Fatter, Sicker, WeakerFatter, sicker and weaker than ever before—unfortunately, that’s the current health status of many people in the developed world. It’s unbelievable really that this could be true, particularly in Australia and New Zealand. These countries alone have access to a greater array of health and fitness facilities, registered health professionals, and information networks than ever before.

As someone who has devoted half of his life to reversing this escalating trend, I’ve been extremely frustrated and disappointed to see these developments. So much so, that I recently reached a point where a feeling of resentment towards the fitness industry started to creep in—resentment for failing to significantly impact this ever-growing problem. Statistics will show that while the number of facilities and fitness trainers has  kyrocketed, the same effect has not been noted for the percentage of people regularly engaging in weekly exercise. This, instead, has remained constant at less than 15%. It’s my belief that while the fitness industry has evolved tremendously to cater for the extremely fit people, it’s actually become less attractive to those who really need our help.

The ‘no pain, no gain’ or ‘go hard or go home’ approach coupled with the ‘pornification’ of exercise (the increasing number of gym goers and fitness trainers showing off their bodies while exercising in very skimpy clothes), has unfortunately turned many people off participating in exercise…not because they don’t like exercise, but sadly, because they feel inadequate. I’ve been a firm believer for many years now that ‘exercise made fun, gets done’—and nothing turns me off more than the glorification of someone being punished during a workout to the point that they can barely walk.

Nowadays, I would be extremely excited if the majority of people were simply encouraged to spend as much time exercising each day as they spend brushing their teeth. These philosophies, among many others, were shared at a Wellness session that I recently attended presented by well-known cardiologist, Dr Ross Walker. It was fantastic to hear him share his views that exercise and healthy eating were, by far, the best ‘drugs’ for tackling the vast majority of preventable health issues faced by society—rather than relying on the exorbitant amount of pharmaceuticals currently sold on a daily basis.

“Simply said, as an industry, we need to become more attractive to those who need our help.”

So rather than resenting ‘my’ industry and knowing that this trend will only continue unless something is done about it, I’ve made it a personal mission to make the entire fitness industry a more attractive place for people by joining the Board of Fitness Australia. Hence, I urge all health and fitness professionals to consider how they can take positive steps to raise the professional standards of the fitness industry so more people can experience the wonderful benefits of healthy eating and exercise.

Do you agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts andrew@hq.visionpersonaltraining.com

Written by PaySmart’s Fitness and Leisure contributor Andrew Simmons. Andrew is the Founder of Vision Personal Training, Australia’s largest Personal Training studio franchise with 50 studios across Australia and New Zealand. Vision was voted Emerging Franchise System of the Year by the Franchise Council of Australia in 2008, and National Personal Training Business of the Year in 2003 and 2010. Inducted into Fitness Australia’s Roll of Honour in 2013, Andrew has presented at international health, fitness and business conventions since 1995. Andrew is also the author of two best-selling books on health and fitness: “Fat Loss Take Control” (40,000+ copies sold) and “Ready Set Go — 3 Steps to better Health” (10,000+ copies sold). www.visionpt.com.au