We all have different requirements when looking for a fitness instructor or personal trainer. If you haven’t exercised for some time, you will probably want something quite gentle. Or maybe you are an extreme fitness person? Or perhaps looking for something to enhance your sporting prowess? Are you looking for a group exercise class, small group training or perhaps one-to-one? Or perhaps you have read an article about the latest craze in fitness training and want to try it? And do you want to lose weight, get a six-pack, increase your mobility, or just generally increase your fitness levels?
Not only are our requirements different, but our bodies are very different. And whilst we recognise that exercise is good for us, and to be effective we do have to make a real effort, pushing ourselves too far could be damaging.
But almost everyone can benefit from exercise at some level: there are very few exceptions!
And yes, that does include people with quite major health conditions. Some care homes, for example, provide seated exercise for seniors – and they love it! Similarly, research shows that appropriate exercise helps people undergoing cancer treatment and can also speed up recovery post-treatment.
Clearly, it is important to think about what you want from any training and what your physical capabilities are. Personalities might be important too, particularly on a one-to-one level. Someone with a gentle voice and caring manner may appeal to you if you are new to training; but conversely, if you are at the more extreme end of sports and fitness, you may prefer someone with a sergeant major style to really push you to the limits! But however nice you think someone is, it is essential they have the appropriate qualifications and experience to deliver the style of training that is appropriate for your requirements. And the only way to do that is ASK.
What qualifications should personal trainers have?
So, let’s look at what the qualifications might entail. The larger fitness clubs, for example, will only employ people in their gyms as an instructor if they have a Level 2 Certificate in Gym/Fitness Instructing. The first and major component of this course is Anatomy and Physiology: clearly an instructor needs to properly understand how the body functions if they are going to deliver any type of fitness training. But this really is a very basic level and focuses on working within a professional gym environment. It doesn’t, for example, cover nutritional advice; posture assessment; working more intensely with individuals outside a gym environment; corrective exercise to help people with musculoskeletal impairments and imbalances; sports performance; group training; weight loss; older people specialisation – and much more.
A number of companies such as Premier Global offer courses in Essex and across the UK for personal trainers at various levels: for people who want to embark on a new career in the fitness industry, to courses for highly experienced trainers who want to add to their existing skill sets.
Personal Training is a profession
As in any profession, there is a CPD (continued professional development) requirement. Top Personal Trainers may have invested a lot of time, money and effort in achieving very high-level knowledge and qualifications. This, of course, may be reflected in the prices they charge.
And a certificate alone isn’t proof of ability: experience also plays a vital role, so please don’t think every single instructor needs a multitude of qualifications. But do carefully consider what your needs are and ensure you match them with the right professional, who has the appropriate qualifications and experience, to help you safely and efficiently achieve your fitness goals.