As we all know fitness professionals don’t make a lot of money. We do it because we love it! However, I don’t think that should mean that we end up paying over $100/month for cert fees..With that said what do you think about taking a well known fitness class (For ex. Zumba and calling it a “Latin cardio dance class”?) Most licensed fitness programs charge at least $10/month so if you have multiple certs it can really add up quickly. I know taking these trainings can be very valuable for learning more, but to have multiple certs and maintaing the fees each month seems a little crazy. Do any of you take branded fitness classes and changed the name, but use the same concepts to avoid paying hefty fees each month?
It is a balance, and would differ from club to club. If you chose to go with branded, there are pros and cons:
– People will recognise the brand and come in the door from day 1
– On-going development and changes are taken care of
– Certification is taken care of
– Cost (the big one)
– Adherence / policies you must follow (if applicable)
– If you are capable of building a successful following / program then there are huge upsides (think of the people that ‘invented’ Zumba or CrossFit’).
You could always try running your own class(es) in parallel.
Whether one would consider this an act of civil disobedience in the face of an unjust system or intellectual theft probably varies. Certainly knock offs exist in many areas of commerce…. store brands for example, pirated movies are another. Sometimes things are clearly legal, sometimes clearly not, and often they exist in a grey area between.
Figuring out the specifics of the law on this would probably mean a trip to a lawyer with experience in this field. However, it seems likely that if you have a group exercise certification and you want to teach aerobics with a latin feel, well, people were doing that before ‘zumba’ and there are lots of variations on that theme, and that seems reasonable. However if you use moves and music straight from a zumba class…. well that seems like infringement to me.
But your question is less about whether it is legal, or actionable, but whether it is justified.
I agree that instructors are being squeezed. It kind of mimics a lot of things that are going on in multiple sectors of the economy. A few are getting wealthy and many are getting squeezed. Of course the many being squeezed are often looking for their own product they can turn into the next big thing. Someone, (I don’t remember who) once said that the average worker does not always fight the system because instead of seeing themselves as a victim of inequality solidified by a system in which those with lots of money help write the rules that let them keep it, they see themselves as a potential person with money who will be able to do the same, just as soon as they hit it big. But that is a big philosophical discussion.
I do not agree with going to a training and then not paying the liscensure fees and presenting the program anyway. I think that is wrong, and I do not generally find it morally justified. However, I think it is perfectly ok to take trainings and use whatever parts work for you within your own forms. I also have made a decision to generally avoid branded trainings because I do not want to support this system. I may decide to take one at some point, depending on the circumstances, but as a general rule I prefer to stand by my own creativity, even if it means teaching less or in different ways. As long as instructors are willing to pay these fees the system will not change.
When I am asked to sub for someone teaching, say, a Les Mills class I will accept but ask the studio to post that it will be a body sculpt, or high/low, or whatever I will be teaching. I do not try to mimic their style, but provide my own. I do take workshops and integrate various things into my style.
Thank you for bringing up what I think is an interesting and important topic.
developing a class and making it a ‘brand’ requires a lot of effort. The brand means that the intellectual property of the person who created it is recognized (and often trademarked or even patented), and that is one of the reasons why there are those fees.
What you are suggesting to do is the equivalent of selling a $20 Rolex at the street corner.
Can anybody stop you? Most likely not.
We live in a society where there are 3 kinds of professionals:
-The ones who invent and create something new
-The ones who follow and/or copy what the other group has created
-Those who live and operate in between the other two
This is a subject where can take a lot of time and discussion to analyze it. You (as all of us) have the right to do as what you think is best for you in order to make a living. Using someone else’s training method or idea is not uncommon in our profession. I’m sure the “inventors/creators” of other trends had to “steal” and/or use ideas from others before they called them their own and trademarked them.
The fact is that most of these branded classes are just rehashes and renaming of other exercise systems that have been around for years. What type of music do you think the average step class in Rio was using before Zumba? And all the dance moves in the various dance themed classes, no one had ever done those in hundreds of years of dance history? Kickboxing? No one ever did a karate class before that?
The advantage of a branded class is name recognition. Some market the brand at a high cost and some are reasonable. Personally, I can do it myself without even bothering to steal their choreograhpy or music.