
None more so than the rogue fitness trainer... Why? Well in the UK it may come as a shock to you that no qualifications are needed to call yourself a personal trainer, and start charging members of the public for training sessions. I actually believe that the only country in the world to begin regulating the industry is the UAE, I hope more are to follow their example soon.
Think about it, would you trust an unqualified GP with your diagnosis? No. Why? Because you are putting your life at risk by potential false diagnosis and incorrect prescription of medication.
At my INSANITY certification on the 18th April, the trainer was giving a talk about rogue instructors and how many of them have set up FAKE Insanity classes, and not only creates a danger to the public but also damages the brand though false representation of the programme. This got me thinking, and has lead to my writing of this very blog post.
A good personal trainer should initially have a passion for exercise and love helping people get fit and coach people on how to enjoy fitness, as well as being an approachable, understanding trainer. What should ALWAYS back that up though is a relevant qualification. There are many different training courses that a person looking to qualify could take, personally I chose a Premier Global Diploma which qualified me as a level 2 gym instructor, level 3 personal trainer and a sports massage therapist. Whatever qualification your trainer holds isn't as important as the fact they hold one in the first place. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Insurance - An unqualified personal trainer is most likely also an uninsured personal trainer. Should an accident occur, no insurance policy would be in place for you to issue a claim with.
- Knowledge - Unless they were a Doctor or other medical professional prior to their fitness career, it's very unlikely that they have a correct understanding of how the body works. This not only covers how our muscles contract and relax, but how some movements are dangerous, what to look for should a client fall ill, and the deeper understanding of why some exercises should or shouldn't be used with certain populations.
- First aid - If they couldn't be bothered to qualify in their chosen industry, chances are they haven't bothered with all the add on training days such as first aid, and keeping their knowledge up to date. Would you want to put your life in the hands of an untrained trainer?
- Career - I love my job, and have paid a fortune in training. The amount I charge at my classes and for personal training, unfortunately won't see me living a luxurious life, instead it covers the costs of ongoing training, insurance, licences, equipment, venue hire, etc etc. When a rogue trainer jumps onto the scene they undervalue the industry, charging less because their outgoings are less. How is your industry affected by this? It's heartbreaking knowing that these people who try to devalue the worth of a good personal trainer are in fact endangering the general public in the process.
Now of course it's great that you find a personal trainer who can inspire you, whether it's their commitment to you, their own personal journey, their training techniques, or another reason that doesn't relate to qualifications but here are a few tips when looking for a fitness professional, whether it's 1-2-1 or in a class environment:
- Ask what qualifications they hold
- If it's for a class, have they got a valid certification? Insanity, Kettlercise, Boxercise, Zumba and many more, are all registered trademarks and only instructors trained by that company can claim to teach that class. Any instructor NOT trained in that discipline is NOT teaching an official class and again would likely not be insured. You can usually check on the programmes website, but not all valid instructors are always listed. Ask your instructor for proof and if in doubt contact the programme direct.
- Are they insured?
- Do they offer screening? To check for illness and injuries as well as obtaining your goals?
- If dealing with children do they have a CRB check?
- Are they or an assistant first aid trained?
- Do they set a good example?
- Do they try to blag their way through an answer to your questions? If I don't know, I will always do my best to find out for them.
- Do they make you feel inadequate? Never hire a trainer who shouts at or bullies you!
- Do they keep up to date with advances in the industry?
- Are they registered with REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals). This isn't compulsory for a fitness pro but any trainer that is registered has to keep up to date with their qualifications. Don't just trust REPs though, ask for yourself!
- Do they listen to your needs and accommodate your personal goals?
- Do they keep track of your training progress by offering fit tests and taking measurements?
- Do they progress your training?
There is an endless list, really. My overall experience at consultations is that not one client has ASKED to see my qualifications, why not? Don't just go with the cheapest or the nicest trainer, yes they are factors but honestly the most important thing to remember is that firstly, they are qualified to prescribe you with a course of treatment (exercise), secondly it's if you get the good vibes with them. If you get neither or just one of the two, move on. Look around and keep speaking with different trainers until you are happy. I offer free, no obligation consultations so a client can have a chat with me before deciding to sign up. I also like to think my community classes offer something different... A sense of community spirit! It's not just me who provides the atmosphere it's the amazing ladies and gents who come along and take it to the next level.
If you're interested in any of my classes or personal training, please get in touch or have a look around the website. In the meantime here is a list of my current qualifications, should you wish to see any of the certificates, all you have to do is ask, or where applicable search for me on the programmes website:
With so many rogue classes and instructors around, stay safe and get fit the happy way :-)