“Fixing” Unhealthiness, From a Fit Pro’s Perspective

Health & Wellness

Tips for Living Healthy in South Arkansas

Jason Rogers
Manager, JRMC Wellness Centers

It was so long ago, and it was yesterday. I got my first job in the fitness industry in 1995. I was a different individual, personally and professionally. Gung-ho to pursue my chosen craft, I memorized the newest fitness data and would recite it to my clients, friends, and anyone who would listen. I thought the best way to help people was to debunk all the health and fitness myths that seemed to circulate in the general public. There were no “celebrity trainers” and few TV fitness personalities. I was on the front lines in the war on unhealthiness. Through youth and naiveté, I thought the fitness industry was “perfect,” and that the public simply didn’t have the information and motivation they needed to get on a healthier path. I even complained about how the low entry barrier in personal training and fitness was killing the field and that we should all have mandatory continuing education. All my fitness associates supported this behavior. We were going to make the world a healthier place one step and one rep at a time.

It didn’t take long, however, before I started to realize something. My actions weren’t only failing to help improve my industry; they were also making me look like a jerk to the people I wanted to help. As a result, I took an old saying to heart, “You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.” I had to reassess and adjust to become a part of the solution.

Here are some realizations that I have come to and how I use them to try and make myself a better fitness professional.

  • My “audience” isn’t (and will probably never be) as large as I once expected. Do fitness professionals sometimes wish our audience included thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people? Maybe at one time. Now I believe that if I REALLY REACH this ONE, and that ONE, and another ONE, things will take care of themselves.
  • Used sparingly, “Well, it depends” and “I don’t know, let me find out” are legitimate answers to fitness questions. Do I always WANT to have the correct answer for any fitness question I am presented with? Of course. Do I always? No. I can assure you that I would rather tell you that I must find the answer than knowingly give you the incorrect one.
  • It isn’t productive to argue over the wrong things. When the general public would greatly benefit from the 90% that fitness pros agree on, why do we spend so much time debating the 10%? If you’ve got a recipe for brownies and I’ve got a recipe for brownies, do we really want to argue about whether you add walnuts or that I only use whole grain wheat flour?
  • Just like those of you who come to seek our advice, everyone in this business started in a place born out of curiosity and passion. So, a low barrier of entry isn’t a bad thing as long as the individual directs their passion toward helping people, and they aren’t trying to present themselves as something they are not.

The pivotal point was when I realized that people don’t need more science; they need simple action items that deliver results. So, here goes: get more sleep, drink more water, eat more fruits and vegetables, and for goodness sake, MOVE!

The JRMC Wellness Centers, located in Pine Bluff and White Hall, offer a variety of fitness options for all ages and interests. Free weights, machines, cardio equipment, personal trainers and a full schedule of Les Mills classes are available at both facilities. For more information call the Pine Bluff (541-7890) or White Hall (850-8000) facility.


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