More Myths On The Singapore Fitness Profession

September 29, 2010

Picture of fitness professional coupleThe last time we shared our take on the myths and misconceptions surrounding the Singapore Fitness Industry and its professionals, we inadvertently seemed to have opened Pandora’s Box…..

We are both surprised and heartened by the amount of feedback we garnered – the majority of which are supportive and appreciative of our stance on the subject; though a few are simply quite amused by our tackling of what they deemed was a ‘sensitive’ or controversial subject!

Nevertheless, we seemed to have got ourselves quite a few ‘fans’, and more importantly, new materials and an emboldened impetus to write on!

As such, we would like to dedicate this follow-up article as a tribute to all our readers – many of whom are themselves trainers, coaches and instructors in the Singapore Fitness Industry – for contributing their ideas, materials and feedback to a topic so dear to all our hearts.

Myth 5: A Singapore Fitness Trainer Or Coach Is Only As Good As He/She Looks.

FACT: Like everyone else on Planet Earth, Singapore fitness trainers, instructors and coaches come in all shapes and sizes. Very often, their physical appearances are closely related to their choice of fitness vocations, to the type of sporting or physical activities they pursue, and even to some degree, their own genetics! 

The important thing is: NOT every fitness professional is going to look like a Professional Fitness Model or a Competitive Bodybuilder fresh off a photo shoot with professionally styled hairdo, gleaming white teeth, radiant tanned skin and a rock-hard, 3%-body-fat physique! 

And as a matter of fact, we, at Singapore Fitness Professionals Network , would like to state categorically that how a trainer, coach or instructor looks, has absolutely ZERO bearing on his/her ability to coach!

To illustrate our point, consider this: a trainer with a buffed, ultra-ripped, Hollywood-type physique may turn out to be a less than desirable trainer with questionable coaching techniques, poor communication skills or even morally defective personality traits!!! Conversely, another trainer with a less “eye-catching” physique, may in fact be a fantastic teacher, a great motivator and a tip-top role model! 

Thus, as the adage goes – NEVER Judge A Book By Its Cover! As long as a fitness professional projects an active, fit and healthy image – doing justice to his/her professional credibility – anything else is just plain Eye-Candy!

Myth 6: A Singapore Fitness Professional Who Has Won Accolades Like “National Champion”, “World Champion”  Etc Is Superior To Those Without.

FACT: Like the earlier myth, there is an unfortunate and skewed belief in Singapore that a fitness professional who has worn numerous “titles” throughout his/her career is far superior to one that hasn’t.

The truth is: Winning titles for oneself is one thing, but having the theoretical, practical and methodological know-how and ability to coach another person effectively and efficiently is another thing!!

Without taking anything away from many of our worthy champions and winners, the fact is this: in the fitness industry, both in Singapore and abroad, there are indeed trainers who are great (and interested only) in tuning their OWN BODIES into shape; but have absolutely NO CLUE on how to design a training program to help OTHERS get into shape!

On the other hand, there are many TOP, ELITE trainers in Singapore and around the world who have absolutely ZERO interest in competing – often preferring to work BEHIND THE SCENES – to support, nurture and train the actual competitors and athletes themselves. For these professionals, their focus is on Coaching and Teaching; NOT in competing in sporting contests or physique competitions for self-glorification or self-promotion purposes! As such, these trainers and coaches – though not holders of titles themselves – are in fact often the ones with the most diverse knowledge and the most hands-on experience,  having had the advantage of working with diverse pools of clients throughout their careers.

Hence, we, as part of Singapore’s Professional Fitness Body, would again like to reiterate our belief that the number of “titles” a trainer, coach or instructor holds, has absolutely NO bearing on his/her ability to coach!

Myth 7: Singapore Fitness Professionals Are Inferior To Foreign-Trained Coaches And Instructors!

FACT: Without a doubt, the fitness/wellness industry in Singapore is less mature and developed compared to that of the West; considering the fact that it was only in the recent past decade or so that things really took off from the ground.

However, to say that our Singapore Fitness Professionals are INFERIOR to their foreign counterparts are wide off the mark, and smacks of disrespect and ignorance. Critics of our local trainers, coaches and instructors often FAIL to realize that many of our fitness professionals today undergo the SAME certifying processes from the SAME certifying organizations that award the very SAME qualifications or certifications as those awarded to our foreign counterparts!!!

This phenomenon is entirely possible today due to globalization and accreditation – which has facilitated the flow of personnel and information across countries and borders making  it convenient and possible for anyone, regardless where he/she is located, to pursue the relevant qualifications or certifications needed to start a career in the fitness/wellness industry! 

And since the majority of Singapore Fitness Professionals are also subjected to the same certifying protocols, standards and checks as those of their foreign counterpartsthere is absolutely NO cause to believe that our local trainers or coaches are in any way inferior to foreign-trained ones!

Myth 8: The More Certifications A Singapore Fitness Professional Has, The Better He/She Is As A Trainer, Coach Or Instructor!

FACT: Like many things in life, it is the QUALITY and NOT the QUANTITY of a fitness professional’s certifications that counts. Especially in an age where one can practically pay about S$100 or so to download a 30-page PDF “study manual” and sit for a 20-question MCQ  “online certifying exam” and then call oneself  “Certified” at the end of it all – all remarkably within the same day!

As such, the quality and reputation of a fitness/wellness certification has become more important than ever today. Although, a certification is no more than a tool to authenticate and legitimize a fitness professional’s mastery of a particular fitness skill,  it should always still adhere to professionally acceptable standards and protocols in order to have any worth, validity or credibility in the eyes of the public.

 As a rule of thumb, reputable and recognized certifications are usually: 1) administered by a board of independent fitness experts made up of sports/exercise scientists and other prominent academics in the field of fitness/wellness,  2) requires intensive and extensive study of the requisite subject matter,  3) culminates in a professional examination consisting of BOTH theoretical and practical components, and 4) recognized nationally/internationally by the respective government bodies. 

If, and ONLY if, a fitness/wellness professional could attain certifications which match ALL the above criteria, then, and ONLY then, could he/she be deemed to possess a greater or more in-depth body of knowledge of that particular skill compared to another. Other than that, it is always better to hire a trainer/coach with perhaps only 1 or 2 SOLID, REPUTABLE and RECOGNIZED certifications, rather than one with over-30 half-baked, suspect, scammy or phony qualifications which practically translate to ZERO advantage – in the field of fitness/wellness knowledge. 

Well, there you have it – our sequel to the much-discussed topic on the myths and misconceptions surrounding the Singapore Fitness Industry and Fitness/Wellness Profession.

We hope you like it and do feel free again to share with us your views, feedback or even criticisms on the above.

Common Myths Surrounding The Singapore Fitness Profession

September 15, 2010

Image of a personal trainer training a client.The Singapore Fitness Industry – like many of its counterparts in other countries – has its share of urban myths and misconceptions that never seem to go away.

We – as Singapore’s Network Of Fitness Professionals – feel compelled to dispel some of the most common myths surrounding the Singapore fitness profession – many of which are a result of plain IGNORANCE on the part of the public; while a few are vicious and unfounded jibes churned out by the minds of detractors – individuals who for reasons known only to themselves – harbour deep insecurities, hidden agendas and resentments against the fitness profession.

Myth 1: Singapore Fitness Trainers & Instructors Are Just Simple-Minded Muscle-Heads.

TRUTH: This myth has been around for ages – and most likely perpetuated by those who belong to the school of thought that all muscular/fit/toned individuals are ‘All Brawn and No Brains’. The truth can’t be any further. In Singapore, or as a matter of fact, in any other part of the world – fitness professionals are mostly a Highly Educated bunch – with many possessing BOTH Tertiary Education AND Professional Qualifications in their chosen fitness disciplines. In fact, the average fitness professional here in Singapore has MORE years of formal education (taking into account the various continual upgrading courses they undertake regularly) than most average Singaporeans! If you consider further that many are also highly successful and prominent individuals who own thriving private fitness practices, this whole myth about “Muscle-Heads” is even more laughable and absurd!

Myth 2: Singapore Fitness Professionals Are Those Who FAIL To Make It In The Corporate World.

TRUTH: Fitness/Wellness Professionals are individuals who CHOOSE to follow their Passion and Calling. They may have once been executives, managers or some other senior personnel in the corporate world, but have since discovered their own passion and calling. Most, if not all, CHOOSE to leave the corporate world on their very own accord – to pursue their passions and beliefs. This requires, above all else – COURAGE, CONVICTION and SELF-BELIEF! Our Singapore Fitness Professionals are definitely NOT drop-outs or failures; they are in fact – ENTREPRENEURS and TRAIL BLAZERS who dare to follow their dreams and worthy of everybody’s respect !

Myth 3: All Fitness Professionals are “Fitness Freaks” – Obsessed With Fitness And Nothing Else!

TRUTH: Undeniably, fitness plays an important and large part in the lives of all our fitness/wellness professionals. Otherwise, how else could they maintain credibility and “Walk The Talk”  before their clients? On the other hand, many of our local Singapore personal trainers, aerobics instructors and Yoga/Pilates teachers – while maintaining a close walk with Fitness/Wellness in their daily lives, also maintain a large semblance of BALANCE and INVOLVEMENT in their respective personal, social and family relationships. Anecdotal evidence has shown that numerous fitness/wellness professionals – here in Singapore – are devoted and involved PARENTS, filial SONS/DAUGHTERS, accomplished MUSICIANS, ARTISTS, COOKS or BLOGGERS etc, with many more actively involved in other fields such as FASHION, TRAVEL, WEB DESIGN, CHARITY etc and possibly even POLITICS! As can be seen, our fitness pros are not only proficient in their profession, but are also ALL-ROUNDERS with diverse interests and hobbies! 

Myth 4: Most Singapore Fitness Instructors/Trainers Take Drugs & Steroids To Look The Part.

TRUTH: The very large majority of fitness/wellness professionals in Singapore – regardless of gender – are CLEAN! Most practice what they preach: they train hardobserve a clean diet, rest and recuperate adequately, and overall, lead a very healthy and fit lifestyle that is usually the envy of those outside the profession. It is no wonder therefore that they LOOK GOOD! Their  great physiques and impressive figures are a direct result of their own HARD WORK, not drugs! Of course, there may be a handful of black sheep within the fitness community who abuse illegal performance aids secretly to ‘buff’ themselves up; but to our knowledge, these form the VERY VERY SMALL MINORITY. Even then, they risk being frowned upon by the rest of the fitness/wellness community if their indiscretions come to light.  

There you have it – some common myths regarding the Singapore Fitness Profession that never seem to die.

We hope our article have – for once and all – put these myths to rest.

Do let us know if you have heard of other related myths, and please feel free to share them with us.

Why More Singaporeans Should Exercise Outdoors Rather Than Indoors.

September 6, 2010

Man exercising outdoors.Singaporeans – like many other citizens of developed nations – are generally seen as being sedentary, “soft” and indoor-loving compared to their more rugged neighbours in other less developed countries.

Even the most active of Singapore residents tend to select indoor-kind activities for their physical pursuits, while eschewing most outdoor exercise activities.

Just take a look at the rising popularity of the following physical activities among Singaporeans: weight-training workouts in INDOOR fitness centres, cardiovascular workouts, including running and spinning on INDOOR machines in health centres, and group exercise sessions like Yoga and Pilates in INDOOR studios etc – it is not difficult to reach the conclusion that many here in Singapore generally DO prefer working-out indoors rather than outdoors.

A quick check with many Singapore fitness professionals – such as fitness coaches, personal trainers, and other exercise instructors – also reveal that these professionals generally face a hard time in convincing many of their clients to shift their workouts or exercise sessions to an outdoor location – even for the occasional sake of variety.

It’s quite a shame really – as Singapore – being located right on the Equator – is blessed with such a nice tropical climate that supports most outdoor fitness pursuits year round.

Hopefully, the following “revelations” will convince and convert people – once and for all – that outdoor workouts do carry with them certain benefits that indoor training CANNOT duplicate.

According to a 2008 British Study, which compared the effects of two groups of respondents – one which exercised mainly indoors, and the other which exercised mainly outdoors – it was found that individuals who spent most of their time exercising outdoors experience BETTER overall heath and LONGER lifespans than those who exercised only indoors!

Moreover, a research team at the University Of Rochester also found that people who exercise outdoors for at least 20 min each day reported a BOOST in their overall vitality for the rest of that day!

With such compelling data backing the claim for outdoor training, isn’t it time you put aside your reservations and get involved in Outdoor Fitness today?

Start by looking around for a good Outdoor Fitness Boot Camp in Singapore to join, or find an experienced Singapore Outdoor Fitness Coach to show you the ropes on how to make the most of your outdoor fitness pursuits.

As the saying goes: “Nature may be the best kind of Nurture” – Go Outdoors today – and experience the wonderful benefits yourself.