What is the difference between an Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer?

Two of the most common questions I get asked is “What exactly is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)?” and “How does that make you different to a personal trainer (PT) or a Physio?” The answers to these are something that every AEP has had to deal with in their careers.

First off, I’m going to let you know exactly what an AEP is. Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) states “Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) AEPs are university qualified allied health professionals equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions for people with acute, sub-acute or chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities.” To become qualified, AEPs must complete an Exercise and Sport Science degree and then a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. During these studies, the student must complete 500 hours of clinical placement.

As an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, I use my knowledge of anatomy, physiology and training principles to help treat and manage chronic diseases and injuries. Therefore, as an AEP I use predominately exercise as a methodology. I also instil in my clients the benefits of maintaining exercise as this empowers them to continue to manage their condition independently.

Personal Trainers, on the other hand, are not university trained, with some courses only going for a few months. To become a personal trainer, students undertake the study of Certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness and are only required to complete between 20-50 hours placement, depending on the course. Personal Trainers learn skills to prescribe exercise for people but do not have a detailed understanding of physiology and anatomy that an AEP does.

Finally, Physiotherapists. Although similarly qualified to AEP’s, physiotherapists are trained to assess, diagnose and treat conditions, diseases and disabilities with more hands-on treatment such as massage.  They study body movement and function. You’ll often see a physiotherapist if you have an injury, illness or disability that impacts the movement and function of your body. Once you are back moving normally again, it is recommended that you then see an AEP to further develop your strength in order to continue to recover from and manage your condition.

To find out more about AEPs and how they can help you visit our Facebook page or contact us via email at contact@tuckerstrengthperformance.com.au or call 0419 159 903.

Bennett Tucker is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Level Two Strength Coach. He has been in the industry for 7 years and worked with a variety of professional athletes. Bennett specialises in athlete rehabilitation and lower back, knee and hip pain. His clinic is located in Croydon, Victoria.

Leave a Reply