Trust the Experts 

Trust the Experts
By Erin Phelan

By Erin Phelan

Fitness Industry Council of Canada

Gymtimidation is real.


Ask a newcomer why they stopped going to the gym, and you will likely hear a number of reasons:


It was too hard.

I didn’t have time.

I didn’t feel like I belonged.

I felt intimidated.

I didn’t know what I was doing.


They stopped before they started.


But there is a solution to this problem:


Trust the experts.


“The experts working in the fitness industry are key players in converting newbies to regulars, reducing ‘gymtimidation’ and helping your regulars move past plateaus. We are the glue that holds your entire organization together,” says Gabriel Hardy, Executive Director of Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC), the voice of the Canadian fitness industry.


“But more than that, the experts are professionals who can positively impact the lives of Canadians. We aren’t simply selling a gym membership – we are selling physical, mental and social health. We are actually helping Canadians to invest in their own lives.” 


For seasoned gym lovers, walking into a fitness facility can foster excitement, but for a newcomer, the rows of machines, heavy clacking weights, loud music coming from that spin studio and fit bodies can lead to overwhelm and could even trigger stress and anxiety – the opposite effect of what the gym seeks to do. This is where the experts come in: “Certified personal trainers, kinesiologists, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, group fitness instructors and specialists play a vital role in guiding and supporting our members on their fitness and health journey and creating a sense of belonging,” says Hardy.


We need to remember the incredible power behind what the experts working in the fitness industry do every day to reduce chronic health conditions, improve mental health and help our members live healthier lives. The Fitness Industry is full of star players, who each serve an essential role in helping make Canada a better place.

Personal Trainers

From form and technique to customized workout plans tailored to specific goals and fitness levels, personal trainers help your members achieve maximum results and move past plateaus. But the invaluable measurement of a trainer comes with the newcomers walking through your door. “Your trainers are their guides,” says Hardy. “In a few sessions a newcomer can be hooked on the gym with the right trainer, who has the opportunity to teach technique, make sure they master form, minimize the risk of injury, and reinforce the message behind consistency with their fitness. A trainer is also highly motivating, and will keep your members accountable.”


Exercise Physiologists and Kinesiologists 

Exercise physiologists and kinesiologists have specialized training and education that goes beyond personal training, possessing  in-depth knowledge of how the human body responds to exercise in all facets –  from cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, to helping individuals with unique medical conditions or injuries. “We know two in five Canadians come to our gym with some form of a chronic health condition – from diabetes to hypertension, seniors with mobility issues and youth struggling with mental health. Kinesiologists and exercise physiologists can program in a safe and progressive manner to help those clients manage their health condition.”


The effectiveness of exercise for all chronic health conditions cannot be understated. According to Diabetes Canada, there are more than 5.7 million Canadians living with diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2, and undiagnosed) and there is an additional 11.7 million Canadians living with prediabetes – a condition that, if unmanaged, can develop into Type 2 diabetes. The cost of treating people with diabetes in Canada is estimated at more than $30-billion each year.


A review of studies on the effects of exercise on diabetes by Harvard University found that all forms of exercise – from aerobic to resistance, or combined training was effective at lowering HbA1c values in people with diabetes. And, amazingly, women with diabetes who spent at least four hours a week exercising had a 40% lower risk of developing heart disease than those who didn’t. “Exercise is medicine, and the trained professionals who help administer the “dose” of exercise” are essential to our healthcare system,” says Hardy.


Nutritionists / Dieticians

You can’t outrun a bad diet, and the fitness industry has seen the necessary convergence of experts who can guide our members with dietary and nutritional expertise.


In Canada, almost two in three adults and one in three children and youth are overweight or living with obesity with even higher rates in marginalized and equity-seeking populations. Obesity greatly increases the risk for several chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.


“The gym is the hub of positive health changes,” says Hardy. “Our experts can help our clients learn how to move, how to eat to fuel their body and lose weight, how to prioritize sleep and most importantly how small action steps can positively change their lives.”

Group Fitness Instructors

The Group Fitness Instructor of today wears many hats – part group trainer, part inspiring motivator, part coach and an energy architect who designs classes that engage and are fun! Group fitness instructors can help your members go past their comfort zones – and keep coming back for more! They are also key players in helping members stay accountable and consistent with fitness, make friends and form community, while also teaching proper form and encouraging them to move past their comfort zones, and keep coming back again and again!

Mindfulness Experts

From Yoga to Pilates to meditation guides, mindfulness is skill and is essential to helping Canadians cope with anxiety and stress. Trained mindfulness experts have a transformative power to gently guide members through poses, breathwork and stress-reduction techniques. With at least one in five Canadians struggling with stress, anxiety and depression, the importance of trained mindfulness experts continues to grow in our facilities.

Why We Trust The Experts

Fitness industry experts are trained, certified professionals with education and skills, who continually upgrade their knowledge to help their clients achieve their goals effectively, safely and consistently. They understand exercise physiology, the mind-body connection, biomechanics, nutrition, and can offer evidence-based programs and guidance to newcomers and veterans of the gym. “The gym is full of experts who are there for one simple reason: To help their clients live healthier, happier, longer and more enriched lives,” says Hardy. “The work we do every day makes Canada a healthier, more productive and happier place.”

Fitness Industry Council of Canada submitted a budget proposal to the federal government to revise line 33099 of the federal income tax form, allowing gym memberships to be included as a medical expense. To get involved with the efforts, please join the FIC today.

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is the not-for profit trade association that represents the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing more than 6,000 facilities with more than six-million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators. FIC aims to work with both industry and government to improve the health and physical activity levels of Canadians.

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