Are Celebrity Trainers Making People Fat in Your Spinning Classes?

I was interviewed for an article in ACE Fitness magazine by Amanda Vogel. The tongue-in-cheek title of the article, “Are Celebrity Trainers Making People Fat?” mimics the headline that appeared in Harper’s Bazaar magazine in the fall of 2013 called “Is Spinning Making You Fat?“, as well as the claims by Tracy Anderson that Spinning will bulk your thighs.

I am honored to be included in this article to represent the indoor cycling niche, including Spinning classes, which have taken an especially hard hit from celebrity trainers and popular programs preaching questionable techniques. (They don’t realize that Spinning® is a brand and therefore Spinning is harmed.) Amanda asked industry leaders and trainers if we thought fitness professionals should take a stand against misinformation that is propagated through the media, or if we should stay silent and just do our thing and spread the word of correct training through our actions with our clients and students.

There was a resounding consensus that we should not stay silent. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article. First is exercise science professor Michele Olson, Ph.D.

Michele Olson, Ph.D., agrees that it’s our responsibility in the fitness industry to “promote the truths.” Not only can it help prevent injury, she says, but it also saves fitness consumers from making bad decisions and getting disappointed with exercise because, of course, there is no magic quick-fix to getting fit. First, focus a little energy on explaining what’s askew with the message you’re hearing. “Take the time to dispel the myths with simple-to-understand, yet accurate information so that the ‘truth’ you speak becomes un-debatable,” says Olson, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine who teaches at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala. Then steer the conversation toward “real life” fitness. “Offer the solution (the proper way) to achieve any claim—such as how you can, actually, add a pound of muscle or most efficiently increase your cardio fitness,” she says.

Keli Roberts is a master trainer for BOSU® and Schwinn® and an ACE media spokesperson based in Los Angeles.

Keli Roberts…leverages her time in front of the participants who come to her popular fitness classes by taking aim at dubious fitness trends and overblown media messages. “I feel responsible for making sure the right message gets out there,” she says. “That’s why I use the class cool-down as a time to educate and highlight specific topics I come across in magazines. My students love this! I often approach these talks with humor and a sense of fun so they can see the stupidity of [these] messages.”

I especially love what Dean Somerset says.

Can you imagine if engineers, accountants, dentists or physicians held themselves to the level of fitness professionals, where they could say what they wanted and promote anything to their patients and clients? And if anything went horribly wrong, they were not held accountable?” asks Dean Somerset of Edmonton, Alberta, a personal trainer, author, speaker and Medical and Rehabilitation Coordinator for World Health Club. “We owe it to ourselves as professionals to raise the bar to ensure that wild and outlandish claims are not tolerated and that we have the adequate resources to provide realistic education to our clients, the population at large, and also to other trainers who may fall victim to these lines of thought to promote to their clients.

There are tips and best practices outlined in the article for how to counter these trends. Make sure you read the entire article and share it with your peers.

What about you? Do you think fitness professionals should stay silent and do their own thing, or should they speak up to protect students from potential injury or ineffective, bogus trends?

1 Comment

  1. I think that we need to stand up for what we know to be true. If there are specific and scientific reasons behind why we do and do not do certain things then our students deserve to know about it! I am an accountant and I would never make false claims or do something without researching the effects of it.

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