There’s a lot of bad fitness advice out there and you need to look no further than the June 24th edition of the New York Post to see what I’m talking about. When it comes to getting reliable health and fitness advice the vast majority of people are getting a bum deal. You fine folks who have stumbled across and count on me to give you no BS info shouldn’t fall prey to the pap that passes for fitness advice these days.

However, people who rely on the mainstream media for their health and fitness info are wasting time, effort and cash. Last section provides us with a great example of bad fitness advice. In addition to the usual nonsense dealing with all the gimmicks and posturing employed by Manhattan’s personal training “elite,” there is a section that’s called, “Looking for a fitness guru?” that is classic garbage.  Let’s take a look at the info served up by the Post for those folks looking for a fitness guru.

The Post spoke to 2 New York City trainers – gurus themselves – about what to look for in a guru. By the way, any trainer that wants to be a guru should be avoided like the plague. I worked in this environment in Manhattan back in the late 1980s when the personal training trend kicked off, and I can tell you that the most well known trainers and the trainers who set themselves up as gurus were the worst of the bunch. But that’s a different story for a different time.

The most outrageously bad piece of advice a legit fitness professional could ever give comes from Meaghan Buchan the fitness director at Self magazine, and a personal trainer. Buchan actually said the following, “Look for a trainer with the body type you want to have. If you want to be long and lean, don’t go for a muscle head.” She goes on to say that you should pick a trainer with the look that you want because this means that they should know how their clients to look the same way. I am not kidding. It is truly frightening that Buchan, as both a trainer and as someone involved with dispensing fitness advice to women as the fitness director of Self magazine, holds this point of view.

This statement reveals an incredible lack of knowledge on behalf of Buchan. What the heck is going on at Self? You can’t change your body type anymore than you can change your skin color; this is the most rudimentary truth there is for a fitness professional. But it gets better as Buchan recommends that people should look for a trainer certified by either the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA) or the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Um, no. The NASM is okay as certifications go, and despite the claim that their certification is the “gold standard” of fitness certifications, there are other more meaningful and respected certifying organizations than NASM. No offense. The AFPA is a run-of-the-mill distance education certification that, in my opinion as a fitness professional, is not worth pursuing.

For serious fitness professionals the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) are the only 2 certifications worth pursuing or holding for personal trainers and strength coaches. Every personal trainer and/or strength coach should be willing to invest the time, effort and money to get certified by one of these organizations. Over the past 20 years, I have seen countless prospective personal training employees with these, and other lesser certifications, who were not qualified for employment.

Another guru the Post spoke to is a trainer from New York Sports Club named Amie Hoff recommends that guru seekers should look for a trainer who’s specialty suits their needs, so if you’re looking to “tone up, lose weight, run a marathon or nursing an injured knee,” you should find a trainer who handles these areas. Any personal trainer who says they specialize in “toning up,” or who thinks that there is such a thing as “toning up,” should be avoided. The myth of toning up as a training philosophy or goal is right up there on the list of nonsense with spot reducing.

Furthermore, legit fitness professionals – personal trainers, strength coaches, physicians, etc. – should never focus on losing weight as the prime consideration when advising, designing or implementing a training program. You’d be hard pressed to find this much bad fitness advice been given in one place, in so few words. Unfortunately, this kind of advice is all too common these days.



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