Accredited Exercise Physiology vs Personal Training – What’s the Difference?

In Newcastle, Personal Training and fitness are booming.  However, there is another option when looking for an exercise professional in Newcastle – Accredited exercise physiologists. It’s a common question we hear – what’s the difference between Exercise Physiology and Personal Training?

Accredited Exercise Physiology vs Personal Training – What’s the Difference? - Physiology

Most people know what a personal trainer is and what they do. They help people to lose weight, build muscle, trim, tone and get fit and healthy. Both Exercise Physiologists and personal trainers can work with those who want to improve their health and well-being. AEP’s are university trained and have required to have extensive training to treat people with chronic conditions in addition to those without any known conditions. They can work with all kinds of people and are different from personal trainers and other health professionals due to their extensive knowledge, skills and experience in exercise delivery, provision on health modification counselling and understanding of complex and chronic health conditions. While AEP’s are more likely to work mostly with some form of pain, injury, illness or disease, they do also work with people without any known health conditions and help them to achieve their fitness goals and prevent disease like diabetes or cancer. In fact, many AEP’s are dual qualified as personal trainers! They have the ultimate knowledge to help you to use exercise effectively.

Accredited Exercise Physiology vs Personal Training – What’s the Difference? - Physiology

What’s the benefit of training with an Exercise Physiologist instead of a personal trainer? Often, it’s not black and white and the two can complement each other quite well. However, there are some great benefits to seeking out an Exercise Physiologist:

  • AEP’s are held to stringent standards of accreditation that must be fulfilled annually. Personal trainers do need to do continuing education, but about half as much and only every two years.
  • AEP’s are required to complete a minimum 4-year university degree, covering a broad scope of conditions. Personal trainers complete a minimum Cert 4 in fitness and cover training principles for apparently healthy adults, sometimes in as little as 6 weeks. By training with an AEP, you’re guaranteeing the person training you has invested much more time and money into their education and training.
  • Reflecting the level of education each receives – the insurance that an AEP holds allows them to work with “Moderate-High risk” individuals (Moderate-high risk clients that only AEPs should train can include males ≥45yrs or females ≥55yrs, those with a BMI ≥30kg/m2, a history of cardiac complications, the elderly, diabetics, cancer, asthmatics or any other special consideration). The insurance that a personal trainer holds only covers them for “Apparently healthy” individuals, or those with no known health conditions. Considering about 90% of Australians have at least one risk factor for disease, it’s important to know who is best able to help you.
  • AEP’s also receive education in behaviour modification. They are skilled at helping you to find ways to be motivated to exercise outside of your sessions with them, implement long-term health behaviours and find exercises that work for you. In other words – their goal is to help you to learn about what you need to do so you don’t need them! Of course, if you want the extra support, your AEP is always happy to help
  • AEP’s as Allied Health professionals are recognised by health funds, meaning you receive a rebate when you use your health fund card.
  • AEP’s are able to receive referrals from your GP for sessions funded under Medicare, DVA and workers compensation.
  • Some of the conditions that only an AEP can work with (that a personal trainer cannot) include but not limited to:
    • Chronic conditions such as chronic pain;
    • Musculoskeletal conditions such as Back Pain, Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, post-Orthopaedic Surgery, pre-surgical “prehab”, Injury;
    • Cardiorespiratory conditions such as post-heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure;
    • Neurological conditions such as Motor Neuron Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.
    • Metabolic conditions such as Cancer, Syndrome X, Diabetes, Dyslipidaemia and Obesity.
    • Mental and intellectual disability, mental illnesses, mental health and well-being.
  • AEP’s will often be part of “Multi-disciplinary teams” which may include doctors, surgeons, physiotherapists, dieticians, podiatrists, psychologists and/or other health professionals. These health professionals will refer to each other for specialist advice to get the best outcome for those in their care.

Jacci is our Exercise Physiologist at Transcend Health. She has worked as an exercise physiologist since 2011, and as a personal trainer from 2008. 

Share this