The fitness industry is a unique place. Within six weeks you can go from never setting foot in a gym to becoming a level 3 certified personal trainer.
When you are a level 3 certified personal trainer you can be insured and work within a gym, providing personal training and classes. Could you imagine only six weeks of training in other industries such as healthcare or law? Would you feel safe in the hands of a doctor with only a few weeks of training?
What qualifications do you need?
Believe it or not, having the level 3 certification isn’t even mandatory to work in a gym or become a freelance personal trainer. There is no regulatory body to ensure those working as personal trainers achieve a minimum standard of education. Although organisations such as REP’s - Register of Exercise Professionals are trying to do this and educate the general population.
Sadly, in the unregulated fitness industry, this is commonplace. It is terrifying that you might be placing your health, fitness, and safety in the hands of someone who could have only been in the industry for a mere six weeks.
There are also varying standards of training courses available and these only teach so much in this brief period. This frequently leaves trainers with a certification and masses of on the job learning to do. Not to mention the other aspects of being a good coach that a course simply cannot cover in a 6-week period.
What should I look for in a personal trainer?
When it comes to personal training, we all start somewhere. Any reputable training gym ensures all their trainers go through the certification process before they employ them. They also provide coaches with an internal training programme for ongoing education.
Those trainers who are fortunate enough to end up in a good gym environment may be able to learn from a mentor. If they are supported and motivated enough, they attend seminars and workshops. They read books, blogs or watch educational videos to better themselves.
It’s not uncommon for a trainer to come away from a workshop with an industry leader and say:
I learned more today than I did on my course.
None of these educational nuggets can be listed as a formal qualification. They are however extremely valuable to a personal trainer’s learning and development. An interest and passion for learning is an asset. Importantly this characterises someone who cares about what they do. This is a great sign when it comes to finding a decent personal trainer.
A great trainer has taken the time and the effort to continue learning. They then need to develop the skills to pragmatically apply this knowledge to others. It can be one thing to read a book on a subject or attend a workshop for a day, it’s quite another to be able to apply that effectively in reality.
This is where a long list of qualifications can sometimes count for nothing. If the individual doesn’t understand how to use their knowledge, it doesn’t matter how much they’ know.
Ultimately they must understand what is applicable to their target audience and be able to pass on this information in a digestible way. This is a skill which requires practice and experience.
Gold standard personal training
At W10 something we are proud of, and dedicated to, is ensuring all our coaches are qualified and trained to the highest standard.
We make certain they continue to develop their skills. Our team believes in regularly learning to provide the best possible service to our members.
Each year we make sure all members of the team go through continuing professional development to either learn new skills or to keep them sharp and up to date. We also encourage our team to specialise in areas of interest to them, such as nutrition. Only qualified team members can advise clients on those matters.
On top of this, we get together weekly and discuss various topics. We share ideas, deliver presentations to the rest of the team, so we keep learning from each other. We join our coaches personal training sessions and are coached by them to learn from their methods of delivery.
Our members are asked frequently for feedback on their training experience. This ensures we are meeting expectations and continually improving.
For any new member of staff who comes on board, experienced or new to the industry we have a structured on-boarding process. It takes them through a rigorous development pathway designed to teach them the ‘W10 way’.
This process continues for a minimum of 16 weeks. During which we have the opportunity to see if the individual is the right fit from a personality and core values aspect along with their coaching skills.
We understand, like with any industry you are always learning. Things change and develop. To continue to be the best trainer you must continue to adapt, learn and grow. As a result, you can depend on the same level of expertise and support at every session at W10.
Where can I find a reputable personal trainer?
Qualifications do matter as a personal trainer. However, there are numerous other factors equally important to consider.
Look for experience, consistent learning through self-study, being mentored or being part of a membership organisation for personal trainer development and communication skills to name a few.
Do your research. Speak to your gym and personal trainer. Find out about their background, their standards and their values. Make sure you are happy with their qualifications and experience. Do you trust them to keep you safe?
Your health and safety are of utmost importance. Find a personal trainer you can trust. Someone who will get you the results you want without jeopardising your wellbeing or results.