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Which Certifications You Should Look For In A Trainer

Your health and fitness is a crucial investment, so when you’re setting off on a fitness journey, you want to make sure you have the best information, the best knowledge, the best equipment and facilities, and certainly access to the best trainers.


When it comes to hooking up a good personal trainer, there are a few things to look out for.


What to look for in a Trainer?

The first one is a bit obvious, do they look the part?


Ever hear the expression “don’t trust a skinny chef”?


Well, don’t trust a personal trainer who looks like they could do with a lot of training themselves.




Now don’t get us wrong, not all personal trainers will look like chiseled roman statues with protruding veins and bulging muscles.


But you should expect a healthy-looking individual at the very least. Someone who is at a healthy height to weight ratio and carries themselves with energy and dedication.


You can even just pick out a fit individual simply through their posture and body language.


The next thing you want to look at is credentials.


Does your trainer have their paperwork in place? Are they certified or are they just an enlightened gym junkie?


Chances are, you can find a perfectly adept trainer with zero on-paper qualifications, but those chances are slim.


That’s because the process of graduating or certifying in sports and exercise science forces individuals not only to learn the facts about fitness, but also the process behind administering fitness to others.


Training groups and individuals is a very specific skill that needs to be learned through the right educational process.

Another reason to only go for certified trainers is it cuts a lot of the admin down. You can never be certain of someone’s abilities until you have had a great deal of time to observe them. That is unless those abilities are documented and recorded by a reputable organization.


That’s what certification really means. It helps you know you’re getting the real deal instead of taking a chance on what could or couldn’t be a good quality experience.

What To Look For In A Certification

Finding a trainer with a certification is one thing. Finding one with a good cert is another.


Because of how lucrative the fitness business has become, and due to the demand for qualified professionals, a lot of low quality, even bogus certifications have begun to circulate and falsely offer the promise of industry-recognized credentials.


The best way to decide if your trainer has the right paperwork is to check if their cert is backed by an accredited agency.


If the cert is accredited by either NCCA or DEAC in America, then you’re good to go. If not, then maybe keep looking.


This article will look at the top trainer certifications to look out for when selecting a PT. trainers with these certifications have made the grade through some of America’s most recognized fitness institutions.


Top 5 Personal Trainer Certifications


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NASM, short for the National Academy of Sports Medicine is one of the most popular if not the most popular certifying agencies out there.


It has been around since 1987, making it one of the most established certifying bodies in the US.


NASM PTs have a good focus on corrective exercises. So if you’re looking to improve weak areas, fix deviations or correct imbalances in your biomechanics, try lookout for a NASM certified trainer.



2. ACE

ACE is another super popular certifying agency. ACE stands for American Council on Exercise


They have been around since 1985, making them just a couple of years older than NASM.


ACE prides themselves on having a general approach to fitness, allowing their trainers to have a general ability over multiple population groups from old people to elite athletes.


ACE also has a big focus on community-based health and fitness initiatives.




ISSA is the only truly international cert on this list. ISSA, after all, stands for the International Sports Sciences Association.


It was founded in 1988.


ISSA is also a unique experience for trainers given that it is delivered completely online and in a self-paced way.


Trainers who certify with this agency have a leaning towards high performance and body composition goals with an emphasis on nutrition.




ACSM is the American College of Sports Medicine.


This agency dates back all the way to 1954, making them one of the oldest and most trusted names in fitness science.


ACSM trainers are therefore backed by a leading-edge wealth of knowledge and practical skills.


This is also due to the fact that ACSM is a leader in sports science research, often the source of material and knowledge resources for the other big certifying academies on this list.




The National Strength and Conditioning Association has been around since 1987.


This agency has a reputation for producing the best trainers in America based on knowledge and practical understanding.


That’s because they focus on performance more than any of the more contemporary fitness goals.


NSCA trainers are also renowned because of how hard it is to certify. You have an almost 50% chance of failing the exam as a trainer in training if you go for their CSCS certification.


an NSCA trainer will get you looking good, but they will make you strong fit and competitive at the same time.


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So there you have it folks.


America's top 5 personal trainer certifications.


We hope this list will help you decide on not only which trainers are legit, but also which trainers will suit your goals.


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