In every type of health industry, there can be practitioners that are inexperienced or misinformed. In the fitness industry, this is a common occurrence and unfortunately there are plenty of personal trainers out there who are doing a good job of hurting people and worsening people’s health. They are just doing the best with what they know, as is everyone in life, but many debates have been had over this issue, including a great debate on Australian program Insight called “No Pain, No Gain – Debate on the validity, safety and effectiveness of Personal Training.”
How qualified is the personal trainer who is pushing you to your limits?
This is one question the debate asks, yet few people ask before they sign on with a personal trainer. With the fitness industry booming with boot camps and personal trainers, everyone is jumping on board. With a personal trainer, people find motivation to exercise and get that extra push they may not give themselves if they were on their own. Of course, people also hire personal trainers to learn how to exercise and eat right, as a trainer would be the expert on that, right? Well, considering that anyone can become a qualified personal trainer in Australia in 8 weeks, and less in America, we should be asking ourselves if personal trainers are really experts that we should entrust with our health and safety.
The answer of course will differ for each trainer, so just like with any professional that you pay to get a result, do your homework first! Just as we are all cautious about which mechanic we use so we don’t get ripped off or have our car break down, choosing a personal trainer should be a very calculated decision, as this person gives health advice and instructs on exercise that could easily do more damage than good. Look for personal trainers whose focus is not just on weight loss or muscle gain, but overall health. Just as with low-fat diets, when the focus is strictly on the waistline, it’s rarely ever going to be in the best interest of your health.
But don’t I need to workout hard to get fit? No pain, no gain?
With personal trainer role models such as those on the Biggest Loser, we are getting a message that says we should all be working out to within an inch of our life whether we are or 150kg or 60kg, regardless of a person’s ability, overall health and how their exercise technique is. Personal trainers are often thought of as good ones if they ‘kill you’ until you are exhausted and can’t move the next day. It’s our instant proof that something is happening, we are getting our money’s worth. However, for many people in today’s society whose bodies are already so stressed from work, finances, hectic schedules, poor diets, little rest and environmental toxins, exercise is just another stress that will slowly break down the body’s overall health. Especially painful, stressful exercise.
Brad is a type of personal trainer called a C.H.E.K Practitioner, or Exercise and Lifestyle Coach, as exercise is only one part of what he teaches. As you can see in our Primal 6, exercise, or movement, is only 1 of 6 key elements of optimal health. In terms of importance, it is #5 out of 6! Thought, Breath, Water, and Food all come before Movement, and should all be in good order before intense movement. Then they should all be combined with #6, Rest. Struggling through tough exercise regimes several times a week without taking care of the other 5 of the Primal 6, will not only slow your efforts to get fit and healthy, but instead may cause weight gain and illness. However, when you are well-rested, nourished, watered, relaxed and content, exercise can become rigorous if you desire; an enjoyable challenge to discover your body’s limits and potential.
So, in our view of the debate on personal trainers, there are many variables that will influence the effectiveness and safety of having a personal trainer. One part of the equation is you…Is your body ready for heavy training? Are your motivations coming from the desire for overall good health? Are you going to sign up with whichever trainer is the cheapest without looking into their qualifications, experience, motivations and results? And those last things are the other part of the equation – the personal trainer. It would surely be helpful if there were lengthier educational requirements for personal trainers, but really people just need to be more discerning about which trainer they choose to hire. Even with doctors, many people go with the first one they come across, but as our health needs are so individual and personal, and the consequences potentially dire if you go with the wrong person, we should simply be more choosy with our health practitioners. It’s worth the deliberation when that personal trainer helps you change your life and your health for the better.
No Pain, No Gain! Are Personal Trainers Helping or Hurting Us? – October 2012