Step inside any globo gym the masses flock to or get into conversation with the average gym-goer about fitness and it is easy to see how weak the fitness industry is. Sub some too few and far apart hardcore training gyms and Crossfit boxes and the approach to fitness today is soft. Social media posts about fitness and results has turned into a soft core porn trend. Respect to those who produce real results, but by and far too many people post pics of themselves acting fit to garner some fame and glory. Sweaty tee shirts and a pain face after a workout does not prove crap unless you back it up with results. Not to mention the ads and social media posts regarding supplements about a magic weight loss pill and mass gainers or the like. Couple that with your typical consumer gym filled with large screen TV’s, a cushy temperature of 72 degrees, cardio equipment theaters, one squat rack for every 10 bench presses and more the half the people texting in between sets and so forth. The trend is to find the easiest, fastest and most comfortable way to achieving a fit body. Less work = ? I can’t even begin to answer that.
I am glad to see people engaging in fitness and at least put forth some effort to achieving better physical health. However, achieving and maintaining a healthy body and desirable physique is actually hard work. There is no magic pill or supplement out there going to make an average person look like the guy/girl on the ad, unless they consistently work their butt off to get there the right way. The first thing people always ask me is how much and what type of protein do you take? My response is, “a lot of chicken and eggs.” Supplements are meant to supplement, not replace. They will also work only if the primary nutrition “food” is taken seriously. It is this kind of thought process that has taken the fitness industry by storm. Everybody wants the easy way out. Nothing in life is easy, especially fitness. This does not mean it has to be complicated, but if it were actually easy then everybody would be “fit.”
Corporate and commercial gyms today drive me crazy. Each one has more pieces of cardio equipment than anything else. FYI people, walking outside is still effective exercise. Also, public access to stairs is free. Don’t worry bicyclists I did not forget about you. How much does a yearly gym membership cost? How much does a used bicycle cost? Get the picture. The only time and place I see cardio equipment being necessary is up north when it is truly frigid outside. Moving on, another weak link in the globo gym system is a focus on machine equipment. Have you ever noticed how large the area for machines (cardio included) are versus free weights? Machines may provide a pathway to free weighted exercises for beginners, but the focus on globo gyms IS machine equipment. Benefits aside, fixed motion exercises do not transfer over as effectively to real, everyday activities. I am not saying people need to train to the styles of a bodybuilder, powerlifter or crossfit athlete to be considered fit though. However, simply take a look at Planet Fitness and their policies. They might be the hottest trending gym right now, but at what cost and how effective will they be? Granted something is better than nothing, but it drives me crazy when people complain and quit on their memberships in 3 months due to lack of results.
Quite possibly one of the most important flaws in the fitness industry is the trainer/coach certification standard. Any average Joe Schmoe can take a weekend course or 6 month course and get a piece of paper stating they are a professional fitness trainer. Certifications are great and all, but some form of education without relative practical experience and application is just a piece of paper. I have been training for the past 15 years, acquiring knowledge and practical application throughout. I hold the C.S.C.S. cert stating I am a professional strength coach. However, I would not actually consider myself a true strength coach at this moment until I have years of knowledge and practical application in developing athletes in strength and conditioning. Currently, this would not be the case as I am not training athletes on a full time and consistent basis. Becoming an expert or true professional requires a wealth of knowledge and a plethora of practical application with proven results. I know plenty of people without formal education into fitness that would be considered experts and professionals. I also know several of pen and paper educated trainers who do not know diddly squat about training. The effort these people put in to becoming trainers is wonderful, but do not assume you are a professional until the content knowledge and training results speak for themselves.
Side note here in relation to physical fitness is the public school education system’s P.E. standards, or lack thereof. P.E. in public schools is a joke in modern society. It has been replaced or downsized for STEM classes or other specializations. Decades ago P.E. in the school system might have been considered as “man-makers.” I even remember growing up in school in the 90’s participating in P.E. everyday. To think why obesity levels and health problems have skyrocketed in the last 20 years.
In conclusion, I applaud anyone who is doing something rather than nothing. Some sort of fitness activity is better than none. Results will speak for themselves and we will see how the current culture of soft fitness plays out in the next few years. I do hope Crossfit and the mud run challenges continue to thrive as I see these being avenues to producing real results. Like i mentioned earlier, if it were easy we would all be fit. This is just not the case though. We need a change in attitude culture towards a tougher and physical mentality. Posting soft core porn pictures of oneself, relying on expensive pills and powders and sticking to the 3×10 sets and reps methods on a fixed machine does not equal fitness results. It is time to get tough and put in the work.
FYI to those who may consider this a keyboard warrior moment:
- I have been training for 15 years, acquiring both knowledge and experience through formal and informal education and by mentoring.
- I still do not consider myself an expert, though I would not consider myself to be a pen and paper trainer as stated above. There is so much knowledge and practical experience it would take several lifetimes to acquire it. This does not mean one cannot be considered an expert though.
- I train myself and assist others consistently on a daily basis. I also spend about 2 hours daily reading, watching and engaging with other professionals in the field about knowledge, content, training modalities, etc.
- There will never be a day where I can honestly say I know everything about one particular exercise, program, nutrition plan, etc. as each one of these varies from one individual to another. This is where constant knowledge acquisition and experience comes into focus. Trainers and coaches who assume they know what is best or “the way” on any given training modality are fooling themselves. A great trainer must adapt to each client or athlete, as everyone has different needs and abilities.
- I strive to each day not only improve myself, but others as well with regards to total physical fitness. Education is just as important as action in this sense.
As Gary Vee said it best, “It’s binary. If your not moving forward, you are moving backwards.”
I take great pride and respect, with passion and interest in physical fitness. I want to make the world a better place and the way I believe I can do that is through fitness. I may have just bashed some aspects of fitness and hurt some peoples feelings in the process, but I wanted to provide some real insight and truth into the matter. It takes real, consistent hard work to achieve physical fitness. I would not spend my time, which is my most valuable asset, to put in so much effort to becoming smarter and better with regards to fitness if it were easy. This is where my inspiration and thoughts were generated in relation to my concept of the fitness industry being soft.