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Is your instructor fit enough?

Tanu Kulkarni
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Only two per cent of fitness trainers in the city are certified

Several health clubs provide substandard services, that leads to minor and major injuries, which, sometimes, require surgical intervention.—File Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.
Several health clubs provide substandard services, that leads to minor and major injuries, which, sometimes, require surgical intervention.—File Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

: With everybody chanting the fitness mantra, virtually every neighbourhood has a gym or a fitness centre. Consequently, there’s a huge demand for fitness instructors. This has compelled even some of the most sought-after gym chains to recruit instructors that are not trained or certified.

Most fitness courses are certificate courses provided mostly by foreign entities. Some of the most popular courses are American Council on Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine and Reebok India Company.

Fitness trainers are required to enrol online and pick the course they wish to pursue. While the curriculum of most provides a basic understanding of fitness, diet and nutrition, there are programs that provide in-depth training for specialised courses which include pre-natal and post-natal training, aerobic exercises and weight training.

The hazards

Stating that only around two per cent of the trainers in the city are certified, Sarvanan Hariram, Karnataka Fitness Academy, said: “In all industries, you need a basic qualification. But people join the fitness industry without any background or knowledge. This can be disastrous as one wrong posture the instructor teaches could cripple a person for life.” Declaring that fitness clubs are only into “business”, R. Vinodh Rajkumar, physiotherapist and fitness expert, said several health clubs provide substandard services, which leads to minor and major musculoskeletal injuries, recurrence of old medical conditions which sometimes demand surgical intervention.

Mr. Rajkumar said: “I have met clients who have had fractures in the ribs and slip disc relapse caused because of unscientific workouts.”

He also mentioned that consumers are cheated in their weight loss goals through calorie-deficit prescriptions which usually lead to weight loss with diminished levels of fitness.

Expensive courses

Fitness instructors also find the going tough. While a basic course starts at Rs. 7,000, personalised courses could cost around Rs. 50,000. Rakesh R., a freelance trainer, said: “Our salaries are very low. We’d rather learn the tricks of the trade from somebody who has completed the course. ”

Chalking the way forward, Mr. Rajkumar asserts that consumers need to play a “pro-active” role and asses if the fitness trainer is competent enough to calibrate the exercise intensity through a detailed pre-participation and health risk appraisal.

Mr. Hariram pointed out the need for a legislation to ensure that gyms are registered under the civic authority.

“Currently, there are no norms or guidelines to open a gym. A strong legislation and a monitoring body will ensure quality.”

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