There are so many things that excite me about my new partnership with J’Adore Dance, but the one that stands out professionally is the opportunity to make a positive dent in the tainted reputation of the fitness industry. _uacct = “UA-4888259-1″;urchinTracker();
You see, the fitness industry is not regulated in Canada. That means that anyone can slap a label on their forehead that says “FITNESS EXPERT” or “PERSONAL TRAINER”. They may have taken a 4-year kinesiology degree or a 2-year diploma, or they may have only taken a 16-hour weekend course or NOTHING at all.
There is no governing body. As a pre- and postnatal specialist, this truly concerns me. Heck, as any kind of educated fitness professional, this concerns me. In 2007, I did a piece for CBC television advocating the need for regulation in our industry. There are many of us who have worked tirelessly on our education, only to be thwarted by quick-fix gurus and bootcamp leaders, marching on with the next wave of fad-fitness. It is frustrating to see so many people caught up in the flash and sizzle of the latest and greatest when there are those of us who have made it our core purpose to educate our client first, then train them.
Do you know how HARD it is to sell personal training when you don’t want to make your client sweat during their first session? When you want to spend an hour (of their hard-earned money!) doing postural assessments because you know that it will benefit them in the long run? The unregulated, weekend warrior trainers of the world have made it nearly impossible to show clients value in what I believe in: do it right, slowly, the first time. Clients come with an expectation of instant results, from all populations, and it’s not only frustrating, it’s frightening.
Imagine then, when I see this spilling over into my niche: pre and postnatal. That is truly terrifying. To see trainers improperly assessing women, pushing them too hard, focusing them on their old bodies, making them sweat, bathing them in a glow of false confidence – it breaks my heart. Where is the LOVE and ACCEPTANCE of prenatal and postpartum women?? WHY are we allowing the industry to push these women past the safety lines, encouraging non-runners to run and do high-impact bootcamps, among other things, to lose that awful baby weight?
WHY is the baby weight so awful in the first place?? How dare you market yourself to that beautiful, soft, rounded body that safely nourished and protected our next generation. How dare you imply that it is a burden to be ashamed of, to be lost as quickly as possible. How dare you add that stress to an already scary new frontier. It upsets me to see so many of my colleagues in this industry pushing these dangerous beliefs on women.
What about love? What about acceptance? My goal from DAY ONE has always been educated, informative, current, resourceful, gentle, loving and empowering fitness for moms. I will NEVER EVER weigh a new mom or take her measurements with a tape measure. I will not tell her to push harder when she is ready to break down into tears. I will not make a name for myself as someone who “gets results” if those results are at the expense of true happiness, love and self-acceptance.
Teaching moms about all that they CAN do, not just what the used to do or should be able to do. Teaching them to love how much easier it is to carry their baby, or their car seat, or to push that stroller. To look at their mommy-tummy and say, “Hey – that pouch is worth more than all the six-packs in the world” Teaching them to love who they NOW are, instead of mourning who they used to be.
And along the way, teaching my colleagues and my industry a new way of approaching fitness as a lifestyle choice – not a burden to bear.
I am an educated fitness professional. I spent 2 intense years in the NAIT Personal Fitness Trainer program, studying and being mentored by some of the greatest minds in our industry. I graduated at the top of my class. I was valedictorian at our commencement. Since then, I have continued to study and learn and specialize, not only in pre- and postnatal exercise, but also exercise, nutrition and fitness in general. I have, and always will continue to advocate for pre- and postnatal fitness that acknowledges the strains and stresses of pregnancy. I will advocate for regulation in the industry, including mandatory education levels. I will fight for what I believe in, because I believe I owe it to my clients to provide them with the highest level of care and compassion.
I will focus on the truths about fitness, not the smoke and mirrors.