SUPPLEMENTS ARE GETTING OUT OF HAND–scratch that, they’ve already gotten out of hand.
Supplements are the biggest threat to the integrity of the personal training industry and it’s up to you to be part of the solution and not contribute to the problem.
From Prograde to Biotrust, Body by Vi to Herbalife, Shakeology to Isogenix and a host of other commission, recurring commission, and multi-tier programs, supplements are big business.
Increasingly, personal trainers are turning to these programs to make accessory income. Drawn in with the promise of making money while they sleep and BMW’s, it’s hard to resist.
Gamification techniques keep them interested by allowing the retailers to “level up” and reach “diamond status” (or whatever it’s called in the different programs).
The high commissions (many of them recurring) are attractive””so attractive that it can blind the trainer from the usefulness, effectiveness, and value of the product that they are basing their reputation on.
I’ve no issue with trainers recommending supplements to clients and getting a commission if that trainer has done his or her due diligence. In some cases the quality of the product is sufficient but consumer still suffers because of the high mark up necessary to account for the attractive commission structure.
Unfortunately, I think it’s rare for a trainer to do the requisite research before promoting supplements promising extraordinary results. And thus, the trainer has become part of the problem.
Here’s the truth.
Often times it’s the most expensive supplements that offer the most attractive commission programs””this is not a coincidence. As a result, the consumer ends up with a grossly overpriced product just because the trainer””the trainer that they trusted–chose to opt for the product with the bigger commission.
What to Do
If you’re recommending something that your client is going to spend a lot of money on and put in his or her body, you must know what’s in it, any counterindications, and how effective it actually is.
The supplement industry isn’t just about mass gainers, protein, and creatine anymore. There are all of the other types of “miracle” pills, powders, and potions that pop up. From green coffee beans to raspberry ketones, who knows what works anymore and what doesn’t? What I do know is that listening to Dr. Oz is certainly not the answer.
So what is?
Nutrition is too important a component of personal training to ignore. If you sell or promote supplements, it’s your responsibility to do proper research””this means that the research is non-biased. Googling information or reading the material provided by the supplement company doesn’t count.
Until now, the only way to get non-biased information was by reading the studies or reviews of the studies themselves. Fortunately our friends at Examine.com have made the process easier for you.
Reading research is time-consuming and reading the abstract isn’t enough; the specifics of the study must be considered to decide whether the results are valid or not.
Does anybody–your clients or somebody else–ever come up to you and say, “have you heard of “X” supplement? I saw it on TV, what’s your opinion?”
Instead of responding that you don’t know, giving a half-hearted answer, or recommending an over-priced proprietary blend you must be able to educate them.
It takes years to build up your reputations and seconds to lose it. The best, and richest, trainers know that their words are gold and relationships with clients their livelihoods.
Don’t be a part of the problem, be part of the solution.