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 completely agree Janet.
I see the issue from two perspectives.
The deconditioned, obese, sedentary client has seen shows like the Biggest Loser, My Weight Loss Story, etc and comes to the personal trainer expecting those types of sessions and “immediate” results. They want quick results and quick answers. They’ve often tried several different diets or programs, only to be disappointed and disalusioned with their results. They struggle with multiple issues that don’t all stem from their weight/diet and require a team approach as many of these issues are outside of the scope of practice of a personal trainer.
Then you have the personal trainer and fitness industry who is trying to continue to gain clients in a tough economy. Its much easier to get a person who’s already exercising into a program or new class than it is someone who is new to exercise and skeptical that “this will work” when so many things may have failed them in the past. Money talks! That doesn’t make it right.
I think things will change when trainers work together with other health professionals to enhance the overall health of the client. When personal trainers are viewed as professionals by others in the healthcare industry (education, certification and regulation may need to change to make this happen). When there is a focus on preventative health rather than treating the symptoms.
I try to focus on what I can control. I partner with healthcare professionals in a dialogue about the clients care. I look to them for answers and I offer programs when they see a need. I stay educated and I tailor my programs to the clients. I don’t seek to have lifelong clients. I seek to educate them to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle for themselves.
Great post! I enjoyed reading all the answers!