Personal Trainers Unite…
…Against Our Common Enemy…
…The Pretenders Among Us…
The Pretender has usurped our profession for the last time.
Let me tell you a story.
I love all of my clients, yet one market is especially near and dear to my heart, my corporate accounts. Working as a business owner with other business owners in pursuit of a common goal – employee wellness and productivity — has been very rewarding for me.
Recently I was online reading some results of a variety of corporate wellness programs. A study that touted it’s program a success was one where they had placed every employee with high cholesterol on medication to bring the cholesterol level back in range. There was no fitness or nutrition program in place.
I felt outrage that a “doctor” who took an oath to “first do no harm” would even consider managing disease instead of first applying healthy measures such as suggesting a change in diet and implementing a regular exercise program.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a time and a place for disease management. There are some unreasonable people out there and equally as many people who don’t want to take responsibility for themselves, their own actions and the resulting consequences. These are the most difficult clients we have, if we can even get them as clients in the first place.
We MUST get to the root of any problem to effectively address a solution
If we look only to the symptoms of a thing and not expose the root of that problem, we are only offering a band-aid solution. Addressing the root cause will help to generate effective and more permanent solutions.
The whole issue of Health Care Reform is so loaded with widely differing views on each side of the fence that even professionals can’t agree on major points, much less the entire scope of it.
I was writing rants (in my humble, yet very direct way) to some of the blogs and editorials that I was reading. As I was raging against supposedly “professional”, “educated”, and “knowledgeable experts” my brain suddenly replayed many of my clients’ faces.
I was re-visiting their agony and pain as they recounted to me the horror stories of unprofessional behavior from their previous personal trainer. Their experiences ranged from receiving inappropriate comments to incompetent training methods and varying degrees of poor and unprofessional behavior.
It made me uncomfortable to hear about the unprofessional conduct of some people claiming the title and rank of personal trainer, my profession, when they had little more than a high school diploma and a weekend certification course.
Trainers who exercise their clients way beyond the client’s capabilities, do little to minimize injury, or taunt and demoralize their clients are way more common than I used to think. What happens to those clients when that unprofessional and incompetent trainer loses them? Some are turned off forever from the very thought of exercising. Some showed up at my door. I’m sure some showed up at your door, willing to give it another shot.
Rebuilding trust is not an easy matter. For an entire industry to have an identity problem because of the scattered, unprofessional, and incompetent trainers – The Pretenders – is unthinkable.
No. We gave it away, and maybe we never had our own identity to begin with.
The concept of Personal Training is lumped in with gym rat, group instructor, recreation and activity director,
I believe that one reason our industry has an identity problem is because we have not properly identified ourselves to each other and to the world, the exercising and not-yet-exercising public.
Who Needs a Personal Trainer?
Another reason is perception of the public about workouts. Even we encourage people to workout in between their workouts with us, and that perception is they don’t need us all the time, that they are competent to workout on their own.
There are government recommendations about the number of and amount of time for workouts to achieve positive health benefits. Those recommendations are for everyone with a body.
The perception of self-help, quick fix, magic pill, and exercise paraphernalia that is marketed through hype and infomercials has flooded the consumer mind with misinformation, hope of achievement without much action on their part, and discouragement as they try to find their way alone through that confusing maze.
Personal Trainers Need Personal Trainers Now, More Than Ever. We need to stand up united, lifting our voices together to maintain the ethical integrity and professional standing of the Personal Trainer.
The Pretenders among us are undermining your determination, drive, and ambition for your business and your lifestyle. You have worked too hard to lose any of what you have gained.
The lack of standardized requirements to enter our industry as a qualified professional allows the Pretenders to have free reign in YOUR market, bouncing in and out of the Scope of Practice of the Personal Trainer, allowing them to instruct by personal opinion…a very dangerous proposition to say the least. This ability they have simply undermines and drags down the professional and ethical integrity of our profession and puts the public at risk.
Perhaps you, too, are awed at the concept of helping people regain and retain their health, to look good and feel great. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend my days. Yet, we hold their safety in our hands. One wrong decision, one lax judgment on my part could cause serious injury to my client.
We also hold in our hands their motivation, desire, and dreams to reinforce or destroy. That is a privilege that I take very seriously, as I am sure you do.
The Pretender is a Cancer…
…that must be cut out at the root. They will be made to stand up and be accountable through the tireless efforts of trainers like you and me to promote professionalism in the marketplace and a positive image among consumers.
Greg Justice, M.A. is the owner of AYC health & Fitness who believes the key to client success is finding a workout they enjoy enough to continue throughout their lifetime. Consistency is what matters and it shows: Greg has been a personal trainer for over 28 years and is the author of Mind Your Own Fitness – A Mindful Approach to Exercise and Fitness.
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