Update 7/10/19. Every so often I encounter people who call themselves a “master” personal trainer and I always wonder what it took for them to make this boastful claim? Did they go to college or have they been in business for many years? Sadly, calling oneself a master trainer is easier than most think. Does a Master Personal Trainer know everything? If you've been wondering about what a master trainer and what it takes to become one, I'm about to open your eyes.
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What Is A Master Personal Trainer?
At gyms, they sometimes have personal trainers and “master personal trainers.” When I ask people what they did to deserve the master title, they usually reply that they passed a “Master Personal Trainer” certification test.
I have had several of these Master Trainers take the basic AAAI/ISMA personal training certification that I teach –and they often fail the test! How can this be…?
How Gyms Define Master Trainers?
At some gyms, a master personal trainer is just somebody who generates a lot of personal training revenue per pay period. That's it! So a master trainer is somebody who makes the most money. I'm sorry but that doesn't necessarily mean they know personal training. Rather, it could mean they are a good salesperson.
This is one of the big scams that go on in gyms.
The simple truth is the label master personal trainer is unregulated. There is no formal definition. That's why I often call it the fitness equivalent of a bag of magic beans!
To put things in perspective, I have a Masters degree – in exercise science. I have never called myself a master personal trainer.
Passing any fitness certification (ACE, AFAA, NSCA, NASM, ISSA, etc.) only demonstrates that the person knows the MINIMUM requirements. There may be some advanced topics covered in a master personal trainer certification exam but there is still SO MUCH MORE that is not covered.
Take This Personal Trainer Test
For the master trainers out there who are angry at how I'm belittling their title, I invite you to take this simple test:
What might you suspect?
2. Your client complains their muscles are extremely sore immediately after exercise when they are not moving.
What’s might you suspect?
3. Your female client, who runs marathons, confides that she’s missed 3 menstrual cycles in a row -and she’s not pregnant.
What might you suspect?
4. Your client tells you that their A1c level is 9.0.
What does that mean?
Granted, these are advanced questions, but they show up daily (especially question #1).
How many master trainers knew these answers?
If you know all the answers, fantastic! There is an excellent chance that you did more than simply pass a certification test or make a lot of money for the gym, to earn that title. That’s what it’s really about –education.
This Is What Matters Most To Your Clients
How many personal trainers reading these words worked out this week? How many books about fitness did you read this week?
There lies the problem…
Biceps don't matter – education matters.
Most fitness professionals forget this is a business about science. You prescribe a powerful drug (exercise). it takes ongoing education to know how to prescribe it in the right dosage. Different dosages for different fitness levels, health issues.
Titles like “master personal trainer” and others that this does not matter. All that matters is staying educated. There are many personal trainers out there who have college degrees –and they don’t know anything about personal training! Let me be clear: A college degree does not mean the person knows personal training.
My college degree did not prepare me to be a personal trainer. It prepared me for medical school!
I have met trainers with no degree and no “certification” who are very smart. They are the passionate ones. They learn, study, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. That’s the person I want in my corner. The trainer who admits when they don’t know something and then goes out and finds the right answer.
Part of being a master trainer is studying. Working out is not enough. We have to work at our craft. So, for those who call themselves master personal trainers, can I ask you what you read:
- This week?
- This month?
- This year?
If on the other hand, you have done nothing except may post your exercise videos on Instagram or YouTube, then I'm sorry but you are not a master personal trainer, no matter what the piece of paper says.
If you want to improve your education, here are some resources:
Also, take a look at my post What's the Best Personal Training Cert for more information.
Nobody Knows Everything
I sure don’t know everything. I never call myself a master personal trainer or an “expert” or anything. I have some college degrees and I’ve even been lucky enough to have written a few books but I don’t know everything– and I hope I never do! I try to learn something new every day.
If my venting, that was not my intention. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I felt these words needed to be said. So many people get hung up on titles that they lose sight of the big picture – staying educated to help others.
If you are a master fitness trainer, great. Just make sure you reinforce it with new ideas and knowledge on a regular basis. Failure to do so is like buying a new car – and never changing the oil.