• Nick Kropp

Why I Hate the Fitness Industry

While I found a new passion in my T-shirt business, my heart still remains fully entrenched in the fitness industry. I'm one month away from hitting seven years of personal training. Before that I spent almost three years working with physical therapists. I tell everyone it's the best job in the world, however there are times where I truly dislike the fitness industry and certain categories of people. And it mainly stems from having only a weekend course standing in your way from entering the business...

For those who know me I am a very positive person and I don't think I complain much, but people need to hear this. If I went back in time and met my first version of a personal trainer I would be VERY unhappy. I was "qualified," I wasn't hurting anyone but I really didn't bring much to the table. I studied the NASM textbook for maybe a week then breezed through the 100 question multiple choice test and was able to start working shortly after. That right there is a HUGE PROBLEM. I did not have to pass a practical test, I did not have to show exercise proficiency, I had no idea what programming was, but I had good intentions and (sort of) knew how to workout. Most gyms want that; have a base level of knowledge, look like you know what you're doing, and bring them money. Having my Physical Therapy background I thought I was hot shit and that I knew more than other trainers. The problem with gaining some knowledge is you may fall into the trap of believing you know it all now. With seven years under my belt I can fully admit I wasn't a good trainer until 2-3 years ago. But my definition of good is a little different than what you may consider good.

Everyone has to start somewhere, it's all about your attitude though. If you keep an open mind and continue to learn and grow you will have great things coming to you. But this is a very superficial industry. Yes we want to make money and make ourselves look good but some people are just in it for the money and to look good or cool at the expense of their clients and the expense of their integrity. Some trainers are very shady with clientele and take advantage of bad business practices or scams. Some trainers just really do not know how to train, how to coach or how to help. They're just a voice to say "get up and move." Sure that can help many people but that's what separates the $30 trainers from the $100+ an hour trainers. Some may scoff at the second number or spit their drink out, but there are plenty of people out there that deserve what they charge. That is a topic for another day though.

So we have established that the novice trainer can be an issue, but most of the time they don't know any better and greatly improve with experience. Now I want to shift gears to social media. The influencers. Be it a bikini girl or a guy who took steroids and thinks he's the shit. In all likely hood neither of them know what the fuck they're doing. They have such a big audience on social media so spreading lies and/or misinformation is killing the fitness industry. Just because a girl wears a thong and uses her booty bands DOES NOT make her qualified to speak on health or exercise. Just because a guy went from scrawny to jacked by taking steroids DOES NOT make him qualified to speak on health and exercise. But they use their social media platform to make money selling their amazing workout of the day. The average person looks at their body and says "OMG how can I look like him/her." Meanwhile they'll post the same pictures from when they did a photoshoot years ago and haven't come close to looking like that ever again. All of these fake personalities and bodies are killing the average person's perception of themselves. The worst part is people look up to them and think it's realistic. I honestly don't have any suggestions on how we can change this, but having practical exams and some sort of screening would help. I just find it crazy how over a weekend in quarantine someone becomes certified for training. Then again, I became a T-shirt mogul over a weekend in quarantine ;)

Now the really big gripe I have are the established and well known coaches who have a big platform and become very dogmatic in their approach or do not understand the art of coaching. Young coaches are very impressionable, they will listen to everything you say and take it as gospel. I've met some coaches who refuse to let people Back Squat because it's too dangerous. I've met some coaches who just preach eat 1200 calories and you'll lose weight. This exercise/diet/method is universally good, this exercise/diet/method is universally bad. Then it spreads and many people start to believe and share this misinformation. Most people should not be educating others about health and exercise on social media, and I don't care how good their intentions are. There are coaches who are well known and do not post any before and after pictures of any clients and they don't even look good themselves, yet everyone listens to everything they say for some reason. There are coaches who have been on PEDs and then continue to post their EPIC CHEAT MEAL that any normal human being cannot handle, which again gives people a false sense of reality. Or the coaches who only reference "data and science" (most of those are flawed or don't tell the whole picture) and again have zero results to show for it. "But the data says do this!" Well your clients have nothing to show for it.

Anyway that's my rant. I just want the best for this industry and everyone out there. We have the potential to affect lives in so many ways. While there are many trainers causing problems out there, there are so many more that are doing the right thing and leading the charge. We need those voices to be heard!!!!

P.S. as a paying client YOU NEED TO BE HEARD. If you're trainer isn't helping, don't be afraid to leave him/her. If something isn't work, SPEAK UP. If something hurts, SPEAK UP. You do not have to be married to a trainer, make sure you are getting what you are paying for.

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