How to Find a Certified Fitness Trainer

Find a Certified Fitness Trainer

1.

Ask friends, family members or your family doctor to recommend a certified fitness trainer. Your doctor is an especially valuable resource to check with---and you should be talking with your doctor before beginning any kind of fitness regimen. Friends and family members can offer personal tips, while your doctor can help you identify what qualities or special preparation a trainer should have given your individual health needs.

2.

Call your local fitness club or gym and ask if they have certified fitness trainers on staff. Determine what kind of certification the trainers hold and what that certification entails: Does it involve just a simple examination? In-person training and workshops? Intense workshop testing and a more thorough examination? Does the certification program require them to maintain CPR training? Your local fitness club should be able to answer these and any other questions you may have about the education their certified fitness trainers undergo.

3.

Search online through the various professional groups that certify fitness trainers. The four most popular organizations---the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)---all focus on intense educational training, in-person educational workshops, CPR certification and continuing education. The main difference between these types of certifications is the degree of intensity and the amount of specialized knowledge or education.

Professionals holding certification from either NSCA or ACSM have undergone the most rigorous of training and education programs, mostly because this certification is required of strength and training professionals who work with professional sports teams, hospital rehabilitation centers and specialized training facilities. Most academically based trainers hold either NSCA or ACSM certification. ACE and ISSA are strong programs with a solid educational component, but holders of these certifications mostly work in fitness clubs, gyms and personal training facilities with less specialized needs. Each organization's website has a tool to find certified trainers in your area.

Finding a certified fitness trainer can be an easy task, mainly because there are many kinds of fitness trainer certification programs, all of which vary in difficulty and intensity. When researching a trainer, ask about the rigor of the certification program and what type of education the trainer has under her belt.