Spotting a fraudulent trainer 101:

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Sinister, Nov 8, 2005.

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  1. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Okay. This forum is also in-need of an off-beat yet informative thread and I recently read a really good article concerning this very subject. I wasn't aware of this myself but apparently there are a couple of websites floating around here where if you have 45 spare minutes and some common sense YOU TOO can be a certified personal trainer. Huh? Yup. It's JUST THAT EASY. Nowadays every single gym you go into there's some dink with a clipboard, a polo shirt, and a beach ball whose ready to whoop you into shape! He's gonna ask about your goals, he's gonna punch your stats into a computer and print you out a ready-made diet, he's gonna work you THROUGH your injuries, and next thing you know you're gonna be ready to pose in underwear, too!

    I sincerely hope most of you are smarter than this but I do realize that a lot of these guys are also savvy of the competition factor so some of them can appear to have some knowledge and still be mostly full of shit. Over my years of working in this industry I've heard a TON of bad advice from trainers. I've heard of trainers recommending shit I'm not even sure trainers are SUPPOSED to know about. I've heard of trainers actually discouraging medical assistance for their clients. I've seen many a starry-eyed person desperately looking to get back to the shape they were in at some point going along with the nonsense.

    First things first, ANY, and I mean ANY reputable trainer's FIRST move should be to ask you for your Medical Records. There is valuable information in there that pertains directly to what you are and are not going to be able to do. If they don't even seem at-all concerned with your Medical history then you can rest-assured they're not very much concerned with wether or not they injure you.

    Another thing to look for is where exactly they got their certification. Education is hugely important, and there are actually not that many credible organizations that certify personal trainers. The ISSA is one and then there's also the Strength and Conditioning Association. Go with trainers who have undergone similar education as trainers who train Professional Athletes. There's a reason they're that highly regarded.

    Now one of the other very big bad spots is the first workout, the free session if you will. Trainers who may end up fucking you up in the long-run are ones who immediately want to see what you can do and over-work you in the first session, or ones who jump straight into a routine. The first session is best-spent doing a VERY BASIC fitness assessment. Finding out things like weight, body composition, blood pressure, heart-rate, recovery heart-rate, and basic strength tests that DON'T kill you. If you go home from your FIRST session and you can hardly walk or move something the next day that's HARDLY good.

    Be sure and ask for referrals and know how to question. It's very easy for someone to refer you to friends of theirs that will lie for them. Ask about what strength goals their referrals had set, how long it took to achieve them, and how they went about it. If it sounds like bullshit, chances are it is.

    As far as that computerized dieting crap. Let me just say this. Your trainer should be willing to be part of a team to get you into your best shape. That included working closely with qualified medical professionals AND Licensed Dieticians or credible Nutritionists. Not a piece of machinery that could be on the fritz our outdated for all you know. I have a computer, and I wouldn't trust it to give me a solid eating plan. lol

    If anyone else has anything to offer feel free.
     
  2. Vilo Magee

    Vilo Magee Brown Belt Professional Fighter

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    One way to spot a fraud is ask him for references of people he has successfully trained and for before and after pictures of his clients-which he should be happy to supply. I also would take a look at the trainer if he is 20 or more pounds overweight he is probably not that good at his job. Also if he 20+ pounds underweight again probably not to great at his job.
     
  3. Lusst

    Lusst Red Belt

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    Thanks for the info Kabuki. My mother recently went and signed up at a gym (for what reason I dont know), so will gladly pass along this information.
     
  4. Brad Morris

    Brad Morris Green Belt Professional Fighter

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    It is a little disapointing that someone who is supposed to know what they are talking about can get their certificates via an online questionaire.

    I don't know what the gyms are like in your part of the world but Down Under its common for a person taking out a gym membership to be given as part of the membership one free consultation with a trainer and an introductory training session. Which in thoery is good.

    But one of the gyms I worked at for a few months expected the following from their trainers:

    Meet client.
    Ask goals and what they want out of the membership.
    Medical History Questionaire and Blood pressure check.
    Ask client how often they can consistantly get to the gym.
    For how long they can be at the gym each session.
    Design a quick program around goals and FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Time Type) principles.
    Show client how to use bike, treadmill and stair climber.
    If introducing to weights show client around nine machine weight stations, such as Chest press, pulldowns, leg extension, shoulder press, etc.
    Prepare for next client.

    And they wanted all of that done in 30 minutes!!!

    I did it, but I know that a lot of people had no idea how to use the machine weights or the cardio equipment the next time they came back to the gym. When a person has little kinesthetic awareness quickly showing them several different movements at the end of a fitness assessment is not going to help them much.

    I argued with management saying that for people to grasp training properly they needed more time with the trainer. But money was a factor the owner did not want to committ the trainers to more than the first 30 minute session without the client paying extra for it.

    But if a person can be walked through an entire training session step by step they are far more likely to pick up some of the basics and start to gain an understanding of how they need to train to achieve their goals.

    I agree with King Kabuki, check your trainers certification and ask for references from prior clients (people are more than happy to give these to trainers if the trainer has helped them reach a goal). Ask how many sessions you get with the trainer and ask how the sessions will be structured.

    A good trainer can really help put you on the road to great health and give you the tools to achieve your goals. All a trainer is suppose to do it help start your training, point you in the right direction and guide you for the first little while. They are suppose to impart knowlegde, not just take your money.
     
  5. johnnynoname

    johnnynoname Banned Banned

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    lol at being certified by ISSA
     
  6. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Dude it's better than Bob's Certified Fitness Training Website and Waffles.
     
  7. kickassboxer1

    kickassboxer1 Yellow Belt

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    oh u gotta be fucking kidding me lol. There are gyms that do this lol?!!
     
  8. johnnynoname

    johnnynoname Banned Banned

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    i think i'd rather be certified by BOB's than ISSA. but then again I'm a ACSM cPT
     
  9. MPCOA

    MPCOA Guest

    Try for ACSM or NSCA with a four yr degree if you are really paying top $ for training. ACE is alright not as good. Also a trainer is not a nutritionist, they might know something,but unless they have a minor in nutrition and a certification, go to a real nutritionist.
     
  10. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Well don't be a prude boy, give the chaps in here some info on ACSM as opposed to ISSA. Nothing I've read on ISSA is bad but if you have information I don't then by all means. I'm not gonna cry about being wrong about something. In fact I'd like to know myself.
     
  11. MPCOA

    MPCOA Guest

    He is getting at the fact that ISSA is pretty much a hard online course where ACSM pretty much requires you to have a 4yr degree.
     
  12. johnnynoname

    johnnynoname Banned Banned

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    actually i'll apoligize. it is very unprofessional for me to diss another certification. I'm not being sarcastic either.

    The Acsm exam wasn't that hard for me. Obviously i had to have a degree before i took it and ,believe it or not, my degree in biology was enough to suffice that prerequisite.

    I studied for the exam by using my friends ACE Textbook for 12 weeks cuz ACE is basically ACSM lite.


    But bottom line, being a certified personal trainer is better than just being a guy who says he's a trainer but has no certification, liablilty insurance, firstaid/AED/CPR certification ..... and their are alot of guys out their who do that.

    I make it a point that whenever i meet another trainer i will show him my ACSM membership card that way they know i'm for real cuz their are alot of frauds out their.
     
  13. farmboy

    farmboy Banned Banned

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    Thanks for the info, King. As always, you offer a wealth of good advice. I always wanted to get a personal trainer, because, despite all of the great advice I get here in the forums, be it on strength training or conditioning, it's still tough for me to know if I'm using to correct form, enough weight, proper amount of reps/sets,eating to proper amount of protein/carbs etc... I do all of my training, weights/cardio, at home, so it's just me against the world.

    Sadly, I don't have the money, right now, to afford a personal trainer. But, I thank you again for the info. At least I'll know what to look for when I can afford it!
     
  14. Rjkd12

    Rjkd12 Certified Bastard

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    If they say "hypertorphy" like "hyper-trophy" ;)

    I think any time someone uses large words it turns me off on their education. I think when you are talking to someone you need to realize your audience. Anybody who throws around big words like sarcomere, abductors, gleno-humoral, adenosinetriphosphate etc.. to a client who just wants to lose some weight is obviously trying to impress someone. Now, if he is talking to a co-worker and uses some nice $5 words then that is fine, but not to me.
     
  15. Headache

    Headache White Belt

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    I think the biggest problem with trainers are they are
    usually 18-22...basicly they have no experience training.Then again the only make 10 bucks an hour when they train. They have never competed in anything. They have never lost any big time weight. At that age it is easy to be leaner and look good.

    For the most part people that come into the gym are fat and out of shape and any trainer will help them improve. If you are an athlete a gym trainer is most likely useless for your needs.
     
  16. johnnynoname

    johnnynoname Banned Banned

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    I used to pronounce it like that before i started taking a kinesiology course
     
  17. MPCOA

    MPCOA Guest


    Hell, I still can't pronounce the big words right and I'm damn near done with ex sci degree.
     
  18. MPCOA

    MPCOA Guest

    For some of you interested you may want to try to just get a few sessions to get the fundamentals down, instead of going long term. You could afford someone good then, that's if they will agree.
    Also, a hint, if you are near a college you can get someone who is on an internship and it will be cheaper. They may not have the most knowledge or experience, but their knowledge should be correct.
     
  19. Caddock

    Caddock Orange Belt

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rjkd12
    If they say "hypertorphy" like "hyper-trophy" ;)


    I am confused by this because the word is spelled hypertrophy, there is no word that ends torphy that I can find anywhere. Are you saying it shouldn't be pronounced like the trophy your win but more like troffy?

    Yeah I screwed up the quotes but I already admitted to being confused :redface:
     
  20. johnnynoname

    johnnynoname Banned Banned

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    the issue is not with the pronunciation of "trophy" really.

    It more has to do with the pronunciation of the "hyper" part.
    it is to be pronounced like " hi- poe"
     
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