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09 November 2010

Finding a personal trainer

Right, so it's you're all pumped to get going on a more effective exercise regime, but where do you find a trainer who can make the critical difference? FitnessDoc has some ideas.

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Right, so it's you're all pumped to get going on a more effective exercise regime - but where do you start to find a trainer who can make the critical difference? And what's the difference between a personal trainer and a biokineticist?

According to Health24's FitnessDoc, Ross Tucker, word of mouth is the way to go when looking for a personal trainer that will suit your needs.

"At the moment there is no clearly defined controlling body for accreditation and training of personal trainers, although there are perhaps four or five large, established training providers. ETA is perhaps the most well known, as well as Reebok Alliance, Bodyline and the Health Professionals Fitness Alliance (HPFA)," he said.

He added that while one has a better chance of striking it lucky and finding a good personal trainer if they've come through one of the abovementioned bodies, there are also good personal trainers who have qualified through smaller institutions.

Biokineticists vs. personal trainers – what's the difference?
"The relative lack of control among personal trainers in the industry is perhaps the biggest reason why I personally would advocate that someone seeks out the advice of a biokineticist for specific training queries.

"This will no doubt label me an academic 'snob'," says Tucker, "and I certainly don't wish to generalise, but when a person sees a biokineticist, they are assured that the person has come through at least four years of university training, plus a full year of practical experience training. That level of qualification and training ensures a much higher quality of service in most cases."

However, he reiterated that the best way to find a good trainer is through word of mouth: as "a trainer's reputation is very easy to identify and establish", he pointed out. So ask around, and bear in mind that a technically highly skilled person might not be a compatible person: it's not called a personal trainer for nothing. If you don't click, and if if your trainer doesn't "get" your personality, it's not going to be a great experience.

"Once a trainer is identified, they must be held to the highest performance standard – which is actually the responsibility of the client. I feel that too often, clients/members of public accept sub-par service, when they should demand the very best.

"The problem is that personal trainers often stretch themselves too thin, across too many clients at one time and so provide a lacklustre service to all but a few clients. Every member of the public must demand the best, with no allowances being made," Tucker said.

Check out the following sites:
Exercise Training Academy (ETA) at www.exerciseacademy.com
Reebok Instructors Alliance at www.reebok.co.za
Bodyline Fitness Academy at www.bodyline.co.za
Health and Fitness Professionals Association at www.hfpa.co.za

(Amy Henderson, Health24, updated November 2010)

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