Often something takes me over a tipping point and years of pent up frustration spill out. The fitness industry in general often has this effect on me!
I was recently was sent a photo by a friend off another fitness facebook page in my town. The photo depicted a person doing bicep curls, standing on a BOSU ball, while wearing ankle weights.
Yes, apparently you can still buy ankle weights. Who knew?
This post apparently caused quite the moral outcry. How could I belittle this trainer? Why was I bullying the trainer? How arrogant of me to say what another fitness trainer was doing was poor training!
Seriously? Shut the fuck up.
Here is an overview of the truth. If you are going to call yourself a professional and step into the public eye as an authority then you better have your big person pants on and be ready for critique. Because that is what the professional world is like and more importantly that is what the professional world SHOULD be like.
Every blog I write, video I post, and social media comment I publish is open for scrutiny. It should be. I am a professional. Like any researcher, doctor, lawyer, nurse, physiotherapist, or banker I must be held accountable and held to a high standard. I have to backup what I preach with physiology, biomechanics, and other pertinent science. Period.
If I can’t support it then I deserve to be ripped apart on it. Period.
The fitness world truthfully, is a disaster. It is an unregulated industry predominantly populated with people who do not have a level of understanding of scientific principles requisite to be allowed to take charge of other human’s HEALTH and LIFE.
That is what it really needs to come down to. Fitness trainers, coaches, and instructors are the front line in the health industry. There is more ability in the health industry to change the population for the better than in any other aspect of health care. Yet it is the wild west of the health care world.
Anyone can call themselves a trainer and start charging people. They then give out workout advice, attempt to heal client’s injuries, and provide nutrition programs. It’s a fucking joke.
It’s a disgrace. It is one of the reasons I have such a hard time building a professional network. How is a doctor or physiotherapist supposed to refer out to a fitness trainer and know that they are releasing their client to someone who is going to be able to help? Or at the very least not do harm?
Because the truth is that the human body is intricately complex. It has been studied for centuries in microscopic detail and we still learn new things everyday! And we still don’t understand everything about how the body works and functions!
Fitness is NOT as simple as doing some exercises and going paleo. IT IS NOT. If you are going to be a fitness professional you must be held to a higher standard of accountability. You must be constantly learning and researching. You must be attending professional conferences and clinics. You must be learning from mentors. You must understand the underlying physiology of EVERYTHING you do and everything you prescribe.
And on that note I will get on the 6 things I think need to change in the fitness industry.
The 6 Biggest Problems in the Fitness Industry
#1 – Just Because You Got Fit and Workout You Can Be A Coach
I see this, ALL. THE. TIME.
Person gets interested in fitness. Joins a gym or a fitness program. Loss weight or maybe competes in a fitness event such as a marathon, triathlon, or physique show. Person then believes they can train other people to do the same thing.
No. No you can’t. Just because you train does NOT mean you are now able to train others.
Have you ever been sick and gone to the doctor? Did they give you advice, maybe a prescription, and help heal what was ailing you? That is really great and I am glad that you are now happy and healthy. Does this also mean that YOU can now heal other people with the same ailment?
Surviving cancer doesn’t qualify you to treat someone else’s cancer.
No, that analogy isn’t too far fetched. We are talking about your health. Being fit will LITERALLY save your life.
If you want to be a fitness professional you have to go to the next step. Getting in shape or training is a great starting point. But then you have to start and continue to educate and train yourself.
Certifications, mentors, books, conferences, clinics, and research are
Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power.
Bullying may be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person. (Source: Wikipedia)
So often in the fitness world true critique is labeled as bullying. There is a strong difference. Personal attacks and slugging insults is inappropriate and uncalled for. However, critiquing exercises, blogs, videos, pictures, or other publically posted links is a necessary part of a profession.
We have to change a lot of what happens in the realm of fitness. We NEED to crituqe each other and make everyone accountable. And this critique needs to be limited to fitness and must not be personal or attacking a persons character.
#6 – Fitness Needs to Become Professional
The industry needs to change. We need to become a regulated profession.
There has to be a set of standards created. There has to be a regulatory body that oversees the entire industry. There has to be a certification process that has a clear path for people to follow in order to obtain the certification. There has to be an education credential that ensures a high standard for fitness professionals.
I preach this because I care. I care so much I have dedicated my life to setting a high standard of what a fitness professional should be. Not because I am a narcissistic asshole but because I hold myself to the same standard that I hold others to.
That is what a professional does. Maintain a high standard and make sure everyone else in their industry also meets the same standard.