Over the years I have written and spoken about several areas I feel the fitness industry is not getting things right and needs to improve on.
In the past few weeks I have witnessed two incidents that further highlighted this to me.
Was quite a subtle one and would be one that you probably wouldn’t notice if you weren’t looking for it.
It occurred on my recent holiday to France. I went to the gym in our resort a few times and each time I went there were 4-5 women in their mid 40’s to early 50’s using the gym alongside me. The whole time I was in the gym the women all stuck to the machines and did some stretching and ab work on the mats.
My theory on this was that these women either still believe that doing this type of exercise was the best use of their time in the gym. Which means we are not reaching woman with the message of how important strength training is for them.
…or maybe they were just not confident enough to use the weights and machines in a new gym that they were not familiar with? Which might suggest that they are not getting taught properly how to formulate a workout in a different gym.
Often trainers are not empowering them with the required information they need (sometimes I believe they do this to ensure they always need their services). We always try to arm our clients with workouts to do on holiday and aim to make them confident enough to go into most gyms and pull some sort of workout together.
Younger women are now using weights almost as much as their male counterparts. Educating women of this age group and older must be a priority, as the research showing the benefits of strength training to women is unequivocal, and may be one of the most important life skills you can learn for health longevity.
Was a lot less subtle and would have had me pulling my hair out if I had any left!
This took place at my local sports center when I was taking my son to his gymnastic class. I had forgotten to fill up his water bottle so I nipped into the gym to fill it up at the water fountain.
The gym has recently been renovated, and when I opened the door I was greeted by strobe lights and rave music blaring.
Someone had the bright idea when they were renovating the gym to tie the strobe lights in with the music being played so it felt like I was walking into a nightclub, not a gym at 3pm in the afternoon.
This is a mainstream gym meant to be used by all age groups (they have just run an ad campaign with reduced prices for over 60’s!). I couldn’t get out of the place quick enough as the music was so bad! If I was doing a workout the strobe lights would have driven me to despair.
I get that younger people might enjoy working out in this type of environment and I have seen it work well in spin classes. But this is a big no for me in a gym that is meant to be inclusive for everyone.
Anyway that’s my rant over on how the fitness industry still has a hell of a lot of work to do to make our environment more appealing for everyone.
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