How to Find the Right Exercise Professional for You

In the world of fitness and allied health, navigating the diverse landscape of exercise professionals can be daunting. With so many titles and specialties, it’s easy to feel confused about who to turn to for your specific needs. So, here’s your ultimate guide to finding the right exercise professional for you. This guide is crafted to make your wellness journey smoother and more fulfilling. Let’s dive in and find the perfect fit for you! 


One of the key challenges people face is determining which exercise professional is the right fit for their unique circumstances. To help with this, Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Accredited Exercise Scientist, Deanna Niceski, created a model called the “Phases of Clinical Intervention and Support (Preventative and Rehabilitation).”

Think of it like a traffic light system, but for finding the perfect health professional for you. It’s all about making things easier and clearer, so you can focus on what really matters — your health and wellness journey!


At the heart of everything allied health professionals do lies a simple yet powerful truth: teamwork makes the dream work!

When health professionals come together, incredible things can happen. Each expert brings their unique skills to the table, but it’s the synergy between them that truly works wonders. Collaboration is key, with your health and wellness and getting the best outcome for you every step of the way being the focal point. 



Let’s chat about the above image and where each allied health professional fits in. From there, you can identify where you sit within the above diagram and which health professional you should chat to about your needs!


This is where things are looking pretty rosy – you’re feeling good, free from pain, and ready to tackle those fitness and lifestyle goals head-on. In this zone, you’ve got a whole team of experts cheering you on, including exercise scientists, sports scientists, personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, and lifestyle coaches. 

Their mission? To keep that motivation high, help you smash your goals, and boost your performance to new heights. Whether it’s refining your workout routine, or just giving you that extra push when you need it most, they are here to make sure you’re living your best life. It’s all about maintaining that overall sense of wellbeing and keeping those good vibes flowing. 

Accredited Exercise Scientists (AESs) are best to see if you have experience with exercise and are looking to improve your health, fitness, stamina, strength or overall ability. An AES is university-qualified and has the expertise to help you reach your health and fitness goals in an effective, safe and sustainable way. They will work with you to find the best exercise for you and support you every step of the way. 

 On the other hand, an Accredited Sports Scientist (ASPS) is trained to work with individual athletes and sports teams to help them reach their peak performance. They will evaluate research and provide qualified advice around injury prevention, technique, nutrition, performance and recovery practices. It’s best to see an ASPS if you are very experienced with exercise and are looking to reach your peak performance in your chosen activity, sport or exercise. 

You can find your local AES or ASPS here.




This is where things get a bit more specialised, as individuals may be facing chronic conditions, pain management issues, or need rehabilitation. We break this phase down into three sub-phases, each with its own focus and approach. 


In sub-phases 1 and 2, that’s where exercise physiologists shine. These experts take a holistic view of your health, considering both your physical and mental well-being. Exercise physiologists are all about creating individualised exercise programs that not only address your current needs but also empower you for long-term success.

Think of it as a step-by-step process:

  1. First, they focus on protecting your body and prescribing you exercise that is safe. 
  2. Then, they work on correcting any dysfunctional patterns or incorrect habits, all while prioritising your safety and longevity.
  3. Finally, they will set you up for success with the necessary guidance, information and support to ensure you’re exercising right for your body.

Exercise physiologists build a solid foundation for your health, with function and physiology as their guiding principle to future-proof your structure. 

This phase includes a wider range of clients, including those covered by NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), DVA (Department of Veteran’s Affairs), TAC (Transport Accident Commission), WorkCover, Medicare, and even some private health insurance plans.

Plus, exercise physiologists often collaborate with nutritionists and counsellors, providing additional support and guidance to their clients. 

Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) are qualified to work with people experiencing a range of different issues. Whether you’re experiencing pain or discomfort during or after exercising, OR you’re living with injuries, disabilites or conditions such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, back pain, endometriosis, or dementia (and the list goes on!), it’s best to chat to an AEP before engaging in exercise.

AEPs are experts in the prescription of exercise and will work with you to find the best exercises for your needs! You can find your local AEP here. 




You might be wondering, what happens when I’m dealing with an acute injury or need a diagnosis?

This is where other health professionals step up, like physiotherapists, dietitians, osteopaths, chiropractors, and psychologists. They are trained to give more a hands-on approach and provide isolated interventions to help you get back on your feet!


This is where significant treatment is required. Surgeons play a critical role in the red zone and may need to perform necessary procedures to address underlying issues. This zone represents the most intrusive level of intervention, such as knee or hip replacements. 

Life is an unpredictable voyage, and our health and wellness needs can evolve over time. Just as the traffic light system represents different stages of intervention, it also reflects a continuum of care and a roadmap for your health journey. It’s about adapting to life’s changes and ensuring you have the right support at each step. 


Let’s talk about something many of us have dealt with: lower back pain. Using the phase breakdown above here’s a simple guide to navigating through it: 

Red Zone – Surgery
If your back pain is really bad and surgery is on the cards, welcome to the Red Zone. Surgery represents a last resort, but for some, it offers a ray of hope for long-term relief. Post-surgery, the journey retraces back to Amber Zone 3, where intensive support and rehabilitation efforts are used to aid in your recovery and restore functionality.  

Amber Zones Two and Three – Acute Pain
You are walking your dog and all of a sudden after a jarring pull on the leash your lower back is screaming at you. That’s when you find yourself in the Amber Zone: Sub-Phases 2 and 3.

Here’s where physiotherapists and osteopaths come in handy. They work their magic to alleviate your discomfort and initiate the path to recovery. They focus on reducing inflammation, restoring mobility, and easing muscle tension to help you regain control over your movements. 

Amber Zone One and Two – Time to Get Stronger
As the acute pain subsides, it’s time to embark on the journey of strengthening and rebuilding. This phase, spanning Amber Zone: Sub-Phases 1 and 2, requires the expertise of an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

These specialists delve deep into assessing your body’s mechanics and pinpointing weaknesses and imbalances that may have contributed to your injury. Through tailored exercise regimens and targeted interventions, they guide you towards rebuilding strength, enhancing mobility, and reclaiming independence.

This phase isn’t just about addressing the lower back; it’s about fortifying your entire body to prevent future injuries!

Green Zone – Back in Action
Once you’re feeling strong, pain-free, and moving like a pro, you’re back in the Green Zone working with your trainer maintaining strength, fitness, and lifestyle goals. Remember, you may experience a flare up that sends you back to the Amber Zone but with careful planning and guidance you will confidently transition back to Green.

Want to know more about how to exercise right for your body? Find your local exercise professional today. 


Written by Deanna Niceski (MCEP, AES, AEP). 

Deanna is the Founder of My Inspiration Never Dies and is disrupting tradition with the next generation of industry providers in exercise physiology and sports science services. Through Deanna’s services, she is paving the way for new age application of allied health combining different elements of technology, sociology, movement, mindfulness, education, and wellness.