VIRGINIA BEACH - With the holidays behind us, many people are flocking to gyms and fitness studios as they make the annual pledge to get in shape for the new year.
As we start to burn off the thousands of extra calories consumed for the sake of holiday cheer, some fitness professionals are warning about the growing number of so-called fitness trainers who are not certified by recognized agencies.
Jim White of Jim White Fitness in Virginia Beach tsays there are some 400 agencies that purport to offer fitness certitifications. White says don't buy the hype unless that certification is endorsed by the National Commission for Certifiying Agencies.
"There are a lot of fake diplomas out there, and a lot of fake cetifications that can really hurt the public and it's really dangerous," said White.
White has a Bachelor's degree in nutrition and certification from the ACSM. He says many people never ask to see his credentials, which any trainer should do.
The American College of Sports Medicine echoes White's concern. Spokesman Dan Henkel said it's important to work with a health fitness professional who can safely help you reach goals.
"There's a lot of confusion or misunderstanding about how to identify someone with the right experience, credentials and interpersonal skills," Henkel noted.
If you're willing to spend money on a trainer, spend a little time researching the trainer's credentials.
Professional help comes with a steep price. According to costhelper.com, the average cost of a personal trainer is $60-$70 per session, but there are some deals as low as $25 an hour.