Almost two years ago, my mom suffered a massive heart attack after undergoing major back surgery. This was followed by 9 months in hospitals and rehab, followed by heart surgery, and more rehab. Months later, she suffered a minor stroke. I’m happy to report that mom is doing well, back at home, living independently, and enjoying her life. She now is trying to improve her health and fitness, joined a gym and hired a Personal Trainer.
After her first session, mom was in so much pain and discouraged. She now thinks exercise is “not for her.” I asked about her personal trainer’s credentials. She had no idea, other than the fact that he “looked good and had lots of muscles.” I called the gym and learned that he had been certified for one year. The certification included a home study book and a written exam. That was it! No hands-on training or testing! No advanced degree!
I’m sure this frustrates you as much as it did me. Given her age, health history, risk factors and medical concerns—I can’t believe that the trainer did not require medical clearance, consult with her cardiologist and/or other physician. My mom could have been severely injured and is now afraid to exercise.
This personal experience is unfortunately all too common in our industry. There are so many certifications— all resulting in the same credential, but requiring very different education, training, and demonstration of competence. We need to come together to change this if we want to elevate the creditability of our profession and to have “fitness” considered part of the health care continuum. It is imperative for our industry AND more importantly, for the health and well-being of our family, friends, and communities.
Please share your thoughts on these issues and what you believe we can and should do to improve professionalism and standards in our industry. Also, If you are going to be in Chicago for Club Industry, please attend the 3rd Annual Personal Trainer Summit, where we will continue our previous years’ discussions on industry standards.
A change is needed. My mom’s health—and your mom’s health—depend on it!
Thank you for letting me share my personal story. Please share yours.
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