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Exercise Physiologist vs Personal Trainer: Fact Sheet

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

We’ve all heard of personal trainers. But not everyone has heard of exercise physiologists.

What exactly IS an exercise physiologist, and what is the difference between the two?

As an exercise physiologist, we hear this question quite frequently. It is important that the general population and clients in need of our services are educated as to the differences, and which exercise professional is going to work for them. Exercise Physiologists or AEPs (Accredited Exercise Physiologists) have a university qualification of 4 years, and are allied health professionals who follow the medical model to manage their patients. AEPs at WA Health Group work closely with local GPs, surgeons and specialists, physiotherapists and dietitians to formulate short and long term goals consistent with your treatment plan.

Our qualifications allow us to specialise in the delivery of exercise for not only management, but prevention of chronic disease and injury. We manage conditions such as cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, pulmonary conditions and osteoporosis. AEPs are skilled in musculoskeletal, body composition and functional assessments, lifestyle education, safe manual handling and disability management to provide a holistic high quality service.

One of the most attractive features of an AEP, excluding our education, is our eligibility to register with Medicare Australia, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and WorkCover. Private health insurers also recognise AEPs, with 27 out of 35 health funds now offering rebates for services provided with us.

Click here for the main differences between AEP and Personal Trainer as described by Exercise and Sports Science Australia.

Personal Trainer

The Personal Fitness Trainer Qualification (Certificate 4) may be completed in less than 6 weeks of training. Qualified and insured to design and deliver fitness programs to persons of low risk only (i.e. ‘apparently healthy populations’).

Members of the sport and recreation sector.

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) – Allied Health Provider

4 Year University Degree qualified and accredited with ESSA.

Specialise in graded exercise therapy and lifestyle interventions for persons at risk of developing, or with existing chronic and complex medical conditions and injuries (i.e. ‘specific populations’).

Trained members of the health and medical sector.

Final thought – “Exercise is medicine, in both a preventative and management sense”

WA Health Group is located in Hilton, WA a short 7 min drive from the centre of Fremantle. Our exercise physiologists work closely with Fremantle Lesiure Centre to provide gym and hydrotherapy therapy based management plans. Our AEPs are able to provide assessments at our rooms in Hilton as well as at your local exercise facility or in your home. Call today to make an appointment.


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