The internet is full of people who describe themselves as fitness experts, giving conflicting information and advice. It’s hard to know which sources are legitimate when you’re scrolling on social media or chatting about your exercise routine with your friends. Incorrect fitness advice is not only confusing; it could have potentially harmful effects. Fitness advice from illegitimate sources could lead you to over-exert yourself or make you feel like your fitness goals are unreachable. The good news is that there are a couple of ways to know whether or not you’re receiving guidance from an actual fitness expert.
If you’re looking for the most qualified fitness advice, you’ll want to consult a fitness trainer or fitness coach. Degrees in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, or Strength and Conditioning are also good signs that someone is a good source of fitness information. While degrees are not the only indicator of a fitness expert, they show a certain level of expertise. Most degrees should be in a field related to personal training or fitness; there are so many different ones available. Some personal trainers have degrees in art history and then only a weekend certification for personal training, so just make sure you research your trainer’s educational background before you consider their advice.
Beyond degrees, many trainers have national certifications; however, these can oftentimes be misleading. Look for certifications that require quality, continued education to retain that certification. Some of the top national certifying organizations are the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) to name a few.
While receiving advice, make sure it falls within the scope of that person’s education. Fitness experts should have a strong background in anatomy, physiology, and exercise science. This means they are excellent sources of information regarding the way the body moves and how to move it properly. They should also have good advice for determining the intensity of your workout. However, unless your personal trainer has additional background in nutrition or a dietary certification, dietary recommendations are not within their scope. Trainers can certainly give general advice on how to eat healthy but specific dietary instructions and meal planning is best left to professionally trained dieticians or nutrition specialists. Most personal trainers are not medical physicians, so it’s also a good idea to make sure your medical advice comes from a doctor. Personal trainers can perform clearance tests to make sure their clients are not in any pain before beginning a fitness routine, but those experiencing pain or injury should consult a doctor for a care plan.
Personal trainers are a great resource for those eager to learn new exercises appropriate for their age and body type or those who are unsure where to start. They can teach you how and where to grab the bar of a bench press or how to properly align your body on equipment. Additionally, they can show you how to effectively exercise different parts of the body.
“That type of guidance is invaluable because it does help you stay safe,” said Tina Keasey, an NSCA certified strength and conditioning specialist and NATA certified athletic trainer at TPMG—Strive Fitness & Sports Performance in Williamsburg. One of the biggest benefits of consulting a personal trainer or fitness expert is having someone to keep you accountable and progressing safely. Personal coaches will help you work harder and make sure you stick to your fitness and wellness plan.
There are multiple reasons to consult a fitness expert. Those with a sedentary lifestyle might not know how their body will react to certain types of exercise. Individuals who have diabetes or cardiovascular conditions should consider how their muscles might respond to different exercises or where their heart rate should remain. People also consult personal trainers for weight loss goals or when bouncing back from orthopedic surgery upon completion of physical therapy, when they might not be in peak physical shape. No matter your reason for consulting a fitness expert, make sure you’re getting good advice from professionals who know what you need. If you’re looking to find a fitness expert, consult a TPMG personal trainer to see how you can achieve your fitness and wellness goals.
About Tina Keasey, ATC/L, CSCS
Tina Keasey, ATC/L, CSCS is a licensed and certified athletic trainer with the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and the Virginia Board of Medicine. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Throughout her career, she has worked with the 2001 Junior Olympics, 2003 Senior Olympics, several semi-professional soccer and basketball players, as well as NCAA track and field champions. She looks forward to helping clients at TPMG–Strive Fitness and Sports Performance find the right fitness routine to fit their lifestyle, as she believes it is an integral part of living your fullest life.