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Was your Personal Trainer Competent?

jessienanijessienani Member Posts: 52 Member Member Posts: 52 Member
I worked in the fitness industry for roughly 7 years (5 of which I was a Certified Personal Trainer). I have had the opportunity to work in non-profit, corporate, commercial, and even ran my own gig training soccer teams and individual athletes for a couple of years.

I have met an insane amount of trainers during that time whether it be from conferences, coworkers, or someone I meet when I visit a new gym. I must say there are plenty of high quality trainers that know FAR more than I ever did/will about personal training, the human body, and nutrition. However, I have also met plenty of bad trainers who do things that are so counterintuitive to typical personal training norms.

Also, little known fact: In the USA you do not need to be a certified personal trainer in order to work for a gym and train clients. In addition to that, there are so many non-accredited personal training certifications running around out there that have an online test with no proctors and unlimited retakes at no extra cost. It's wild haha!

What have your experiences been like?

Replies

  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,404 Member Member Posts: 39,404 Member
    I figure it's just like any other field or profession...there will always be the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    My trainer(s) are awesome. They are a husband and wife team and own their own one on one personal training gym...and also really good friends and our families hang out all of the time together.

    I started working out with him years ago. He's a retired professional BMX Supercross racer with multiple national championships and a couple of world championships and he's one of the coach's for team USA for worlds and the Olympics. He also coaches a number of local BMX racers in town, many of whom end up going pro. Bachelors in exercise science and masters in nutrition.

    I workout with his wife now more often than not because my wife works out with her and I get a discount if we're doing the session together. She is a cat3 road cyclist and races with one of the local teams here. Bachelors degree in exercise science.

    Both are very good but train their clients differently in that he tends to train more high level athletes and most of his Joe Schmoes are already pretty well fit as well. His programing tends to emphasize athletic performance and taking things to the next level from a competitive standpoint, regardless of the sport. She primarily trains people who are really just looking to get fit and healthy and have good physiques and looking for a good workout. She does a lot more volume stuff and supersets and whatnot...it was an adjustment for me as I was used to the bulk of my training being primary power/olympic movements or strength...so it was initially difficult to adjust the weight I was lifting with her volume training. I call her the "house of pain"
  • sportygal1971sportygal1971 Member, Premium Posts: 55 Member Member, Premium Posts: 55 Member
    I notice many trainers don't cover nutrition and technically they don't need to. Nutritional education is SO important & you can exercise to death, but if you don't eat right, you definitely keep trainers in business. My trainer saved my life. I went from 230, 47% bodyfat to 138, 20% & became a personal trainer in a year.
    I also had a good boxing trainer that took me to the next level of fitness. He toughened me up and I sparred guys.
    I worked w a lot of trainers that weren't the best, and some that knew their stuff. Even today I see trainers that don't know how to properly squat or swing a kettlebell.
    I think personality makes a huge difference too. My first trainer was quiet and reserved and got the most out of me, when if he yelled, at that time, I would have felt bad since I was so out of shape. When I was w my boxing coach, I welcomed his barking.
    I think asking a lot of questions is just as important as learning of their certifications. A piece of paper is only that.
    Even though I've gained some wt back (injuries, tragedies etc) my trainer gave me valuable tools & I'm still healthier than back at 230.
  • JessiBelleWJessiBelleW Member Posts: 724 Member Member Posts: 724 Member
    I've had two - 1 attached to my gym, that I found through classes, and another who I work out with in the park since the gym is now shut (this guy is also a trained occupational therapist). Both seem to really know their stuff. One of them has said to me that since they are not a certified nutritionist (UK specific) they aren't allowed to make me an eating plan.
    Both have been very competent with what they are doing - ensuring I work out and allowing me to burn calories to help make a deficit
    so I lose weight :)
  • robw1974robw1974 Member, Premium Posts: 16 Member Member, Premium Posts: 16 Member
    I've hired personal trainers twice when I was with Bally Total Fitness many years ago... I found the ones i hired mostly focused on training how to use the equipment in the gym (long story short, they recommended a few minutes of cardio warmup, a number of weight machines at 12-20 reps and 3 sets of each, if i could do 20 easily i needed to up the weight because it's too easy, and then more cardio at the end.. Somewhere in there they worked in stretching too, but that never was a focus). I mean, I'm sure there's more to their job, but i found it helpful as someone new to the gym to help build a routine and be less afraid of some equipment.
  • DD265DD265 Member Posts: 220 Member Member Posts: 220 Member
    My personal trainer is a physiotherapist and an athlete in his own right. He really knows his stuff, and practises what he preaches. He spent months building up my posterior chain and core before we started lifting weights. The emphasis was always on having a strong foundation, and being technically proficient so that I stayed safe/minimised potential for injury no matter what we were doing.

    We didn't go into nutrition in detail (he isn't qualified) but we'd talk about it. I was doing WW at the time in any case.

    I've not seen him for going on a year due to the pandemic (I moved away, so can't train 3x a week any more) and I miss our sessions so much.
    edited January 18
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,948 Member Member Posts: 1,948 Member
    I notice many trainers don't cover nutrition and technically they don't need to. Nutritional education is SO important & you can exercise to death, but if you don't eat right, you definitely keep trainers in business. My trainer saved my life. I went from 230, 47% bodyfat to 138, 20% & became a personal trainer in a year.

    Most personal training certs in the US will tell the trainer specific nutrition advice is out of the scope of their practice.

    If they are giving such big red flag and hold on to your wallet as they may well try to sell you something.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 45,416 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 45,416 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    I notice many trainers don't cover nutrition and technically they don't need to. Nutritional education is SO important & you can exercise to death, but if you don't eat right, you definitely keep trainers in business. My trainer saved my life. I went from 230, 47% bodyfat to 138, 20% & became a personal trainer in a year.

    Most personal training certs in the US will tell the trainer specific nutrition advice is out of the scope of their practice.

    If they are giving such big red flag and hold on to your wallet as they may well try to sell you something.
    This is true. And a lot of them give cookie cutter advice without really knowing the actual answer for say someone who has diabetes, or is insulin resistant. I've completed a few certs for nutrition, but it's NOT my expertise. My basic advice is dependent on their goals, but it will ALWAYS be about CICO regardless.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • dsc84dsc84 Member Posts: 206 Member Member Posts: 206 Member
    I've had 2.5 trainers. The first I prepaid for 8 sessions (Reduced rate through my gym) so I went with all 8 sessions. I didn't really learn anything from him. I knew I wouldn't be continuing when he had me doing Standing Long Jumps and balance standing on a ball (I at the time had terrible balance/core strength so this wasn't easy, or even safe) in a superset, and then the following session he just had me walking on a treadmill for the entire time. He was knowledgeable on certain things, but I would also say that he had no idea on how to program, or looking to improve his individual client needs. To be fair he was fresh out of college and this was his first job so I get it, but I needed more.

    The other 1.5 trainers started with a trainer who ended up after 3 training sessions taking on a different full time job no longer training people. He wasn't personal, so I wasn't to bothered by this. Can't really judge his knowledge other than he programmed a bit better. The trainer that inherited me, I had for 2 ish years until I no longer needed her. (I probably would have been fine after a year, but she was good and I continued to see results.) She was good about keeping it simple, had a degree from a four year school in Nutrition and was very knowledgeable, was knowledgeable in strength training, but also was a gymnast when younger so understood other important aspects, could program for individuals based on goals, needs, and after things were assessed. She was as committed to her clients as I was to making sure to be at the gym. She also entertained my questions when programming for future sessions, like when I asked to learn more mobility exercises other than what she had taught me. She still will answer questions to this day if I have them. Needless to say there are Bad, Passable, and Good/Great trainers. You have to know what you want and interview them to find out that if they can offer you what you need.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,948 Member Member Posts: 1,948 Member
    I never really had a personal trainer. I had been going to the gym for 20+ years before personal training became a thing in our area. I was fortunate to belong to a small gym that was owned by someone with an Olympic Bronze medal in weightlifting who was always willing to help people and answer questions. Later belonged to another gym where there were several competitive powerlifters (including a competitive powerlifting judge) that again were great with answering questions, looking at your form, etc.

    The closest thing I've done related to a trainer was go to a physical therapist who is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and co-owner of a training center for some mobility issues. He works with college and pro athletes as well as general population and conducting professional education seminars. This has been a go for a 60-90 minute visit/assessment, work on some stuff in the therapy room and the exercise floor, get some things to work on at home, come back in 3 months and do it over.

    It's almost $200 a session and a 3 hour drive each way but to me money much better spent than paying someone local $60/hr to count reps.

    I also took the ACE Personal Training Certification though the Adult Ed dept at the local junior college just for my own knowledge at this point. It was an actual in person class 3 hours a week for 15 weeks taught by a 15 year veteran trainer who owned her own studio and had a teaching degree along with a Corporate training background so a great learning experience.
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