Who trained your trainer?

Have you ever asked if your personal trainer or fitness instructor is certified? Who are they certified through? Are they required to take courses on a regular basis to make sure they’re up to date and knowledgeable about new practices? Are they certified in CPR? A fit pro I work closely with says no one has EVER asked if she’s certified.  I doubt anyone would take a Lamborghini to Walmart’s garage for maintenance and repairs? So why are so many people willing to trust their health and fitness to just anyone?

There is more than one reputable organization that educates personal trainers and fitness instructors (CanFitPro, CSEP, NSCA, etc.) and they require their members to pursue continuing education regularly. Their programs have been determined to be safe and actual scientific research plays a big role in their programming. These training programs are well known and easily accessible but creeping into the market from the back door enter sneaky, slimy organizations like the one my job hunting friend came across.

“Personal trainers wanted:No certification necessary!”  She figured “what a great opportunity”! She’s not certified yet, but is very interested so she contacted the email provided and the reply she received fueled this post! They said that due to overwhelming response to their job ads (they advertise all across Canada), they are conducting the first part of the interview via email (kinda weird, but ok.) They asked several questions but the VERY FIRST thing they requested was a photo to prove the applicants’ dedication to diet and fitness. WHAT THE HELL? A PHOTO? My friend wasn’t born yesterday and knew the request sounded ludicrous and decided not to continue pursuing this opportunity. I decided to explore this organization and alarm bells kept ringing!

First off, I am angry and frustrated and disappointed and angry again that someone touting themselves as a fitness business considers a photo as proof of fitness! What day and age are we living in where this is reasonable? You could live off Red Bull and Cheetos but look fit. What the hell does a photo prove except that maybe I have access to a great PhotoShop program? or starve myself to look thin? or inject steroids to get bigger muscles? I have finally entered a community of fitness professionals that believe in smashing the scale and ditching the shakes and embracing who you are and how you can be fit by being yourself and yet this shit is still out there?!?

I scrolled through their “interview” and discovered that part of the job training is in how to advise clients on supplements: my fury meter rose again!Oh no they didn’t! Throughout my university degree, my time as Certified Kinesiologist (yes I had to apply and take courses and achieve certain stantards to hold that title), and my CanFitPro Personal Trainer Specialist training we were reminded time and again that unless we are a physician, naturopathic doctor, or registered dietitian we LEGALLY  CANNOT recommend supplements as part of our job. Yet here is a personal training company making that part of the job!

Guess what else? They don’t require you to be certified because they want to train you themselves! Why could this be? Could it be that other, REPUTABLE, nationally recognised programs adhere to safety and legal standards? (I do not know what this organisation’s specific standards are but I’d have serious qualms about working with one of their “trained” professionals.)

This organisation is everything that is wrong in the fitness industry today: superficial standards of what fitness is and what fitness should look like; recommending supplements that aren’t proven safe and effective by peer-reviewed scientific research; and creating and promoting their own standards and guidelines in an industry where people’s health is at stake. I want nothing more than to see this organisation go down in flames and I just hope that they don’t take any trusting clients with them.

True professionals invest in their education to ensure clients are receiving safe and effective instruction. Please, do yourself a favour and verify that your fitness professional really is a professional!




Published by Mindset Events

I have been active in the fitness and wellness industry for almost 20 years and I've combined my love for event planning with my love of fitness! I help other businesses share their talents with the world through custom-built live events. I have Bachelor of Science Honours in Human Kinetics and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Ottawa and I have been a Personal Trainer Specialist with CanFitPro since 2005.

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