Where Have All the Men Gone?

Fitness Forum:

I must agree that tapping into the male market is trickier than tapping into the female side (see “Missing the Male Demographic,” Making News, September 2009 IDEA Fitness Journal). I don’t think it will remain a hard sell for the next few decades, however. Having been a trainer for 29 years, I have seen the industry go through a lot of changes. We must not forget that this industry was [populated mainly by men] when it first started. Most of the men joining gyms were tough guys strutting their stuff and intimidating anyone who was smaller and weaker. It was a way to attract women. It made women want to be with you and other men want to be like you. If you weren’t [in the gym] to get bigger or stronger, then you didn’t belong there.

Times are different now. Most of those [types of] gyms are losing out to the bigger chains of fitness facilities and family fitness centers. Where are the men? Pay–ing for their wives and children to use the facility and justifying their absence by saying it’s just too expensive. Bull! Time is money, and if you can show a man how investing in a trainer can enhance his return on investment and improve his bottom line in regard to healthcare cost and preventive maintenance, then he’ll be sold. I think most men will get off to a better start if they go at it alone with a trainer in the beginning and then share the workouts with someone with equal abilities and similar goals.

Just like it was a hard sell to get women into the gym, because they all felt they should look like Barbie before they set foot in a gym, men feel that they must already look like either Arnold or the 18–22-year-old male athletic stud on the cover of Men’s Health. We must change how the industry markets [itself]. Exercise is for everyone and so are gyms, fitness facilities and family recreation centers. How one looks should be second to how one feels. Taking care of yourself is no longer a “macho” thing; it is a smart thing. How a man does it makes him even smarter in the eyes of his peers.

James Pylipow
Personal Trainer
St. Louis, Missouri

Yoga Teacher-Training Regulation

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Shirley Archer for an article about state regulation of yoga teacher-training schools (“Yoga Teacher-Training Schools Subject to State Licensure,” Making News, September 2009 IDEA Fitness Journal). Here in Wisconsin, the Educational Approval Board has been regulating yoga teacher-training schools with no controversy/problems since 2004. The almighty New York Times does this skewed article on the New York regulatory agency using some heavy-handed action with yoga teacher-training schools, and all hell breaks loose and misinformation multiplies. Ms. Archer was kind enough to speak with me as a state regulator of private schools and hear factual information. Her patience and depth of questioning made me feel she [had] a real understanding of what state regulation is all about and why yoga teacher training falls under most states’ private school statutes. Mark Davis of Yoga Alliance sent me a copy of Ms. Archer’s article. I called her and thanked her for the reasoned and balanced reporting of the issue. She picked good folks to interview and wrote an explanation of the issue that was informative and fair.

Pat Sweeney
Wisconsin Educational Approval Board
Madison, Wisconsin

I read Shirley Archer’s balanced article on licensing of yoga teacher trainings and wanted to add a couple of points.

  • In New York State, according to Monica Borden with whom I met last May, licensing requires that all teachers participating in a teacher training (TT) be licensed. That is a de facto licensing of teachers. It would also mean, for example, that I would lose a number of the outstanding teachers invited to my teacher trainings, like Bobby Clennell, Sharon Salzberg, and other leaders in their fields, all published, all deeply experienced. They world never put themselves through licensing simply to be a guest teacher in my program.

  • What would happen to visiting teachers from out of state conducting TTs in New York? Yoga Journal presents any number of guest TTs on its programs, for example. And large schools like Yoga Works constantly offer guest TTs at their facilities with nationally recognized teachers from out of state.

I brought all these issues to the attention of those with whom I met last May. They readily grasped the ramifications, and they even attended the Yoga Journal conference in progress in New York at the time to get an idea of what I was talking about. (They had never heard of any of the large conferences in the U.S.)

New York does represent a particularly burdensome procedure. For that reason alone we hope to defeat licensing, and have already achieved amended language in both the senate and assembly bills. We’re now ready for the push to get these bills on the floor for a vote and all the way to Governor Paterson’s desk for signature.

Balance for Boomers

Thank you so much for the “Balance for Baby Boomers and Seniors” article by Evan Osar, DC (September 2009 IDEA Fitness Journal). It was well written and fantastic. I work with seniors on a daily basis and I focus on balance and stability. This article was helpful and informative. I do use the movement patterns that the article discussed, but I use a chair for safety. The paragraph on visualizing “a line from the foot tripod up through the knee and directly into the hip socket” gave me a new way to help my clients establish better balance.  I am excited to try this in my next class. Again, thank you so much for a wonderful article.

Maria McCracken
Wellness Director, Altavista Area YMCA
Altavista, Virginia 

Erratum

Please note that in the 2009 IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Surveys (July– August IDEA Fitness Manager and July– August IDEA Fitness Journal; September IDEA Trainer Success and September IDEA Fitness Journal), we failed to include the trademarks on the TRX® Suspension Training® and TRX® Suspension Trainer brands. Both are registered trademarks of Fitness Anywhere®. We regret the error.

We Want to Hear From You!

Send your letters and opinions to Ryan Halvorson, IDEA Fitness Journal Fitness Forum, 10455 Pacific Center Ct., San Diego, CA 92121-4339; fax them to him at (858) 535-8234; or e-mail them to rhalvorson @ideafit.com. You may also leave a voice mail letter in the editorial voice mail box at (858) 535-8979, ext. 239. (For general membership questions or information, however, please e-mail member services at member@ideafit.com.) We reserve the right to edit letters for length or clarity.

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January 2010

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