For those of you lucky enough to attend IDEA World 2012 I ask that you question each other about the direction of the fitness industry. I know the research backing the effectiveness of metabolic/interval/HIIT/boot camp type training programs. I have read the studies promoting the effectiveness of HIIT for even deconditioned people, and yet I ask if this is the path the fitness industry should take.
We talk and talk about the obesity epidemic, but focus on hard and challenging classes. (A quick scan of the IDEA World sessions reveals three times as many hard core type classes as those designed for the less fit. I did not count yoga, pilates or cycling classes). Certainly a few sedentary people may brave (and succeed at) high intensity classes, but we are preaching to the converted. Most of those who love these high intensity workouts do not need us. They would work out on their own. We are missing the huge inactive population, and I believe, turning them off. High intensity may be effective, but it is not going to draw the sedentary into fitness. The beauty of HIIT may be that you can achieve better results in less time, but many in the industry seem to promote it as an excuse to workout harder and harder.
If you are only out to make money then you may not care whether we reach the inactive. However, most of us got into fitness because we love it and want to share it with and help others. We cannot reach the majority by training the minority. I am not saying to give up on HIIT or on training the fit. However, we do not need to spend so much of our time finding new ways to make exercises harder and more complex. The inactive make up the majority of our population. If we work together to find a way to reach them, we will have more clients, and have made a real contribution to the health of our nation.
I agree and disagree on certain points.
1- Agree that people should definitely start out relative to their fitness/skill level. This is the problem with crossfit or personal trainer stories of horror- someone being pushed beyond their limits. Human fitness moves on an increasing curve. The longer you have been working out, the faster you will get results. HIIT, bootcamp and other classes are just that- classes.
Pros- You get a lot of people in a short time = more $
Con- Cant individually meet with people and assess them
2- I would disagree on the people who have come to condition themselves for a high intensity workout. While I would definitely agree that there are others out there who can do this, I would argue that fitness professionals should be able to work with athletes as well. Even people at the Olympic level have coaches.
Because someone can do a HIIT workout doesn’t mean they don’t need our help. We can show them a dozen variants of it or even new forms they have never contemplated.
Most of those who love these high intensity workouts do not need us. They would work out on their own.
I think trainers should always be expanding their knowledge of programs and exercises.
I dont think we are preaching to the converted when it comes to advertising/marketing as well. I would say most trainers are the first to hit weight watchers/ dietitians/ anything to reach the overweight population- but it is the people that are motivated to work with us that usually come to us.
I dont want to lump people all into one clump, but the majority of overweight/ obese people would most likely not want to respond to our ads because training is- well- hard.