The Importance of Being, or Working With, a Good Personal Trainer

This is a topic that has always resonated tremendously with me, having worked as a private fitness trainer for years.  I went into the field because I’ve always loved exercise, nutrition, cooking and health as long as I can remember.

I joined a gym at age 15, even before I had my driver’s license; fortunately, my best friend was one year older than I, so she and I were able to get ourselves to the gym on our own.

We had all the Nautilus and Stairmaster 4000PT we could want!  (Anyone reading this who is of a similar age to be would maybe be giggling now?)

My membership came with two free training sessions.  I was absolutely smitten with the idea that one could have a profession in which the goal was to create programs for others to get healthy, lean, slim and fit.  And, in my 15 year old mind, I thought it must be pretty cool to also get a free membership!

So, a few years later, I packed my two little suitcases and moved myself from New York to Los Angeles, to study Exercise Science at USC.  Didn’t know a soul, but given that I’d always been in love with California, it felt like a must-do.

Fast forward along to graduation, after studying all sorts of interesting subjects like kinesiology, biomechanics, exercise physiology, (of course) nutrition, sports injury prevention and treatment, corporate fitness development and exercise prescription, followed by studying for, then obtaining, my certification through the American College of Sports Medicine, and then, I was ready to start the second phase of my training, the practical side.

I had the opportunity to work at a couple of really cool corporate health facilities; the pay was appalling, but I was 22 and had a job in the line of work I wanted to be in.  I’d be fibbing if I said I didn’t have doubts now and then, as trying to pay off an SC education on a the salary of a beginning trainer is not exactly easy, so I diverted off course a few times, but ultimately realized I was doing what I wanted to be doing… just needed to be doing it for myself!

OK, so there’s the background.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with many amazing people over the years, some of whom I was able to help lose weight, decrease stress, lesson symptoms to illness and feel better overall.  Even better, perhaps, is that I was able to be a confidante to these people.

It takes education, practical experience and a good personality fit to have the winning combination.

So why, then, is this age-old problem still around:  why are there so little regulations to who can call him or herself a personal trainer?   If you’re reading this post, and have never had any training in exercise, nutrition, wellness or anything related, you can actually go online, take a twenty minute test and voila!  You’re a trainer!

It’s been something that has bothered me for a long time; and I know it’s a sore subject with many others who have paid their dues and taken the proper routes to become educated and aware, so that they’re best equipped to help (not to mention, not hurt!) their clients.

Not only does having no standard put innocent people (those who hire the unqualified ‘trainers’) at risk, it makes those of us who are properly trained look less professional.  

Yesterday’s post focused on where money spent on seemingly silly research studies goes.  How about a little funding to help this cause?   


Yet another example of how in the big scheme of things, personal training, along with many other health-promoting careers, is so undervalued in our society…