Tagged with: disabilities fitness professional personal trainer
(As mentioned in the introductory post, for the first several weeks of the year I will be discussing the results of the ACSM survey regarding the top fitness trends for 2011.)
Last week, I wrote about the importance of education in inclusive fitness and opportunities for professionals in the field to pursue more education and training. What I did not mention, however, is how individuals with disabilities can find a well-trained professional.
Although there is no one-shot answer or set recipe for everyone – I do have several suggestions for ways to find the best professional for you.
Having a certification does not guarantee that the professional is well-qualified, but it is a good starting point and does provide you with assurance that they have received education and training from a qualified organization. You can always simply ask the trainer where they received their certification (if they have one). Many certifying organizations make it even easier by offering a way for you to find certified professionals in your area. For example, the American College of Sports Medicine has what they call the ProFinder. You can search for a specific individual by entering their name, or you can simply enter your location and it will give you information on professionals in your area. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has a similar resource. NCPAD has a directory that can also help you find qualified professionals in your area. Keep in mind that NCPAD does not check on the accuracy of the information, so it is still important for you to ask questions. What is great about the directory, though, is that it tells you more about the professional – specific populations they have worked with, etc.
One of the greatest resources is the people you know – ask friends, family members, co-workers, and peers if they have used a fitness professional. Ask about their experiences with the individual. And then, if it sounds like a good fit, ask for their contact information.
After acquiring information on their education, training, and certification or learning about them from others they have worked with, take some time to get to know the professional yourself. You want to be able to build a strong relationship with them – try to get a feel for how they interact with you, how they motivation people, the types of exercises and equipment they like to use, etc – and then judge whether or not those things match with your own personal preferences and needs. You may even consider starting with a trial period – see how the relationship works. If it’s not working, don’t be too shy to ask for a new trainer. This is respectful not only to your own time, resources, and needs, but also to the trainers.
If you find a professional that you think sounds like they might work for you, but you are still a little hesitant or want to learn more, ask if they have any references that you can call. Often times, talking to other people they have worked with (even if you have never met those people before) can help paint a more clear picture for you.
Here are some additional resources from reputable sources that can help you think through finding a professional that works well for you:
- Choosing a personal trainer (NCPAD)
- Choosing a fitness center (NCPAD)
- Selecting and effectively using a personal trainer (ACSM)
- How to choose the right personal trainer (ACE)
- How to choose the personal trainer who’s right for you (IDEA Health and Fitness Association)