I took an online "quiz" this afternoon after opening a link on a fitness magazine advertisement. The question was "Do You Need A Personal Trainer?" I answered about 15 multiple choice questions, mixing my answers between what I knew would be a "beginner", "occasional", and "advanced" fitness-level perspective. The end result told me that I "knew what you were doing and were good to continue on your own....In fact, you might want to train others!"
It's kinda like me telling someone "I like to balance my checkbook. Want me to be your Accountant?" I think it'd take about .02 seconds for them to look at me like I was crazy...yet somehow people have no problem accepting non-professionalism in the fitness arena.
I get frustrated by the laxity of this concept of Health and Fitness. Not everyone would agree with me (I understand) but just because someone likes to workout does NOT qualify them to train. Many of us in the field have spent years in a classroom, endless hours reading textbooks about metabolism (yes - an entire class on the biochemical process of our bodies), studying the structure, function and mechanics of the human body and how to apply that to life. While it may look like 'just an exercise', there's a lot of thought that goes into the whats, whys and hows of making a program specific for an individual. The load, direction, firing sequence, energy system demand...these are just a few of the things I'm paying attention to while working out with someone.
Unfortunately, this is a field that is very unregulated. Nearly anyone can take a weekend course, take a test online and become "certified"...but (as my professors at the Fitness Institute International would say...) "certified does not mean qualified." **
OK, enough ranting. I just needed to get that off my chest, as most everyday I face the unique position of having to work in an environment where people take their health and fitness into their own hands with very little knowledge of the whats, whys and hows of what they're doing.
You (hopefully) wouldn't put your finances or education or legal matters into the hands of someone who wasn't a professional - why do any differently with your body?...
** The certifying organizations below are considered legitimate and 'the top' in the health and fitness field. Look for these acronyms when scoping out a trainer's background.
NSCA = National Strength and Conditioning Association
ACSM = American College of Sports Medicine
NASM = National Academy of Sports Medicine
ISSA = International Sports Sciences Association