Fitness Professionals or Porn Stars, the (supposed) Leadership of the Fitness Industry

**Repost –> original post was hacked and deleted!!!!!**

**Update – February 15th – ISSA is STILL running the ad**


I can’t let this go. I just can’t. I was getting ready to go to bed as was about to read a cute article on the joys of owning a dog, which I thought would be a great way to send myself off to sleep.

And there, right in the middle of my article, between cute pictures of puppies being cute, was this image.

What is there even to say?

What is this ad? What is its intent? What are its implications?

Why am I so infuriated with this?


***Caution. I curse. And as I get fired up it gets worse. If this offends you REALLY shouldn’t follow my stuff. ***


Because this is a beautiful representation of everything that is wrong with the fitness industry and that the supposedly ‘reputable’ certification organizations are doing a severe injustice to everything true professionals are trying to accomplish.

This post is singling out the ISSA because of an egregious marketing campaign but it is simply a convenient and current example of an underlying cancer that eats away at the heart of an industry I have dedicated my life to.


Search Google images for personal trainers and you get images like this….An exact representation of what society believes personal trainers to be and exactly what I fight every day to change!!!

 


have publicly and privately endorsed the ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association), I have advised dozens of people to do their certification, in fact my entire staff are (sorry, WERE) required to complete the ISSA designation.

I was even able to let go of other issues with the ISSA. Like, in 2015 when one of their public directors, John Rowley was quoted in an article as saying kettlebell swings are a waste of time because it uses momentum and doesn’t train the legs, a completely ridiculous statement that demonstrates a complete lack of basic knowledge of the exercise.

The ISSA defended his stance because the media gave him glowing reviews. Because that means that he is obviously qualified. I think the media also gives Dr. Oz glowing reviews….. They list him as the director of wellness for the ISSA yet seem to think his opinions do not reflect on their organization.

I was willing to let that go.

I was.

But now this.

This ad.

Are you cut out to be a personal trainer.

 

With a racy image of an anonymous female mid-section in low rising shorts or pants and a sports bra.

Because that has what exactly to do with being a personal trainer?

Now I am going to make some comments which the ISSA will deny before they backpedal and cry that this isn’t what they meant. At this point I have come to expect this from them. I have come to realize that they are more concerned with publicity than they are with authenticity. That social media clicks are more important than helping to create a better health and fitness industry.

What does this image and slogan have to do with being a personal trainer?

The slogan on its own I could live with.

Are you cut out to be a personal trainer.

Should mean: are you willing to study, learn, educate, and better yourself everyday in order to better serve the people who hire you to make their lives better? Are you willing to spend late nights researching, to invest time and money in conferences, clinics, seminars, and mentorships to ensure you become a consummate professional?

Those things make show you are cut out to be a personal trainer.

But pair that slogan with this image?

Oh I get it ISSA!!!!! Are you CUT out to be a personal trainer?? Cut. Like as in lean, like the woman’s abs in the photo. I get it. They are cut. It’s a double entendre. I think every adolescent boy and grade 7 English student gets it.

How much did you have to pay the copywriter for that one?

So your implication then is that to be a personal trainer you have to be cut, lean, skinny, or match whatever physical characteristics you deem to equate to health that you have chosen this week.

No, you argue? That isn’t what you meant? Please then, enlighten me?

Oh you were just having fun? Trying to be a little puny? (See what I did there?) Because I don’t think it’s very fucking funny.

Not at all.

I think this plays right into the pornification of the fitness industry and exacerbates huge issues currently plaguing the fitness world.

You are objectifying women’s bodies to play into an asinine belief that to be a fitness professional all that is important is what you look like.

And sorry, if you argue that you are more than that you need to go look at your ad.

I didn’t see anything professional about it. I didn’t see any implication about the hard work being a true health and fitness professional takes. I didn’t see anything speaking to the years of learning and education it takes to be entrusted with the health and wellness of people. People paying you money to be a professional.

When was the last time a physiotherapy or medical school advertised their educational offerings with a half naked woman as their featured ad?

 

Oh they don’t because that would be ridiculous? Because they are professionals?

So then even taking away the sexist and overtly sexualized nature of your ad you are implicitly stating that personal trainers are not professionals. Again, fighting against everything I have dedicated my life to change. You are cementing the belief that personal trainers are not professionals but merely a group of narcissists more interested in displaying their abs than their knowledge and experience.

And there you might just be on to something.

The world of personal training and fitness coaching is everything you are implying with this vomit inducing marketing campaign. You hit it right on the nose. You explained it perfectly.


 

Google image search for ‘female fitness coach’

 


And I expected, nay, I HOPED for more than that from you. Because at the root of it, the reason I used (not the use of past tense, another great use of the subtleties of the English language) to endorse your certification was because it has the best information of all the certifications available. It is the most current and progressive material combined with actual testing that isn’t just multiple choice but includes methods to assess actual application of knowledge and principles.

And then you go and belittle everything that you had the potential to be.

Your ad is sexist, irrelevant, and damaging. I. Am. Appalled.

I may just be one random little coach in a small Canadian city but I promise you ISSA, I am not the only person offended by your antiquated and misogynistic marketing ploy.

Sex sells, but this isn’t the porn industry.

Shame on you.

-Coach Taylor

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