Most Fitness Professionals know that as every New Year approaches, people start to think about the importance of exercising as it relates to weight loss and overall health. Many New Year's resolutions are made to start an exercise program or increase one's level of physical activity. According to International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), more than 12 percent of gym members join in January compared to an average of 8.3 percent per month for the full year. New gym memberships also show an increase in March as people start to focus on the way they want to look for the summer months.
As a Certified Fitness Professional that works as a Personal Trainer in a corporate gym, it is amazing to see how many gym members try to achieve their fitness goals on their own with little or no knowledge of sometimes even how to operate the machines they decide to use. Often times members rely on friends that they deem "in shape" or "fit" to help them reach the perceived level of fitness success they may have, with no real science behind their exercise routines or programming. What most people fail to realize is that the difference in a person's body type can often have an effect on how their body responds to the same exercise done by someone else with a different body type.
Aside from consulting with a medical professional prior to starting any exercise program, it is also important that an initial fitness assessment be conducted by a Certified Fitness Professional. This assessment should take into account a person's health, fitness background, current level of activity, previous injuries, surgeries, medications being taken and any limitations or specific recommendations given by a healthcare professional. These important aspects about a person are crucial to a Fitness Professional prior to any exercise program design. An "in shape" friend with no education or knowledge about a scientific approach to exercising will more than likely not do an initial assessment and could unintentionally coach their friend into a possible injury because of this neglect.
One day in January 2014, because the weather in Los Angeles was so nice, I decided to change things up and do an outdoors workout. As I was climbing the Culver City stairs at Baldwin Hills Scenic Park, I crossed paths with several groups of people working out together. There was a group of women that I passed by twice and the second time, one of the women was obviously not doing well. I watched from afar as four fire trucks and one ambulance made their way up the hill attempting to come to this woman's aid. Although I didn't find out exactly what happened to her, it appeared to be an example of a friend pushing another friend past her level of fitness. A classic example of why it is important to hire a Fitness Professional that will design an individualized program according to your fitness level and appropriate for you to have the success you desire.
With the increase in gym memberships every year and the number of businesses, government, and insurance organizations continuing to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, the need for Fitness Professionals is expected to increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Fitness Professionals is projected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022 (CreditDonkey). Surprisingly, with the need being so great and the expected growth in the fitness industry, only about 13.5 percent of gym members actually take advantage of the expertise and services of Certified Fitness Professionals (IHRS).
A Certified Fitness Professional has spent an enormous amount of time and energy studying many aspects of the human body and the systems that it is made up of. Some of their course work includes Physiology, Anatomy, Kinesiology of Human Movement, Nutrition, as well as Exercise Psychology and Program Design. With this advanced level of knowledge and hands-on experience to help with implementation, a Certified Fitness Professional can assist a wide range of clients with reaching their fitness goals and having long-term success.
I believe it is a disservice you are doing to yourself, to have a gym membership or start any exercise regimen without also consulting with or hiring a Certified Fitness Professional. When you decide to hire a Certified Fitness Professional, inquire about their certifications and experience and make sure the person is someone you will feel comfortable working with. It is important that you have a good relationship with your Certified Fitness Professional/Personal Trainer and that you feel confident in their ability to help you reach your fitness goals. After all, that is what you are paying for and I believe, you should get your money's worth. Remember to make F.L.O. Life a way of life.
Sources and References
International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
IHRSA 2010 Report
About the Author:
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