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Calls for stricter regulation of booming Gold Coast fitness industry

Calls for stricter regulation of booming Gold Coast fitness industry
August 4, 2018

A leading Gold Coast gym owner has warned of the dangers of exercisers working out with “uninsured, undertrained ‘cowboy’” fitness trainers.

As reported today by the Gold Coast Bulletin, Mark Mathie, owner of the Wicked Bodz gym in Surfers Paradise, said the industry had become a “complete circus” and was in dire need of regulation.

Mathie, who has spent over three decades working in the fitness industry, said there had been an explosion in the number of uninsured, undertrained ‘cowboy operators’, warning “the first word that comes to mind when talking about the industry is saturation. The second is under-regulated. It is dangerous.

“We now have insta fitness gurus that don’t even have qualifications selling programs and diets to look like them. Chances are they don’t even look like that.

“It’s just so easy with next to zero qualifications or licenses to open a small gym or studio. It’s a mad house out there.

“To take someone’s health and wellbeing in their hands without the right training, it’s crazy.”

With all three levels of government only having limited standards in relation to the fitness industry,Mathie called for standardised qualifications across the industry so consumers knew they were in safe hands.

He added “we need compulsory traineeships for at least a six to 12 months.

“You need a four-year apprenticeship to cut someone’s hair or cook their food, but you can make decisions on someone’s body with a qualification you received in a few weeks.”

Bill Moore, Chief Executive of the nation’s largest accreditation body, Fitness Australia was reported as saying that the level of self regulation in the fitness industry had deteriorated in recent years.

Moore told the Gold Coast Bulletin “those that register with Fitness Australia have annual training commitments and standards but it’s not mandatory for those who aren’t affiliated with us.

“I think the level of self-regulation has deteriorated. When I say that, I feel there are more exercise professionals working outside system than in the past.”

Fitness Australia is currently attempting to establish a code of practice for all councils and states to adopt, which would include a need for insurance, CPR training and minimum qualifications.

Mark Stitt, the founder of international fitness training organisation Fit College, said the industry needed help.

Stitt advised “unfortunately, sometimes the only reason people seek quick training is so they can be insured to be a PT.

“But I don’t believe they survive too long into the market place, trainers don’t just need to have fitness experience but have training to run a business, and look after their client’s needs.”

Stitt, who has been on the board of Fitness Australia and Fitness Queensland, said there was an overabundance of unqualified trainers, adding “when you talk about regulation, you also need to start regulating how many gyms operate in the same areas.

“Insurance companies have also made it too easy for those who are unqualified to get insurance.”

Federal government body Sport Australia last year committed to a national accreditation scheme for sports scientists, and strength and conditioning coaches.

However, it did not include personal trainers or gym operators.

Images: Mark Mathie (top, courtesy of Wicked Bodz) and Bill Moore (below).

Related Articles

10th July 2018 - Fitness Australia’s Bill Moore announces retirement

16th June 2018 - Family members call for 24/7 gym regulation over man’s death in unsupervised gym

18th January 2018 - Fitness Australia’s Bill Moore flags industry challenges for 2018

21st December 2017 - Australian Sports Commission commits to national standard for sport science

1st October 2017 - Unsupervised 15-year-old dies after gym accident

12th August 2017 - Fitness Australia’s Bill Moore explains benefits of Australian Register of Exercise Professionals

28th November 2016 - Fitness Australia announce formation of Industry Standards Council

15th April 2016 - Michelle Bridges says unqualified personal trainers put lives at risk

12th March 2016 - Leading personal trainer sick of ‘fakes’ and ‘cash-grabbers’

11th February 2016 - Fitness instructor numbers set to grow by up to 50% in five years

25th April 2014 - Fitness Australia explains role in developing industry safety standards

11th April 2014 - Concerns over fitness clubs failing to comply with injury minimisation guidance

13th December 2013 - Research confirms using a personal trainer is most effective way to achieve fitness goals

24th July 2013 - ESSA slams Government’s lack of action in Senate Inquiry report

4th March 2010 - Cowboys don’t last in the modern fitness industry

28th October 2008 - Childcare regulations anger fitness industry leaders

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