I may be getting old. I may be getting tolerant. Hell, I may even be getting a touch of “I Don’t Give A S@#T -itis”. But the “industry” side of what I do still entertains me. I grew up in a small town in Manitoba and close family friends had a farm. I would be out there almost every day. I loved that place and the family who owned the farm is still to this day dear to me. On that farm they had all the animals. But the one thing that entertained me was the Roosters. You put two of those buggers in close proximity and out comes the puffed chests and sure enough a fight would ensue. So how does this relate to the “industry” side of fitness? Enter Internet and social media.
We are inundated with information. And the issue of the Internet and social media is any body with an IP address can put their opinions on the Internet for the world to read or hear. Heck, you are reading me right now and I would not profess to be an expert on anything. I have a few letters behind my name but in some cases that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans without adequate knowledge and common sense to back it up. And one thing I have begun to accept is that there are two sides to the Health/ Performance/ Fitness game… Industry and Profession. And trust me when I say there is need and there is room for both in this world. I had a very stimulating conversation with an athletic therapist this past weekend stating just that. Let me explain.
Note… there is no line between the Industry and Profession. It is not black and white but one giant grey zone.
Industry – In my opinion these are the niche markets, the fads, personal training and the big globo-gyms. There are people who make their livelihood via training and coaching. Now this is where things get grey, because the people who are the practitioner, they are a professional but they are servicing an industry (consumer).
Profession – This is your person who is set out to not only coach, but also contribute to advancing the profession, the knowledge and research of what we do. These are the educators. And once again, there are those who service the industry who do an amazing job of education. Everyone has a job to educate and motivate (just keep it within the scope of practice, right?). Once again… grey zone.
This is once again just my personal view on the world I live in and I write this not to paint everyone with the same brush, not to offend anyone. But I am getting to a point. And that is, start putting people into categories, start challenging opinions and beliefs and right away people turn into Bantam Roosters, puffing their chest and starting a verbal dispute… most of the time on social media. Very few fitness trends have polarized the masses like Crossfit, they take a tonne of crap and also sling a fair amount back. Both sides to blame!
But what ever you do, be it Zumba, Crossfit, Susan Sommers videos in your living room, endurance races or competitive mall walking, whatever fitness people may find embrace it and just be happy that people are active. Is it the best for them? Could they get better results doing something else? Sure, possibly, but they enjoy it. And really at the end of the day they may try a few different things. As the educator, either in the “industry” or the “profession” your jobs are to guide and foster the positive benefits of being active.
If you are an “industry professional” do not go out and state that your training method is the be-all or end all, and then not expect to be slammed on social media etc. And if you are a “profession” professional keep an open mind and don’t necessarily let your knowledge weld your brain shut. That was some of the best advice I was ever given from a very smart and influential person to me (Yes Andrew G, that is directed at you). And I am the pot calling the kettle black. When I got out of my Masters, I was the smartest (far from it still) and mouthiest person out there. And the reason I was hesitant to start a blog in the first place was to not get slammed for my view because I was sensitive to criticism… What a hypocrite. There are a lot of people that need our help, and there is a continuum of an individual on their path of a healthy life style. We all have a role along that path. Know your scope and know how you can best help those that seek you out, whatever role you fill in that continuum.
Yours in Performance
Jeff Osadec MKin CEP CSCS