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Lifestyle Wellness

Be Wary of Uncertified Personal Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors this Summer!

Maritza Fasack

Summertime is around the corner and we are excited to get back in shape, lose our quarantine weight gain, tone our bodies, get into a Bikini and look good for the beach. What better way to accomplish this than to hire a personal trainer or join an outdoor fitness class at one of our county and city parks. But before you do that make sure your personal trainer or group fitness instructor is certified.

During the summer you might see yoga, boot camp classes, and personal trainers working out with their clients, at many of our county and city parks. These classes can be expensive ranging from $20 to even $120 per hour. If you are paying this kind of money you deserve the best possible service from qualified instructors. 

From my experience, many uncertified instructors are working independently without professional liability insurance or permits in our public parks. Many of these individuals that have spent time in the gym, lost weight, and have a six-pack believe that they can teach others to do the same.

A certified personal trainer or group fitness instructor understands that their first priority is the safety of their clients. They are educated in teaching proper form, nutrition, understanding the body anatomy and physiology, and can become aware of underlying issues like a slow metabolism. They must be certified by one of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. There are many certifying agencies, but the five major certifying bodies include: 

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) 
  • The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)

These organizations require recertification every two to three years along with continuing education credits. If you want to make sure that you are hiring a qualified professional go to the   U.S Registry of Exercise Professionals (USREPS), which provides customers information to identify and verify if the trainer/instructor holds a current exercise certification. You only need their name, city, and state where they work to access their credentials. Furthermore, personal trainers and group fitness instructors need to be certified in AED/CPR and First Aid. We must not forget how equally important it is to do this research when it comes to our children. Personal trainers/instructors who work with adults are not always the best option for our children. The person you hire needs to have experience training children, have a lot of patience and be able to conduct appropriate fun exercises.

Unfortunately, there are no State or Federal Laws preventing a person from saying that they are qualified instructors or trainers. Our county and city parks have been unable to enforce these individuals from conducting business in public parks without certifications and permits. The fact is that no one should be benefiting from their individual business ventures at our expense and safety.   Prior to joining an outdoor fitness class or hiring a personal trainer, you should ask to see their Professional Membership Certification card, CPR/AED Certification, First Aid Certification (make sure they are not expired), and a legal permit to conduct the class at the location. Especially important, do not forget to ask to see their Professional Liability Insurance. Confirming that your trainer/fitness instructor has liability insurance will help both of you feel more at ease. If an accident would occur, you both know that you will be covered. 

What about if I offend them by asking for their credentials?  There is no reason why a professional in any field should feel offended if you ask for their credentials. I am always proud and delighted to show my credentials. If they have the proper certification, they should be happy to show them to you. If they get defensive or cannot produce their certification that is a red flag telling you to move on. Hiring a personal trainer or group fitness instructor is a great idea to help you get back in shape this summer, but make sure you do your research, check out their background, and ask for professional references. Good luck with your search! 

Maritza Fasack
Maritza Fasack

Maritza Diaz Fasack has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Hunter College, a Master of Science in Education, and Recreation from Lehman College. Physical Education Teacher for 24 years. ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor. Certified SilverSneakers Instructor. Professional Member of American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Founder of Westchester County Hispanic Women Educators

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