Some people have suggested that I increase my personal training fees to thin out my clientelle, and I refuse. I don't need your money. That's not what motivates me. My goal is to help people achieve their full human potential. That pursuit is my greatest reward as a trainer.
If you are reading this, and are unable to schedule a training time with me, I have some suggestions in the mean time:
1. Certifications, Degrees, and Licenses
Most people are familiar with the term "certified personal trainer" (cpt) but not everyone knows what that certification actually means. A certification is not a license. In fact, there is no such thing as a license for personal training like there is in other professions such as medicine, massage therapy, law, and aviation. If you meet trainers claiming to be licensed, they are lying to you there is no such thing.
A certification is by no means legal permission or license by any governing body to work as a trainer. It's more like a stamp of approval by a privately owned company. Not all certifications are created equal. Some are very difficult to obtain and require a high degree of proficiency in fitness related knowledge to receive, and others can be ordered online for a small sum of money with little or no investment of time and effort.
A university or college degree in a fitness related field is usually a good indicator that your trainer knows what he or she is doing. A legitimate degree means that your trainer has spent considerable time learning their trade.
If you're interested then I do hold 2 fitness related degrees: minor in Health & Human Performance (modern dance emphasis) from Brigham Young University, and AS in Fitness Technology (personal training & group fitness instruction), from Salt Lake Community College.
2. Where else can I find a good trainer in Shanghai?
If I'm busy, where can you turn to? Well, here are some suggestions for certified personal trainers:
If you're looking for a similar service to what I offer (martial arts training & fitness hybrid) here's a good place to start: www.personaltrainershanghai.com. Tom Fazio is a well established trainer and martial arts instructor in Shanghai, and comes highly recommended by his many satisfied clients. He's also a super nice guy to boot.
For CPT's, www.personaltrainingshanghai.com is a good place to look. These guys have fairly strict standards for their trainers as they are all required to meet the following criteria: bachelors in a fitness training related field, at least 2 years of experience in the fitness industry, at least one internationally recognized PT certification.
Most of the trainers on their website have at least a degree, CPR certification, and an AFAA certification (they specialize in group fitness instruction, but also offer personal trainer certifications) Although I'm not a fan of AFAA's option for online certification- it is a little more demanding than most of the online programs I've seen.
At least one of their trainers is certified under ACE- one of the more common certs in the US, and NCAA accredited. NCAA accreditation in the USA basically means your certification is actually worth something. If you don't see their stamp of approval on a PT certification it's probably not worth your time and money. NCAA accredited certificate holders also qualify for liability insurance under the NCAA, which is an important factor to consider when calculating the potential risks of personal injury.
That's another question you should always ask a potential trainer. Are you insured? If not, you should understand that you are training at your own risk.
With most of the NCCA accredited PT certification institutions (at least in the USA) you can check online to see if your trainer is actually certified by looking up their name on the certifying body's website. For a full list of NCAA approved certifications, click here.
If you are into kettlebells, there's no real internationally recognized government approved certifying body, but the 2 most popular are RKC (run by Pavel Tsatsuline) and IKFF (run by Steve Cotter) Both of these guys are charismatic fitness gurus with cult followings and some solid training programs, but it doesn't come cheap, and the standards for the trainers are pretty steep as well.
Shanghai has two trainers certified under IKFF listed here on their website. The only current RKC certified instructor in China is a guy named Patrick who lives in Nanjing.
I've worked with kettlebells for the last 5 years, it's a great way to work out, but I'll be the first to tell you that improper use can result in serious injury. The last thing you want is a meathead writing out his own certifications at the risk of his clients' safety just to make a buck. This happens more than you think, especially in an international setting like this where most people don't have any way of knowing the difference without spending hours researching first.
If you want to get big, this is a good guy to talk to if he's got the time: www.internationalpersonaltraining.com
I usually wouldn't endorse a professional body builder as a personal trainer because of differences of opinion on the importance of form over function, but Kristian is very knowledgeable about both all aspects of lif of lifting like few trainers I've talked to here. I believe he's certified under the Australian Institute of Fitness.
Unfortunately, there are thousands of certification programs offered worldwide, many of them are worthless, some are not. I can only tell you about legit ones in the US, since that's where I studied. As far as Chinese certs go, every Chinese trainer I know of will proudly display every single certification, document, and license they have in the most conspicuous way possible. I'm not sure how to fact check that stuff because my reading level in Chinese is roughly equivalent to a 4 year old right now- but if they have it, they will show you because sports training is heavily regulated by the Chinese government here.
I'm not saying people without a high profile certification or fitness specific education can't be good trainers, but why take you're car to a coffee shop to get your oil changed? Cover your butt. It's never a bad idea.
In any case, I'd recommend shop around a little, try a few different trainers so you know how to make an intelligent comparison. Make sure they do a proper assessment first instead of just throwing weights at you. Make sure you're making real progress instead of just getting tired and sweaty.