Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My response to SMH article "Exercise guru labels outdoor fitness groups 'embarrassing"

Given SMH used a Body Beyond Baby pic at the head of a comeback video on todays article 'Exercise guru labels outdoor fitness groups 'embarrassing' I thought it only right that I throw my two cents into the equation - and you know how I like to have my say!

When I first read the title of the article I thought Gary Egger was going to fire off about the technique that is sometimes used, or should I say not used within a group fitness environment and I would have been only too happy to put my hand up and agree with him. Many of you already know my stance on this - that there are way too many trainers 'just cruising', especially within a group fitness environment. But, on the same note there are also many, many outdoor group exercise businesses that have fantastic and credible personal trainers running them. Trainers that are encouraging and inspiring our inactive and overweight population to get off their backsides and get moving.

Egger said that "councils should crack down on trainers who monopolise beaches" - I guess that depends on whether they have permission to be there or not. I am sure you will find that any trainer running a legitimate business that they pour time, energy and money into that they plan to run in a council area they will most certainly have that permit. The trainers that we want on our streets are fully qualified, registered, insured and carrying their permits. Waverley Council meeting to discuss a crackdown on trainers flouting the rules should be seen as a positive. There are always some bad eggs and this crackdown will help to weed them out, leaving more land and space for those abiding by the rules.

As for the comments:

"there are obviously people who do it because it does send a statement and make them look good"

A contradiction to their later comment where they tell of other people being embarrassed or put off exercising. I can assure you that you don't choose to run group exercise sessions to look good. When you make the commitment to stand outside rain, hail or shine you are certainly not feeling glamorous or worrying about how you look. Especially come winter - have you stood outside in the cold and the rain and maintained your energy, motivation and encouragement for the people in your groups lately? Standing warm and dry in a gym with no wind and rain is much more about 'look' than outdoor training will ever be!  

"trainers are interfering with other peoples right to common recreational grounds" 

If there is a true interference and unwillingness to obey any rules set in place and these trainers are really in the way then move them along. Keep in mind that the majority of outdoor group training programs (especially around Bondi where this article seems to concentrate) are ran before 7.30am in the morning (if not earlier) and pretty much the only other people out in recreational areas at that time are others exercising in some shape or form - there are certainly no family picnics to interrupt at that time of the morning.

"personal training is an 'elite approach' to fitness and a very middle class thing to do"

Firstly, there is a discrepancy in this comment, the article is discussing group exercise, which, from my experience is a lower cost option which makes it MORE accessible to general population.

Secondly, what is wrong with personal training being at a higher price point? It may be seem to be an elite approach but surely that is only relative to your bank balance. And, if you are working with an experienced personal trainer that can help you specifically with your needs and goals and you choose to spend money on this service then it shouldn't be criticized. Many trainers spend a lot of time and energy researching and becoming the best in their field so that they can look after their chosen target market to an elite level.

"outdoor fitness groups could be embarrassing for other people to watch and could turn others off exercising"

Really? Thats a legitimate argument? I don't know ANYONE who would see someone that had the motivation to get themselves out of bed, get to the beach or the park, rain, hail or shine and work hard with their training group before most people have even gotten out of bed and decide that they are embarrassing to look at and be turned off exercising themselves. They are more likely to be inspired to do the same, to exercise well and to get healthy - it's not supposed to be glamorous. And given we are a nation of obese individuals leading increasingly sedentary lives we should be encouraging people to get out and move regardless of how they look.

In summary, do we need to have more exercise options at varying price points to cater for more of the Australian population and to encourage them to be fitter and healthier? Yes. Do we need to make sure we, as trainers as respectful to people around us, our environment and ensure we have the proper permits and permissions? Yes. But do we need people like Gary Eggar putting down the outdoor group training model as a whole? No way! We need to think of spending our energy thinking of more ways to get more people involved rather than knocking the ones that are out there making a difference to peoples lives.  And 

To read some more responses to this article from other fitness professionals check out below:
Australian Fitness Network
Mike Jarosky


Hakuna Matata said...

Its very nice to do some exercises with the right guru because you can perform it properly.


barbell curl-bar

Unknown said...


I’ve been trying all the above advice and Group fitness training, idea is really amazing and Personal trainer that are encouraging and inspiring our inactive and overweight population to get off their backsides and get moving.

MoLangley said...

Training outdoors has many benefits for your body.

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jaqulin said...

You have maintained a beautiful shape. I was really the opposite but with the help from a trainee I was able to get my fitness back. I hired the trainee from a community named Konsort. You can also get other services like to explore secured market place from the website.

Unknown said...

Useful Information. Thanks for sharing.
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