Fitness Professionals Do No Harm!

jillian-michaelsHistorically when a doctor begins his or her career they take a solemn oath. Known as the Hippocratic Oath, it originated from the Greeks of legend. No one knows for certain which Greek penned it, Hippocrates, Pythagoras or the students of them, but it isn’t the writer, it’s the words.

Through time, it has been changed, amended, interpreted differently and even replaced with the Declaration of Geneva (which has also seen its fair share of amendments).

This is not a history lesson, you know that’s not my style. This is about what the oath once stood for and why a couple of the things that I’ve encountered over the last couple of days have me all fired up right now.

There is one particular line that existed which means a lot to me. Even though it was made for doctors, I believe in it as a mantra for any fitness professional. FITNESS PROFESSIONAL, not paid number counter.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

What does that mean?? In its simplest form, I will make sure that nutrition is the cornerstone of healing and that I will NEVER hurt anyone with what I do. A line later in the oath also says that I will not go beyond my knowledge and refer to someone more qualified if I don’t know (paraphrasing).

Today I talked to a firefighter that has been off work for a while because of a severe shoulder injury that he received while working out in one of those insane warehouse deals with a bunch of steel stuff, heavy ropes and people screaming to “Fight the pain.”

He was doing what he was told by a person who he believed was a “fitness professional”. WRONG. The person was a professional number counter and motivational screamer. The person had no clue about body mechanics, movement or form and therefore didn’t recognize the damage that was occurring and just yelled, “Fight the pain.”

Last night, I read a piece of advice, that I don’t necessarily disagree with about a simple nutrition tip. I agree with it in principle, but when I asked the writer why, he couldn’t support his own advice. Right advice, but NO IDEA why he was giving it. That indicates to me, he read it somewhere and thought, “Hey, this will make me look smart to my followers.”  Again, someone who claims to be a fitness professional but has more interesting in sounding good than taking care not to cause harm.

Come on people! Would you have your accounting done by a 6th grade math student? Its just addition and subtraction, so hand over your books to little Johnny.  Or maybe there is way more behind the scenes information to get you what you really need. Maybe an accountant would be better.

Fitness professionals dedicate their lives to your benefit. Fitness professionals make your health their priority.  Most of us know what we are talking about and will customize plans right for you and not just throw out a blanket statement, “You should never eat XYZ because you’ll get gas.”

Come on… seriously?

Fitness professionals study fitness, health, body mechanics and movement well beyond formal schooling. They consider it a mandatory course of action to help protect you.

Professional number counters take a weekend to get a piece of paper that says, “I’m a certified personal trainer.” Sorry, no you aren’t. You are a number counter that has an obligation to your employer to try to get people to pay out money and hope they never show up.

Please, be careful. Make sure you are with a qualified professional. Don’t just do fad workouts because they look cool. Not all works outs, not all diets and not all bodies respond to the same things in the same way.

To my fellow fitness professionals, thank you for knowing your craft and keep up the great work!! To the number counters. Please know your limitations and help people where you can, don’t hurt them.

Post originally written for; Hive Health Media (photo credit)

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