Editor’s note: This image ran as part of the feature “Extreme Fitness: How Intense Is Too Intense?” in our February issue. We asked readers for feedback on whether using such messaging on social media was motivational or potentially damaging to participants.

I think images like this that are shared on social media motivate people who are already training on an intense level, while they intimidate individuals who are new to exercise or inconsistent about exercising. Such messages can certainly push people to get their best workout, but, professionally speaking, I’ve met several people who pushed themselves too hard and got injured.

Laura Kiesling
Manager, Anytime Fitness
Nevada, Iowa

Ads like this appeal to people who want to picture themselves as super high achievers with a cinematic level of elite fitness. I personally think these ads are foolish. They discourage more people than they help. Besides achieving elite fitness, training like a pro can promote a much higher risk of injuries. No former football player I have encountered, no matter at what level he participated, has escaped without life-altering permanent injuries of major or minor concern. The goal of our profession should be optimum health, not optimum fitness.

I am 69 years old. I have never been an elite athlete. However, I really like my chances of competing against former elite athletes (of my age on any given day), especially if they played football. A routine of cycling, running, walking, yoga, weight training and skiing keeps me healthy and fit. I think ads like this have a negative impact on most people.

Mike Schmidt
Personal Trainer, Group FitnessInstructor, Amador Athletic Club
Sutter Creek, California

Improving Female Body Satisfaction

I just read “How To Help Middle-Aged Women Improve Body Satisfaction” [Making News, January 2014]. This is an area of health about which I have been passionate for some time. There are two ways I encourage positive body image:

  1. I teach a “Sunrise Shred” boot camp for all body types. As part of my initial paperwork (health history, etc.), I have each client sign a “Positivity Contract.” It states that they are not to use the word can’t and are not to say anything negative about them- selves or others in the group. If they are found guilty of these things, they must do 20 push-ups. To add some humor, the contract states that if we lack time for the 20 push-up penalty, I am permitted to “pinch . . . them instead.” This makes everyone giggle.
  2. I created a program called Risquerobics, Sexy Chair Dance Fitness classes. The entire program is about empowering women, helping them with posture, self-esteem, positive self-talk, etc. In each “Tease ’n’ Tone” introductory class, we have a “Get Real” section at the end of class when I talk to participants about what their body language says about them and the messages they convey by how they carry and treat themselves. I challenge each person to stop the negative self-talk and discuss how damaging it is to think such horrible things about ourselves. People cry in every class; I cry in every class. Women tell me that the classes are life-changing. We get real about things that aren’t typically discussed.

    Thank you for your article. I hope it encourages other fitness professionals to address this important issue.

I also [have] a “no negative comments about yourself ” rule in my gym. Instead of using something like burpees as punishment (because I want people to like those), I ask participants to say two positive things about themselves to cancel out the negative comments. I also tell them never to say anything to themselves or about themselves that they would not say to their son or daughter.

Karen Geninatti
Geninatti Gym and Fitness
Carlinville, Illinois


In the “Samples of Potent Proteins” table on page 87 in the February issue, we listed 1 cup of dry beans as containing 16 grams of protein. This should have specified boiled or cooked beans. Dry beans contain about 38 g of protein. We also listed 1 ounce of soy as containing 25 g of protein. We should have specified the soy as concentrated protein isolate.

Also in the February issue, the Client Success column should have included a photo credit for James C. Godwin. We regret the omission.

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