I have worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years now, as a gym instructor, facility owner and personal trainer, and in that time I have become aware of many things that annoy me about the industry that I love. No other industry attracts so much hype and bullshit, and often attracts the wrong kind of personnel; all ego and no real idea. As p/ts or gym instructors, we are responsible for people’s well being, and those people invest a lot of time and money following our instruction, so the least we should be able to do is give clear, science based advice in line with the clients’ goal. Spend any time in a gym and you will see people performing exercises incorrectly, sometime even dangerously, whilst a p/t stands over them counting reps, or worse still ignoring the client whilst chatting or using their mobile phone. A good physique is not necessarily the sign of a good personal trainer, and whilst they should look in good condition, many people are swayed by appearance and perform as instructed in the misguided belief that they too will become ripped and muscular. There are of course 1000s of excellent personal trainers getting results for their clients, but unfortunately there are also too many charlatans in what is a relatively unregulated industry. Watch how a p/t acts around his/her clients and ask to see certification before parting with any money, and membership of the Register of Exercise Professionals will at least prove that they are qualified and insured.
Phew, time to take a breath!
Ok, I’m on a roll now! Lets move on to the diet industry. In 2017 the US weight loss and diet control market was valued at a staggering $66 billion, and yet worldwide obesity is on the rise. Here is an industry that prays upon the insecurities of people force fed unrealistic body types by the media, and who continue to market and sell magic pills and potions that will result in you achieving the body of your dreams in some completely unrealistic period of time. Often endorsed by celebrities, those desperate to achieve their beach ready body hand over their money with the expectancy that some pill or powder will manage to undo the result of years of unhealthy eating in a matter of weeks. If these products worked, do you not think that they would be available on prescription? On the occasion that people do see results, its certainly not due to the ingredients, but more to a slight change in mindset, after all, you are hardly likely to spend money on weight loss pills whilst gorging on pizza. And there it is, the secret to weight loss…. reduce the calories you consume ~ it’s not rocket science. People undertaking detox diets and juice cleanses swearing by how successful they are, but why do you think that is? Maybe they’ve drastically reduced their calorific intake and surprise, surprise, when they stop drinking these expensive potions the weight goes back on and often increases. Admittedly, many of these juices are of nutritional value and often contain many fruits and vegetables, but the bottom line is that any weight lost is purely as a result of calorie reduction. Similarly with cutting carbs or gluten (did anybody even know what gluten was 10 years ago before it became trendy to be intolerant to it?), by removing a food group we are reducing calories and hey presto, we lose weight. The be all and end all is, if these products worked, there would be no obesity crisis and people would not be overweight, so please, forget the detox (your kidneys will do that for you), the cleansing, the no carbs or no fat diets, simply eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise….. if calories out is greater than calories in, then you WILL lose weight.
Rant over! The fitness industry is an incredible place to work and there’s no better feeling than to help a client achieve their goal, but while people can attend a four week course and become a fully qualified p/t, and the diet industry keeps scamming people with their miracle cures, there will continue to be much to wary of which may detract from the excellent work the majority of p/ts undertake.
Stay healthy and top up your Vit D while the sun’s out!