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Check to ensure your trainer’s well trained

IF you’d rather snuggle under the doona on these chilly winter mornings instead of springing out of bed for your daily workout, a personal trainer might be just what you need to stick to your exercise regime.

A little research might pay off before you commit to all the early morning pain, however.

The fitness industry in Australia remains completely unregulated and, while there is a push to set minimum standards for exercise physiologists, there are no formal training requirements.

Associate Professor in Human Movement and Exercise at the University of Western Australia’s science department, Tim Ackland, said concern about ‘cowboy’ operators who purport to be exercise physiologists had prompted the establishment of the Australian Association for Exercise and Sport Science.

“Problems occur when you’re dealing with people who are not apparently healthy,” Professor Ackland said.

“These people (trainers) don’t understand the pathology and the things they’re doing are causing further injuries.”

Personal trainers or exercise physiologists don’t have an Act of Parliament to cover their activities like other allied health professionals, such as physiotherapists.

“The government is adamant there will be no more regulatory boards.”

The GST also has had an effect on the industry, with lower skilled personal trainers undercutting their more highly skilled colleagues, who are obliged to charge GST in addition to their standard fee.

Challenge Stadium health and fitness coordinator Pierre Sylvain said there were operators in the market who had completed a weekend course and yet called themselves trainers.

“You’re dealing with people who have a small understanding of medical conditions,” he said.

“Liability has increased 100 per cent from where it was five years ago.

“There have been many more cases where the people have made the trainer accountable.”

Consumers need to do a little research before deciding to work with a personal trainer and find out what qualifications the trainer has, whether it’s a TAFE qualification, a university qualification or an accreditation with the Australian Association for Exercise and Sport Science.

“The market is obviously very varied and you can have people who’ve done a six-week course to people who have a masters or PhD.

“A national training package has just been finalised and we’re looking at implementing it in the next few years.”

Just before you slip on your running shoes you should probably inquire about the background of you prospective trainer and maybe even have a chat to some other clients.

It’s a simple way to avoid any additional physical or financial pain.

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