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The subject of today’s podcast is all too common – how to find a trainer that listens to your needs. Truthfully some of the blame with not being happy with a trainer rests on the trainee’s shoulders.
Fitness Together® trainers push, motivate and support you through your fitness journey by customizing training plans for you.
Did you know that in most states you can’t cut a persons hair or paint their nails without first accruing a set number of hours of experience AND passing a state board exam? On my recent trip to Mexico with Sears, I learned that wannabe trainers there have to undergo serious schooling and score at least an 85 or better on a set exam before they’re even allowed to intern in a clinical setting.
For all of you potential trainees, let me ask you – do you even know what any of the certifying agencies are? The truth is my strength and knowledge of fitness, health and nutrition came from my own desire to learn, my own trial and error and my own passion for this career. Personal training is NOT just about dictating exercises and teaching someone how to do a pushup or a squat.
A great trainer will assess you, design a program around your needs and level of conditioning, and continually evolve the workouts to help you reach your goals.
Consuella, January 20, 2014Log in to ReplyI just had this discussion with someone regarding the importance of a certification. Aisyah, April 21, 2014Log in to ReplyI took the basic certification to have an idea what is expected of in the industry.
Midge, October 5, 2014Log in to ReplyAs someone very new at fitness training for myself, I found it interesting that no one here mentioned knowledge of injury prevention. This is a thorough guide to personal trainer rates in the US in 2012.  It is meant primarily for those who are curious about the costs of hiring a personal trainer, but will also be useful to aspiring personal trainers who are trying to get a sense of earning potential. If you live in Beverly Hills or Manhatten, work with an independent trainer, who has a masters degree and 15+ years experience, and has trained celebs like J. Expenses include: health insurance, transportation cost, continuing education, marketing costs.
If you have the time to dig a little further we can break it down for you by the various factors influencing the wage.
The findings of this data seem to contradict the regional data as Los Angeles is a fairly inexpensive place to seek training.  This suggests that hourly rates are determined more on the local than the regional level. The takeaway?  Pay a little extra for someone with at least a few years experience.  Also, if you want an experienced trainer you might as well find someone who is very experienced vs. Thank you for this- I have multiple certs from NASM and have been a trainer for over 20 years- but i live in a mixed rural area – my rates I wanted to have lower for my seniors so it would be affordable for pp who need it…but I was still undercharging for many years!
If I independently trainer what would be some basic equipment you would suggest outside of a matt, ball and tension bands? Hi Carmen, thanks for the comment, unfortunately gyms really seem to try to gouge trainers.


Independent training is great but it really requires you to be a business person as well as personal trainer.
Disclaimer: The views expressed on I Think I Can Fitness site by Amber Ellison Walker, staff, or guests are opinions and should not be taken as a substitute for qualified medical expertise. I Think I Can Fitness does not not warrant the performance, effectiveness or applicability of any sites listed or linked to. When looking for a personal trainer, you must interview, ask for referrals, and do a bit of homework to make sure they’re a good fit. Accountability, customization, privacy, and individual guidance can get you the results you want. Work for brands including Under Armour, Nike, Reebok, and companies such as Dicks Sporting Goods and Emphatics high fashion clothing. That’s a far cry from here in the US, where you can become a certified trainer over the internet for a $50 fee. In fact that’s a big part of the problem – there’s so many of them that they’re meaningless! If I told you that I was ISSA, NASM, ACE, NSCF or AFAA certified, would that mean anything to you? I have been certified throughout the years by various organizations, specialty classes and at one time I was a certified nutrition consultant (what does that even mean!) I currently am certified through the NCSF but I only took the test to be able to say, “I’m certified”. It’s about interaction with another human being and having an understanding of human psychology. Don’t get me wrong, a certification is a good indicator that a trainer has an interest in fitness, but it’s absolutely not a sign that they’re good at what they do. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.
In order to be a good trainer, I think that certification is important because then you know your trainer at least knows the basic. This proves that credibility stems from word of mouth, experience in the gym, and recommendations, not a number on a test! Like you, I have never had a single client ask if I am certified (although I have less years racked up ;)).
I've had 4 different PT due to changing gyms or the leaving gym etc, I must say my current one is a semi professional rugby player and a full-time PT and we have great rapport! They wanted to get a "cheap" certification just to say they feel better about approaching people about training. Overtime, I believe that experience and continued learning makes a great trainer and especially the ability to build rapport. I have been teaching Group Exercise for 3 years and have recently been certified as a personal trainer. And in many cases you don’t even need any formal training to open a training studio or purchase personal training liability insurance.


Now I’m not discounting that obtaining a certification can teach you the basics of exercise and nutrition. I HAVE been asked though what kind of workouts I do on my own time, WHY I choose certain exercises, and what I like to learn about. It us very important that my PT walks the talk, lives eats a healthy lifestyle and I have been very fortunate that this one does! The fitness studio that I have been teaching at wants me to take on personal training clients, which was one reason why I got certified. It seems to me that one of the reasons the industry is so scattered with contradictory information is that we have people working in the gym world who really shouldn’t be.
Truthfully those fundamentals can’t be argued with.  But once you learn basic human anatomy and quality nutrition, I believe the next attribute a trainer needs to have is passion and experience.
Personal training is not just a diet and exercise, rather creating a deeper, meaningful connection with the client! I have learned more in my own searching for fitness education than I did from getting my certification.
It cracks me up when I see ‘trainers’ from other gyms smoking or leading unhealthy lifestyles. Trainers that have a great understanding of what to say, when to say it and how to motivate clients are the ones that excel. Although I respect the ACSM and learned a good deal of physiology and kinesiolgy, the cert didn't make me a decent trainer. Everything from transforming themselves from fat to fit, to teaching Group classes and personal training. That, plus understanding program design and progression are key to a successful experience for the client. I suggested if you are going to get re-certified do so through the intent of extending the education palette, not to appease your ego of being "certified".
But I think if you want to be a great trainer it must be your primary occupation and to quote a cliche, you must WALK THE WALK.
And to make matters worse, I’ve NEVER even been asked if I’m certified – in 20 years not one time by a single client! I have one certification and I trained circles around those with ten simply because of my desire to learn about fitness and passionate about how I can apply it to help others.
But sadly this is commonplace in many sessions – a trainer arbitrarily picks exercises and just dictates them.



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