Thanksgiving is over, the days are shorter and colder, and winter is definitely on its way. Although we are blessed in the Okanagan to be able to pursue outdoor activities virtually year round in our beautiful playground, many of us start looking towards local fitness centres for activity options when fall and winter arrive. Working with a personal trainer is also something that people elect to do to help them achieve their fitness goals.
I am a chiropractor in private practice here in Kelowna with a professional background in human kinetics. I spent many years working as both a personal trainer and exercise therapist in several performance and rehabilitation settings. I no longer do any personal training due to time constraints but my patients are well aware of my passion for exercise and rehabilitation. A serious pet peeve of mine is questionable advice given to a patient by a personal trainer or any other health practitioner for that matter. Although I don’t actively offer personal training, I am still a member of the highest level of fitness certification offered in the country (www.csep.ca) and feel that I am in a pretty good, neutral position to offer some advice on what to look for and what to look out for when choosing a personal trainer.
The first thing you should know is that anybody and I mean ANYBODY can call themselves a personal trainer. You literally have to have no experience, education or certification to call yourself this. This is unlike a professionally trademarked term such as chiropractor or physiotherapist, where there is a governing college and association that specify certain education and examining to be able to use that credential.
Personal trainers can vary from completely uncertified, to weekend certified (such as BCRPA, CrossFit) to some with a 4 year university degree and professional post graduate certification. Now don’t get me wrong, just because someone has a university degree doesn’t mean they will make a great personal trainer and some of the best trainers I know did not complete a kinetics degree. It does however put some legal limits on the type of client that they should be working with.
If you are an apparently healthy person with no significant disease or injury history, then a standard BCRPA trainer could be a good option for you. Their scope is limited to working with “apparently healthy” people. If you do have a significant past, you should be aware that the vast majority of personal training certifications do not have liability insurance that covers working with this population. This is very important, because if you were to get injured or become disabled while engaging in activity under their care (it is rare, but it happens), their insurance would not be valid and therefore your legal options would be significantly reduced. My fitness certification has a policy that covers me for $2 million dollars of liability while working with clients. For a person with a significant medical history, you should clarify with your trainer what they are covered for.
When selecting a trainer, be selective! When they initially meet you, remember that you are interviewing them for a job, not the other way around. Their strengths should meet your goals and if does not appear that they have a lot of background or experience in the particular type of fitness or exercise you are interested in, believe me there are 10 other personal trainers in the area who do.
There are many personal trainers in the Okanagan area that I have had the pleasure of working with. If you are interested in going down this route, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I would be happy to help you out.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.