Avoid Consulting Unqualified Individuals

Avoid Consulting Unqualified Individuals

personal trainer

Many individuals, when they first begin an exercise program, seek the assistance of a professional trainer to help them realize their personal health and fitness goals, plan workouts efficiently, maintain proper nutrition or assist in the proper execution of exercise form and technique. However, it is very important to be certain that the individual in whom you are placing so much trust is qualified and experienced in their particular field.

The employment of unqualified individuals in an exercise facility can be as innocent as the regular professional calling in sick and an employee from another department filling in for the day.

While the individual that is filling in may be able to do an adequate job, there are dangers in someone who is not experienced in working with the various types of equipment or lacks knowledge of how the body actually functions.

Couple this with the fact that each member that the trainer works with will have a unique set of goals, limitations, and conditions. The end result: the possibility of incorrect information or worst.

Never be ashamed to ask for a professional’s credentials and background before hiring them to assist you. If they become angry or impatient, chances are that they are not qualified to do their job.

The Dangers of Unqualified Instructors

  1. First Aid: A British survey conducted in 2002 found that, of 50 gyms surveyed, 16% of the employees did not have first aid training. Should an accident happen, it is important to know that your gym has employees that are trained to help. This survey did, however, also conclude that 60% of the employees had already or planned to join the Register of Exercise Professionals.

  2. Improper Technique: Unqualified instructors can often let poor form or technique slide and thus allow for poor or ineffective workout strategies. One of the most important foundations for exercise is proper form. Without it, injuries and lack luster results can be common.

  3. Injury Prevention: Qualified professionals are trained to both recognize when exercises can lead to injuries and when a participant shows signs of a coming condition or injury. If an unqualified professional is used, these warning signs could go unnoticed.

  4. False/Misleading Information: Professional gym teachers are educated in the facts and rules that go with their specialty. Unqualified teachers could give students false or misleading information based on their own experiences. This information could be misleading as the same techniques may not apply to everyone.

Healthy Alternatives

fitness trainer

  1. Licensing Organizations: Organizations such as the Register of Exercise Professionals and the American Council on Exercise exist to provide you with the confidence that your gym professional is certified to assist and advise you in the specifics associated with your exercise program. Find out if your instructor or fitness center is accredited by a governing fitness organization.

  2. Do Your Research: In addition to verifying that the instructor has a certified personal trainer license, find out how much actual experience he or she has in the exercise type that you are going to perform. You may do this by asking the gym manager or your instructor. Ask other students what their experiences have been with your instructor.

  3. Take Everything With a Grain of Salt: Does something not make sense when your instructor tells you? Ask another professional what their opinion is on the matter or do some research of your own. You should take advice from your instructor but you should never treat it as being the one and only truth.

  4. Always Have a Backup Plan: You may find yourself in a situation when there is an accident but your instructor is not able to help. Every time you go to a gym, make sure that you have identifying information with emergency contact phone numbers and allergy information.

    Something as simple as a card in your wallet or pocket of your pants can save your life in the event of an emergency.

  5. Employ Multiple Instructors: You do not have to worry about cheating on your instructor. In fact, it is often a good idea to do so. Having a couple of different trainers with different approaches to the same exercise routine can help to create a greater perspective.

    By working with two instructors you can combine their techniques and form your own approach to your exercise routine.

Spotting an Unqualified Instructor

You should never make accusations against your instructor, even if you are sure that they are not qualified. Making a mistake and saying or writing that an instructor is unqualified can land you in court for slander or libel. You can, however, consider a few tips on how to spot an instructor that may not be the best one for you:

  • They are not comfortable with the exercise equipment: Some instructors are asked to move to a different section or piece of equipment for the day or have just started working with a machine. This can cause problems if you have questions or have an accident.

  • They get angry or impatient when you ask about their experience/credentials: Unqualified instructors will normally either rush you or get noticeably steamed when you begin to inquire about how experienced they are. When you do ask questions, do so in a non-hostile way. “What are some issues you have noticed to arise on this equipment in the past?” is far better than “You haven’t done this before have you?”.

  • They give you obviously bad advice: An instructor that tells you that smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day will increase your heart rate and metabolism is likely not an accredited instructor. While their advice may be correct, the health problems that could arise from such behavior will far outweigh the benefits; something of which good instructors will be aware.

  • Their classes are too large to be effective: Sometimes gyms are overbooked and hold very large classes for exercises that require constant supervision to be performed correctly. Professional instructors could lose their license by holding classes that are too large and will usually refrain from doing so.

  • Their qualifications are vague: Avoid flyers from “professionals” that claim their qualifications as a great body, awesome baseball player, covetous love life and rock hard pecs. They may have gotten their qualifications from their programs or just being lucky.

Never Be Too Suspicious

fitness trainer

Sometimes instructors have experience in ways that organizations may not recognize. If you like an instructor and you are seeing results, do not be too quick to ask for a full background check.

Just because an instructor did not go to school to perform a duty does not mean that they do not have the proper experience to teach a given exercise. Although you should not be too eager to accept advice from someone you do not trust, not considering other opinions can be just as foolish.

Do your research before joining a gym to find out if the employees are qualified to teach you about exercise or nutrition. Never accept lower priced memberships to gyms that do not employ a professional staff.

Doing so could save you money while dumping the money you spent down the tubes. Having a qualified instructor to assist you in your goals and routines will often be the difference between success and failure in your exercise program.

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