Who is to Blame for the Obesity Problem?

Trainers' Forum:

The only person responsible for obesity is the one lifting the fork to her mouth. In the case of children, however, parents should be teaching and enforcing good eating habits at home.

My clients’ lives are so packed with obligations at home and work that eating becomes a necessary inconvenience or “stress reliever.” Trying to eat right causes them more stress!

It is irresponsible for Americans to blame the food industry. Yes, I think portions are too big in restaurants, and schools should remove junk food and soda vending machines, but haven’t school menus always been laden with fat and sugar? Americans seem keener on blaming someone or something else for their problems than looking in the mirror to see the real culprit. Let’s stop whining and take responsibility for our eating habits.

Linda Gabriel

IDEA Elite Personal Fitness Trainer

Owner, Fitness Together

Roswell, Georgia

We are outraged by the idea that people would blame the food industry for their weight or eating problems.

People should take responsibility for their own actions instead of claiming “ignorance” when it comes to making smart food choices. Food vendors have a right to market their products to their target audiences. Consumers must empower themselves to ignore the advertising; indulge only periodically on unhealthy snacks and foods (everything in moderation); or educate themselves about the product (healthy or not healthy?). It is also an individual’s responsibility to be proactive about grocery shopping and cooking. It’s not that difficult to prepare a healthy and fast meal at home.

On the matter of childhood obesity, parents should shoulder full responsibility for providing healthy meals and snacks for their children and instill in them that fast food, chips and candy should only be occasional pleasures.

Americans need to stop blaming society for their downfalls and addictions and start to be more self-dependent and personally accountable.

Dawn Miner and Danielle Schroeder

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists

Wegmans Sports & Wellness Center

Rochester, New York

Intriguing Business Model

I just read “Personal Training on Demand” (IDEA Personal Trainer Profit Center column, January 2004, pp. 15-18), and was fascinated. I have always imagined having a similar model, but thought making it profitable without high volume membership was too difficult.

I have worked in both a private one-on-one training center and large-scale commercial gym, but neither situation was quite what I was looking for. A facility such as those featured in your article may be the answer.

Adam Dayon, CSCS

Fitness Program Manager

Shad Hall

Harvard Business School

Cambridge, Massachusetts

When Clients Are Ill

The answers to your June 2003 (pp. 43-44) “Tricks of the Trade” question, “How would you handle a visibly ill client?” were well-rounded, but incomplete. They were of little value to PFTs outside the club or gym setting.

Trainers with their own businesses who go into clients’ homes are pretty much on their own when charging or not charging their clients for a missed session. And we must be flexible to survive. I love what I do and have endured my share of clients who are always visibly ill.

I work with frail seniors—women with Parkinson’s and AIDS, a man recovering from a stroke with a colostomy and a heart condition, developmentally disabled seniors, and some with mental disorders. We have agreed that they can cancel a session up to the time I walk in their door (they know I prefer sooner notice when possible) without being charged.

Once I called a client less than 5 minutes from her home to see how she was doing. She told me she was “fine and ready.” Upon my arrival, I found her vomiting in the bathroom. When I told her I was still going to charge my session fee, she balked and insisted she was well enough to exercise. My choice was to stay and get paid or leave and lose the time. I stayed and modified the session.

I have worked with clients whose colostomies have exploded or whose catheters leaked during training. Some clients are on medication that causes them to scream at me through the session. Why continue with these clients? The bottom line is, if I don’t, who will? My heart and soul are with these special individuals, but I also make sure I am well compensated for my work.

I do not have the luxury of a manager to make decisions and back me up. I must stand up for myself and treat my clients with compassion and love.

Amy Schaller

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Owner, “A Fit Image” Personal Training

San Jose, California

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April 2004

© 2004 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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