What is a Personal Trainer?
From a client prospective hearing ‘Personal Trainer’ could almost be a generic term such as ‘Personal Fitness Trainer’, describing a job title rather than a level of professionalism and a qualification level.
To a fitness professional embarking on training clients for financial gain (professional) that is getting paid for the services provided, the trainer needs to be qualified, insured and maintain CPD (Continuing Professional development). like many other industries people might describe themselves as personal trainers without being properly qualified, for the consumer this represents a danger but there are systems and registers in place to provide confirmation of an individuals training and level of qualification. In the UK the government funded organisation that register qualified fitness professionals is The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS). An industry body such as REPS checks individuals qualifications and ensures they are qualified, a member is provided with a card and a number that any prospective client or employer can check. This is the same in other counties including Australia via Fitness Australia and the European Union via EREPs (European Register of Exercise Professionals).
A personal Trainer is trained to deliver advanced programming to elicit desired gains in a safe and effective manor. Able to train in alternative environments they do not require a gym to carry out a personalized training programme. Personal trainers are driven by a passion for health, fitness and exercise and absorb fitness knowledge, exercise and the latest trends in the industry.
Becoming a Personal Trainer
In the UK, a variety of providers are available to deliver fitness related qualifications. Each qualification has a matching REPS level, this is the pre-requisite for registering with REPS at a particular level.
All Personal Trainers who have completed a recognized personal trainer qualification and meet the criteria to work as a personal trainer will be able to register at level 3 with REPS, all professional personal trainers should be registered with REPS (if not, you should not hire them).
Typically most trainers start their career at level 2 obtaining a gym qualification or equivalent enabling them to safely conduct inductions in a gym environment and supervise fitness suites. As a stepping stone to the industry and the qualification framework fitness professional often continue to achieve personal training qualifications to enable them to register at level 3. It’s also possible for degree students to enter the REPS register at level 3 with a recognized degree course.
At level 4, trainers have specialized in certain areas such as weight loss, lower back pain etc. Trainers at level 4 would have completed a GP Referral qualification enabling them to administer a GP Referral programme within the local community as this is a prerequisite to enter the register at Level 4.
Additional Professional Memberships
Although it is not a requirement for personal trainers to be registered with a professional body, for which The Register of Exercise Professionals is one, it is good practice as the trainers quantification are checked by a third party and provides confidence that the personal trainer is still active and practicing. There are also other professional bodies offering similar service for personal trainers, including;
- A Personal trainer is a fitness professional with recognized qualifications and experience
- All UK professional personal trainers should be REPS registered
- All professional Personal Trainers should be fully insured (ask to see their insurance policy)