Before I obtained my personal training certification I assumed that becoming a personal trainer would at least involve a couple years of schooling, along with physical and written testing.........WRONG!! Did you know that anyone can sign up and take a personal training course, with no pre-requisite requirements? (yes there are College and University courses that can be taken but again not required to obtain certification!) I was shocked to discover that becoming a personal trainer could involve as little as taking a weekend course with a written and practical exam to follow, once a passing grade is obtained your certified! The written exam is multiple choice, and you must achieve a grade of 80% to pass. The practical involves a short approximately ten minute session with a pro trainer demonstrating a handful of exercises. Another fun fact is that its completely legal for an UN-certified person to be working as a Trainer actively training clients, IF they're enrolled or taking a Personal Training Certification Course. Now, they have to still achieve certification within a certain amount of time, but in the meantime they can still train you!! Sounds good eh!! Uhhhh not so much,.......well at least I don't think so!
The weekend course that I took consisted of following through a textbook with a teacher while sitting on a gym floor. Now I'm not knocking my teacher/trainer, she was amazing, she absolutely knew what she was doing when it came to health and fitness, however its the course itself that I feel is leaving New Trainers ill-equipped when it comes to hands on knowledge. Throughout the course we didn't practice exercises or form, we didn't practice writing programs, or learn any new exercises, nor where our personal fitness levels tested. Thats not to say that other certification courses don't require physical testing during the certification process, (ie CrossFit, or Kettlebell Certifications involve an abundance of physical testing.) I'm speaking of a general Personal Trainer Certification which is the basis, the foundation where anyone who wants to become a trainer must start, unless taking a College or University Course.
So I came out of my course having gained knowledge on Anatomy, Energy Production Systems, Cardiorespiratory Concepts, Performing Fitness Assessments and the basics of Nutrition, however I didn't learn new exercises or practice training a client, we didn't go onto the gym floor and train with each other for a hours a day perfecting our form, we didn't learn about healthy meals and supplements, and we didn't learn any sales techniques. Huh? Sales? Yes, being a salesperson is a huge part of personal training, you have to sell yourself even when you work in a large franchised facility, your fitness manager will only help fill your training spots for so long and after that is up to you! Its up to you to produce your own leads on personal training clients and keep a full client roster, and your fitness manager wants you to achieve this too so they can get their bonuses for that month. Your fitness manager will teach you sales techniques which will vary depending on the manager and facility, and you will have to attend monthly meetings to ensure you will reach your sales goals. Now I'm not going to get into the different sales methods used in facilities that I've been employed at, but you have to learn the proper sales lingo, what words you can and can't use, how to use your body language, or how to convince people to purchase training sessions even when they say they can't afford training. There are literally scripts that are studied and used in response to client objections and how to overcome them.
With all that being said I'm not surprised when I hear the horrible stories of my clients past experience with trainers. The stories generally consist of the trainer having extremely limited knowledge of exercises or stretches, completely lacking in nutritional knowledge, and the trainer themselves lack the overall physical appearance a personal trainer should represent. So what do you do to make sure your hiring a qualified trainer? Stay tuned for my next post, How to Hire the Right Personal Trainer.
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In : Personal Training
Tags: personal training certification nutrition exercise