Protect Your Ethics

Warm-Up:

Whew! The past year has been a whirlwind for IDEA. From our ongoing conversations with many of you, we know you can relate to this exhilarating feeling. In between the shopping madness and eggnogs of the upcoming holiday season, we hope you’ll take some time to reflect on your inspiring accomplishments of 2004 and use them to craft a list of personal and professional dreams for the year ahead.

Perhaps a good starting point is to draw your attention to the content in this, IDEA Fitness Journal’s, first CEC issue. Because your professional growth depends on your continuing education in fitness, IDEA is committed to consistently delivering convenient, yet challenging, CEC content packages to help you “learn while you earn” credits toward your various certification renewals.

There is much more to fulfilling industry standards than studying and taking these tests, however. We were reminded of this a few months ago when the July 12 Newsweek article broke about Mike Torchia, a personal fitness trainer (PFT) in Hollywood, California, who claims to have had more than 40 extramarital affairs over 30 years with his female clients. Frankly, we were appalled by his shameless, practically gleeful admission of philandering and lack of personal and professional ethics. If a page-long negative article about this in a respected major news magazine circulated to millions of your potential customers is not enough to outrage you, stand by, because it gets worse. Torchia, who so publicly and flagrantly ground up his integrity—and, by association, the PFT industry’s—is pedaling “The Trainer,” a screenplay he has written based on his unsavory exploits. Imagine the chilling effect this could have on public perception of personal trainers. We know his actions don’t represent you or the way you conduct yourself and your business, but will the public?

The foundation and future success of the fitness industry—especially personal training—lie in the individual ethics of each one of us. Physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, attorneys and professionals in many other fields have codes of ethics. Breach of these codes is punishable by loss of licensure, disbarment or even, in some cases, criminal law. While there is no universal code of ethics for fitness professionals, IDEA formulated a formal code and specific practice guidelines for owners and managers, personal trainers and group fitness instructors almost a decade ago. We encourage you to revisit the IDEA Codes of Ethics for yourself and to review them with colleagues and staff. You can find the codes on the IDEA website by using this link: www.ideafit.com/code_ethics.asp. Read them, post them and live by them. Protect the integrity of your profession. If you see a colleague flirting with a breach of ethics, have the courage to tactfully remind him or her that the (negative) actions of individuals are often mistakenly ascribed to an entire group.

Individually, you can change the ugly brushstrokes splattered for public misunderstanding by trainers like Torchia by staying true to yourself and your customers. As we try to earn a credible foothold with the medical and insurance industries to advance the fight against obesity, we need to raise the standards of both the credentialing process and what is considered acceptable behavior for fitness professionals.

We hope your holidays are blessed with love, laughter and high hopes for another great year in this fantastic industry!

“It matters not how long we live but how.”

—Philip James Bailey

Yours in good health,

Kathie and Peter Davis

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Kathie Davis

IDEA Author/Presenter
Kathie Davis is executive director of IDEA Health & Fitness Association in San Diego. She frequ... more less

Peter Davis, CEO

IDEA Author/Presenter
Peter Davis is the chief executive officer of IDEA Health & Fitness Association.
November 2004

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

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