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BY JAKE ROSSEN
I
nfiction,mentorsabound.RockyhadMickey;LukehadObi-Wan;HarryPotterhadDumbledore.Despite
anabundanceofcourageandstrength,it’slikelytheseheroeswouldstillbetoilinginmeatpackingor
Wampa-huntingifnotfortheguidanceandwisdomprovidedbytheirteachers.
YourgoalsmaynotequatetoKO’ingaheavyweightchamporblowingupaspacestation,butanyonelookingtoget
theirfitnessgoalsinsharperfocuswouldbewisetoconsiderenlistingapersonaltrainer.Aqualifiedprivateinstructor
canhelpcustom-tailoraneffectiveexerciseprogram,provideaccountabilityandensureproperform.
Whiletherewardsaregreat,soaretherisks:Withaconfusingalphabetsoupofgoverningbodies,enlisting
atutorwithdubiouscredentialsisdangerouslycommon.“Aresearchstudyin2003determinedtherewereat
least70agenciescertifyingpersonaltrainersintheUnitedStates,”reportsFabioComana,MA,MS,anexercise
physiologistwiththeAmericanCouncilonExercise(ACE).“Thoserangefromlegitimateorganizationstothe
onlinediplomamills.”
Overwhelmed?Don’tbe.GoodtrainersareascommonasfleasonaWookieeifyouknowwheretolook.
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Prettymuchanyonewithatan,aheart-ratemonitor Gotoatanningsalon,gymorhealthfoodstore,and
andaduffelbagfullofcreatinecanlabelthemselves chancesareterrificyou’llseeastackofbusinesscards
apersonaltrainer. fromalocaltrainer.Whileyoucanpickoneupand
“Whenwelookforadoctor,weatleastknowthat headonlinetoresearchtheirreputation,youshould
anyonewiththelabel‘MD’hasgonethroughthegov- trytheanalogapproachfirst.
ernment-certifiedcourseoftraining,”saysPaulChek, “AllthebestpersonaltrainersI’vefoundandworked
HHP,NMT,founderoftheC.H.E.K.Institutein with,I’vefoundthroughfriendsandwordofmouth,”
California.Withpersonaltraining,heobserves,“You saysCharlotteHiltonAndersen,afitnessbloggerfor
couldgetsomebodyatmyskilllevelwhoistraining GreatFitnessExperiment.com.
world-classathletes,oryoucouldgetsomebodywho “Gotosomeonesatisfiedwiththeircurrentpersonal
looksgoodonpaperbutislicensedfromtheInternet.” trainer,”saysRonJ.Clark,presidentoftheNational
IHRSArecommendsthatitsmemberclubshireper- FederationofProfessionalTrainers.“Ifyourespecttheir
sonaltrainersholdingatleastonecurrentcertification opinionandtheresultsthey’regetting,areferralwould
fromacertifyingorganization/agencythathasbegun bethebestwaytogo.”
third-partyaccreditationofitscertificationprocedures Askyourclubiftheyhavepersonaltrainersonstaff.
andprotocolsfromeithertheNationalCommissionfor Trainersaffiliatedwithyourclubaregreatoptions
CertifyingAgencies(NCCA)oranaccreditingbodyrec- sincethey’realreadyonpremisesandfamiliarwiththe
ognizedbytheUnitedStatesDepartmentofEducation equipmentandlayoutofyourgym.
orCouncilforHigherEducationAccreditation. Ifyourgymdoesn’thavepersonaltrainersonsiteor
Ofthedozensofoutfitsoperating,10organizations youcan’tsecurereferences,trytheWeb:Clark’s
havebeenconclusivelyidentifiedasNCCA-compliant, NFPT.comsitehasadatabasethatliststrainersbyZIP
whileatleasttwoothersareaccreditedbyanorganiza- code.(Pricesvarywidelybyregion,but$50/houristhe
tionrecognizedbyUSDEorCHEA. nationalaverage.)
Whilenotabsolutelynecessary,it’salsobeneficialfor
trainerstohaveadegreeinexercisescience,exercise This Time It’s Personal
physiology,kinesiologyorphysicaleducation;it Ifyouhadastintinthemilitary,maybeyouenjoy
furtherreinforcestheirabilitytoprovidereliable someonescreaminginyourfaceandmotivatingyour
adviceaboutyourspecificsituation. quadstopumpoutanothersquat;ifyou’reacareer
SUMMER 2009 | GETACTIVE! 35
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