The most important thing I have ever written.

How the Fitness Industry Destroys Itself; and How To Fix It

A Manifesto

By: Coach Taylor Simon

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This has been percolating a long time in my head.
The fitness industry is broken. It defeats itself. It stands in its own way and prevents some truly passionate, educated, and intelligent individuals from being able to truly make the health of our entire population better.
The health and fitness industry struggles to help the population at large deal with the continued epidemic of lack of activity combined with an indulgence of poor nutritional practices. We blog about it, post about it, make TV shows intended to inspire people to change their lives, publish hundreds of magazine every month filled with information to assist people to make positive change.
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And all the while it is the fitness industry itself that is the problem.
Yes. It is us. It is the gym owners, bloggers, personal trainers, fitness coaches, strength coaches, aerobics instructors, crossfitters, nutritional coaches, figure models, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts who are the real culprits behind the lack of efficacy in delivering the right message to the population. The message that could actually make everyone live a healthier life.
We like to sit on our high horse and blame Dr. Oz, magazine publishers, and a plethora of others for creating the issues. And don’t get me wrong; magazine publishers don’t give a fuck about your health. They just want to increase readership using the same tactics CNN utilizes to maintain viewership – sensationalization. And Dr. Oz – not much to really hash out there – if anyone still listens to any of his advice there is nothing that is going to get through that wall in their head.
But the age of the Internet should have taken away control from the mass media and allowed professionals to deliver true health information.
Alas, it has not.
Personal websites, Instagram, and Facebook pages of the vast majority of individuals and businesses in the fitness world do nothing but spew out a constant barrage of self-indulgent images and information that is so obviously a narcissistic need to garner support to bolster personal egos and feelings, that we are no better than the media conglomerates doing whatever it takes to make a buck.
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The fitness industry itself does not even know what health is. The so called ‘fitness professionals’ have completely lost the definition of health. Somehow we have perverted what the word health is. There is an overriding belief that the measure of health is somehow related to appearance.
This could not be further from the truth. You cannot judge a person’s health based on their appearance. Period. Yes there are some outward indicators that can speak to the health of an individual. Jaundice is visible, anorexia is visible, morbid obesity is visible. But the real things that matter are not visible. Blood pressure, VO2 max, respiratory function, strength, mental health, stress, cancer, diabetes, and just about every actual health issue we should be concerned about is not readily apparent based on what we look like.
Yet consistently EVERYTHING in the fitness world is based on what we look like. Magazines, modelling, and celebrity aside, it is the fitness industry itself that perpetrates this delusion. It is the majority of personal trainers, fitness business owners, group exercise instructors, yoga and Pilates instructors, sport coaches, and strength coaches that cause the very problems they pretend to want to solve.
Where does it come from? When did we lose what the true meaning of health really is?

Focus on the aesthetic is nothing new. Since antiquity we have talked about the human form. However, this discussion was always combined with a focus, an association, on work and performance. The appearance of the body was idolized as a way to demonstrate
Mosaïque_des_bikinis,_Piazza_Armerina (1)the physical feats of what the body was capable of accomplishing. It wasn’t until the rise of bodybuilding, which began around the year 1900 that the focus of what health was began to shift towards purely the aesthetic. Even as late as the 1950’s the majority of what we idolized as healthy were the strongmen and athletes, who did not poses the aesthetic of 6 pack abs and stick thin limbs.
Between 1900 and the late 1950’s we shifted from valuing strength and function to valuing leanness and thinness. After that, the population became less physically active and a larger percentage of people had the resources to access as much food as they could consume and the size of people began to swell. This further continued the shift towards focus on physique over strength and health as the bodies of people in developed countries drifted further away from a perceived notion of health based on aesthetics.
In 1963 we saw the formation of the first diet program, Weight Watchers, which is still one of the largest health organizations in the world today. I mean, just look at the words in the name, weight watchers. A focus on what you weigh, as if that had anything to do with your health. By the late 1970’s and early 1980’s we see the emergence of facilities catering to physical fitness for the general population with the advent of the gym.
Understand that gymnasiums have existed since the days of the Greeks and from 1700’s to the 1900’s gymnasium facilities existed based on German and Nordic models. But as the Western population grew and our daily activity decreased to levels of inactivity never before seen in large human populations in the late 20th century, more and more people began to seek out facilities to partake in physical exercise.
Welcome to the rise of the modern gym. And who opened, designed, operated, and grew this flourishing gym business? The bodybuilding community did. Almost everything in modern fitness stems from the bodybuilders of the late 1960’s through the 1980’s. And today what we epitomize as ‘fitness’ are bodybuilders, figure models, and other physique focused groups.
We are only now slowly seeing a shift away from bodybuilding style training; however, it isn’t a shift in the right direction. Today, 2016, we are slowing starting to move away from the aesthetic focus. Instead we are now idolizing only the most elite of the elite. American Ninja Warrior, the Crossfit Games, and The Biggest Loser.
All impressive feats and all out of reach for the vast majority of the population. They promote such an elite and physically demanding approach to fitness that anyone not properly prepared for the rigors of participation are doing more harm than good to their health.
The new attitude that fitness is only effective if you barf during training and cannot walk normally for days has combined with the bollocks belief that the leaner the body is the healthier it is. This has created an even larger misconception amongst the population as to what true health and fitness truly is.
I had hoped that the rise of the Internet would help to counteract this. That we could move away form pure focus on the aesthetic and move towards a focus on physical fitness that actually was focused on improving health.
It has not. Instead we continue to put those with very specific physiques on a pedestal as the perfection of health. And the supposed leaders of the fitness industry who have pledged to help the population become healthier, merely continues to ingrain and persist the notion that fitness = appearance.
Don’t believe me?
Check out various covers Men’s and Women’s Health Magazines from 2015. Note the name of the magazines, Men’s HEALTH and Women’s HEALTH.
health covers
health covers 2
There is a lot of debate and discussion amongst the fitness community that these publications need to change and stop canonizing these images as the epitome of health but then the same fitness community DOES THE EXAcT SAME THING.
The majority of people who think they are helping to make us healthier and fitter are actually driving the majority of people away and perpetrating the very false beliefs they fervently rally against.
Go through the images, posts, and publications of various well-known fitness names and business on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. What do you see?
gym selfie
brit fit
Before and after photos, weight loss challenges, photos of very lean individuals, success photos in clothes that don’t fit anymore, and picture, after picture, after picture, of wannabe ‘health professionals’ showing off their bodies.
We idolize everything we are supposed to be trying to change.
Every selfie of your abs, every snap of you without a shirt on, every post of your plastic containers of perfectly measured organic, gmo-free, gluten free, paleo approved, low carb, low cal, free range, local diet, is teaching people that there is only one way to be healthy and only one way to measure what healthy is.
Every fitness program, every fitness challenge, every fitness business, every fitness inspiration story celebrates the same thing. Getting smaller, losing weight, looking a certain way, and fitting into a false notion of what health is.
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Before and after photos. Transformation challenges. Skinny jeans programs. Weight loss competitions. The message: skinny is healthy, being smaller is better. This idea that the measure of a persons health is in anyway related to what they look like is fucking preposterous and yet everything the fitness industry does is built on the back of doing everything possible to fit into an aesthetic ideal.

The fitness industry today is a narcissistic fantasyland of people who think they are helping to motivate the population to health and fitness but are actually driving the vast majority of people away.

Most of these fitness people truly think they are helping. I guess I can’t fault them for that. They want to help and they are going about it the best way they know how. The way they learned, from the people before them, who did the same thing.
Those people learned from the people before them. It all stems back to the rise of modern fitness, which as we discussed, is based on the ideals of the bodybuilding world that created the gym world that made fitness and health what it is today.

The part that really nauseates me is that the vast majority of these ‘fitness professionals’ who truly believe they are helping people have not and are not, required to learn anything or garner the pre-requisites necessary, to be qualified educators and coaches.

Being able to get yourself lean and have a muscular physique DOES NOT qualify you to assist others to do the same. The fact that you LOVE fitness does not mean you have to try and make everyone else love fitness. Your ability to stringently monitor your nutrition is not an indicator that you are exemplifying the best strategy for diet that all humans should adhere to.
The problems facing the fitness industry are resultant of two factors:

  1. Most fitness people are narcissists
  2. Most fitness people in the industry do NOT have the requisite knowledge of physiology, biology, psychology and motivation to be responsible for others health and fitness

(It might look like we are about to head off on a tangent as you continue on – but bear with me – this is all going to tie together at the end!!!!! We are going to explore point number two and then bring it back to point #1)
I have been in many debates with trainers and coaches over the years concerning the fact that personal trainers and fitness coaches step out of their scope of practice ALL THE TIME.
The fact that the vast majority of personal trainers, fitness coaches,

group exercise instructors, and others involved in the fitness industry DO NOT have anywhere near enough education and experience in physiology and biology is not the point of this article. It is not the primary issue confronting us. It’s horrific, yes, but it is not the root of why the fitness industry really fucking sucks.
So much of the fitness industry’s focus is on motivation. That we should be talking to our clients to understand their needs, to understand the issues in their lives, to delve into the real reasons behind their fat gain, to source out the issues with their personal lives and how it is affecting their health.
#sorrynotsorry for the following caps…


We are fitness professionals. We build fitness programs. We teach fitness techniques. We monitor progress. We motivate people to try their best during a workout. We give guidelines for nutrition and what to eat.
That. Is. It.
Sitting with your crying client to try and understand what is happening in her personal life or in her past and how that is affecting her ability to commit to the fitness program she is desperately trying to stick to IS FAR BEYOND YOUR SCOPE OF PRACTICE.
Trying to employ tactics to increase adherence to a fitness program and motivate people to train more regularly is BEYOND YOUR SCOPE OF PRACTICE.
Your job is to provide exercise knowledge, physiology knowledge, support during training and programs, cueing, and long term tracking of progress towards the client’s goals.
That is it. That is all we are supposed to do.
And we aren’t even very good at that in the fitness industry. We literally do not even have standards across the industry to ensure that the basic aspects of what fitness professionals are supposed to do are done adequately and with integrity. We are really quite bad at even what should be the core of our profession.
We vehemently skewer and gorge dozens of other professions for overstepping their scopes of practice. We lambaste doctors for giving fitness advice. We bicker amongst ourselves at who is allowed to teach certain fitness techniques. Personal trainers lament that group exercise instructors attempt to teach advanced exercise form. Group exercise instructors are aghast that personal trainers start their own bootcamp programs. Everyone in fitness explodes when chiropractors or massage therapists give exercise advice.
And then we go and pretend like the most important part of our job is the work of a trained therapist, counsellor, or psychologist.
And because we feel qualified to dispense this kind of advice and information without a proper understanding of human psychology and behaviour and without ANY formal training in the field we are actually doing FAR MORE harm than good to the population.

(HERE WE GO! The moment you have been waiting for – where the fuck am I going with all of this??)

The narcissistic atmosphere of the fitness industry and the focus on the aesthetic has combined with our lack of understanding of human psychology and motivation to destroy our ability to improve people’s health and fitness.

You think you are motivating people when you post an after workout selfie in your sports bra.
You think you are motivating people to want to exercise when you snap a video of fitness advice in front of a mirror with no shirt on with your abs popping.
You think showing the progress of your glute development on your Instagram account with your ass at eye level to the camera will make people want to deadlift.
You think posting photos of your perfectly portioned meals for the week in their perfect little plastic containers is helping teach people how to eat well.
You think a Facebook post talking about how hard you work and how difficult all of your choices to be a fit person are is encouraging people that they can make the same decisions.
Dead fucking wrong.
All of these things that fitness people do that they think are motivating others to make changes and be to be healthier and fitter, aren’t. All this talk about making sacrifices and that you must suffer through the hardships in order to be healthy does not make people want to make changes.
The truth is that all of these things are DEMOTIVATING people to be healthy. They are turning people away from the fitness industry.
All of these things are driving the majority of the population into the arms of Dr. Oz, the food babe, David Wolfe, and the rest of the ‘health’ charlatans.
We spend so much time denouncing these people without ever realizing that the reason they have amassed such a huge influence is because WE HAVE DRIVEN THEM THERE due to our lack of understanding of human psychology and motivation and a narcissism that underlies the very core of the fitness world.

It is time for the fitness industry to become an actual profession, to grow up, to mature and until we do there will be no change.

What actually happens when we post half naked selfies, constantly promote health as a specific body image (almost always young and very low fat), and talk about how much hard work and sacrifice people will have to make to be healthy and fit?
We turn them off.
The best way to learn this is to read, The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly41-vHbuLMFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ McGonigal, Ph.D. It is a fantastic introduction to the world of human motivation.
Remember in the 90’s when anti-drug campaigns were all the rage? Did you know that they actually increased marijuana use?! How? They kept talking about how many other kids were using marijuana, especially all the star athletes and popular kids, and to just say ‘no’ when they approached you.
So they told you all the popular people are smoking pot. Leading to everyone to the realization that way more people were getting high and that those kids were popular. And humans want to be a part of the popular group. Off went many more kids to take a toke.
That’s real psychology and motivation at work.
We know that people like to be comfortable and minimize work. Yet we spend countless hours telling people how much work they will have to do and how many sacrifices they will have to make in order to achieve the ultimate fitness goal of leaner limbs and 6 pack abs. Guess what? This drives people away from wanting to take up exercise or change their diet. They want to be comfortable. They don’t want to do hard work.
And then we report over and over how only 10% of people exercise regularly, and more and more people are becoming obese, that most people don’t exercise and everyone eats unhealthy food.
Do you see it? Do you see what we are doing?
We are, AT SCALE, telling people that most people don’t exercise, don’t like exercising, and are eating whatever they want. We then tell them that to be a part of the minority of people who are different is going to be hard work, require a ton of sacrifice, and be uncomfortable.
Do you see it?
WE ARE DRIVING THEM AWAY. People want to belong to the group. To do what everyone else is doing. We live in a culture that loves to believe in individuality and that everyone is unique. Unfortunately, this is just not true. People actually want to fit in, not stand out, and be a part of the group. That is basic human behaviour.
And off goes the fitness industry doing exactly the opposite of what we need to be doing to actually having an impact on the health and fitness of the population.
I recognize there are many other issues contributing to the current health issues of our population. Mass media messages, schools, and other cultural and institutionalized processes also play a part. Those are beyond our control as fitness professionals. But how we teach people about health and fitness is within our control.
And the modern Internet age SHOULD be allowing us to get the real message out.
Yet the vast majority of fitness wannabe professionals are actually pushing out a constant barrage of messaging that is driving away the majority of the public.
And I very much believe it is as much a result of narcissism as it is the result of lack of understanding and education (not school based, you don’t need University to be educated).
Fitness professionals need to educate themselves on the topics of biology and physiology. They need to understand what they are doing and stop simply copying what other people are doing. Teaching fitness isn’t about grabbing exercises off YouTube or from another persons program and giving it to a client.
Fitness professionals need to stop trying to be psychologists and therapists. This is way beyond our scope of practice. Period.
Fitness professionals should not be posting picture of themselves. Obviously a professional profile photo is just fine. But fucking stop it with the shirtless pics, the sports bra and booty shorts Facebook banners and Instagram posts, the close-ups of your ‘glute progress’, and the diatribes on your perfectly portioned meals for the week. THAT IS NOT WHAT A FUCKING PROFESSIONAL DOES. PERIOD.
It IS NOT motivating people to want to achieve what you are doing. It is you showing the fuck off and hoping someone tells you how awesome you are, how great your story is, and how well you are doing. FUCK OFF.
Go ahead and have your own personal accounts to fulfill every little narcissistic cell reverberating in your body, all the power to you. But if you want to be a professional, if you want to help make the term fitness professional MEAN something, you need to act like a professional.
I cannot remember the last time I saw a doctor, lawyer, or physiotherapist post a picture of themselves without a shirt or in a skin tight sport bra and short shorts talking about how their progress is coming along or showing off the #gainzbro.


What can we do? Where can we go? What should we be doing?
My business and practices over the years have been guilty of many of the things I am speaking out against. But we have learned. We are changing. We are making new commitments.
What is fitness? What is health?
There are 3 common definitions of fitness.

  1. The condition of being physically fit and healthy.
  2. The quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.
  3. An organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.

(Source: Google definition search: fitness)
Understanding these definitions of fitness can guide the future of the industry.
Number 1 is not definable. To be physically fit and healthy. What does that mean? How do you measure that? It is so variable and esoteric a concept that we should not pay any attention to it.
Number 3 is our biological imperative – our ability to stay alive and reproduce. That is not resultant from the fitness industry – that is modern technology and society itself. It is not a concern of the fitness industry.
But the second definition; the quality of being able to fulfill a task or a particular role, that is the real purpose of the entire health and fitness industry. We now calling it functional fitness and it’s a growing trend. You will hear statements like, ‘being in shape for what you want to do.’ That is looking at fitness as a measure of the ability to perform a task or activity specific to the person at that time.
We need to be able to fulfil a particular role or task.
Play with our kids. Compete in an event or race. Balance our blood sugar so as to not die of diabetes. Decrease our blood pressure to prevent a heart attack. Have endurance to explore new places while travelling. Be an athlete. Maintain flexibility and mobility into old age. This list could go on indefinitely.
These are real health and fitness goals. These are the things that will actually make the population better. That will actually improve the quality of people’s lives.
If people want to be able to call themselves a fitness professional they need to be promoting REAL health goals and outcomes.

No more before and after photos. No more celebrating weight loss. No more photos of people in their early 20’s with under 10% bodyfat (which isn’t healthy by the way), no more focus on how many inches people lose. We need to change our focus on the outcomes that REALLY MATTER.
Where are the photos of Sally who trained 200 times last year, Ed who met his goal of training 4 times a week, of Sue who competed in a sport tournament, of Paul who hiked with his grandkids last weekend, of Barb who no longer has diabetes, of Phil who improved his cholesterol and blood pressure, Anne who is not battling anorexia anymore, or Chris who improved his vo2 max over the last three months?
You know – all the things that ACTUALLY make your health and fitness better. That ACTUALLY makes your life better – forever. Not just for your vacation next month.
We are changing our direction. We are leading the change.
At my business, Taylored Training, we will only be promoting the measurable things that are within our scope of practice that will lead to long-term positive health changes.
Two things are our primary focus going forward and what I believe what the entire fitness industry needs to focus on.

Frequency of activity and level of effort during activity.

Firstly, frequent activity. The human body was meant to be active and moving daily. And it is meant to be able to move and work vigorously. Those are the variables.
Encourage people to be active as frequently as possible (our members average 4.5 training sessions a week) and when they are engaging in activity to exert an effort level of 80% of their personal maximum.
Do they have to be active in a gym or fitness facility? No. They can play sports, hike, bike, surf, run, walk, whatever. Unfortunately, the truth is that our modern culture is necessitating the use of fitness facilities and coaches. The lack of physical activity in our daily lives and the pressures and commitments on our time have led us to the point that participating in a structured fitness program is no longer a hobby for the few.
My father hates this fact but it is now necessary for people to partake in a structured and rigorous physical activity program. It is not a hobby anymore. Modern western culture is so devoid of physical activity and effort that we must now recognize the need of a formal exercise program.
Secondly, we must ensure people are working at 80% of their personal maximum. It is well documented that the perceived exertion scale, is quite accurate at measuring how hard we are working. And setting a standard on this means that everyone from a couch potato to extreme athlete can adjust their effort according to their ability. And this allows the individual to adjust the level of exertion based on their current state of health and physical ability.
Both of these fitness and health goals also come without an expiration date.
MOST fitness standards all have an end date. Weight loss, inches lost, a special diet, a race or even, and even fitting into clothing, a vacation or trip, or a figure show, all have end dates.
Then what? Where do we go from there? “Just pick another goal!” is the shout from personal trainers. No. That doesn’t work. It might for the small percentage of the population who love fitness and exercise, but we need to talk about the general population. And they have very few, and very limited goals. We need to be setting goals that last for the rest of our lives.
The target of regular frequency and high levels of effort never end. They are goals that are set for life. All other goals, such as the ones I just mentioned, can be achieved and worked towards with a focus on frequency of training and effort during training. Because when it really comes down to fitness programming and training, those are really the most important variables anyway.
Workout frequently, and workout with purposeful effort.

I hope that this message reaches many people. I hope it can start a new conversation and a new dialogue.
I want to see the fitness industry mature, to grow up, to change to what it can be. We have the most important job on the planet.
We are at my business. Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.28.12 AM
Personal trainers, group exercise instructors, fitness coaches, and many other members of the fitness community are more important than doctors, politicians, and the pharmaceutical industry.
Those professions are very important as well. They are necessary.
But it is the fitness industry that has the most power to affect change for the entire population with the lowest cost and effort.
We have to  mature, educate ourselves, and work together. When we do that, when we drop the ego, when we banish the narcissism, then we will truly be the force that changes the world.
-Coach Taylor

  1. Stephen Ames says:

    Coach Taylor,
    Great post here. I appreciate you taking the time to write this. I agree with the vast majority of the points you raise here. Namely, the narcissistic nature of many trainers, the documentation of their “perfection” that drives clients away, and the lack of education within the industry are problematic. While I agree that our scope does not include psychological counseling, I have found it very difficult to help my clients establish habits of health without talking about their time management and daily decision making. In my experience I have found that unhealthy clients repeatedly make the same unhealthy decision everyday and often struggle in other areas of their lives. Do you find this as well? How do you help these people?
    I have thought for a while now that our industry needs to be regulated. Degree programs, national licensure, detailed specific scope of work covered by insurance. In no other health profession can you obtain a certification from a number of different organizations and begin charging clients for services. Not only does this produce an obvious desparity in industry knowledge, but it allows entry to those who have little to no understanding of what a health coach does nor do they really intend to help people. They just like being in the gym and found a way to get themselves to 6% BF (and share with the world in IG)
    I agree with you on how we should be setting and evaluating client goals. I do nothing with weight or numbers of any kind.
    Again great post. Would love to hear your thoughts on my comments. Thanks, Stephen

    • Taylor says:

      Thanks for the comment Stephan!
      The psychology side of things is a challenge for sure. Setting some goals and communicating with our clients is essential – I get that. I think it is more telling when trainers – so often people who have never dealt with obesity or a complete lack of drive to participate in physical fitness – think they can get inside the heads of their clients and help them change issues that have plagued the client for decades. We aren’t qualified to do that.
      And you see it time and again – these harder cases – at first everything is great and then they start falling back into old patterns. Without training on how to handle this situation it is very easy to exacerbate the issues without even realizing it.
      We work closely with psychologists when we can. In general we focus on what we do – training and being fitness coaches. We recognize that our clients have to want to come to us of their own decision making and it is not our responsibility to try and convince people to come to us or follow our advice. That is on them.
      If they are not able to make those decisions of their own volition we will refer out to professionals in that field.

      • Stephen Ames says:

        Yes I agree wholeheartedly. Trainers can also place undue pressure on themselves thinking it is 100% their responsibility to change habits that have been shaped over decades. Certainly we can educate our clients and have some amount of positive influence over their decisions, but lasting change of course comes from them.
        Congratulations to you on having the courage to put your thoughts on paper and sharing them for the betterment of our industry,

        • Taylor says:

          Thanks for the message Stephan – I also agree that trainers think they are responsible for more than they really should be – but at some point the responsibility must fall to the individual person themselves.

      • Stacey says:

        I would argue that the vast majority of people are not able to make those decisions of their own volition. Most people seeking help from fitness professionals want to lose weight and mostly for the wrong reasons…reasons that they don’t even understand until a psychotherapist digs deep into their subconscious to unearth all of the physical and emotional and mental cues that dictates their health-related decisions. They less often come in to be healthier. Also selling health is a harder sell for people who don’t have significant health issues because it is not very tangible. It is like me holding someone back from crossing the street claiming that they would have gotten hit by a car if I didn’t. Did I offer a valuable service? Was it worth paying for? Some people might think so, but some would not. So seeing that what most people need/want from their trainers is something that most trainers are not qualified to provide, what does the industry do? Regulation and increasing the qualifications and offerings of fitness professionals would do a lot to increase the quality of service, but that causes a lot of people to be out of work. Seeing that fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry, there may be implications on the global economy. Definitely a complex issue.

        • Taylor says:

          You raise some very, very good questions Stacey that I battle everyday. It is easier to ‘sell’ fitness if we can target weight loss and inches lost. And the message to the population is that those are the goals indicating fitness. The message that ‘sex sells’ is far to embedded into the fitness culture, our whole culture in general really.
          If we can figure out how to get people to care more about their health than their appearance we are going to be doing very well!

          • Jason says:

            Good points and good rant. It also, if catches wind, does a good job illustrating scope of practice.
            More qualifications are needed and there are plenty of community and university programs that teach the book learning behind the science. Whether you’re good at teaching that comes with practice (or doesn’t). To those who argue and think it should be different, again see narcissism talked about above. It’s not about you, it’s about the people paying for a professionals service.
            We require it to get a hair cut ….. Hair grows back. Metabolic damage, musculoskeletal injury, or organ failure ( aneorexia can cause heart failure) …death can come from not coaching folks correctly and stepping out of scope.

          • Taylor says:

            I feel the same!

      • Amanda says:

        I have read a few of your articles and though I agree with you wholeheartedly and I do not think you are an asshole I have to say it seems as though I am the exception to your rules. I read your article about 6 reasons you are not losing weight and I can truly say not one of them applys to me. I do not blame anyone for my condition, I always pass on the cake, donuts, pizza or what have you that are in my face daily, I eat healthy, I do 2 hrs a week of HIIT cardio and about the same weight lifting. I have been doing this for 4 months and have not lost a fucking thing! I am about 5’4 and 207 lbs so I am overfat and I’ve got lots to lose. I’m getting really discouraged and frustrated. Though it seems my body is getting firmer and smaller that fucking scale has not budged and I’ve lost no inches on my 38 (snug) inch waist. I am trying to be patient but I’m just not seeing any change (perticularly my waistline) the only thing that keeps me going is that I actually like and look forward to my workouts. (seriously I’m addicted) lol. I am getting married in Sept and I don’t want to be a sausage bride so I’ve got all the motivation I need. Impossible you say? Hello my name is impossible.

        • Taylor says:

          If all of that is the case – you definitely should be consulting with a physician experienced in metabolic disorders, thyroid function, and fat loss.

        • Joe P says:

          “Though it seems my body is getting firmer and smaller”
          That’s good progress right there.
          Muscle weighs more than fat so, as mentioned in this article, weight is a poor measure of progress. Also, fat reduction is not uniform so it may be that the stubborn areas are the last to show a difference. It’s just a matter of time until they do though.
          You’re doing well and are seeing good results. Stick with it.

          • Taylor says:

            Thanks for the post and I think we are in agreement! Just be careful – muscle does not weigh more than fat – they weight the same. A pound of fat and a pound of muscle are the same – muscle is far more dense than fat and so looks smaller 🙂

        • ingrid says:

          I agree with Taylor. I suffer from thyroid disease, adrenal issues and celiac. Although I have most of my issues under control, the weight loss is extremely difficult when thyroid medication is too low. If you live in Canada see a naturopath, if you live in the US see a functional dr. Believe me when I say, there are answers out there and don’t give up, you are worth it.

    • Christine says:

      Great article! I have a masters in exercise science, I’m 47 years old, have 2 kids and look like a mature woman, in other words my body shows life and children. I’m in good shape according to my functional fitness, VO2 max (47), deadlift 250 lbs and can do Insanity like younger people. I applied at a gym a while back for a trainer position and got turned down because “you don’t look like a trainer”. Are you fucking kidding me? Wanna run a 5k with me, then lift and do yoga, and then we can find out if I have the personal fitness to be a trainer. Then let’s debate how we stimulate each energy system within one training session, and then let me know if I have the knowledge that’s required of a trainer who didn’t get educated by the bro-science in Flex magazine. I’m so sick of trainers posting their tits and asses to advertise for business. Thank you for the article!

      • Taylor says:

        That is insane. You are not the first person to tell me this since I published the article – and I am quite honestly flabbergasted. I had no idea that people had been told these things – and now I see this has somewhat common. In. Sane.
        It is a sad testimate to the industry and a great example of exactly what I am talking about. And industry filled with ‘fit’ people who are taken seriously because of their appearance with no thought given to their actual knowledge base.

      • Kara says:

        Way to go girl!

  2. Jennifer McCord says:

    Great read. Loved it.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to write this article and Hear hear, a long read so I have skimmed ,that said I am singing from the same hymn sheet and regularly comment upon the imagery used by trainers, franchise programmes and health clubs. These unobtainable images of beautiful and ,usually, young, tanned, ripped and model like gods and goddesses usually frighten of potential clients ( and those who need our help) or create unrealistic expectations in others. I often wonder wether folks ever complain to the office of fair trading when they haven’t achieved these sculpted figures after handing over their cash, I await someone calling out certain organisations on their over inflated claims of calories expenditure during one of their sessions ( akin to the amount a race cyclist would burn during a long road race!) When creating my website I used photos of my beautiful clients and class members ages ranging from teens to people in their 70’s and all manner of shapes and sizes in between rather than stock photos, or studio shots and no air brushing either. I use positive language focussing on wellness and individuality. I advocate that all instructors focus on health primarily, and, whilst recognising our clients desire to work on their aesthetics we do so without misleading or mis informing them. I use and encourage positive self talk as opposed to the common practice of praying upon peoples insecurities about certain parts of their body etc. Regarding the Psychology issue you raise I have gained my NLP Master Practitioners, Advanced life coaching and Hypnosis qualifications. These trainings have not only been the biggest gift that I have given myself in terms of self care and development but also have been an invaluable tool when dealing with all manner of issues for my clients. It’s also assisted me to be a more elegant and effective communicator and more effective at finding the true meaning of what my clients say and what they omit saying, so I can highly recommend this area of professional development. Finally I would add that after 32 years in the Fitness industry and just having had my 50th birthday that I have never followed trends or fads, I’v kept my focus on the uniqueness of every individual who comes to work with me be it at classes or one to one. Maybe this is why I have have enjoyed such a long and happy career and many of my clients have been with me from the start . PS I don’t have visible Abs, they are kept safely under a normal layer of fat, I’m very happy, healthy and fit enough to live my life in the way I love to. and thats what I help others do !

    • Taylor says:

      Thanks for taking the time to write!!!! Loved the message 🙂 Inflated and unsubstantiated claims are the name fo the game in the world of fitness!!! Looks like you are doing things right!

  4. Lisa says:

    Coach Taylor,
    So along these lines, is the whole “Your body gets used to an exercise and you need to change things up” legitimate or is that another gym lure to get you to join? I am in healthcare and have been dealing with the motivational aspect to encourage people to eat better and live healthier my whole career. I appreciate your posts, your honesty, and your real life view.

    • Taylor says:

      Changing things up is more a way to alleviate boredom – if you look at very high end athletic programming the variables that are really important to change are things like power, timing, load, volume etc. – the actual variability between exercises themselves is much lower than a typical person at a gym or in group ex. That being said a range of activities and movements is very important but I do think a lot of trainers and programs go way overboard in their drive for ‘changing things up’

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you!

  5. amen, Amen, AMEN!!
    My hat is off to you for being that person who communicated what needed to be vocalised for some time now. Many times, if you ask a fitness industry professional what life issue or event their career is predicated on, it was a weight loss.
    I try to practice along these guidelines but it seems like a very steep uphill battle.

    • Taylor says:

      🙂 Yes – it is uphill and we are fighting the entire mass media cycle. I am totally fine with weight loss to motivate someone to change their health – but the celebration should be that they are healthier and fitter – not that they lost weight.

  6. Tex Houston says:

    I love this article. It is what I have been thinking for a long time.
    The focus is all out of whack. It is frustrating also that there are a lot of ex trainers out there advising trainers how to build their businesses by focusing on the things you mention.
    Unfortunately many people fall for the marketing and spend their hard earned money on useless training that teaches them nothing and has little long term affect on their health and fitness.
    I have been working in the background on a few ideas to encourage people to train consistently and eat well without all the complexity. After all if you eat mainly in processed food and exercise regularly the rest will look after itself.
    I will be using some of your points to help guide me on my mission to sell this to the masses.
    Thanks for the great insight

  7. Vicky Wright says:

    Fantastic piece of writing! I wholeheartedly agree. We should be shifting the focus onto striving towards the true meaning of health, not the media-driven culture of aesthetics. The more people we can get to understand this and use in their daily programs the healthier this currently-material world will be.

  8. cat lawford says:

    Not only do I agree wholeheartedly with all you say – It made me aware that for the most part I run my business (health club), very much in line with what your sentiments! That said there is always room for improvement and I’m going to look over every aspect of our marketing to check it’s in line. Thank you for this wonderful piece of work 🙂

  9. Yvonne Taylor says:

    Thank you! I’m lucky to have had someone like you as my mentor as I was losing weight (formerly morbidly obese) and getting my body to a healthy place. Having realistic ideas of what health and wellness are goes a long way to achieving a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle. We shouldn’t feel guilty for having a piece of cake at our kids birthday if we are also physically able to go for walks/runs/hikes with them on the weekends (IMHO).

  10. Dave Keenan says:

    I have long believed the same. You’re quite eloquent! I’m an emergency department physician assistant. I would NEVER give fitness advice! I also think the relentless hammering of marketing and social media to get all of us to conform to a shared ideal of what fitness looks and acts like is counterproductive and erodes our confidence in our own bodies, progress, and pleasure in them. I work to improve myself, feel healthy, and enjoy the process. I’ll look like whatever I’ll look like as I do it. Thank you again, Taylor. This is one of several posts I’ve been grateful to read.

  11. First off, AMAZING.
    I am not hear to “steal” your thunder, however I have been preaching this to my social media, my clients and anyone that will listen, that todays ” fitness guru’s” are nothing but self centred A-holes.
    I NEVER post photo’s of myself without a shirt, I do, however post myself running, playing hockey, going for a run. I post about my clients success and the daily grind it is for myself to stay active when we have daily life.
    I preach that a balanced diet and enjoying life is WAY more enjoyable then have “6 pack abs”,
    A guy like myself who was LAZY AS FUCK, how has run 4 marathons. I tell people about how my resting HR was once over 80 and now sits at 52. I teach that sure fat loss is great, but knowing I have energy to do things is the greatest thing I can get from fitness.
    I hate the fact these “social media” trainers, under cut our pricing and when I give a price, people look at me like I am a joke.
    Amaxing peice Sir, and I will be sharing this.

    • Taylor says:

      No thunder stolen! The more people who understand this the better!!!! I agree with you and what you are doing!!! Appreciate the share!

  12. Summer says:

    THANK YOU for this email. As a fitness professional myself, one of the things I have tried REALLY HARD to do in my career is NEVER post a picture of myself without a shirt on (unless I am in an event and it just happened to come off), to NEVER measure a clients success based on weight/measurements. If I had it my way, I would spend the rest of my fitness career NEVER taking another biometric evaluation and only doing actual real fitness tests.
    I think you hit on one of the biggest issues we have in this industry, and one that I REALLY want to try and fix. That is the lack of regulations in the industry, which allow ANYONE to become a ‘fit pro’. I almost sometimes feel ashamed to tell people my profession b/c we have become seen as such a joke. For the few of us who went to school for Exercise science, who have spent our lives learning exercise science, biology, physiology, and proper exercise technique, it SICKENS me to see the amount of ‘fit pros’ who are just in it b/c they 1) lost weight themselves, 2) were former athletes, 3) “have a passion for helping people”. While I commend anyone who wants to get into the field, it is really important to do it with the same care that other professionals bring to it.
    In what other field is it OKAY to get away with showing off your butt, walking around half naked, and bragging about what you have accomplished? NONE (well, unless you are a stripper!)
    You and I think alike, and I would love to follow you and get to know you more.
    Thanks for the great post.
    Happy Training!

    • Taylor says:

      Yes, yes and yes. And I love what you are saying – including that yes – there are even people who maybe looks are everything!
      The lack of regulation is CRAZY. Crazy. Will be putting out a video on that very soon!
      Would love to connec t- hit me up on FB, IG, or snapchat 🙂 Links at the top of my website!

  13. Nicole says:

    I loved this, these are my sentiments exactly. I studied to be a personal trainer and on my first interview was asked by the gym manager how i would compete with the other female trainers to get male clients (he then pointed out that one had been an ex bikini model, one an ex gymnast, and another an ex beauty queen – all physical attributes??). I was mortified and answered that i hoped i would get clients based on my credentials and training methods. Needless to say i left in tears and decided fitness was not for me. I have had alot of anger about that incident and you have mostly addressed it in this article. I still think the problem extends even further than what you’ve said here. Which is sad. The pictures not being professional is something that has bothered me endlessless, I wonder if they enable male mamagers to treat them the way the manager treated me by behaving in unprofessional ways like you pointed out. How can a mamager take female staff seriously if they are objectifying themselves to get work.

    • Taylor says:

      That is horrible. Thank you for sharing this story – it is powerful. I hope you know that this industry is actually very very awesome – I hope if you still have a passion for it you will find your way back!

  14. alisha says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! In short I am an eight times traumatic brain injury survivor. And struggled with so many health and medical issues that can come from such injuries. I even struggled with obesity to the point of illness. I was forced to change my ideas about fitness after suffering a TBI while training for a physique competition. During my rehabilitation I had to do some serious soul searching and recognize that I was neither functionally fit nor healthy. Since that TBI in 2012, I have developed my own method of training and now work with others with disabilities and limitations to set personal goals, become functionally fit, to focus on using food a fuel for the brain and body and staying with a healthy body fat range (I don’t even like to use the term lean muscle mass, it leaves people with the wrong vision – what a shame.) so that they can live a life filled with purpose. I am please with myself and my efforts when people see me as healthy over 40, functionally strong woman who is not over-weight and they ask ME how can they achieve what I have achieved, which is health and strength. I suffered another TBI in June of 2015 (what can I say, I love being an active woman and I’m willing to take a chance here and there) because of what I learned during my difficult recovery in 2012, my recovery this time around was quicker and much stronger. In spite of having three of my front teeth (the two top front and one bottom front) break, diminished cognitive and executive functions, as well as other issues, I am an improved version of the previous me. Your blog is a message I have been attempting to convey about the fitness industry (and the yoga industry, which is even worse) for over two years. It is a relief to see that I am not the only person who has made such observations and conclusion about this industry. And that I am on the right track as I live according to such revelations. Thank you, thank you, thank you and keep up the honesty!

  15. Kara Mazerolle says:

    Great post.

  16. Wonderful article. Thank you for writing it. – you may like our #loveyourbodyfriday campaign on Instagram that tries to be part of the solution from the over sexualised, vain, one -dimensional self-validating posts we see all to often
    I believe we all have a responsibility to at least try to make the industry ‘better’ – articulating your beliefs and thoughts is inspiring.: thank you .

    • Taylor says:

      Thank you for the comments – will check out the campaign! Hopefully more and more of us will work on making this industry better!

  17. I am in agreement with the majority of your article – thank you for taking the time to write it. When working with my clients (who usually start for the usual lose weight/’tone-up’), I like to keep as much emphasis, if not more at times, on their health and what their body can do as well as weight loss goals, so we’re not just focused on aesthetics. This works well, with happy, less stressed, long-term clients.

    • Taylor says:

      It is necessary to sometimes focus on the ‘typical’ goals in the industry because that is what people are looking for and to ignore that would just turn them away. So we tell people – yes, we can get you weighing less, or get you toned – then we focus on re-educating them over time!

  18. Karen says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your article. I’m a fitness instructor with a background in personal training and I work with all types of populations. The thing I stress to most of them is improving their strength, cardio vascular health, range of motion and consistency of remaining active. Most of the classes I teach are practical movements that we use in every day life and I stress the importance of this so that they can do the things they love doing because it makes them feel good and stay healthy. Thanks so much for a great article!

  19. KLD says:

    Taylor… great article (minus the profanity of course – also not professional in my opinion)
    I’m a physician, certified trainer and a physique competitor… I think I’m actually qualified to say I fully agree with most all of what you’ve written… ! 🙂
    The “fitness” industry is often not in line with true fitness/health promotion!
    Hope more people read this & take heart…

  20. Milan Jensen says:

    Truth! Now let us all go change it…

  21. Hans Smith says:

    Great piece of writing. It reminded me of this article I saw recently about the negative impacts of heavily photoshopped body images in advertising: My wife and I are ordering the motivation book you mentioned and I’m already feeling motivated to get healthier to so I can enjoy life with my two boys!

    • Taylor says:

      Awesome! The Willpower Instinct was an eye opener for me – and I read a LOT about motivation and psychology! Let me know your thoughts after you read it!

  22. Helen Allan says:

    Hi , Thanks for the article ,so true & for me eye opening , I have recently been sucked in by a couple of women on Instagram who lift weights and carb cycle, count macros etc, and they look stunning , and I am inspired by that look but I am lazy and so unfit at about 14lbs overweight, however I was momentarily sucked in by their “plans” and paid money which I could have better spent elsewhere, the plans were so basic and very lacking in any suitable instruction for exercise/diet , I felt badly let down and ripped off. I have learnt my lesson, I get it after reading your wisdom, Thank you for having the desire to educate.

    • Taylor says:

      Sorry about your poor experience. I never see anything as a waste – just a learning experience!!! And now you are better prepared to make different decisions in the future!!!! I will keep putting out information designed to help people with their health and fitness! Any questions I can answer, don’t hesitate to ask!

  23. Sara says:

    Taylor~ A good friend and I were JUST having this conversation not two days ago!!! Everything you wrote is sadly, so VERY true of the fitness industry… Social media has caused the Internet to explode with over-sexed, over-objectified, completely aesthetic-based programs and ideals, while infiltrating the industry with underqualified, self-proclaimed “professionals” who rarely understand the science (biology or psychology) of those they are training, and instead use the platform to parade around looking for validation for all their “hard work”.
    I am grateful to see there are some who recognize and actually want to remedy this problem. I really appreciated what you had to say and agree with your suggested goals of making fitness an individualized life practice and continual pursuit that will change with each season of life. Based more on capability and how one feels, rather than just how one looks and fits into “the box”. I hope to see other fitness professionals take these principles to heart.
    One suggestion~ When you talk about growing, maturing, avoiding narcissism and the psychology of attracting, rather than repelling people, and specifically “maintaining a level of professionalism”, it is hard to ignore your cheap use of prolific profanity, presumably for the shock value. You are clearly a wise, educated individual with much to say to enlighten others and I’m sure you purposely chose your words very carefully. Maybe next time consider applying the same level of professionalism and maturity you are asking for, in your own choice of language. Words are a powerful tool. They can build and empower or tear apart and devour. They can bring people together or they can turn people away. And when people are turned away, unfotunately, it usually sours them on the entire message. I am certainly not prudish… I could sense your passion and liked your strong, direct approach to an issue that many of us are unsettled by. I just feel your important message would be more widely revieved if the cussing were left out.
    Best of luck in your attempts to reach many and advocate for change… Warm regards!

    • Taylor says:

      Thanks for the message – I am very happy to see that myself and my staff are not alone in our beliefs about change that is needed in the health and fitness industry!
      As for the profanity – it is not a cheap use of words, it is actually very carefully crafted. If you do some research into linguistic studies, people who use profanity are often seen as more trustworthy and more easy to connect to. Here are a couple of quick links to get you started into learning more about the topic:
      One problem I feel exists is that doctors, lawyers, physiotherapists, nurses, and other health professionals go TOO far in the way they speak and communicate to the general public. They are so formal that they lose the interest of the people they are trying to educate. Most people get bored and then turn to more ‘entertaining’ people like Dr. Phil and Jillian Michaels of the Biggest Loser. I also noticed that how health professionals talk when they are writing is very different than when they are sitting around over a beer hashing out their thoughts on the industry they work in.
      I feel it is important to be real, to be authentic, to talk and communicate the way most people do. I have tracked statistics over the years and my messages BY FAR have much broader reach when I maintain this level of authenticity. When I choose a more traditional ‘professional’ route the reach of the message if usually only 10 to 15% of the reach when I am my more authentic self.
      I sincerely appreciate your time to comment – just want you to know that it is a topic I have put a lot of thought and research into.

      • Kara says:

        LOL…”The Science of Swearing”…good read…I just shared with some colleagues as just yesterday we were told in a staff meeting by our AD, if anyone was heard swearing…basically the wrath would be brought down on us. And we work with the military!

  24. Thank you for posting this! A friend of mine shared it on Facebook. I couldn’t agree more. I have experienced this in my own life and am passionate about spreading the message about reframing nutrition (my passion) in a way that doesn’t obsess about looks or weight. I personally dealt with the internal psychological pressures of gaining weight after I found out I, a wellness professional, was clinically malnourished. My focus since then has been on functional nutrition (how does shifting why, how and what we eat help us FUNCTION better and FEEL better) rather than harping so much on looks. Even Weight Watchers is jumping on the bandwagon with their “Beyond the Scale” program (yet, interestingly on the commercial for the program, the last phrase is something like, “Lose 10 pounds in the first month!”)…Wait, what…?
    I’ll message you separately about the blog post I wrote about putting my story out there and being vulnerable…and spreading the REAL message about the important of fueling and nourishing rather than torturing and depriving ourselves with food.

    • Taylor says:

      Thanks for the message 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to share the information – I hope that this shift away from appearance in the health industry is something that continues to grow.

  25. Christine Rose says:

    This is a wonderful article–I hope it has some impact. I’m tired of hearing that people who aren’t beautiful must have some sort of mental deficiency that keeps them from doing what they need to do. Success is the best motivator–just teach people the most efficient and easiest ways to meet their goals, and use actual science to figure it out. And enough of my pet peeve-before and after pics of people who were champion athletes with perfect bodies in their teens and squandered it by eating junk for ten years, then had an epiphany and went back to being perfect in six months. This is supposed to motivate me how?

  26. Teresa says:

    Thank you. Thank You. THANK YOU! This was a breath of fresh air of pure honesty and heart. Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been thinking for as long as I’ve been training. I appreciate you.

  27. Lisa says:

    Love this article. I am 46 years old, lift 4 days a week and do cardio 5-6 days. When I lift I always push myself to go further. I don’t have the perfect body, but I do this to hopefully limit illness and keep my body moving as I get older. I was following a facebook page that is supposedly about lifting and nutrition, but I would get so discouraged because of some of the posts and pictures. One I don’t want to see your ass or boobs as I scroll the page and two I can’t compete with someone who post their body fat percentage, but were already lean to begin with. My daughter is 13 and is a little overweight but I always tell her I love her for who she is and it is not about size but that she be healthy. She has told me she wants to make changes, but I tell her when she is really ready to deal with the emotional part as well, I will help her to be healthy.

    • Taylor says:

      It scares me the most, the message we send to children. The only thing they should be thinking about is experiencing life and trying all sorts of new things. NEVER. EVER. About their appearance, or weight, or if they should be dieting etc.
      Thank you for sharing!

  28. Amber says:

    As a former personal trainer AND former anorexic, this is so spot-on. Thank you for writing it.
    I hate to nitpick an otherwise excellent article, but I have to disagree with the statement that “anorexia is visible.” This is certainly not always the case. Despite suffering from anorexia for most of my life, by my mid-20s my body had caught on, and my metabolism had downregulated so much by then that there was no longer anything I could do to lose fat (and in fact I gained some). No one around me ever imagined that at 5’4″ and 120-125 lbs, I was eating only 400-800 calories a day and exercising for 2-4 hours a day, and was on my way to an early death. I am in remission now, but to this day I have many friends and family members that doubt I ever had a problem, since I was never a 70-lb waif no matter how I tortured myself.
    Thanks again for such a much-needed article.

    • Taylor says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read it!
      I do understand the complexities of anorexia and recognize that it is sometimes not visible. I used it as an example with some literary license. It is great to hear that you are coping well with the disease and have been able to make positive changes!!!!

    • Nicole Kavanagh says:

      I felt as though I could not go further when I saw that statement. Its a very hypocritical and ignorant statement. 1. using the word for someone who is extra thin 2. implying that all extremely thin girls are anorexic, when the article is about not judging peoples health on the body type.
      You can be any body type or size and be anorexic. It is a mental disorder. I know it’s nitpicking, but if you are trying to make a point, you shouldn’t be so stereotypical yourself :/

  29. Salman says:

    Amazing article. I already had many of the thoughts you wrote, and very glad to see it written in a formal article.
    One point I think you could also cover is that, many of those people posing with their before/after pics or big quads or low fat percentage, claiming that they have achieved that with “only hard work” and giving that false image, are actually users of steriods, that wouldn’t have been ae to acheived it otherwise. I think this also an area where people need to be educated about.
    Thank you for the great article

    • Taylor says:

      I can’t speak to steroid usage amongst the populations I have described, though certainly it is prevalent amongst the competitive bodybuilding community. That aside, a lot of the photos are planned for and included periods of leaning out, professional photographers and lighting, makeup artists, and professional photo retouching. The examples in my article are all resultant from those exact practices. Even more false expectations that many people walk around looking like their photos.

  30. Danielle says:

    Hi, this is spot on. I’m a fitness profesional/coach: I see my job as helping people become the best version of themselves. Shooting for health in mind body and soul. We celebrate the smallest improvements across the board. I do post before and afters as well as testimonials. I don’t have any photos of my body just a head shot. I figure people should be concerned about their own welfare and not mine. I battle a disorder that tired my muscles out easily. It is a blessing to watch my clients progress beyond my abilities and help their bodies get stronger. After some fat loss a client was thrilled when a man approached her and told her she looked good in a very primal way. She was thrilled. My job, I told all compliments were nice but that taking care of oneself becoming healthy, and adding strength were important. Because we all have seasons. And sometimes we’re doing our best and we don’t look “good” to other people. It my job to help others realize that health and balance is the goal. Glad u posted this. I’m ok with a person posting their own photos of progress. But I’d still like to see more photos of regular people making small changes with huge impact.

  31. Jansen says:

    Coach Taylor,
    I just wanna say this is one of the best article l’ve read on this year. Keep up the good work coach, let us know when you have time to visit Indonesia!

  32. Liz says:

    Thanks for this article,
    As a person with loose joints that have lead to multiple injuries and significant other health issues there are lots of things that are difficult for me to do. While I’m not disabled, that’s only because I’ve been super diligent with my physical therapy and continue those lessons back in the gym.
    I recently switched gyms because I had a horrible time with the trainers & coaches at my old one. They were constantly “motivating” me to push myself and do exercises I just wasn’t capable of doing, and denigrating me when I struggled and asked for a modified version of a former so that I could work my way to doing the exercises.
    I was going to the gym 3-4 times a week, and working out to the point where I would shake. In sessions I wouldn’t say I don’t want to do that exercise because I’m lazy. I was literally saying hey, that feels like it’s pulling my hip out of joint or irritating my damaged knee, what can we do to either reduce the stress on this joint, or increase the strength in that area so I can work up to this form.
    Their responses were horrible.
    What kind of motivation do you think you are providing? How is that helping?
    I realized they didn’t know the answers to my questions. That they had no idea how to properly and safely modify the moves they learned, and had no idea what areas I needed to strengthen. They couldn’t help me, and rather than asking for help from a more experienced trainer or acknowledging they didn’t know, they took it out on me, telling me I was the problem.
    If I didn’t know myself, and know how to stand up for myself. If they bullied me into pushing myself I could have harmed myself. That’s what’s wrong with the industry.
    The “I’m right and if you don’t do as I say you’re going to stay fat & lazy” attitude of trainers needs to change.
    Thank you for writing all this. It brought me to tears to see someone speak up.

    • Taylor says:

      Yes, and often it is a very competitive industry. So many trainers won’t seek help because they could lose the client and the resulting revenue. Especially at larger facilities where sales are the focus.

  33. Megan says:

    Hi Taylor,
    Thanks for taking the time to post this!
    I am on the receiving end of the fitness industry, and your article describes many of the reasons I decided to stop supporting the CrossFit enterprise.
    I have been fat my whole life. And I have been healthy my whole life. I was tired of people telling me that I wasn’t healthy, that I should try harder, because of my appearance, or because, *ghast* my BMI says I’m obese.
    It’s so easy to be discouraged. I was competing in Olympic weightlifting at a provincial level, my blood work was showing optimum values, and yet I was still being told my BMI was too high. Not only was this from fitness pros (not my coach!), but from a doctor doing a employer-required physical. I was disregarded as an athlete, since ‘Beach workouts’ were not part of our routine. I didn’t have massive biceps. I didn’t have chiseled abs. I could squat over 1.5x my body weight, but I didn’t ‘look the part’. (Then I would explain I was a vegetarian and all hell would break loose).
    When you’re told over and over again that you’re not fit, that you’re not healthy, that you’re not doing enough, it sinks in. You believe it.
    So, I’ve decided, fuck that. I’m going to do this on my own terms. Does that mean I don’t still battle with the evil voices in my head? Nope. I still struggle, every day, with self acceptance. I’m trying my best to support my body, but sometimes it feels like I’m swimming upstream. Hopefully more people like you will step up and help educate the masses.

    • Taylor says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment – I hope that I am able to get more and more people to understand the true meaning of health!

    • Jess Mather says:

      Megan, I love this message! You are such an important asset to the fitness community because so many people are going to resonate with your vulnerability and transparency. Share your story. Be brave with it. You are beautiful alone from just sharing this struggle. Keep going!

  34. Mary says:

    I don’t have health problems, so my focus is on aesthetics. I follow two fitness professionals who you would deem “narcissistic” because they post their lean, sculpted selfies on their social media and look great. But guess what, their FREE advice helped me to get into shape 9 months post partum. That was important to me because I cannot be happy if I have flab hanging over my pants. If others want to focus on health metrics other than weight and body comp, that’s their preference and I don’t judge. I simply set standards for myself, and yes I do look up to these “narcissists” for inspiration. I am fitter, leaner, stronger, and have more self confidence, all of which contributes to my overall health and wellness. Maybe you disagree with them, and want to criticize and dismiss them for being showy, but let’s not pretend looks aren’t important. There is a place for the narcissistic fitness professionals whether you believe they are qualified or not. I measure my food, track macros, and work out every day. I don’t mind doing that because I like the results I have gotten. And of course, people judge me for my efforts because it’s human instinct to take exception when someone else is improving their situation or working on being happier. I file your rant in that same category. I like looking good in a pair of fitted jeans. So what! All is vanity, and I am woman enough to admit it. If someone is jealous of me for looking good, that is their problem. Sorry, not sorry for wanting to look more like Jillian Michaels than the latest plus sized but-she-is-healthy model, just to be politically correct. Oh well, whatever. Haters are going to hate.

    • Taylor says:

      And that is totally fine – anyone is fully entitled to whatever goals they choose to follow. I am truly happy that you have achieved the success you are looking for and have found mentors for that.
      I do not care if some people are focused on the aesthetic.
      The issue is when those focused on the aesthetic begin to market to people not focused on that. When figure models and bodybuilders start marketing and creating programs and training for everyone. If they want to market to other figure models, go for it. But state that.
      Vanity is fine for some, especially when we are young. But the real power of fitness is in living longer and living better. There comes a time in life when blood pressure, bone density, psychological health, cardiac health etc. become the most important factors. FIgure and aesthetic goals do not always match with this.
      The vast majority of the population struggles with body image and is overweight. If you do a little research you will discover that before and after photos and constant imagery of ‘ideal’ bodies demotivates most people. This is also leading to a belief that people who look a certain way are:
      A) Healthy. Which is not guaranteed.
      B) More desirable than other body types. This is not the actions of a professional.
      If those focused on the aesthetic stated and marketed only to those interested in the same I would be fine. However, the vast majority of the health and fitness world focuses on these goals and has created a system where only those who match that ideal are considered qualified to coach or work in the industry, which again, is grossly untrue.
      And Jillian Michaels is a horrible role model. She is an actress and is not knowledgable about training and health. Her form is terrible, she doesn’t build her programs, she doesn’t actually train most of the people she pretends to, she allows her name to be associated with products and services that perpetuate horrifically bad health and fitness practices, and oversteps her scope of practice in dealing with human psychology.
      Your statement that you give more credence to Jillian Michaels than a ‘plus sized…to be politically correct’ because of the way she looks is an extremely ignorant statement and is exactly the reason I wrote this article. You think Jillian Michaels is qualified and skilled because of what she looks like. And that, is just dangerous.

  35. Jesse says:

    Hey Taylor
    This article is far too broad! To shame one brand of trainers is wrong. Aesthetics is a huge part of the fitness industry and health, while photos of fit individuals may be detrimental to motivating some older or out of shape individuals, it can be motivating to other individuals through behavioural psychology. Monkey see monkey do. I do completely agree that there are to many uneducated “fitness professionals” but there is something to be said about a fitness professional being in good shape. Mentors have been around for a long time, and most people pick mentors based off of their success in the industry. So people interested in aesthetics are going to look to an aesthetically fit individual or someone who can show before and after photos of successful client transformation. This isn’t a bad thing, if aesthetics is you’re reason for health it is just as good of a reason as running a marathon, or living 10 years longer.
    Further more… Body fat is an important thing to monitor for health. Metabolic syndrome is highly effected by adipose fat tissue and android body type, which means having a trim mid section is healthier and lowers your chances of all diseases associated with metabolic syndrome (diabetes, heart issues, etc..). I do think monitoring weight can be a good thing as long as you are relating it to bf. Can you be a healthy individual with a higher bf %? Of course! But is it really that bad to promote elite fitness.
    As for body fat, a sub 10% body fat in no way means you’re unhealthy. To just state that is irresponsible. Most of the top athletes in the world are sub 10 percent and they are healthy. There are numerous studies showing that lower body fat has a positive effect on performance in most sports. Yes getting super low bf% can be detrimental to certain individuals but like most things in fitness, it is based of the individual. Further more a woman below 10 may be getting closer to an unhealthy body fat, but men can easily sustain lower body fat and have no issues at all. There is circumstances where having a extremely low body fat can be unhealthy, but to make that broad statement saying being below 10% is unhealthy is irresponsible for and educated trainer.
    In conclusion, as a trainer who has education in kinesiology, psychology, and teaching I do think you had some good points! However I feel like you attacked a brand of trainers who are still promoting health so what’s the big deal. If this article would have simply stated the importance of education for trainers or stated some new motivational techniques for a occupational training focus, I would have completely agreed with your points. For instance, the rehabilitation training world has athletic trainers, and occupational trainers aiming at different markets so promoting that in the fitness industry would have been a very compelling article. Also to say that it is unprofessional and narcissistic to post pictures of oneself, yet justify your use of profanity as a calculated decision doesn’t make sense. We both know there is a lot of narcissism in the fitness industry but there is a lot of narcissism in the world today. So if showing results get them clients then it could easily be a calculated decision by them to increase clients which is just a professional as your profanity to get your point across.
    I did not mean to attack you in anyway and I believe their are some great points in your article. However, I just think it was a little to broad and attacked one group of trainers simply because they don’t follow your ideology. Almost all forms of fitness promotes health, so in conclusion why not give clientele numerous avenues and options to reach there health goals? Occupational, aesthetics, Olympic lifting, crossfit, etc… Anything that gets people on their feet is great in this day and age. Instead lets get training funded by health plan benefits, and regulate trainers based on education so that we can ween out the uneducated trainers spewing garbage.

    • Taylor says:

      I will respond point by point from your article:
      Hey Taylor
      This article is far too broad! To shame one brand of trainers is wrong. Aesthetics is a huge part of the fitness industry and health, while photos of fit individuals may be detrimental to motivating some older or out of shape individuals, it can be motivating to other individuals through behavioural psychology.
      I didn’t SHAME anyone. I am providing a professional critique. There is a vast difference. The fact that our culture is so adverse to professional critique is problematic.
      As a professional coach I can tell you that the photos I am talking about is not just detrimental to ‘older or out of shape individuals.’ If you want to talk about a horrifically over broad statement I think you just won with that one.
      I am not sure your background in behavioural psychology but I am well versed in the subject and if you do some current research you will find that you are very wrong on this point. Read the book in my article, The Willpower Instinct, to get a better grasp on the current state of the literature.
      there is something to be said about a fitness professional being in good shape.
      This is the root of the problem. You are assuming from a photograph that someone is in good shape. You cannot do that. You are also implying that the leaner, skinner, or more muscular a person is the better shape they are in. This is simply NOT true.
      So people interested in aesthetics are going to look to an aesthetically fit individual or someone who can show before and after photos of successful client transformation. This isn’t a bad thing, if aesthetics is you’re reason for health it is just as good of a reason as running a marathon, or living 10 years longer.
      Because someone is ‘aesthetically fit’ (a term you seem to have coined on your own. I have never seen or heard of it and do not understand what it means), which I can only assume means very low bodyfat DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE A QUALIFIED COACH. Just like an NFL player is not a guaranteed qualified coach of football players.
      Does the quarterback of an NFL team expect the coach and trainers for the team to be able to throw the ball as well as they can? No. No they don’t. So searching for a qualified coached based on what they look like, even if you are discussing aesthetic goals, does not make any sense.
      Further more… Body fat is an important thing to monitor for health. Metabolic syndrome is highly effected by adipose fat tissue and android body type, which means having a trim mid section is healthier and lowers your chances of all diseases associated with metabolic syndrome
      True. 6-packs and flat stomachs are NOT necessary to be in healthy ranges. Period.
      Can you be a healthy individual with a higher bf %? Of course! But is it really that bad to promote elite fitness.
      So you are confirming with this statement that to be an elite athlete you must have low body fat percent? Might be time to do some research. Check into powerlifters, strongman athletes, sumo wrestlers, and a plethora of other elite athletes who have bodyfat percentages of 15% or higher for men or over 20% for women. You again are drawing lines based on appearance.
      As for body fat, a sub 10% body fat in no way means you’re unhealthy. To just state that is irresponsible. Most of the top athletes in the world are sub 10 percent and they are healthy. There are numerous studies showing that lower body fat has a positive effect on performance in most sports.
      You are wrong. Do some research. Healthy bodyfat levels for men are between 12 and 15% for women between 18 and 23%. Sub 10% body fat is not truly healthy. Most women sub 10% bodyfat will experience irregularity or complete cessation of their menstrual cycle. That is not healthy. I am not sure how many phsyique competitors you know or have been around – I know many of the top in the world – and they almost all suffer from many negative health consequences. They don’t talk about it on their latest bikini or bra clad instagram pic. Hence the problem….
      Most of the athletes in the world ARE NOT sub 10% bodyfat. I am unsure where you are pulling that statistic. I believe it is representative of your lack of understanding what sub 10% bodyfat truly is. If you can provide some epidemiological research to support your claim that most elite athletes are sub 10% bodyfat I will retract my statement to the contrary.
      Also, a HUGE myth is that professional athletes are healthy. This is simply not the case and a great example of our over focus on aesthetic. Ok – they look a certain way – so they must be healthy right? Have you ever seen the concussion statistics of the NFL and NHL? Have you done your epidemiological research into bone, joint, overuse, muscle tear, movement issues, joint replacements, arthritis and many other negative health consequences that elite athletes suffer?
      They perform at a high level yes. This does not mean they are healthy. They horrifically hurt their bodies, which is why you see very few sports that people can remain highly competitive in past the age of 30 – for some sports this age is as young as 25. High end athletes are impressive, they are NOT necessarily healthy.
      There is circumstances where having a extremely low body fat can be unhealthy, but to make that broad statement saying being below 10% is unhealthy is irresponsible for and educated trainer.
      Show me the evidence.
      In conclusion, as a trainer who has education in kinesiology, psychology, and teaching I do think you had some good points! However I feel like you attacked a brand of trainers who are still promoting health so what’s the big deal.
      Aesthetics are NOT health. I draw attention to the fact that promoting aesthetics is not promoting health. It is fine to promote aesthetics if people choose to but it has to be recognized that is NOT the same as health. And LOOKING a certain way in no way demonstrates competency in being a professional coach or trainer. And I firmly stick to my statements that a true PROFESSIONAL will not use their own personal body, program, or success to motivate and inspire others. That is not what a professional does (think doctor, lawyer, physiotherapist, nurse etc.).
      If this article would have simply stated the importance of education for trainers or stated some new motivational techniques for a occupational training focus, I would have completely agreed with your points.
      I have written extensively about this and it was not the point of the article.
      For instance, the rehabilitation training world has athletic trainers, and occupational trainers aiming at different markets so promoting that in the fitness industry would have been a very compelling article.
      This has nothing to do with any of my points or arguments listed in this article. That would be a totally separate piece.
      Also to say that it is unprofessional and narcissistic to post pictures of oneself, yet justify your use of profanity as a calculated decision doesn’t make sense.
      That comment does not make any sense.
      We both know there is a lot of narcissism in the fitness industry but there is a lot of narcissism in the world today. So if showing results get them clients then it could easily be a calculated decision by them to increase clients which is just a professional as your profanity to get your point across.
      Profanity in writing versus people using their bodies to sell services which they may or not be qualified to sell have no relation. My profanity may offend some – fine – no harm done they can ignore me. Selling yourself as a fitness and health coach because of what you look like when you have no qualifications or experience can be hugely detrimental. If many people then pay that person and get poor advice that is directly, negatively hurting their health and in turn their life. Not the same as profanity.
      And sure – those people may be qualified and experienced – they should focus on demonstrating that then. Not post after post of their bodies and how they are feeling about their own progress and program. Hopefully you can see the difference there.
      I did not mean to attack you in anyway and I believe their are some great points in your article. However, I just think it was a little to broad and attacked one group of trainers simply because they don’t follow your ideology.
      When you post things on the internet you must be open to criticism. This is NOT MY ideology.
      Almost all forms of fitness promotes health,
      Horrifically untrue statement. Horrifically untrue. You discuss overly broad statements – this is one of the worst I have ever seen and a great example of issue within the fitness industry. All forms of fitness do not promote health. People thinking that is what gets them sucked into all sorts of fads.

      so in conclusion why not give clientele numerous avenues and options to reach there health goals? Occupational, aesthetics, Olympic lifting, crossfit, etc… Anything that gets people on their feet is great in this day and age.

      I agree. I am not commenting on different avenues to health. I am saying a true professional does not talk mostly about themselves and post endless half naked pictures of themself. If figure, fitness models, and bodybuilders want to have their own pages discussing themselves to whoever wants to read and follow – all the power to them! Awesome. But they should have a separate promotional strategy for their professional coaching and training.
      Instead lets get training funded by health plan benefits, and regulate trainers based on education so that we can ween out the uneducated trainers spewing garbage.
      This would be awesome. Unfortunately, every time there is a move to regulate the fitness industry the entire fitness industry rises and fights against it. Why? All I can surmise is that the vast majority of those people calling themselves personal trainers and coached WOULD NOT be able to pass the licensing.
      Hope that cleared some things up for you
      Coach Taylor

  36. Evelyn says:

    Excellent article. About time someone spoke the truth. I am a super obese person. I am trying, well more like struggling to lose weight. I get about 25lbs off then I panic and go back. I haven’t given up on trying because I have to believe that one of these “tries” I will be successful at doing.
    My problem with going to a gym is I feel like a the circus fat lady that everyone is staring at and snickering about. Not too mention I have gotten the distinct feeling that some of the “fit beautiful” people look at me with disdain, horror and “what are you doing here among us!” How dare you invade our space with your mass. This does not lead me to want to return. After the last time that I worked up all the courage I could muster and went to a gym and was treated horribly I decided I would never darken another gym for as long as I live. Oh they all take my money but they don’t actually want me there as far as I can tell. I don’t have the image of success for their gym.
    I will just try on my own and if I succeed great. If I don’t it’s okay. But, I just wanted to say excellent article.

    • Taylor says:

      The gym culture has become very disappointing – we should be applauding people who begin the journey, instead of ridiculing them and ignoring them.

  37. Viivi says:

    Thank you for writing this article. It’s surprising how global the problem is. I see the same things happening here in Finland.
    I hear lots of people telling me about their physical problems yet ignoring the idea of health instead of training Kardashian-like butts regardless of that might do them.
    Somehow I feel liberated when I read your article that there are “my kind of people” out there.

  38. Janet G says:

    I really applaud you for writing this, I have to say it’s about time someone realised that this was happening.
    For me personally I gave up on the industry years ago when I reached out to the ‘Experts’ for exercise guidance due to crippling arthritis. I approached many local gyms asking for help, one bluntly told me, “If you can’t hold a dumbbell…don’t bother trying”. Well you know what I can’t hold a dumbbell hell I can’t even make a fist on either hand but I know damn well that I am worth the effort.
    Yes I did listen to Dr. Oz one day, sadly I will never get that wasted time back (geez how do people swallow that BS?).
    I will continue trying to adapt exercises to tone up the saggy skin, it’s not cute but I’m doing it, 52kg lost, only a little more to go.
    Take that Fitness industry!!!

  39. Tonya says:

    I fucking loved this article! 🙂 Great work. As a holistic health coach, fitness lover and Naturopathic Doctorate student, I help woman honor themselves NOW in this body, in this moment and truly fall in love nourishment and movement… And the joy that gifts FULL CIRCLE. I do not care about the scale, the inches, etc. I care about them committing to giving the very best of themselves every day. And boom, every single time, with consistently magic happens. But it’s not their shape that I am referencing (although of course that changes too), it’s that they are embracing life and joyfully nourishing themselves. So damn liberating to be part of REAL self-love. Thank you for getting real with us!

  40. Kurt says:

    I recently wrote a small article about the “Elite Facade” in fitness I hope you will come check it out.
    Also reach out to me here id like to chat with you.

    • Taylor says:

      Thanks for the message – checked out your article and loved the message! Feel free to reach out at anytime!

  41. Jen says:

    If you would post this without the f-bombs I would LOVE to share this!
    Seriously I LOVE this but the swearing prohibits me from sharing it. I know you have freedom of speech but if you want to reach far & wide with this message having a cleaned up version would be helpful in making that happen.
    THANK YOU for your consideration! Again this is a great message!
    I think you may also enjoy this facebook page it is similar to your thinking in many ways.

    • Taylor says:

      Thank you very much for your post – always appreciate people taking the time to write!
      I won’t re-post a profanity free version – but feel free to copy and paste and delete out those few expletives.
      This is actually my second most shared and read article of all time already, it has almost 70,000 reads in the week since publication – only my 6 Brutally Honest Reasons You are Still Overfat article has more views – with almost 2 million reads. That one as well contains some profanity.
      While I recognize some may take offence I find the opposite of what you worry about to be true – a few curse words have not hindered the scope of sharing the message – in fact – my most shared articles I have not held back. Other, more ‘clean’ articles have never picked up as much steam.

  42. Rachel says:

    OMG this article is long overdue!!!! As a body image coach and anti-diet teacher for women I KNOW how many of ‘us’ have gone down the fitness route convincing ourselves it’s for health but actually it’s been about weight management/weight control.
    I’ve shared it amongst my community and support your message 1000%!! we need more teachers like you.
    Would love to get you on my podcast, Ditch The Diet Radio, you interested??
    Cheers and greetings from the UK 😉

    • Taylor says:

      Thanks for the message! Glad that it resonated with you 🙂 Drop me a line and we can definitely set something up for your podcast 🙂

  43. Davis lee says:

    Very passionate post. These points are all your opinions of how the fitness industry should work. I disagree with them but I can see why you express the opinions in this post and it makes me think twice about how I train and coach my clients. This is how we can move forward as fitness professionals and win the war against obesity. Thank yo for this writing this.

  44. Billy says:

    You didn’t write enough words. Not nearly long enough.

  45. Di says:

    100% spot on! Those who disagree missed the point completely! Exercise should be about enjoyment & about being healthy on the INSIDE!
    My bio mother died at 45yrs, both her parents died at age 43yrs. All from cardiovascular disease! At 40yrs of age I am happy to report that, after recent bloodworks that my dr wishes all his patients had my results! My LDL cholesterol was at 1.8 (lower limit of required range) and my overall cholesterol was at 4.3.
    I ‘used’ to want to prescribe to the ‘fitness’ image, and even thought about entering physique comps. Then I came across a wonderful mentor who transformed after being directly associated with the Australian Biggest Loser who is in alignment with what you have expressed about the fitness industry.
    I am not the ‘fitness’ image. I would be regarded as slightly overweight. I have a sagging tummy after bearing two beautiful healthy boys (16mths and 4yrs). But my bloodworks say that I am of optimum health, and I have a resting heart rate in the very low 60’s!
    I love walking and dancing. If I can achieve heart health doing the two things that I love, then well hell, why would I ‘need’ to deadlift or run myself ragged doing bootcamp style fitness – something which pushes a person to the point of vomit & exhaustion, and possibly adrenal fatigue! Why would I enjoy someone ‘screaming’ at my this whole time? Not my scene anymore..
    BTW, I shared your article and nominated it for article of 2016! WELL DONE!

  46. Adrienne says:

    That “glute progress” photo cracks me up… if you look at the changing angle of the lame “tramp stamp” tattoo its easy to see she’s mostly just standing differently and calling it “progress”. So much fakery out there… not cool.

    • Taylor says:

      I moonlight as a photographer – and people have no idea just how much you can change the perception of what you are seeing with very simple lighting changes – not to mention social media filters

    • Christine Rose says:

      You didn’t mention that the panties shrink in every photo. That’s a kind of progress. 🙂
      More seriously, 99% of these butt photos show fat loss from extreme dieting, not actual gluteal development. I happen to naturally have very little fat and muscle in that part of the body, and am continually frustrated by programs that claim to build the butt and actually shrink it. The popular Brazilian one is a particular offender. Look at their before and after pictures and you’ll see not one lady that actually built her glutes.

  47. Coach Taylor,
    Thank you so much for this article! I completely agree with you. I have a degree in Athletic Training and am currently furthering my studies in nutrition and exercise along with obtaining a health coach certification. As I look around at many of the popular people in the fitness industry, I see their pictures of their chiseled abs and tight glutes and, like you said, how it takes so much work to obtain this appearance. I have often asked myself is this what I have to do to be able to be successful in the fitness industry? I don’t see how this is helping people. I want to give people the tools to be able to make choices that helps them improve their quality of life like how to read food labels, how to incorporate vegetables into meals for people who steer away from them, how to incorporate some form of exercise into an always busy schedule, how to set and obtain goals. It’s all about HOW so that months down the road when I am not working with a client anymore they know how to continue with the changes they have made. As I have been working with family members and friends, I am amazed when I ask them about goals for their health and I almost always get responses of I want to lose 10 lbs or I want abs like so and so. I’m like “okay, WHY do you want to lose 10 pounds?” “Do you want to be able to go up and down the stairs without losing your breath? Do you want to be able to play with your kids with ease?” What is losing that weight going to do for you? Everyone is focused on the pounds and I think it is because of the focus on image that the fitness industry has given us rather than health.

    • Taylor says:

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write! I highly recommend reading The Willpower Instinct – it was a game changer for me and from what you have said I think you would find it the same!

  48. Karen McCoy says:

    Gold. Pure gold. We thank you!

  49. Ptolemy says:

    Excellent. Thank you for writing this.
    Unfortunately, it takes a lot to awaken people. I know it sure did for me, after many years of trying and failing to become well. I’ve been seeing a holistic nutritionist lately. Let me tell you, my eyes have been forced open. This person spent many years of hard study and gained much experience to become the professional that she is. I am becoming excellent in every way because of the advice she and other true experts have provided, after years of crippling chronic illnesses.
    The mass-produced junk that passes for “knowledge” these days is an insult to nature and the gods. You’ve said it in a way that makes sense.

  50. Georgia says:

    I’m a clinical pilates practitioner of 14years and am constantly correcting the mistakes of this ignorance!
    I don’t understand how people who’s primary job is to help their clients to move properly know so little about biomechanics, don’t keep up to date with current research! This includes physios! People need to step back from their egos and truly look at the client in front of them! Appreciate that their clients body might be at a different stage of life to theirs. Get your facts straight so you know who you’re working with! postural assessment, muscle testing, medical clearance and history. Maybe BMI isn’t the only gage! For example, if a middle age woman comes in struggling with her weight and seems to be increasing in weight after a month of boot camp maybe realise that there are other systems in the body and refer on! If it’s out of your scope refer on! Get to the bottom of whats going on with your client and when they have the all clear then exercise them! I can’t stand it when peoples’s ignorance and arrogance stand in the way or potentially injure the very people who are paying us to help them.
    Thank you for writing this!
    Ps no narcies of me either 🙂

  51. Bruckner8 says:

    What this is completely lacking, is the responsibility on the idiots who believe this shit. I say “buyer beware.” If the idiots fall for this type of approach, so be it.
    I’m just a middle-aged guy who weighs more than he should, looking for some direction on how to exercise w/o hurting myself, and what foods I might prioritize over others along the way. I instinctively KNOW that if some Fitness Pro is starting to use lines with me like “you’ll be ready to show off that new speedo in no time!” that they’ve lost me completely.
    I’m much more in tune with Fitness Pros that exalt virtues of personal long-term physical FIT-NESS, as a Zen-like, transcendental change in ATTITUDE and KNOWLEDGE, over the super-hyped, rah-rah motivational garbage that I see all over the place.
    Again, my point is: I know this. I don’t feel sorry for the suckers being taken advantage of by the Fitness Hucksters out there.

  52. Delphine says:

    Yayyyyyyy thank you so much for this!!! That’s one of the things that I’ve always hated in fitnesses, and even in crossfit – and yet I train 5 times a week and I would be in the 10% of people training regularly. But by no means I would allow myself to educate people about how they should live their life because 1) it is not my job and 2) fitness can take many different forms! I liked muay thai and crossfit, because what I expect from sport is that kind of intensity – I’ve never had visible abs and yet my blood pressure, diabetes etc are excellent, and most of – I feel awesome in my own body. Now, I’m not looking for inspirations about how to look when I go to the gym, my own tricky mind and the whole frickin society are already pretty present when it comes to this. What I want is a trainer selfless enough to help me progress and not trying to find opportunities to show off – what’s the point, you are already in a position of power towards your clients, have a little humility. Anyway, thanks again!!!

  53. Remain hidden says:

    I have to say this was the most powerful and accurate use of the written word I’ve seen with regards to this industry in some time, quite possibly ever. I have recently written an article myself on spec regarding the fitness industry and more predominately, how unhealthy the competitive body building, physique and bikini fitness industry actually is. Though I’m not in the industry in any capacity, at one point my father was. At one point I was. And recently I’ve had the displeasure of watching it effect someone close to me in a very negative way. From throwing away an education, a relationship, and the use of anabolics. I’m so saddened by this all. Thank you for this blog post.

    • Taylor says:

      Thank you for sharing! It is hard to see the results of many aspects of the industry and this non-stop fixation on what we look like…

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