Personal trainers vs. doctors: Who’s the better expert when it comes to exercise? I’m a certified personal trainer. When I was off-duty, and at a gym I didn’t work at, I once told a woman that she was doing something mechanically wrong. She said she was a cardiac patient, and asked me if I was a cardiologist. I said, “No, but is your cardiologist a personal trainer?” She got mad.
Though she had a cardiac condition, this did not undo the fact that her improper form was putting her at risk for repetitive stress injuries. As a personal trainer, I know nothing about how to read an echocardiogram. But I sure as heck know a lot about safe exercise mechanics.
Let’s take a look at a doctor, perhaps a graduate of a prestigious medical school, who did his residency at an outstanding medical center. But like most middle-aged male doctors, he’s a little paunchy, and looks no more physically fit than the next middle-aged Joe.
Is he an expert in how to exercise? My mother’s primary care physician, a woman, weighs around 200 pounds. Her cardiologist has a paunch going on and he doesn’t look like he works out at all. Doctors are in a prime position to screen patients for conditions that can make certain kinds of exercise hazardous, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, brittle bones and osteoarthritis.
A doctor can tell a patients she has moderate osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). But this doctor did not learn in medical school, nor during his internships or residency, which exercises a person with brittle bones should avoid, and which exercises they can do. Logic would dictate that this patient shouldn’t do jumping exercises. But a doctor won’t know to encourage the patient to do isometric exercises.
How about the 75-year-old man down the street who has a degree in economics and has no medical training whatsoever, but this chap is seen running his daily five miles in the neighborhood, has washboard abs, broad shoulders and muscles that don’t look a whole lot different than when he was 35. The only difference is that his hair is now grey, and his skin is crinkled.
But he can knock off pushups, goes on hikes, and hits the gym three times a week for an hour. He shovels neighbors’ driveways, and mows his lawn without a hitch. NOW whom would you rather consult for exercise advice? A doctor, or this old-timer who can bench press 200 pounds?
Some doctors are gym rats. My father’s knee surgeon looks like he works out. But how many doctors look any more fit than the next Joe or Jane? Besides, never mind how people look. What do physicians learn in their medical training? Certainly not exercise science! They learn mostly about drugs, diagnostics, disease information and surgical techniques. My niece is in her first year of medical internships, and thus far, not one rotation dealing with exercise. And none coming up, either. And not one class in exercise during four years of medical school.
Exercise program design is not offered in the medical school curriculum. Physicians specialize in diagnosing and treating disease, not in preventing it. If they focused on disease prevention, they’d be out of business or close to it.
It is best to stay as far away from them as possible as the opinions of both is in stark contrast of each other and never understand your problems and are only interested in earning some extra cash by acting as experts in their fields, while they are nothing more than representatives. Just follow your colleague’s advice based on their experience along with the best legal steroids on the market.
Just because a person is a doctor doesn’t mean he knows more about exercise and working out, than a certified personal trainer of quality. In fact, where has it ever been established that physicians are authorities on running, cardio exercise, aerobics, strength training and lifting weights? Doctors are great at being doctors and cutting people open, but leave the fitness and exercise stuff to personal trainers — quality personal trainers, of course.