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Raising the bar on fitness training

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FOCUS ON FITNESS: A personal trainer instructing a client at a city gym. File photo
FOCUS ON FITNESS: A personal trainer instructing a client at a city gym. File photo

Susan Muthalaly

BAR to hold workshop for personal trainers, coaches and physiotherapists

CHENNAI: Working out is no longer about doing bicep curls in the kitchen with two cans of dal makhni. As more people take to paying good money to keep in shape, BAR is an organisation committed to raising the bar on fitness training in the country.

A few months into its existence, it will be conducting a workshop on May 26-27 for personal trainers, gym owners, coaches and physiotherapists.

It includes sessions on programme designing for a client, how to design a workout for people with specific medical problems, how to calculate the energy consumption of exercise for a client, motivation and even how to read an ECG chart.

Fitness expert Michael Webster from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) will conduct nine of the sessions.

More professionalism

With the entry of international fitness chain Gold's Gym, and talk of Fitness First and Virgin setting up shop in the country, there is a growing professionalism about working out.

Fitness trainers Radha Krishnaswamy and Shankar Basu started `BAR' as they felt that certification was necessary to establish a common minimum programme for personal and gym trainers for the safety of the client.

"It is like coaching classes for IIT. We help trainers prepare for certification exams," said Basu. They offer training for three exams ACSM, American Council on Exercise and National Strength and Conditioning Association.

BAR's role is to prepare candidates for these exams. The organisation conducts two batches a year (December and June). The minimum qualification to apply is a Class XII pass, though a background in athletics, or at least 500 hours experience in physical fitness would help, as the syllabus involves hands-on experience in fitness.

The course is of 60 hours duration and conducted over 10 weeks, with about 10-15 people per group. Mr. Basu explained the importance of certification from these international bodies.

He said there was no government-recognised course for fitness trainers, as these applied more to physical education (for `PT masters').

Few certified trainers

Ms. Krishnaswamy and Mr. Basu said there was high demand and limited supply of certified trainers in the country. There are only about 80 in India, while there are over 200 registered gyms in Chennai alone.

"Now everyone who calls themselves a trainer gets a job. And they usually come from a bodybuilding or sports background ... but fitness training is a science in itself," said Basu. He said clients should insist on trainers with certifications "I can eat, but that doesn't mean I know how to cook," he added. For details, log onto www.fitnessxpertsbar.com

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