By Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Seilo
of Ekstasis Strength and Conditioning
Any Person that claims they are a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer should be certified through an official organization. If you are thinking of hiring a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer, the first question you should ask them is who they are certified through and for how long. Make them show you their certification. This does not guarantee they will be a competent coach, but it is a step in the right direction in validating their own profession.
Besides a Masters Degree in Exercise Science, the top certification in the industry is the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist or CSCS through the National Strength and Conditioning Association or NSCA. Only about 20% or less of the coaches and personal trainers nationally have this certification. This is because this certification is hard to earn. The exam for this certification is the equivalent to preparing for any masters or post graduate entry exams. In order to sit for this exam, one must have a Bachelor’s Degree. The CSCS certification is the only certification that is mandatory to be hired by a collegiate or professional sports organization as a strength and conditioning coach. Only hire a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer that holds a certification by an accredited organization.
Any person that claims they are a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer should pre-program or write a workout for their clients before they meet for a session. Ask a perspective coach or personal trainer if they program for their clients. If they say they do, ask to see a sample program. Programming is the key component in getting you to your health and fitness goals. A coach must plan the work and then help you work the plan. It is the equivalent to a lesson plan that a teacher will use to make sure the students are tracking each class towards the overall desired core competencies of the course. If the coach is not planning the proper work for you to do before you meet that is individualized and pertinent to your health and fitness goals, how are you ever going to reach them? Only hire a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer that provides customized programs!
Any person that claims they are a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer should use an assessment in the first actual session to find out where you stand in your fitness. Ask the perspective coach or trainer if they use an assessment before you hire them. Ask to see a sample of the assessment and have the coach explain it to you. A thorough assessment should help the coach understand on a deeper level what your physical capabilities and limitations are; by combining the results from the physical assessment with your personal fitness goals, the coach can design a program that is custom to you. An assessment is vital in helping the coach and client understand on a deeper level what the client’s physical capabilities and limitations are at the start of the program. After the assessment has been completed, the coach can then plan or program the work to get you to your health and fitness goals. Only hire a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer that uses an assessment!
4. Walk Their Talk:
Any person that claims they are strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer should workout. No coach or personal trainer is ever above taking care of their own fitness. They should do a combination of strength and conditioning work on their own to be a model for a healthy lifestyle. Ask the perspective coach or trainer if they workout on their own. Ask them to explain their personal weekly fitness program to you. Only hire a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer that works out!