A large number of Indians are now aware of fitness and its importance. They are now investing in their health seriously. But are they investing smartly? Are they investing in the correct direction? A number of individuals have taken up fitness as a career due to this awareness. Some of them are passionate about fitness while many are in just for making quick money!
So how can you distinguish between a money minded fitness professional from a genuine professional whose sole intention is to help you and as a result make money? The answer is by being responsible. Yes, you heard me right. With the increasing number of fitness professionals in India, it is hard to find the correct trainer for yourself. Before hiring a Personal Trainer you need to do some research. You need to be aware of local, national and international organisations providing personal training certifications.
Please do not hire a fitness trainer with no certification. Do not hesitate to ask your trainer if he or she is certified or not. You may also ask them to show their current certification copy.
Certified trainers must have a basic understanding of human anatomy. They are also aware that a single approach does not work for every client. Each client is different, with different goals and with different work schedules. The field of fitness-science is dynamic and keeps updating itself each day! Hence, trainers certified from accredited organizations have to maintain their certification every 2-3 years by attending education-updating seminars and by reading published articles in the field. Hence, a fitness trainer’s education doesn’t end by only passing a certification.
The following are a couple of examples of recognized international institutions that make credible Personal Trainers:
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM): ACSM offers a number of certifications that range from the basic Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) to even Cancer Exercise Trainer CET). This organization has been around for a very long time and has been a pioneer in the field of fitness on many levels. The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA): The NSCA is more geared towards certifications that help fitness professionals work with athletes but it also certifies individuals for Personal Training.
Did you know that a few universities in India, now offer a full Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science? If your potential Trainer has a B.Sc. in Exercise Science or Exercise Physiology or in any subject related to fitness, then be rest assured that you are in the correct hands. The curriculum of a full Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science may vary from university to university but it typically includes subjects like Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics, Exercise Prescription and Exercise Psychology; students have to go through examinations in order to pass each subject. Better late than never; fitness is now a full-fledged, science-based career in India.
A few points for you to understand what your Personal Trainer can and cannot do:
1. Your Personal Trainer’s primary responsibility is to develop an individualized exercise plan depending on your needs, goals, interest and lifestyle.
2. Even a Certified Personal Trainer cannot prescribe you with a full diet plan because it is completely out of their scope of practice and education. They can, however, educate you with healthy sources of nutrient-dense food and then it is up to you as to what you can and cannot eat.
3. Do not entertain any fitness professional who tries to sell you dietary supplements again and again so that they can earn some quick cash! Selling supplements is not a crime or unethical; however, shoving every new supplement in the market down your client’s throat is!
4. Your Personal Trainer must answer each and every question that you ask them related to fitness. Question your trainer to educate yourself. Fitness is a lifestyle change and educating yourself regarding health and fitness will only help you adhere to your fitness routine throughout your life.
5. Your Personal Trainer has NO RIGHT to touch you inappropriately. I have seen this in many gyms where trainers sit on their female clients to “stabilize” their movement. Runaway and report such trainers. There is a thin line between being professional and personal, and a fitness professional must maintain this.
Investing in your health will never go to waste but it is better to invest smartly that will give the most worth out of your money. As a consumer, you must not hesitate to question and inquire as much as possible with your potential fitness professional as they are responsible to alter your health!
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