Thursday, May 9, 2013

Who's Hands is Your Body In?

One of the biggest problems with the personal training (and even strength and conditioning) industry is that it is more or less self-regulated.  Meaning it's not particularly regulated at all.  In fact, you don't legally need any sort of course or education to call yourself a personal trainer/strength coach, and this can lead to, at best, poor results for the client.

In an effort to help you see through this, I thought I'd offer some thoughts on our own hiring standards - after all, if we wouldn't hire them for our facility, why would you want to hire the cast-offs?  (I should note - having the qualifications that I list below only get you the first interview; if you don't have the right personality, not amount of certifications or education will get you hired.)


Firstly, I ignore any "group fitness certifications" like bootcamps, spinning, and so on.  You can pad your resume with these if you like, but I couldn't care less.  Knowing how to manage a crowd is great, but it doesn't mean you have the slightest clue about how to coach movement and performance.  And frankly, a DJ at some nightclub probably knows how to manipulate the energy of a room better.

I do look for a degree.  Preferably in Kinesiology, though this is not the golden ring many people (potential clients, doctors, etc) seem to think it is.  While it gives an individual a leg up, it doesn't guarantee they can apply, practically, any of the knowledge crammed in their heads.  However, having any sort of degree does suggest a familiarity with academia and higher learning - so it's always a plus.

If someone doesn't have a degree in Kinesiology, I will then look for other credible certifications - and these can be counted on one hand.  I expect to see a certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and/or the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP).  As a side note - a Kinesiology degree is a prerequisite for the CSEP certification.

There are a few other training backgrounds that I personally have experience with, and that will have extra credibility with me - however, they are not necessarily something the average potential client would need to know about.  That being said, the above qualifications will at least give you a starting point to aid in narrowing the field if you are looking to hire someone; and also keep in mind that if they are easy to book in with and come at a lower cost than any of the others you've spoken to, there's probably a reason.  A high price doesn't guarantee quality, but do you really want the lowest bidder with a wide-open schedule taking control of your movement and performance enhancement?

~Guy

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