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Recently I received an email discount from IDEA for a national supplement company. While I always appreciate the idea of a ‘discount’, I do find it repugnant the practices of many supplement companies, including this one = GNC. I question the wisdom of Fitness Professional organizations such as IDEA aligning themselves in any way with these entities.

Let me explain what I mean: Each experience I have had with supplement companies or weight loss product companies whether multi level marketing Shackley, Herbalife, Mellaluca, Avocare, It Works etc or GNC or other ‘Sports Nutrition Stores’ like Max Muscle, and the like, has included people working for these companies referencing themselves as being ‘Wellness Coaches’ or ‘Nutrition Consultants’ or even ‘Personal Trainers’ . However, none of the individuals I have met with have degrees in Nutrition, certainly not one is a Licensed Nutritionist or Registered Dietician. Seldom are any holding Nationally Recognized Personal Training or even Group Fitness Certifications (much less to say any degree work in Exercise Science, Physiology, Micro-biology etc) which might be helpful in defining ‘ scope of practice’ and attribute to truly defined evidence based knowledge. Generally there may be some ‘company supplied training’, which is simply how to sell the supplements.
And so with this lack of education, frequently I have observed the direct & outright contradiction of recommendations by Registered Dieticians, and suggestions of items banned by USADA. The highly UNTRAINED workers give ‘well meaning’ but incomplete and non evidence based supplement ill-recommendations. With no education in bio-science related to nutrition I have seen people sick on supplements that are contra-indicated to medications and health issues that they have. I truly question alignment with the supplement industry for several reasons with one of the very interesting points being that often testosterone and several other items that would violate USADA testing are commonly in several products. While these items may not be ‘illegal’ for ‘average people’ (non-athletes) many of the people coming in think they are coming for ‘health’ and are getting ‘accurate advice’. If these supplements are banned by USADA for athletes ( to protect them and their health and to keep clean sports) why would we consider them OK for the general public doing body building, or just trying to be in shape. The business is RIFE with FALSE weight loss products and does nothing to promote the trade of legitimate personal training or group fitness but instead is a multi million dollar industry promoting the quick fix. Those newer to the fitness industry may not be aware of their practices. Buyer beware when the ‘Wellness ‘ word is used.

As Fitness Professionals who may be considered ‘Allied Health Care professionals’ , we do have a responsibility to think beyond the ‘money’ and think in legitimate terms. For those that have visited Colorado recently we know that not all things labeled ‘healing’ or ‘wellness’ or ‘medical’ are actually evidence based as being truly good for people. And just because there is money in an industry, it doesnt make it right or good

Gale Marchand
American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer
Recognition by IDEA Fitness as Personal Trainer
Fitness Manager
Studio Owner

I find IDEA’s association with GNC completely REPUGNANT. Their products are buyer beware. About the only thing Id look at getting there is gels for endurance or protein powder in a pinch.

Please consider this in your next round of member benefits

Thank you for you listening,

Gale Marchand – ACSM-CPT
Fitness Manager