Don’t Get Taken by the Business of Fitness
The misapplied exercise programs of today are a significant cause of some of our obesity problems and the many failures within the fitness industry. Most people I meet that are over 40 who were avid exercisers in their 20’s and 30’s that participated in some or all of the fad programs and diets of the past, are more out of shape today, than those who had never exercised. Only about 17% of the people in this country and less than that in most other countries belong to any type of fitness facility. This means that 83% of us either do not belong to gyms, have had bad experiences, have quit gyms or are so afraid of going to a gym they don’t even try. What this really means is that 83% of the people in this country see no value in what a fitness center can offer or have tried one and received poor results or a bad experience. Why?
Most trainers that are glorified on mainstream media are ONLY promoting programs that are NOT meant for beginners – beginners don’t even need to know these programs exist. They are so far removed from what a true beginner needs, they can’t understand them, nor do they care to understand. Most believe that there isn’t enough money in providing programs for beginners. It’s also not exciting to them, so they over-train them on their first few visits, leave them sore and humbled, talk briefly about nutrition without truly letting them know that 70% of the results they receive from their workout program is not a direct result of the workout or the trainer, but from proper nourishment. To make matters worse, the beginners are placed into groups way too soon with people who are far ahead of them and are then given unreasonably unattainable goals that only the fittest 25-year-old trainer could achieve.
The real truth of the matter is when you workout with one of these reckless trainers, you get yourself addicted to exercise that if you stop or even slow down, you WILL get so far out of shape you may never recover from it. Most of the exercise programs that some follow are ONLY meant for the 1.7% of the population that are already in shape. You see, of the 17% of the American population that works out regularly, only 10% of them are at the fitness level necessary to perform any of the activities that new small group personal training or boot camp programs are using to get their clients into shape. This means the weight they are losing is more muscle than fat. When people lose weight the wrong way they immediately start getting out of shape just after a few days of not exercising. I always recommend a professional bio-signature test or a hydrostatic body fat test for people I know who are exercise fanatics and for those who are more interested in losing body fat and inches. Loose, flabby skin hanging on the back of the arm is the main symptom of an energy imbalance: too much cardiovascular exercise with your heart rate above 70% of your max and/or extremely high-repetition weight training without enough rest days in between the same muscle groups.
Now let’s look closer at the 17% who do these new fad programs that are not part of the 1.7% that are already in shape. Most get injured or sick on a regular basis and have many digestive disorders and other problems. You CANNOT do these programs unless you ingest MANY nutritious calories to fuel these activities. Some of the people who run these programs have NO real training. The others who may be aware of what they are doing to their clients should get a Hulksmash! These programs are destroying people’s bodies, causing damage to their internal organs and not really adding much value, as 83% of the population still has no intention of participating in them. They have no intention of ever doing what they see the 1.7% of the population doing because it looks impossible for them.
I hope now that I have educated you on who should really be participating in these new fitness programs as a consumer. Let’s take a closer look at the large big box gyms and new franchised small group training gyms and who they are hiring to work as their trainers. Most have never been out of shape and have no true empathy with someone who struggles with weight and personal image issues. Young and perfect coaches dressed in figure-hugging workout gear and tight shirts aren’t role models; they represent everything the new potential client most dislikes about us. Most new clients believe we are an egotistical industry full of selfie-taking dolts who would rather talk about themselves than help anyone new, and often this viewpoint isn’t too far from the truth.
Most importantly, people despise this type of trainer because the trainer leads on that the reason the client is fat is because they are lazy. Maybe a few are, but vast majority need leadership, gentle guidance & genuine encouragement, early success and reframing through a long-term understanding of what fitness is and how to live a healthy lifestyle – one they can maintain no matter what.
The fitness industry as a whole, will never attract the 83% until we start teaching fitness instead of selling the newest and latest fads and gimmicks with the primary intent of extracting money from their clients and never empowering them to be self-sufficient. For those of you who keep jumping from one new fad to the next never really finding anything that gives you that 100% feeling of success, let me ask you a question: Do you brush your teeth much different than you did when you were a kid? I’ll bet you still do it at least 1-2 times a day no matter what and you Never get bored enough to quit. Your exercise program should be just like that. It’s meant to be something that you add to your daily routine that you will do for the rest of your life. It’s not meant to consume your life unless you’re part of that 1.7%.
Stay healthy my friends…
Data and statistics were extracted from publications by Thomas Plummer. His writings also provided inspiration for creating this article.
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