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Personal Trainers: No Longer Jocks without a Job

by Kimberly Auvil

Some of you may be old enough to remember when personal trainers were simply accessories for the wealthy. Kind of like a Louis Vuitton bag, a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, or a little doggy tucked under your arm are today. They were like show-pieces for attention seekers, if you will. It was a time when personal trainers looked the part, but didn’t necessarily have an education or certifications for what they were training others to do. Many personal trainers during these times were stereotyped as jocks without jobs.

Fortunately, a personal training certification eventually became a requirement at most gyms and health clubs. This was probably due to some unfavorable incidents such as a personal trainer checking himself out (or someone he’d like to sleep with) in the mirror when his client dropped a 200lb barbell on himself. Or when the young stud-muffin trainer left his new client on the treadmill alone so he could talk to the 18 year old girl behind the front desk, and didn’t notice when his client wiped out on the treadmill leaving her with facial tread marks. Ok, sure, these are just hypothetical scenarios, but not far-fetched based on some of my observations over the years.

Requiring a certification was the best thing that happened to the personal training industry and an absolute start in the right direction to catapult personal training into its initial accountability phase.

Recently, the industry and insurance companies put pressure on the owners of the facilities to ensure their personal trainers were fully trained and certified. Most personal trainers are now required to have a current, nationally recognized certification from one of a handful of organizations plus a bachelor’s degree. Some facilities even require their trainers have a master’s degree if they are in a management position.

The old “Jock without a Job” stereotype for personal trainers is a thing of the past at most gyms and health clubs these days.

If you are in the market for a personal trainer, don’t be afraid to ask to see his or her credentials. Most will have a degree in an area of health and/or fitness, and all personal trainers have to have a personal training certification. If they don’t, find another one.


For information on how to obtain personal trainer insurance click here.

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