Who’s Really Qualified?

Good morning y’all, let’s just get right into things – hold on tight.

Here’s the word of the day:

expert

This past week I had the chance to interview one of “the most sought after” voices in the fitness industry. Chance of a lifetime, right? Probably so but I turned it down. Now, before you roll your eyes and click over to another tab let me explain why I chose not to share his message, not to interview him, and, quite frankly, why it really rubbed me the wrong way.

Fitness is a lot like politics. No one has the same opinion, everyone’s going to judge you, and unless you stand for something you’re going to fall for anything. What works for you may not work for me. Kind of blows the marketing scheme out of the water but you get the gist.

fitness is like politics

My issue comes with the people within the community who believe everything they say is the most correct, most healthy, most universally satisfying. We’ve all fallen for one scheme or another, the newest trend, or even the best friend who meant the best. Heck, there are even days we are sold a bill of goods from the strangers’ faces looking back at us from the magazine rack. Our inboxes are filled with emails with get skinny quick schemes, how to drop 30 pounds in 30 days, and how to turn heads at the gym (PS it’s not because we’re strong and able but that’s a different rant to be had).

Just because someone labelled this guy (or anyone else) the Know-It-All Of Know-It-Alls doesn’t make him the best, most knowledgable “expert.” Period.

The education is varied almost as much as our bodies themselves. As I mentioned, what works for you won’t always work for me. I believe about the only universally satisfying factor is that if you work you will improve.

Onto Part 2: Those with certificates.

what am I doing

Congratulations – you have a certification – that does NOT make you a guru. Yes, you have had to pass a test or two and hopefully apply some job related skills to obtain that certification but you don’t know sh*t.

To become a personal trainer it takes between 1 to 6 months – have you lost your mind?! You want someone who has been looking at bodies for a month or half a year looking at your body and telling you what’s going to work?! I sure don’t.

Athletic trainers, Physical therapists, MDs go to school for years to get into a position to treat patients. Yes, I said it, if you go to a personal trainer you are a patient. Take your physical health as seriously as you would if you were to see a doctor. Many personal trainers see you as a client though, it’s amazing how much verbiage can change things. Do you value yourself enough to consider yourself a patient?

How many times have you gone to the best doctor is XYZ field or physical therapist or, if you’ve been exposed, to athletic trainers and they, themselves have been possibly out of shape or a little less than the peak of their fitness? They are at the top of the field though, they must be doing something right. Physically trainers however make money on perceptions and results. When picking out your next physical trainer it’s likely to look at his or her body first, reviews and recommendations second, and if that person makes the cut, finally (and maybe) their credentials.

We’re fed lies that there are easy fixes, that those fixes are healthy and sustainable. Some of these qualified individuals are even feeding us this BS from the platform of being planted in front of the fitness community and being told to prevent, diagnosis, and treat what symptoms or ailments we have. It’s possible these people don’t know any better (yet another rant) but some do and some see it as the only way to make money. Either way it’s crap and not ok to put our lives, our families lives, or the lives of the community in danger ever but especially for misrepresentation and greed.

PS: I ragged pretty hard on personal trainers but there are plenty of other “experts” and certified individuals who deserve the rag too. If you leave with anything today please, please, please make it: do your own research, work hard, and don’t exclusively listen to anyone willing to give you advice.

Rant over. I’m all ears…What do you guys think?

6 thoughts on “Who’s Really Qualified?

  1. Ehhh I agree and disagree. I 100% agree that not one thing works for everyone. It’s completely different for each individual. What is healthy for you may not be healthy for me.

    However, I don’t think the only way to be an expert is to go to school for years. I went to college for 6 years for speech therapy, and I’m not an expert. I didn’t go to school for nutrition, or even have a certificate, but I am reading and learning every single day to become more knowledgable with nutrition and health. A piece of paper is a piece of paper. You can be an ‘expert’ with or without it. I would never call myself an expert though. I just know what’s worked for me. I give a lot of advice on mental health and its correlation with physical health, but that comes from MY personal experiences. And I always make sure people know that! That it worked for me, but may not work for you.

    So while I agree with a lot of what you said, I feel that it’s also very generalized and a lot of assumptions are made about those in the health industry (we aren’t ALL the same).

    • I totally agree, a degree doesn’t make you an expert either! I should have clarified. I can absolutely respect that you can share your experience and it’s value! I can feel a few edits coming or maybe a follow up post 😉 Thanks Lyndsay!

  2. I kind of have to disagree. My doctor sent me to a personal trainer to help with my back. I have been seeing my trainer (who actually has a four year degree) for 6 months and I can see a complete difference with my back. A personal trainer may not be for everyone, but just because they didn’t go to school for years doesn’t mean they couldn’t help someone.

  3. As a personal trainer I have to say, in my experience the certification has nothing to do with how good of a trainer you are/will be. It’s the trainers, doctors, therapist who continue to education themselves beyond what their certification requires that make the best coaches. I’ll be honest, I learned jack crap in my certification classes (granted I feel as though I had a fair amount of knowledge to being with). The majority of my knowledge has come from asking questions (to those who know more), reading, and experimenting. Just like anything in life there are always going to be people out to sell you junk you don’t need…cars, loans, clothes, etc. This happens across the board in sales, not just the fitness industry and like you suggested we need to educate ourselves enough so we can see the difference between slimy sales and sincere sales.

    • Annie, you are exactly right! My cert class taught me a few things, but nothing of real substance. It’s been experimenting with my own training, trying different gyms and classes and talking to other instructors/trainers/coaches that’s made a world of difference.

  4. I completely agree! As a trainer, I see a lot of unqualified or uneducated people attempting to help others but hurting them instead (see Planet Fitness, One Life). It took me almost two years of working as a trainer, continuing my education and learning from others in the field to feel 100% comfortable teaching people to do Olympic lifts or do other exercises where they could seriously get hurt. I’m also sure to never ask a client to do something I haven’t done, don’t do regularly or can’t demonstrate (like kipping pull-ups when my shoulder hurts…skip it).

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