I’ve been waiting, watching and patiently listening- I have sat back this week and watch the outcry from the community for and against different fitness methodlogies. I have listened to people bashing other areas of fitness, defending other areas of fitness. I have watched the media speak about conditions that exist in the medical arena and blame certain methodologies for it. I have read things about zumba, prancercise, back flipping for time, powerlifting, etc. I have heard from so many coaches, athletes and members the discussion going around about how everyone is tired of the criticism.
I have remained quiet, to formulate these thoughts about to go down. Let me start by saying I am in the process of writing a complete research article on the condition known as Rhabdomyolysis in response to an article that was posted earlier this week. This article, I wanted to be simple, but as I dug more and more into rhabdo, the causes, the signs, the symptoms, the risks and the prevention of, I realized it needed to be a full fledged article about the reality and the science behind it rather than just my “opinion” on what is causing it. So I am carefully spending time analyzing, reviewing and carefully selecting the most important bullet points that are important to us as coaches and athletes.
Now, here I sit after thinking long and hard this week. I stepped back this week to let it unfold before I gave my response. I was heated earlier this week, upset that people keep bashing each other in the world of fitness. I wrote a response on facebook in which STILL people were bashing because of their perspective. Here is what my Facebook post said:
“Just a thought- I think the biggest thing that people need to realize is in any community, whether body building, power lifting, olympic lifting, and CrossFit, there is judgement from other humans in other specialties. Shit, even in the fire service from shift to shift and engine to truck… this is part of human nature. But what we have to stop doing is pointing fingers at everyone else and start owning responsibility for our own actions and start praising those who are living a healthier lifestyle. We also need to present facts and evidence to support our case and not badmouth ANY fitness program whatsoever…. Any and all programs that get humans to move off the couch or improve their fitness and health are GOOD. ”
And yet the criticism EVEN on this post, goes to show me that we have gotten to a point in the fitness community where we may not be looking at the common goal anymore, which is to reduce the incidence of a sedentary lifestyle and promote movement. PERIOD.
You see, 20 years ago, when I started coaching, to me it wasn’t about who was the best, who was the fittest, who had the fastest time, the heaviest lift, looked the best, etc. etc. It was about changing lives. PERIOD. I got into this industry to make a difference. I made a GREAT income as a personal trainer, one which is still not matched by my full time “Career” now. But I choose things because I enjoy them and I am passionate about them. I am passionate about human movement. I am passionate about helping people get out of their comfort zone. I am passionate about sharing information with others so they may make their lives better. I am passionate about getting in front of people and having a good time helping them work out, because it’s not “fun” for everyone like it is for me… so i like to crack jokes, make snide remarks and pretty much, love being a coach and entertainer at times.
This week, I questioned if I was in the right industry anymore. And the reason I did is because of the amount of hate in our industry. It didn’t used to be like this. It used to be that you could go to “globo gym” and do whatever you wanted and there would be trainers, etc. The power lifters were those guys making loud noises in the weight room. You had cardio queens, guys who did arms and chest every day (Sun’s out, guns out) and had scrawny little legs (and yes we poked fun back then too). You had aerobics classes, yoga classes, spin classes, etc etc. And everyone seemed to co-exist in one building. Maybe people got results, and maybe they didn’t. But it really didn’t matter, because they were moving and they were in a facility.
Somewhere along the way, I believe our industry , the fitness industry, has become so segmented, that we have lost sight of our common goal. Human movement.
Back in the old days, we had jobs that required us to move. We had recess and breaks, at school. We had physical education. We had to grow our food. We had to build, create and use human movement as our MEANS of obtaining an income. Then came better and better technology. And with it the invention of computers. And with computers came social media. We can now hide behind a computer, say what we think, our voice can be heard and there doesn’t even have to have substantial evidence to support what we “post” because it’s on the internet and people believe a lot of stuff.
Kids don’t move anymore in school. Parents feed them quick easy solutions because everyone is so “busy”. In fact, too busy to even make a meal. When did we get so fucking busy that we let fast food restaurants feed us the majority of the time. When did we stop taking care of our OWN basic needs?
So today, I am writing this to stop and take a look at the industry of fitness. I am crying out to all fitness professionals to stop and look at the big picture. We are NOT each other’s competition. PERIOD! You need more members? Get them off the couch. You need more clients, go stand in front of a fast food place and recruit- I am sure you will find plenty there that NEED to move. Our enemy is not each other. I don’t give a fuck if you’re recruiting people to be a CrossFitter….er, excuse me.. a CrossFit® Athlete, go to zumba, prance for 3 hours, go out and walk for 30 minutes a day, sculpt your body, use straps to work out, go to boot camp, run, bike, swim, unicycle, fly around in a fairy costume, or jump in front if the TV while you are playing video games (my son does this and I laugh, because he has a little bit of energy). The goal should be to get people’s asses off the couch, away from processed foods as much as possible, and start moving their body. It should be to start with 5 minutes, then work to 7, then work to 10 minutes, etc. etc. It should be progressive in nature and programmed to the needs of the individual rather than the needs of the coach. It should be appropriate and quality in nature.
We are in a state of epidemic in our world today. Both Obesity and complacency are on the rise throughout the world. Yes, we have more people moving because of certain fitness movements, but we are not winning the battle yet. We are still fighting a broken system, and we are fighting against human nature. These two things are so powerful and yet we fight each other. We bash, we hate, we argue, we try to disprove rather than approve of others fitness movements because we think we are better. We look down on others because it’s different than ours. We segregate ourselves because we are our own entity. We call people cults because their community is strong and supportive. If I remember right, every arena of fitness has that feel. If you are a powerlifter, there is a powerlifting community. If you do yoga, there is a yoga community. If you cycle, there is a cycling community. Each and EVERY fitness activity has a community that has a “cultish” feel to it. Some people are more into it than others. Some will proudly post they rode 25 miles today while others will silently do their workout and just keep going.
Fitness PROFESSIONALS will read into this article and figure out what I am getting at. I am sure there will be people who complain I am on a soap box and this is bullshit because “we are more specialized than that”. While that may be true, please realize my intent. My intent is for ALL of us to STOP the fighting over who has the best program, who has the best gym, who has the best results. I know it’s all marketing and we all need to find a way to make a living. BUT by bashing another fitness system, methodology, or gym, you make YOURSELF look shitty in the process. It’s not about where you go, it’s about going! For 95% of people, the hardest part of moving is starting!! Once things have begun, they will find it in their own right to find something that works for them.
We as professionals should support the population in what their goals are. I have repeatedly sent people out of FTF because we are not a good fit for them. Not because I don’t want them to work out at FTF< but because the services I offer at my facility don’t fit their needs. Once each of us realizes as professionals that there are 7 Billion people on the planet, which means there are 7 billion needs, there are 7 billion different squats, 7 billion different presses, 7 billion different “diets”, we will start to understand that we should support our quest for fitness. Once we realize that it’s about giving information rather than hating on others, then we can make progress. Until then, the consumer will remain weary of every sport, gym, coach, etc.
Consumers- DO SOMETHING FUN!!!!! If you don’t enjoy what your doing to move your body, then WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IT? Honestly!?!? Ask yourself that question. I know people say that their program is better than someone else’s, but honestly, if you are just starting to get into fitness, then work on eating less shit and moving your body more. Is there anything else that REALLY matters when you begin to move?
Having said that, please realize that there are programs that are more efficient and higher in safety and efficacy than others. Your job as a consumer is to do your research. Find out what you enjoy, do some research on it and figure out if it will be a good fit for you. Also, study websites, videos, articles and look up when articles come out that bash a certain methodology. Chances are you will find cases that support both sides. Remember that in most articles unless a research article, has bias (and even those, have some sort of bias as to what they want to prove) It’s very difficult to remove bias unless you are speaking from a completely logical sense. Remember that the industry itself has motives which may or may not always be in your best interest.
I am calling all of you out fitness professionals, personal trainers, coaches, instructors, whatever you call yourself. Step back and remember why you got into what you did in the first place. It’s because you were PASSIONATE about it. EVEN if you got into it for the reason of making an income, remember that what goes around comes around. If we bash others, eventually that will come back to us in so many other ways.
Share your passion with others everywhere you go. When someone asks you a question about your program, give them information, and allow them to make a decision. Help them find what fitness movement is correct for them. In the long run, those individuals will appreciate you more and PROBABLY refer you more business because you were a PROFESSIONAL and recommended they do the right thing FOR THEM.
Will this create controversy? I hope so. because I am so tired of defending fitness…. because really, what we do every day when we respond to the people bashing, is defend our passion for helping people become healthy. Are there risks inherent in exercise, yes. Is it important that people are informed? Yes. Is it important that you check with your doctor on the risks for YOU as an individual, Yes… We need to be aware of the risks of human movement- injury up to and including death, whether acquired or inherited. We need to realize that there is good and bad information out there. We need to realize that there are levels of coaching ability, training ability, instructor ability. The great thing is, there are so many avenues for us to move now, there really is no excuse left to not get up and do something.
Here’s to all of you out there- Can’t we all just get along?