The world which we I inhabit as personal trainers is not one where finances are barriers. Even if some of our clients can only afford to work out with us once a month, that does not mean that they are wondering whether or not they can afford healthy food.
But there is a substantial portion of the population where food stamps supplement their income, and for those, healthy choices are often more expensive and therefore chosen less often. If you have to get the most calories for one dollar, the answer quickly is McDonald’s. Add to that the fact that the educational level is lower a d access to healthcare limited, and you look at a world where a personal trainer is a completely alien concept.
It is easy to point to statistics that demonstrate how you can eat just as healthy on a limited budget. This requires significant skill and time both of which not often found where needed the most.
I personally think the barriers are psychological while the ones who experience the barriers my think it is purely financial.
Michelle and LaRue made good points in that there really aren’t too many barriers if people are properly educated about their choices in exercise and food.
I don’t live in a high income neighborhood, but where I do live has lots of corner stores, take out places and zero gyms. Within walking distance are 2 high school tracks but people need to know what to do when they get there. Also within that same radius are two supermarkets, one much better than the other. The issue then becomes, when you go to the market, what do you buy?
When we start to focus on the people then we can find out what is really keeping them from making better choices.
I think there are many barriers we face every day. We as fitness professionals can guide our clients into creative changes and additions to their regular routine. Money can be a factor depending on where you live, but in most places it is psychological and people need to learn how to effectively use their money and time to make a difference.
There could be…but there shouldn’t be (how’s that for an answer, eh?). I think any barriers to a healthy diet and/or physical activity plan boil down to a lack of good information and professional guidance. Everybody, at some point, needs direction and support (we got it, right?). The trick is to ensure it’s available to everyone, at various points in the process. Once a basic foundation has been created, then individual factors like time, money, energy, likes/dislikes, motivation, goals, etc..can be examined to create a thorough, yet flexible plan for success.