What is the difference between an Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer?
Personal training is an unregulated industry. Few states have requirements for personal trainers to prescribe exercise and most certifications are achieved by a quick online test and only require a high school diploma, a CPR certificate.
Educated trainers, who seek to expand their knowledge, are making their way to the top of the health and fitness industry. Although it is not required, most reputable facilities require their trainers to not only hold certifications, but to hold an exercise physiology degree. They provide clients with scientifically based information. They know the difference between a trainer and an educated professional.
At Pro-Motion Functional Fitness, we employ Exercise Physiologists to provide training to our clients.
What is Exercise Physiology?
Exercise Physiology is the study of the acute and chronic adaptations to physical activity. They study body systems and how they relate to exercise. Topics include the cardiovascular system, energy substrate utilization, the skeletal muscle system and the nervous system. In short, Exercise Physiology is the study of all bodily systems and how they adapt to changes in physical activity.
When dealing with the human body, there will never be one clear-cut and dry answer. All bodies may operate the same according to a book but, not all bodies react the same to changes in activity and movement. Exercise Physiologists are prepared to ask why. They seek a deeper understanding of how individuals react to increased demands.
So, what is the difference between an Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer?
An exercise physiologist devotes four years, or more, to earn a degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or a related field. They develop a spectrum of knowledge that allows them to treat healthy clients as well as those suffering from chronic disease. Exercise Physiologists study, research and test the body during activity. They are taught training principles and programming methods for individual needs. They devote their lives to the improvement of your health and well-being.
As mentioned, a personal trainer can really be anyone. You or your mom could be a trainer. If you can learn basic anatomy and physiology, you can obtain a Personal Trainer certification. They may watch videos to learn proper technique or tell you basics of, “When performing the back squat, never let your knees go over your toes.” They are taught standard training volumes and standard sequencing of training days. Most certifications also require basic knowledge of nutrition, such as the basic equation for weight lost; calories in must be less than calories expended.
So, what’s the difference? Both make me do something I don’t know how to do, nor want to do; exercise.
Exercise Physiologists can do everything a personal trainer can do and more!
An exercise physiologist has earned a four year degree to establish a base for understanding human movement and function. They not only know programming principles, but strategies and techniques to truly customize exercise programs for your unique body. Their knowledge of anatomy and physiology orients them as to which muscles are being activated during specific tasks and knowing the position of muscles, bones and ligaments in each plane of motion. This is vital knowledge to your well-being.
A personal trainer has the ability to design a great program but to what extent do they know the energy systems used? They lack the knowledge in exercise science to understand where your heart rate needs to be to improve anaerobic threshold. Most won’t even know what the anaerobic threshold is.
The differences between the two are apparent. Exercise Physiologists are trained, dedicated and highly educated. They are devoted to your health and well-being. They have extensive knowledge in the science of exercise to help reach your goals safely and efficiently. Again, Exercise Physiologists have abilities far beyond what the typical personal trainer can offer. Exercise Physiologists have dedicated their lives to helping guide you to optimal health.