IDEA World Fitness Convention is rampant with positivity. Everywhere you go you see smiling instructors, coaches, personal trainers shaking hands and connecting with colleagues. It’s a microcosm of what this industry aims to produce.
But despite the smiles and handshakes there’s a bigger problem lurking. While those of us filling the convention center halls “get it,” it seems the rest of the world doesn’t. The stark reality is that the vast majority of the population isn’t getting it. It’s strange because as this industry continues its monumental growth, so, too continues the monumental growth of the world’s waistline. How is that possible?
In a session on breaking down the boundaries of exercise, Rodney Corn asked his attendees if they thought that overweight and obese people were just lazy. The room was still.
He then asked for attendees to share with him the thing they most hate doing.
“Shopping,” responded one woman.
Corn approached each of the respondents and said, “What if I told you that the secret to improved health involves shopping/dusting/moving for 30 minutes, 5 days per week. For significant improvements, all you have to do is shop for one hour, 5 days per week. Would you do it?”
Conference attendees love fitness. That’s why they are personal trainers, coaches and instructors. They’ll boot camp for hours without a single complaint. But the truth is that the majority of the population hates exercise. They know it’s good for them. They know it will make them feel and look better. But they hate it.
“No, they’re not lazy,” Corn said. “They’ve been misinformed. We’ve misinformed them about what exercise and movement really is. We’ve told them that they have to engage in an activity they hate in order to get better. But exercise doesn’t have to be that way for them. How about we try to figure out what kinds of physical activity they like to do and encourage them to do that?”
How do we change our approach, because as Corn also adds, “The fitness industry caters to the already fit.”
Perhaps it’s time to forget about dumbbells, barbells and push-ups and get creative and find a way to really engage the vast majority of the population that is missing out on the joys of movement. Maybe instead of focusing on what we think they need, we ask them what they want.