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What to look for in a personal trainer
By: Fitness and Muscle Australia

Sales of gym memberships are at an all time high. Unfortunately fitness quackery is too. It seems like every gym you walk into these days includes at least one proposed fitness expert. I am sorry to say that 90% of the trainers in this field cannot tell you the difference between a fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fiber.

Fitness certification agencies began as a good idea. It was developed to educate individuals on proper fitness form and technique as well as the body\'s response to specific stimuli. With this knowledge a certified fitness trainer could better train the public. As with other fields, the companies became too money hungry and began giving out certificates to anyone who could afford them. The knowledge was no longer of importance. There are still a number of respectable agencies out there but beware of the many that are not. Just because a person has a personal training certificate does not make them an expert in the field.

Tips To Help Identify A Con Man/Woman

Here are a few tips that will help you identify a con-man/woman. When a trainer constantly refers to their certification as proof of their expertise - Beware. This means they are using the certificate to confirm they know everything rather than allowing their true knowledge to do the work. A trainer who tells you to do light weight for shaping and heavy weight for size doesn\'t have a clue. You cannot shape a muscle. You can shrink it or increase its size however. The shape of muscles are genetically predetermined.

They will look different when you lose the fat covering them but you cannot change their shape. Heavy weight training leads to increased strength from nervous system adaption. When the nervous system becomes efficient at firing numerous motor units instantaneously you will be able to push more weight. This does not necessarily mean an increase in size. The most important factors for gaining muscular size are variety of training stimulus\' and a surplus of protein and calories.

\"\" Another way to spot a quack is if you are given false hope. Remember everyone can build a better body but also everyone has genetic limits. The promises of an Arnold Schwarzenegger physique in four weeks is unrealistic, assuming you have average genetics. My favorite one is the trainer who tells their clients all of the tricks to obtaining washboard abs. They will explain the need to work your lower, middle and upper abdominals. They will also probably tell you that you need to work abs everyday. Now lets discuss the problems with these statements.

First of all, the rectus abdominus is one muscle. There are no upper, middle and lower abs. Secondly, your bodyfat levels are the most important determinant in seeing your abs. Thousands of crunches will not help you reveal your abdominals - only the loss of bodyfat will enhance your midsection. There is no need for limitless sets of crunches. Remember quality not quantity.

There are a few guidelines to follow that can help to protect the consumer against Avoid Fitness Phonies. One thing a person can do to protect themselves from quackery is to ask the expert a variety of questions. This could include very basic questions about fitness and nutrition. Don\'t expect someone to know everything, but the supposed expert should not have any problems answering the basic questions. Also, pay close attention and remember all the information given to you. If the trainer is a quack, they will usually contradict something they have said previously. Taking a person with you to the gym who has some fitness knowledge is a good idea also.

Don\'t let the trainer know your friend has knowledge of the fitness field, then proceed to ask some basic questions. Your friend should be able to tell you if this person is deceiving you. My favorite technique to use when screening fitness trainers is to ask them the differences between a fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fiber. This is the most basic question in muscle physiology. If the trainer cannot answer this question, they are 100% quack. The answer should be something like this: a fast-twitch muscle fiber is responsible for power.

It has poor endurance qualities and is white in color due to the lack of myoglobin. It is large in diameter and has a fast twitch rate. It is the predominant fiber among power athletes such as powerlifters. A slow-twitch muscle fiber is used for activities requiring minimal power. It has great endurance qualities. The fiber diameter is small and is red in color due to the large supply of myoglobin. Slow-twitch muscle fibers are predominant among marathon runners.

These were just a few tips in detecting quackery. There are many more signs but it would require an entire book to point them all out. The most important thing to remember is to go to a number of gyms and speak to different people. You can probably get a good idea of who is real and who is not. All gyms should have an eclectic approach to fitness which includes scientific research as well as practical experience.

Final Note

On a final note, it is vital to understand that your fitness goals are too important to trust to just anyone. It is not necessary for you to know all the ins and outs of fitness, but your personal trainer must. By asking the right questions and conducting an "interview" of each training candidate, you are much more likely to find the personal trainer that fits your individual needs.

Now, to the fitness quacks, you know who you are. Clean up your act and become educated on different aspects of exercise and all the current research. There is no other way to achieve total body fitness."


Tim Lamborn - Sydney Weight Management and Body Sculpting

Added: 28-05-2009