It's stories like this one posted on MSN that make me angry. As the article rightly points out, people you would hire for any other service are required to pass, at the minimum, a state exam. So why in the world aren't these so-called "personal trainers" required to do the same? Quite frankly, it scares me. I used to work in the industry, and I've seen first hand the incompetence some trainers exhibit. In their eyes, a workout is only good when their client is beaten to a pulp and can no longer walk. Safety procedures, health concerns, and physical ability are all ignored. It's scary, not to mention extremely unsafe. These trainers are giving all the good trainers out there a bad name. I've included a few pointers to follow if you are considering hiring a personal trainer for yourself, to ensure you don't end up like the poor woman mentioned in the above article. 1.) Look for a trainer with a 4 year degree in Exercise Science or a related field from an accredited college or university. 2.) Ideally, in addition to a degree, a trainer should also have a certification from an organization like NSCA, NASM, or ACSM. 3.) Do not base a trainer's qualifications on how he or she looks. Big muscles do NOT equal knowledge. 4.) Don't assume they know what is best for you. You know your body better than anyone else. Follow your instincts. 5.)Do not feel pressured to attempt to complete a workout if you are physically unable to. A good trainer should not make you feel ashamed or inferior. Personal training can be a great service to those who need guidance and motivation to start a workout program, and there are certainly some great trainers out there who know what they are doing and can help you safely reach your goals. Like any other service you would invest in, just do your research and make sure you find someone who is a good fit for you.