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Reflection about a fitness industry struggling to shed its identity crisis!

What has become apparent to me since the success of Healthhaus is that our “non intimidation” ethos really resonates with people. It has personally being very satisfying to see member after member join our club to tell us that they have never been a member of a club before and always found them to be off putting! You may find this hard to believe but …….

Put yourself in the shoes of the average person. They may be lacking in confidence in their ability to meet their goals, carrying a little extra fat around the middle and generally a little hard on themselves with reference to their current lack of fitness. Yet as a fitness industry we are now promoting more than ever the notion that the body beautiful can be achieved by quick fixes, that no pain no gain is mandatory and that grueling insanity/ cross fit and other similar style workouts (not saying there isn’t a place for them but they should come with a health warning!!!! And involve strict screening) are for everyone regardless of fitness level! This doesn’t do anything to help us encourage people to get more active / it actually self perpetuates the same intimidating environment we at Healthhaus are trying to avoid. It couldn’t have shocked me more when a local fitness provider (who shall remain nameless) posted and boasted about one of its members being physically sick in class, another provider citing that members had so much DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) they couldn’t sit down for a week and yet another telling people to get lost if they are anything short of 100 percent motivated. Really……….

So what are you going to do about it I hear you say? Well as founder of Healthhaus I’m passionate about getting a different narrative out there around promoting safe, effective and manageable ways of developing a healthy lifestyle. The launch of our Healthhaus@home site aims to present filtered information from our trusted advisors to help you make educated choices around a 360 degree approach to include the four pillars of health: mind body, nutrition, fitness and general support.

What I am about to say may not sit pretty with the fitness fraternity out there but I am sick to my back teeth of our industry showing us in a bad light. If I see another video demonstrating poor technique, a Facebook post selling under researched fitness methods, a Twitter feed promoting programmes promising to shed half your body weight in 4 weeks and Instagram accounts focusing on the fascination for body image it will be too soon! Although there are endless benefits of social media being on tap, the biggest failing is the inaccuracy of information and distorted view of health and fitness getting to the very people who need it the most.

I often sit and reflect as to how our industry got us into this mess and regularly speak with experts that have been in the industry longer than me (I have been doing this for 20 years) as to where it all went wrong. We don’t have all the answers but one thing we all agree on is that for every step forward we have made to professionalize this industry we have taken 2 steps back. Now I’m not saying there aren’t good fitness people out there but unfortunately there are more in need of self help than there are that you would happily hand over money too. There are just too many out there that don’t have the client at the heart of what they do. There are just too many out there who are not prepared to put in the hard work, the constant research and the dedication to practice that is required to become an expert. There are just too many out there giving mediocre customer service and giving our industry unfair criticism.

But for me that is only a small part of the problem. For me the biggest issue we face is that the very industry that is set up to get people fitter and healthier is the same industry making people feel bad about themselves. Okay, we would all love a six pack, toned thighs and a pert bum but is that realistic for everyone? We would all love to be able to run a marathon, compete in a triathlon and swim the British channel but again is that realistic for all? We would all love to eat superfoods and cook organic but again is that realistic?

With our clients having ever more demanding jobs, bigger families, higher expectations, money worries etc it is about time we take a morally responsible approach to encouraging people to make lifestyle changes, however small and insignificant it may seem to the experts fueling the current narrative In fitness. We have a corporate and social responsibility to send out messages not based on fads but based on facts. We owe it to our followers to make them feel happy in their own skin, ditch their inner critic and feel good about where they are at. It’s only when someone is connected, feels supported and in the right head space that they will be open to embracing baby steps towards a healthier way of being. The ironic thing is, fitness is only a very small part of what this is all about, instead it’s about understanding how to get the best out of people, understanding the psychology of exercise and reducing the barriers to getting people started. Fitness just happens to be the vehicle to get to the route of the issue. Healthhaus@home is our contribution to upholding our vision to educate, encourage people to be more independent of our services and bring 360 degree wellness into the home. We believe we have a social responsibility to get this right and we want to make an impact in helping people to accept and love their inner self.

If we can develop our army of followers to help present and spread the message of our refreshing narrative of this industry then maybe I will retire a happy ex fitness expert !

Glenda, Founder