I live all too close to the epitome of the Eastern Suburbs infatuation with ‘beautiful fitness’ that is Bondi Junction. I want to defend my industry. I want higher standards. I want better quality control. That is why I hold myself to such high standards and why I mentor young trainers. We can do a lot better as an industry. We can do a lot better in educating those that we service.

For me, this comes down to a simple principle: everyone working in the health and fitness industry should be most concerned with extending the quantity of life and improving the quality of life of the people it services. We need to be the health industry first and the fitness industry second. Fitness is just one component of good health. To only focus on fitness as a metaphor for health is ignorant and arrogant at the same time. I have a term for training that is based purely on appearances and vanity: I call it ‘cosmetic fitness’.

So here is some simple advice from an experienced trainer to those in the industry who are not focusing on their client’s health as their number 1 priority: the next time a client tells you that they want to be skinnier, stronger, bigger, leaner, etc. just ask “why?” You will either get a response that references an aspect of their overall health or you won’t. If you don’t get an answer based on a healthy approach it is your job to anchor their goals in good health practices. It doesn’t mean that you can’t help them become skinnier, stronger, bigger, leaner etc. It just means that the motivation will be rooted in a healthier framework which will not only lead to a healthier client long term, but also a happier one. A beautiful, sexy, attractive, fit person may not be healthy or happy but a happy and healthy person is beautiful, sexy attractive and fit. Not because it was the goal but because it is an inevitable by-product of living well.

I would like to say well done to some of my clients this week who have done things that they couldn’t do before this week. Well done to Belinda and Jacquie for doing their first push up. And well done to Stav who completed a 50km walk recently with her team “Wine Not” raising $4289 for the Fred Hollows Foundation. All 3 women train because their health is their highest priority. The health and fitness industry can do great things if we focus our services in the right areas. Two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese. Sexy fitness commercials and pictures of body builders won’t attract these people to join a gym or seek help just as photo-shopped images of celebrities in magazines don’t improve our own self image. People will seek help where they feel welcome and it is up to the health and fitness industry to provide the appropriate atmosphere to make them welcome or we will continue to alienate those that need this service the most. 

Please share on your with your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter to let them know that the fitness industry is also part of the health industry and there is good work being done. We just need more of it.