Welcome to the Wild (Fit) West!

Did you know the Canadian fitness industry is unregulated? This means there’s no one to stop any Joe Blow from calling themselves a personal trainer! Welcome to the Wild (yet Fit) West. Keep reading for what you need to know to separate the fit outlaws from the fit lawmen. 

Today’s article complements our 3-part series covering 15 interview questions designed to help you discover a *good* personal trainer that fits your specific needs: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Personal Training Certification in Canada

So you now know anyone can call themselves a personal trainer. Well, what if they place “certified” in their title? That means something, doesn’t it?

Personal training certification definitely helps distinguish the fit outlaws from the fit lawmen. In fact, without certification, a trainer cannot obtain personal training insurance. Considering we’re talking about your body, health and ultimately your life, it’s a good idea (and peace of mind for yourself and family) that the person giving you health advice is insured.

However, just as there are differences between the quality of food served at McDonald’s and a fine Italian restaurant, there are differences between the quality of personal training certification programs. Without a governing body for the fitness industry, anyone can create a certification program, too.

There are weekend courses offered online, then there are the more sophisticated ones that run months long. These extended programs are the most widely recognized across the industry as thoroughly testing knowledge in the personal training field. The most elite of these programs require applicants have a post-secondary degree in the health sciences before they are accepted into the program.

These higher-level accredited certification programs require re-certification after a certain time frame as well as Continuing Education Credits (CECs) as proof of continued competence and dedication to professional growth.

In our opinion, the National Federation of Professional Trainers is the one certifying agency in Canada doing the most to regulate the fitness industry today. The other two industry-wide recognized personal training certification programs in Canada are:

Does Personal Training Certification Mean “Qualified?”

Again, in our opinion, not so much. Certification comes down to having a piece of paper which shows a person has passed tests that the certifying agency deems as the basic knowledge needed to be a personal trainer. Honestly, there isn’t a certification program available today that adequately prepares personal trainers to train clients.

Here are qualities *good* personal trainers have in common:

  • Passionate: a drive for personal optimal health and motivating others to live healthy lifestyles.
  • Social: loves working with people on a daily basis.
  • Athletic: truly enjoys exercise and physical activities.
  • Organized: the ability to work with others’ schedules and track each client’s progress.
  • Adaptable: every client has different physical and emotional strengths and weaknesses.
  • Persistent: change can be scary and many clients need help to overcome self-imposed limitations.

As you can see, these qualities cannot be taught; but some of them can be developed through practice, informal training and experience.

The Wild (Yet Fit) West

To recap, here are the most important things you need to know about Canada’s fitness industry:

  • Currently, there is no regulating body in North America that governs the fitness industry.
  • This includes those who create personal training certification programs and the programs themselves.
  • A personal trainer must be certified to be qualified for personal training insurance.
  • Despite being unregulated, there are a few certification programs recognized by fitness industry leaders as credible and trustworthy.
  • Certification is only one small aspect of being a *good* personal trainer.

Personal trainers differ in their abilities, skills, training, formal and informal education, level of experience and expertise. When navigating in the Wild Fit West, especially when you have medical issues or past injuries, it’s always a good idea to match a personal trainer’s strengths and forte to your needs. 

Stay tuned for an upcoming article describing the qualifications and experience of G Force Training’s owner and operator, Gidon Gabbay, and the rigorous training all G Force trainers must go through to be part of the G Force team. 

Leave a Reply