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9 December 2019

Why The Fitness Industry Is Unfit

by Jacob Schepis 0

It’s fashionable to be a personal trainer, own a gym or to have an online following who double tap your bathroom selfie as you flex on a Friday… Plus, it’s profitable if you have a six-pack, cash to splash around or a large online following. The fitness industry is unfit, in dire need of reform…

It’s fashionable to be a personal trainer, own a gym or to have an online following who double tap your bathroom selfie as you flex on a Friday… Plus, it’s profitable if you have a six-pack, cash to splash around or a large online following.

The fitness industry is unfit, in dire need of reform and full of guru’s stealing money from the confused, desperate and vulnerable consumer looking to get fit.

I’ve been in this industry 7 years now, and I’ve seen first hand the number of personal trainers, gyms and online coaches that have started adding their two cents to what constitutes health and fitness, and it infuriates me that the industry is on a downward spiral to being unfit to teach people to be fit…

Why is the fitness industry unfit?

The fundamental reason the fitness industry is in such disarray is twofold:

  1. Ease Of Qualification; and
  2. Lack Of Regulation.

Do you know how easy it is to obtain qualifications to become a trainer?

Well, it’s like buying a cereal box to obtain the token inside…

With the rise of online courses, it’s never been easier to obtain qualification in the fitness industry…

Quite simply, you pay your fees, attend a few classes, get a tour in a gym, pass a few online tests that only require you to identify a bicep and voila, you are qualified personal trainer.

The fundamental reason that so many trainers are not fit to practice is due to the the lack of scrutiny of their ability to screen clients, write programs, conduct sessions and communicate with clients. There is very minimal in gym experience, lifting weights or training a variety of individuals with different needs and goals, nor is there much credence given to ensuring a their advice is evidence based, which at the end of the day is the bulk of the job description…

But you’re just a PT, bro…

Before you argue that personal training isn’t that difficult, let me tell you first hand that there is far more to personal training than meets the eye.

It requires an in depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, human movement, biomechanics, psychology, nutrition and communication skills, just to name a few…

But that’s if you want to get people results of course…

The main issue with the industry is that to gain an understanding of these topics at a basic level requires, a trainer must spend years reading, researching, lifting weights, watching, observing, listening, practicing and most importantly, making a lot of mistakes…

All of this is something that must be done outside of the requisite content in the certificate, and very few understand this…

The industry qualifications BARELY scrape the surface of what is actually necessary to enable a trainer to become competent in all things fitness.

Once qualified, very few coaches will actually spend time and effort improving their knowledge in the aforementioned areas, and although knowledge is important, but personal training is the application of knowledge to a clients individual needs, and is a completely different kettle of fish.

The second main issue with the industry is in its regulation.

Prescribing nutritional plans or training programs is serious business.

After all, you are in charge of someone’s health, and malpractice can have dire consequences – eating disorders, body image issues, injury and other physical and psychological health issues, all of which are a common occurrence as a result of under qualified personal trainers, especially online programs.

When there is minimal regulation, the cowboys run rampant as the police aren’t there to ensure they abide by the rules of evidence based practice… And the rise in online coaching has only muddied the water for the bodies governing the industry.

Who you shouldn’t listen to?

The social media celebrity.
The Rich & Famous.
The fit chick with abs and a booty.
Just because someone has a large online following, a six pack or the money to buy a fitness center or franchise, doesn’t mean they have the requisite knowledge, experience and know how to help you improve your physique.

Don’t listen to the social media celebrity. Chances are they have f*** all idea about programming, periodisation, nutrition or physiology. Just because they are famous dos NOT qualify them to give advice on a matter, period.

Don’t listen to the rich. They probably have a paid trainer, chef and live a lifestyle that is conducive to a lean, muscular physique. If they aren’t working 9-5, slogging it away in the rat race, have a partner and kids, then they won’t understand the specific requirements of your lifestyle and obstacles an ‘everyday’ Joe Blow may face. Plus, owning a gym or facility doesn’t automatically qualify them to train people!

Finally, don’t listen to those who are in shape. Listen to people who have helped others get in shape, time and time again. Whilst experience is at the forefront of evidence based practice, it automatically qualify the advice given. Just because they have abs, doesn’t mean they know how to help YOU achieve your goals…

How To Identify An Unfit Trainer…

STRIKE 1…

Firstly, if your trainer or online coach doesn’t give two sh**s about your individual needs, ask questions or gather personal information before prescribing your plan, that’s strike one.

STRIKE 2…

If the scam, I mean plan, or systems is black and white, inflexible, rigid and have little consideration for their clients needs, that’s strike two.

STRIKE 3…

Finally, if your trainer gives blanket prescriptions and recommendations to all of their clients without any regard to their individual goals, preferences, biomechanics, training or dieting history, anthropometry and so forth, that’s strike three.

The kicker is if a guru typically has their product endorsed by celebrities, or uses their own physique to market the product and make outlandish claims and promises or use buzz words such as ultimate, fast, rapid, then you can bet your bottom dollar that their programs aren’t evidence based.

With the rise of obesity and other health related diseases, the fitness industry is only going to continue to grow exponentially, hence the attraction to becoming a personal trainer.

However, as the number of trainers increases the quality of personal training will only continue to diminish as long as the ease of qualification and poor regulation continues…

It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a large movement to personal claims against trainers for false advertising, negligence and malpractice in coming years for the reasons listed above.

The amount of clients who come to JPS who have had a negative experience with their previous trainer, or online ‘guru’ is absurd.

Although it’s great for our business, it reflects poorly upon the industry, and those trainers who actually do a good job, and there are a few ‘good’ trainers out there.

The problem is, in a world where it is easy to hide behind a screen, there are too many fitness ‘enthusiasts’ chasing a dollar, when they should instead be chasing experience, knowledge and improving their skill set as a coach…

The fitness industry has become unfit to be fit, and we need change.

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions, so please feel free to comment below!

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