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Need help starting a physical activity program?

It is always important to first visit your doctor before starting any physical activity program, especially if you have any concerns about your health.  Many people also hire a personal trainer to help them get on the right track towards an active lifestyle.  However it is important to do your homework when seeking out a personal trainer as they are not all the same.

Tips for choosing a Personal Trainer

Check their credentials! Anyone can use the term "Personal Trainer" as there is no minimum standard for using this job title.  This can put your health and safety at risk because this person may think they know how to exercise a client, but spending time at a gym and reading bodybuilding or fitness magazines doesn't make them actual exercise professionals.  
  • Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) is the Gold Standard certifying body for exercise and fitness certification in Canada.  There are two levels of certification, Certified Personal Trainers and Certified Exercise Physiologists.  "CSEP Certified Personal Trainers develop and administer tailored physical activity, fitness and lifestyle plans. CESP Certified Exercsie Physiologists perform assessments, prescribes conditioning exercise, as well as exercise supervision, counselling and healthy lifestyle education in apparently healthy individuals and/or populations with medical conditions, functional limitations or disabilities associated with musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, metabolic, neuromuscular, and ageing conditions." - from CSEP
  •  The minimum requirements to become a CSEP Certified Personal Trainer (CSEP-CPT) are:
    • completion of at least 2 years of College or University coursework which specifically addresses the core competencies of the CSEP-CPT
    • CPR Level C
    • 25 hours of fitness training experience
    • have passed both the written and practical CSEP-CPT exams and maintain registration with CSEP
  • The minimum requirements to become a CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP) are:
    • A 4-year University degree in Physical Education/Kinesiology/Exercise Science/Human Kinetics
    • Attend a CSEP-CEP workshop and pass the theory and practical exams
    • CPR Health Care Provider
    • To maintain certification, CSEP-CEP's must complete a minimum amount of Professional Development Credits every 2 years.
  • Both certifications have distinct Scopes of Practice that certified members must follow         CSEP-CPT  CSEP-CEP
  • Both certifications carry professional liability insurance
Make sure to ask your potential personal trainer some of these questions.
  • How long have you been a personal trainer?
  • What types of clients do you work with?
  • Can you provide me with a list of references?
  • What types of clients do you like to work with?

Check out their experience by talking to current and former clients.  Find out what others think of the personal trainer you are thinking about choosing.  Ask some of these questions
  • How long were you a client?
  • What were your fitness goals and how did the personal trainer help you meet them?
  • What is he/she's personality like? Are they motivating? Or intimidating? 
  • Did you feel comfortable with the personal trainer?