One More Reason I Love Writing My Newsletter…
Written on October 27, 2008 at 8:00 am, by Eric Cressey
I consider myself very fortunate to not only have a good-sized newsletter list, but also to have such a knowledgeable collection of readers who share some awesome feedback with me. After last week’s newsletter on the current status of the fitness industry, I got this great email from Nick Beatty, and he agreed to let me reprint it here, as I think it’s right on the money.
“Thanks for your sharing your insightful anecdote about your and Mike’s experience at the shoulder presentation. I agree that personal trainers could and should attend these education events, but the lack of trainers in the room speaks to a bigger problem- the very definition of what a personal trainer is and how you become one.
“Case in point, where would the sponsors/presenters of the event advertise in order to increase trainer attendance? Within university departments? On journal websites? At GNC and sports clubs? At your local bodybuilding competition? At yoga studios? At your local YMCA? At the tanning salon?
“The bar is set low for trainers, so to assume the lowest common denominator and expect a high-school educated personal trainer to comprehend (and more importantly contribute to) a lecture by a professional group that requires an undergraduate degree, followed by a terminal degree in physical therapy, is unfair to the trainer. So who fills the post-rehab gap? Will it be the good trainers, or a special certification (i.e. one in particular rips you off in order to call yourself a post-rehab expert) that gets lots of trainers to that point, or will Dr. Mike Jones and his MES/AAHFRP expand? Who knows, but as long as the gum-chewing dude spotting lat raises is allowed to call himself a Personal Trainer- the industry is screwed.
“I recently left my personal training job in NYC to hit the books again, and some of my thoughts from my exit interview echo your sentiments: What didn’t you like about Company X?
“Regarding my dislikes, it is difficult to to determine whether they are related to Company X or to the industry that Company X is in. Company X operates on a level that is better than most companies in the industry, so it is my guess that the things I dislike about Company X are either because of the industry, or because of the nature of the business.
“I dislike personal training, and by that I mean I dislike the whole concept of a ‘fitness professional’ and what goes along with that. There is no licensure for ‘fitness professionals,’ only certifications. The high-school drop-out who eats steroids for breakfast and independently trains; the ex-athlete who trains from experience; the certified (insert cert here) trainer who trains at a gym; the highly qualified trainer; the physical therapist with a CSCS; the yoga instructor in a leotard and sneakers at the CEU event; the fitness enthusiast with a website, product, or podcast: ALL these folks are ‘fitness professionals.’ It is no wonder the public and the profession itself doesn’t know what to make of personal training. There is a serious identity crisis in personal training, and until it’s addressed, LMTs, PTs, and all other allied health professionals will be better respected- and paid!
Nick Beatty, MS, CSCS, ACSM HFS, is a personal trainer in Manhattan and medical student at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. Feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com.