And isn’t that true?
Going by what social media tells us, I can scroll through Facebook and Instagram and see that every man or women now believes that they have the answer to everything in the weight room, on the track or on the pitch.
Now correct me if I am wrong but nobody impersonates a doctor/nurse, a fireman and certainly not a policeman (unless you’re on a stag or hen do but that’s a different matter). So why do people feel they can do it, not having any qualification and/or training experience, in the fitness industry?
People do one physique/bodybuilding contest or train for an athletic event and all of a sudden, they are telling younger and/or more inexperienced individuals, “do this, do that”.
This is proven by just flicking through your social media account.
Go on to either Facebook or Instagram. Take yourself to some of the most influential people you follow in the fitness industry and let’s see if I can talk you through their feed…
A quick guide to becoming an “Instagram Fitness Professional”
- Picture of self under good lighting.
- DO NOT Look into the camera.
- Contract muscles as hard as you can without looking like you are straining for a poo but still look sassy.
- Take another 60 photos if lighting is wrong, try another angle if muscles aren’t looking as big (you will be surprised what a change of angle can do!).
- Once happy with photo insert the obligatory motivational quote.
- Tag as many Brands into one photo as possible, hoping they will ask you to be their “athlete” (term which is used very loosely nowadays) and/or brand ambassador to sell their product.
- You get the offer, then you start telling people what they should do in training and how they should eat.
Here are the Black Country Buddhas with their best impressions of an “Instagram Fitness Professional” – Amateurs!
Don’t get me wrong I appreciate a good physique just as much as the next person and I know how much hard work goes into their training and nutrition plans, the discipline is second to none. But hitting the gym does not mean you’re a professional coach!
It takes years of experience and knowledge gained from numerous courses, qualifications, mentorships, seminars and working with a wide variety of individuals.
Even then you may not be the perfect coach – you still have to apply what you have learned to help people.
What works for you doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to work for someone else.
This is by no means a rant to say I know it all because, believe me, I don’t. This is an industry where for every piece of research stating one method works, there will be another piece stating it doesn’t.
I am still on my learning journey, learning from my mentors, coaches, clients and people that have nothing to do with the fitness/business industry. This gives me a fresh perspective and allows me to make more educated decisions.
Unfortunately, the age-old saying is that “opinions are like ass holes, everyone has one.”
This leads me into the reason why I have written this article; let me set the background…
I had a client referred to me who suffered with Endometriosis (google it if unsure), experiencing symptoms since 2003.
Finally diagnosed in 2016, after undergoing numerous surgeries, she was on edge and fed up to say the least.
So, when we started training in December 2017 that was the first thing we concentrated on – reducing symptoms through becoming more aware of her body and activity levels.
This young lady has worked tirelessly week-in week-out, month after month, almost completely flipping her lifestyle around.
She is now eating healthier, is more aware of what she consumes and is gradually increasing her training from 3 to 4 or 5 times per week.
She has increased her fitness levels, changed her body shape and has just recently completed her first 10k run! In anyone’s eyes a success.
Watching this individual’s self-esteem and confidence grow has been a proud journey for me!
She has had the odd flare-up but has managed to take control of them and has dramatically reduced the symptoms, allowing her to regain her life.
She was on a high until, one day, when she was at work, minding her own business, an individual thought he had the right to be able to pass comment on her calorie intake and what he assumed were her goals.
Asking out of the blue, this young man asked when her next holiday was, to which she replied she hadn’t got a big one planned until May 2019.
The response given is exactly what I’m talking about within this article:
“11 months, that should be enough time to get a ‘bikini’ body. If you start CUTTING calories and working out now, you should have a good body by next year.”
This lad does not possess the same knowledge as her consultant or any other professionals she is working with.
He also has no idea how she has suffered; how hard and strenuous her journey has been to build up some level of confidence.
This confidence enabled a noticeable physical improvement in her symptoms as well as improving her mental state but obviously he had trained in the gym for around a year and knows her condition and body better than she does!
I’ve been on a few planes in my time, so whilst jetting off on my next holiday I think I’m going to give the pilot some pointers on pulling levers and pressing buttons. It may work better for him!
Seems crazy doesn’t it?
But the chances are you’ve seen this yourself!
Someone is doing an exercise and the big silver back gym gorilla walks up to them without any invitation. Proceeding to give tips on how to do the exercise “properly.”
Just like the pilot, you should ignore fools who thrust their beliefs on to you without warning. Listen to your trained instructor or coach!
I have great respect for people that have worked in their trade for years and are open-minded to growing their knowledge and practice; however, I have zero respect for people that are narrow minded and believe that only their way is superior.
“We live in a world where we are too quick to judge rather than listen and observe.”
Individuals jump to assumptions when they are misinformed and are unaware of the emotional impact it may have on others.
Having spoken with my client about the above incident, it was clear that she was frustrated.
Although this wasn’t the first time she had suffered a setback, I could see the frustration in her eyes. It brought back feelings of negativity that she had experienced from others, including professionals such as doctors and nurses.
But the resilience this young lady possesses allows her to bounce back from such comments and that is exactly what she has done.
Pushing harder than ever in training and developing the confidence to burst out of her comfort zone, she is now considering climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 2019 to raise awareness of Endometriosis, becoming a role model for others suffering with the condition and also those who have suffered from experiencing negativity from others.
Although social media does allow for a rise in so called “experts,” it also allows for people, like this young lady, to create a real difference.
My advice to health and fitness “experts”
If you are one of those individuals that likes to go around and prod your nose into other people’s business, just think before you say anything.
The words that leave your mouth can have negative impacts and, even if you mean well, those negative impacts can have terrible knock-on effects.
Listen, observe and let information digest. Let the brain link to your mouth before you open it. Do not allow for a slip of the tongue!
If you want to see more from Dan Allen, check out this podcast with The Black Country Buddhas on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher or TuneIn: