Wednesday, February 2, 2011

License to Train

What makes a trainer good? What sets a great trainer apart from the sea of mediocre trainers out there? Is it a good personality? Many years of experience? Or perhaps a laminated piece of card saying that a person is a certified personal trainer?

The answer is a no brainer. You want all three in a personal trainer.

But what if you can’t have all three? What if you’re split between two guys with great personalities: One a certified personal trainer with not much experience and the other is someone who is not certified but has many years of experience training people with great results.

The answer’s still a no-brainer to me: I’d choose the latter. A good track record impresses me much more than a piece of paper qualification.

A fellow blogger (albeit a far more famous and influential one) said that an athlete is not a professional trainer. Hmm… Seriously? I think anyone who’s been reading this blog long enough would know that I am into lifting. And for me, given a choice between learning from ‘certified trainer’ who himself can’t lift heavy or from a professional powerlifter I would definitely choose the powerlifter any given day.

Having a certification doesn’t mean squat when all you do is just parroting from a textbook. Hey, ever heard of that certified PT who didn’t play any kind of sports (except congkak.. uhhh is congkak a sport?) in highschool that tried to train a bunch of athletes? Yeah, he got his butt kicked and laughed off the field.

I’m a very simple person. I hate arguing minute details about which accrediting body is legit and which is not. It’s as simple as this: If you know your stuff, you earn my respect . It doesn’t matter if you’re certified or not. You can have a bunch of letters after your name, but if you don’t seem to know what you’re doing or what you’re talking about please show yourself out the door.

My former trainer for example, does not have any kind of paper qualification but the knowledge he possesses is astounding. He answers all my questions clearly and provides me with reasons why he has me do certain exercises or have me eat certain foods. And that commands more respect than some certified clown who recommends exercises or diets because ‘this textbook here says so.’

For me, having a certification is more a rite of passage… a necessary evil even… for someone who has already earned his battlescars in the trenches. It serves to formalize what he already is: a great trainer. A certification is not a license to lord over uncertified trainers. And it certainly is not something that guarantees respect.

You still need to earn that the hard way.

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