Choosing a Personal Trainer

As you all know, I have been at courses for the past 3 weeks. I participated in the first one and presented in the last two weekends. The company that I present for is a leader, internationally, in women’s health education for personal trainers (and now physio’s, massage therapists, and other manual therapists). The company prides itself on evidence based protocols, and certifying the trainer in the best and latest techniques available.

The training for our Modern Pregnancy Exercise and Modern Post Natal Exercise courses are specific to people who are qualified to prescribe movement. We also offer manual skills for some common complaints in these populations – like releasing the piriformis or ITB.

The courses also include some nutrition advice, and help us direct and guide our clients to good information. It is important, that whether we are personal trainers, physios, or nutritionists, that we understand our scope of practise. There is a huge difference between guiding someone to whole food choices, and designing meal plans (including supplements) when you are not a qualified nutrition coach or consultant. My only advice is to reference your decisions if you are going to prescribe food, especially if supplemented, without adequate qualifications.

Having said that, there is a plethora of personal trainers in the limelight offering weight loss solutions for mums, and I wanted to offer some tips for those of you on the hunt for a trainer – to ensure you are getting the right person for you! These are the questions that I would ask:

  1. Does your trainer carry the right certifications to train YOU? Whether you are diabetic, under 18, post natal, or suffer back pain, there are credentials that a trainer can obtain specific to those populations.
  2. What do you want from your trainer? If you want a meal plan, are they certified to provide it? Do they refer to a nutritionist?
  3. What kinds of checks or screenings does this trainer provide? If you’ve ever had a child, they should check your abs and ask about your pelvic floor – whether they are male or female, there’s no excuse for ignoring whole pieces of human anatomy in the screening process. Did you know that checking blood pressure was part of every trainer’s Duty Of Care? Has your trainer checked yours?
  4. Will this trainer refer out when they are out of their depth? Or do they try and “do it all”? For example, if you have ongoing back pain, will they send you to a physio or just avoid the exercises that trigger it? Or, try to “fix” it without a qualified diagnosis?

These are a couple of things that you should know about personal trainers generally (their “Scope of Practise“:

  1. They are not qualified to diagnose – that is OUT of their scope of practise. This is unless, of course, your trainer also happens to be a physio!
  2. They are not qualified to give nutrition advice – unless they have a specific certification like Jade does.
  3. They are not qualified to train post natal women until they are fully restored – obviously, unless they have a certification, like we all do at IntoYou. It also begs the question how that trainer would know a woman was fully restored?
  4. Fitness Australia & Physical Activity Australia  are the two main regulatory bodies in Australia. If your trainer is registered with either of them, then they are continuing their education and they are insured.

I’d encourage each and every one of you to talk to your trainer about their certifications, and if you belong to a special needs group – like women who have had kids, over 55’s, diabetics, hernia, injury, etc – to ensure that they carry a certification to meet your need.


1 reply
  1. Frank Delaware
    Frank Delaware says:

    My wife and I have been trying to get in shape this year, and we thought it might be a good idea to hire a personal trainer to help us out. I really like that you should decide what kind of plans you want the trainer to help you with. It would be nice to learn how to eat healthier and be able to work out at the same time.


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