Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Fitness Industry’s Dirty Little Secrets

In an industry that is so important to our culture, and our well-being, the fact is that we have some unethical and uneducated people in the field of Health and Fitness.  It saddens me.  I am SO passionate about overall health and fitness, I become very frustrated, and even somewhat angry, when I see and/or directly feel some of the side effects of our industry’s "Dirty Little Secrets".  Because of that, I want to share with you some of these "secrets".  Hopefully, this will help you to avoid them.  You have to prepare yourself and be knowledgeable about what can happen, what does happen and how to avoid them.  Knowledge is definitely power and, with the information I can share with you, you are less likely to fall prey or become injured.  If you aren’t aware of these "Dirty Little Secrets", you may be affected and you won’t know until it’s too late!
Below are some of these "Secrets":
  • The fitness industry is highly unregulated.  Anyone, without any qualifications or certifications, can print up a business card and call themselves a Personal Trainer;
  • Some exercise facilities, or fitness companies (boot camps), employ people who are NOT qualified;
  • Some personal trainer certification programs take only a few days to complete and, in fact, some can even be taken on-line without any experience working with clients;
  • Some Trainers let their credentials lapse and may even use these expired degrees, certifications, education as their "credentials".  They do not keep up to date with current and relevant information;
  • There are those who are "flash in the pan" Trainers, recouping what they can for a short period of time.  They'll have no qualms whatsoever in taking your money now;
  • “Part time” Trainers tend to not have a vested interest in you, or their business, for the duration; and,
  • Remember, just because someone looks fit – it doesn’t mean they know how to teach proper, appropriate, safe techniques and execution of exercises.
Some of these Trainers, that lack credentials or operate with expired credentials and/or do not keep up to date on the latest research, can result in participants in a program having a higher risk of injury.  On numerous occasions I've witnessed several outdoor group classes having far too many clients with only one Trainer.  How can that one Trainer possibly watch everyone and check for proper form and technique?  I've watched how too many of these clients performed an exercise in a way that would result in serious injury.  If not in that class, then will for sure later on.  Some of our current clients have come from such classes and most of them come with horror stories and/or injuries.  One client I have even told me that when she questioned a "trainer" about a way in which an exercise was executed and the latest research around that exercise, she was told – “It all changes so much, all the time, so I don’t bother listening.  Trust me, do it this way.”  If a Trainer can't, or won't, explain their methods to your satisfaction, perhaps they don't understand themselves.

To assist you in determining if a Trainer is right for you, I've compiled a list of some questions that will help you avoid those "trainers" out there who may only be interested in the almighty dollar and not have your best interests at heart:
  • What are your qualifications?  - Ask for expiry dates and what recertification requirements there are to stay qualified.
  • What organization(s) are you a member of?  - You can call, or check on line, for most fitness organizations and research their certification requirements and up to date membership.
  • What workshops/seminars/conferences have you attended, over and above what's required to maintain your certification/qualifications?  What were some of your courses?  - this helps you in determining their commitment, passion, expertise and current knowledge.
  • Do you have liability insurance?  - This is VERY important for anyone in the industry.
  • How long have you been in the industry?  - This will help with determining their level of commitment.
  • What are the different jobs you have held?  - perhaps they started out as a front desk person in a gym and worked their way up from there.  Again, this info can help with determining their level of commitment and even their length of time in the industry.
  • Why are you doing this?  - helps with determining the "fit" for you as well as seeking info on their passion and/or commitment.
I am in this for the long haul!  I'm passionate about what I do and want to provide the best of the best for my clients.  I do this by combining fact-based information while helping them incorporate correct muscle memory in the execution of exercises.  I have attended numerous BCRPA and/or Can-Fit Pro workshops, seminars and conferences to ensure I have the most up-to-date information and credentials that I can have.  And, I believe in sharing that knowledge with ALL my clients so that they can take a more active, and ultimately more vested, interest in their health and well being.

For more information:
Visit the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) at: 
Visit the Can-Fit Pro website at: