6/6/17 - Fitness Trainers and the Umbrella of Cowardice
Fitness trainers from countless disciplines are getting away with murder every single day. These “fitness professionals” are dodging both the fitness responsibilities of their career choice and the assumption that they are acting like a professional, and no one will bat an eye. The reason this behavior runs rampant begins with an assumption that exercise is an honorable act in and of itself.
If we believe that exercise is good, we give unlimited creative license to fitness professionals. Here lies the problem.
This won’t be a popular opinion, but exercise in and of itself is not an honorable act. That’s a silly assumption. There should be no congratulations or conscious relief for simply having done exercise. Yet, most Americans would tell you otherwise. For example, we could also make a similar mistake in believing that creative writing is generally “good” or that painting is honorable. Writing is writing. The act of painting is also simply just, well.. painting. Nonetheless, we get duped into their (inaccurate) positive connotation. The problem with this logic is we can write and paint all kinds of things, including hateful language and disrespectful images. Is writing still “good” if it comes in the form of a handwritten death threat? The world needs more art and paintings, right? Or, is it a certain kind of art that would improve our lives? Honorable writing and honorable painting is a horse of a different color and an important qualifier. In order for exercise to be honorable or “good”, it must play by the same rules.
In a world where all exercise is honorable, anything will do. Fitness trainers can remain static, unlearned referees of exercise-flavored choreography and all stakeholders will commend the effort. In that way, millions of people will exercise today in order to satisfy a conscious need rather a physical one. No one cares if you’re training is driving adaptation in a society that views any version of exercise as a sufficient visit to the confessional to erase our unhealthy sins. After all, “you can’t blame me” if I work out with a trainer three days a week, right?
Really? I can’t? What if you’ve trained for years with virtually nothing to show for it? What if your trainer is feeding your conscious need to feel like you’ve done something with distractions in the form of lazy stretching, death-by-corrective-exercises, and semi-organized grab ass? Is that honorable?
Yes, I can blame you and I am. Exercise that doesn’t serve a purpose is bullshit. Want to know who has imbalances? Everyone (including fit people). I get it. Stretching is like love. There’s no such thing as too much (or whatever). But, for goodness sake, when do we get to the fitness part?
The cherry on top of this conundrum is fitness professionals have the ultimate alibi. As much as the general term “exercise” has a positive connotation, much of the harsh realities of what it takes to actually become fit have a negative connotation. Sprinting, hard work, lifting heavy weights, and advancing into higher skill movement all have socially reinforced negative associations. Don’t believe me? Ask any civilian what their view of the safety and efficacy of “light, band exercises” versus barbell training. They’ll load you up with insane propaganda about how they can tone, lengthen, and avoid bulking up with one, while the other is dangerous and “not really my style.” Meanwhile, there are no shortages of trainers that can fill an hour with “exercise”, yet I’m hard pressed to find any surplus of fit clients.
This perfect storm of bullshit occurs at the intersection of the demonization of basic training principles that are uncomfortable (yet effective) and the belief that any time spent exercising is honorable. The culmination is a vortex where trainers get to forfeit their only responsibility and their clients will praise them for it. It’s a match made in mediocre heaven.
Then, complete the following every minute on the minute until failure:
5, 6, 7, 8… 10m Shuttle Sprints
*If athletes score less than 1o, run 800m. Less than 15? Run 400m