Physiotherapist Before Fitness Trainer
Georgiy Sekretaryuk
September 27, 2021
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Why See a Physiotherapist Before a Fitness Trainer

People all over BC are fleeing fitness center chains and switching to a studio environment. They are leaving behind the crowds (and red tape) and moving towards customized programs that are developed and maintained by each studio’s personal training staff. Are you doing the same? While hiring a fitness trainer is a wise investment, we must caution that you may be missing a very important step – consultation with a physiotherapist. Before you see a fitness trainer it is absolutely essential that you consult with a local physio first. Here’s why.

Why It’s Extremely Important to Consult With a Physiotherapist Before Hiring a Fitness Trainer

A Fitness Trainer Does Not Have the Same Qualifications as Physiotherapist

Health BC has provided a succinct breakdown of the differences between a personal trainer and a physiotherapist:

Physiotherapists have an undergraduate degree and specialty training (usually a two year program) to become designated. They work with individuals who have acute and chronic muscle, bone, and joint concerns, as well as chronic health conditions. Their scope of practice includes diagnosing muscle, bone, and joint concerns and treating them (using ultrasound, rehabilitative exercises, intramuscular stimulation, and more).”

Personal trainers gain their certification different ways, ranging from weekend courses to more rigorous processes (there is no set standard). They usually work with healthy individuals, designing and supervising exercise programs […]”

Due to the advanced education and stringent certification process, a licensed physiotherapist has much deeper insight into your biomechanics. A personal trainer does not have this same expert level knowledge of how muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments work together to produce movement. A physiotherapist will dig deep into your medical history, asses current capabilities and limitations, and from this will formulate a program to correct deficiencies in your musculoskeletal system. Your therapist may make adjustments and/or add stretches and other movements to mitigate injury-risk. It’s within the latter (injury prevention) that we find how critical physiotherapy intervention can be.

You may assume that because you don’t currently feel pain or discomfort, that you don’t need to see a physiotherapist before hiring a personal trainer. But what if injury is just around the corner? It may very well be, as there may be underlying issues within your musculoskeletal system that have not yet become symptomatic (i.e. pain and/or loss of function). A physiotherapy assessment will uncover hidden ailments before you have the opportunity to aggravate them (which will bring pain and loss of function). It doesn’t matter how well a fitness trainers adheres you to proper form while doing exercises. If a muscle, tendon, or ligament is ready to tear, it will, unless a physical therapist intervenes.

By no means are we suggesting that you don’t hire a personal trainer. They can be instrumental to the success of your athletic (and body aesthetic) goals. But if you want to get in shape while avoiding (or aggravating) an injury then you must begin your journey with physiotherapy. In fact, your physiotherapist will be more than happy to vet and approve fitness trainer provided programs. From there, you will gain peace of mind that you are on the right path towards improved physical health and wellness.


If located in the Greater Vancouver area, schedule a consultation at our Burnaby physiotherapy clinic today.


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