Corinne Austin | Personal Training

Is your Personal Trainer a REGISTERED Fitness Professional?

reps-colour-logoDid you know that ANYONE in this country can call themselves a fitness professional, personal trainer, gym instructor, or bootcamp trainer? That’s right, ANYONE.


In one way it may be a good thing that there are so many of us who want to take on a career whereby we are ‘helping’, motivating, and ‘coaching’ others to live a healthier, fitter, and more active life.  There are many of us that now participate in regular exercise ourselves – and we love the associated benefits and results of it so much that we just want to share the wonders of exercise with everyone else!  And so we start up our own group fitness sessions – and invite all our friends, family, and work colleagues to come along.  There are currently more bootcamp and group fitness sessions available than ever before – which to me is just fantastic.  But herein lies a problem. The problem: many are run by non-qualified and non-registered individuals.  (This is currently being witnessed nation-wide, not just on a local scale).  My question to you – would you let a non-qualified builder build your house?


Despite our good intentions to want to share our love and passion for exercise, it’s at this point that we need to take a step back.  Unfortunately, passion and participation does not lead to profession nor expertise– although, for the sake of the health of the nation, I wish it did!


There is a real and very true science behind exercise. There’s science behind the pre-screening of exercise, there’s science behind the prescription of exercise, there’s science behind the correct movement and foundations of exercise, and there’s a science behind the progression of exercise.


And when people instruct exercise without having any of the necessary (and critical) anatomical, physiological, or science knowledge, then they are potentially placing people at risk of potential injury or worse.


Qualified fitness professionals in this country, have undertaken and graduated from one of many courses recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS)( and they should also be registered with REPS. Being qualified and registered with REPS is an assurance that a fitness professional is qualified to a certain level, knows the necessary science, and that they are carrying out relevant and appropriate continuing education credits to ensure they stay on top of their industry and up to date with the latest findings.


As a qualified and registered exercise professional we have a duty of care, not just with our own clients and followers, but to ensure that the public is made aware that there are ‘fitness professionals’ out there who actually don’t have any qualification associated with or relevant to the fitness industry.  We are very lucky in Whangarei to have a large group or REPS registered fitness professionals, Personal Trainers and Bootcamp instructors.  These professionals will endeavour to do what they can to ensure that you are exercising in the most appropriate way for your age, goals, limitations, and injuries.


This is certainly one of my more serious column submissions, but it’s a national problem that we, as a national band of registered professionals, are currently trying to tackle.  Just as you wouldn’t get a non-qualified dentist to give you a tooth extraction, you need to be equally vigilant with ensuring your fitness professional is qualified.  As a minimum, you should have undergone some form of pre-screening, and you should be given modifications of exercises where required.  For example, ladies who have recently had a baby should not go straight into doing high intensity exercises – or they’re highly likely to tear or rupture a muscle, or put their back out.  Men who have high blood pressure should not be made to undergo intensive strength training without the appropriate method or progression and consultation with a doctor – or they place themselves at possible risk of a heart event.


Your health and safety is paramount.  Ensure you are given the appropriate and personalised care that you deserve.  Our advice – please please PLEASE check out the qualifications of those who are instructing you in exercise. It’s simply for your own safety and protection.