It may sound strange for me to say as a health and fitness professional, but I believe a significant portion of people being paid to improve health and wellbeing are failing to accomplish their goal, whether they realize it or not. It took me many years to realize that there are major problems with the wellness industry, and I want to help speed up this process for others.
There are many reasons for the problems in the wellness industry and the failing health of society. Today, I want to discuss how health practitioners and the public directly contribute.
Despite making great strides in many areas of the health and wellness industry, there is more misinformation and poor advice than ever.
Health and wellness industry and its professionals must change. But the public must also become aware that despite the claims of specific healthcare practitioners, other options and perspectives are available.
Let me explain…
People often ask me what I do
The best answer I have come up with so far is…”I help people solve their health and wellness problems. Live their best life and be the best possible version of themself.”
In the past, the answer was more like “I’m a strength & conditioning coach” or “I’m a Personal Trainer”. Regardless of my “title” at the time, clients came to me for many reasons, and with a variety of goals.
In reality, there are many ways of helping each person reach those objectives, but the ideal combination is different for every person. These options may not even include things I can directly help with.
If I can’t directly help, I believe it’s my job to have enough breadth of knowledge to know that many solutions to these wellness problems exist outside my scope. And to have connections with qualified people in those areas who can help.
In the past, this wasn’t the case. Thinking as a “personal trainer” or “strength & conditioning coach” creates a mindset that the best outcome for each client can be reached through fitness and exercise.
While people will undoubtedly get great results from regular exercise, this mindset is inherently limiting. Most people in the wellness industry focus their effort on a specific narrow segment of the industry, and work hard to solve problems in their area of expertise.
A “Personal trainer” provides workouts, a “Massage therapist” provides relief for “tight” muscles, a “Yoga instructor” may improve flexibility, relaxation, and peace of mind, and a “Medical doctor” might provide tests or medication for a particular malady.
In each of these cases, people are treated for a specific issue or ailment.
The wellness industries I mentioned are all great, and can provide valuable benefits to people. However, there is something missing that often hinders the impact that is made with patients and clients of these practitioners.
In my opinion, the missing link for solving the health and wellness problems of our patients and clients is “the big picture”
As our world gets more specialized, siloed, and narrow in focus, it’s important to maintain perspective and a grasp on how each silo connects. This is particularly important when we consider health, wellness, happiness, and peak performance in life.
Perhaps it’s a product of combining my psychology and kinesiology background, but it helps me maintain perspective and look beyond the typical silo approach. At the deepest level of my being, I believe that life is better when you are healthy, happy, vibrant, and fit.
There is a lot of recent science to back this up, but I’ve seen it firsthand over the past 25 years in myself and with thousands of coaching clients. At the base level, many of us understand this inherently, but reality paints a very different picture.
It still amazes me what beliefs and ideas people latch onto, and what constitutes “professional advice” from large segments of the wellness industry.
I don’t say this to bash anyone specifically. There are GREAT people in every industry. However, in health, fitness, medical, and wellness, there are far too many people with their heads in the sand who are providing outdated advice to clients’ problems. Here are a few samples…
Personal Fitness Trainers and Instructors
Most of the fitness industry is dedicated and proud to provide intense, sweat-filled workouts to people, yet few of these professionals have a true understanding of their clients or class participant.
Sure, a basic waiver is completed so people are less likely to die on the spot, but there is no discussion or adaptation of programming or intensity related to stress levels… sleep quality… the status of a person’s internal systems/organs… their TRUE eating habits…hydration, etc.?
Each of these are critical to determining the right type of activity and intensity for a particular person at a particular time. Yet, it’s common practice to train everyone the same. We see it daily in gyms, training sessions, and fitness classes worldwide.
People are being beaten into the ground for the sake of sweating and burning calories. The “suck it up until you get results”, “no pain no gain” and “sweat is your fat crying” mentality are actively injuring and discouraging most of the people who need to transform their health and wellness the most.
The person who wants to lose weight, but joins a gym even though they hate to exercise is often introduced to high-intensity fast-paced fitness classes and programs because they need to sweat, burn calories, and “put in the hard work” to get fit.
Here are some ballpark numbers to help you put the problem into perspective:
Of the people I’ve seen in my own studio and at gyms around the world, conservatively, less than 10% of people move properly and use the correct form on the most common exercises. Yet, almost all fitness-based classes are designed around intensity and encouraging people to do more reps, “work harder”, “dig deeper”, “suck it up”, etc.
Clearly, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Manual Therapists (massage, physio, chiro, etc.)
Many of these practitioners are merely treating symptoms on a recurring basis. They will massage or mobilize people all day, every day without diving into the root causes of the symptoms they are treating.
That person continually experiencing migraines, neck and shoulder pain, fatigue, and low motivation:
Do they sit for a living?
What is their workstation setup?
How are their posture, movement patterns, and imbalances being addressed to ensure that the most impactful changes are being made?
How many nutritionists and dieticians are chiding clients for unhealthy snacking, binging on sugar, and seeking comfort from food without addressing the client’s life satisfaction (happiness, purpose, fulfillment) and problems?
Let’s face it, people generally know what’s healthy. They just don’t eat it.
This means that the solution is rarely more nutrition advice, and something that a new meal plan won’t fix.
Doctors and other Health Practitioners in any field
How many medical professionals ask clients about their dreams, goals, and aspirations, and whether the person is actively working toward them?
It’s common practice for medical professionals to tell people to stop exercising for even the smallest injury ailment or sickness. As the most sedentary generation in the history of the planet, there is no attempt to distinguish between movement, activity, exercise, fitness, and performance (The Movement Spectrum), or of helping people understand that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the greatest contributing factors to most of the health and wellness problems we face as a society.
As health, fitness, and wellness professionals, I believe that in order to accomplish our objective of improving the health, happiness, and life of society, it’s imperative that we take a step back from the microscope, and look at the whole person in the context of their entire life and circumstances.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that most of us in these fields are working hard and trying to do the best that we can toward these goals. It’s also true that we can’t be experts at everything.
A Clearer Path to solving health and wellness problems
But to be truly professional and to honor our commitment to helping people, we must move beyond treating symptoms and accept that humans cannot be separated from our mental, physical, and social environments.
I believe that this gap in perspective is at the root of many wellness problems, and social challenges we face today. Our treatment and prevention approaches must include this bigger-picture perspective and be used to better determine the most effective course of action.
I personally know amazing people in each of these fields who support this perspective. And are actively helping clients solve their problems through this combination of big-picture thinking and specialized skills. We just need more of them in all fields!
My goal in writing this post is to help you know that great help is out there and that you have choices beyond the traditional options served up to you. Then again, the fact that you are receiving my post means that you are already many steps ahead of most people.
Should you need help finding a great massage therapist, physio, chiro, medical doctor, naturopath, etc. please reach out.
If you have goals and improvements you are ready to make in any of the 4 Pillars of Performance (Mindset, Habits, Movement, Fuel), let’s chat to see if we are a good fit to work together.
Just book your complimentary Success Coaching Session and let us help you ignite your true potential!
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