Posts Tagged ‘Safety’

Should Crossfit Community Clubs and Trainers join REPS NZ?

August 26th, 2014

NOTE:  This is an opinion piece based on my own experience and should be read as such.

Richard Beddie, CEO of Exercise New Zealand has been in the news lately.

He says there’s been a 35% increase in people joining exercise programs in the last five years. This is good news but he’s also been making statements about unregistered Personal Trainers; basically rubbishing them and telling the public not to trust them.

Why?  Because they haven’t taken up membership with the organisation he’s head of, Exercise NZ and REPs (New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals).

He’s been very much getting onto CrossFit and is quoted as saying it’s been responsible for six deaths (he now says was misquoted but hasn’t provided evidence).  He calls all unregistered Trainers “cowboys”.

Again, but Why?  Because he has strongly invited CrossFit Communities (the businesses) and CrossFit Trainers to join up to REPs NZ and basically no-one has joined up.

That same invitation went out to Vibration Training Studios and Instructors, and Pilates Studios and Instructors around 10 years ago and again, no one joined up.  Yet another group not linked to Exercise New Zealand and REPs is Zoomba, although when held in a branded gym, the gym and the trainers might be registered.

What is the reason?

One of the sources of concern is New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation figures that show a big increase in injuries coming from sport and exercise.  NZ’ers love of rugby and football mean these sports feature high in injury figures, followed by the high intensity workout systems of Zumba and CrossFit.

So, for Richard Beddie, the answer is simple –  all personal trainers and fitness instructors must all join up to REPs – become known as “Registered Exercise Professionals”, problem solved!  My answer is the one on the TUI billboards, “Yeah, Right!”

Caught out:

When Beddie was caught out with this statement, “CrossFit has resulted in 6 deaths overseas and rendered an Australian man paraplegic…”

none of which is true, the response from NZ Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) was this:

“With reference to HITT activity REPs position is clear, that ALL individuals delivering this form of exercise must be registered with REPs. This ensures that the individual instructor is appropriately qualified and are bound by a scope of practise which ensures that the exercise delivered is both safe and effective. (June 18, 2014)

Is this a reasonable assumption?

Well it might sound reasonable if it ensured public safety but does that regulation really work?  REPs membership starts with the trainer having passed a course and so is assumed to have a level of competency. In practise that’s no guarantee of anything.

REPs does no checking up on the trainer!

As long as they pay the yearly fees and meet minimum requirements of working in the industry and a few points for attending the conference or short course, they stay all good and registered.

Newly qualified trainers are told – join up, pay your yearly fees and we will provide you with resources, guidelines and the yearly FitEx conference (at a reduced rate, which means nothing in my opinion as conference costs have to be met so the fee is set to meet that).

Gyms and fitness businesses are told they need to be registered (club registration) and then they may ONLY employ REPs NZ registered personal trainers and fitness instructors. There’s a form of blackmail going on there in my opinion. Of course it’s said to be all about competency and public safety.

How do I know anything about this?

My experience was very different to what it looks like to the general public – I’m really disappointed with REPs; I got nothing out of my 5 years membership.

I work for Vibra-Train NZ, a non-registered fitness business, it’s one that will never join Exercise NZ or REPs.  My punishment for working in a non-registered business was that I paid a higher yearly fee (though no one could explain to me why).  As REPs (and what was then known as Fitness NZ) developed its membership scheme I needed to move from provisional membership to full membership.  Then they disallowed one of the academic institutes I’d studied at.

Good, I thought, someone will finally visit me at my workplace and “check” my competency. I’m very proud of what I do and welcomed a visit.

Previously I’d invited (by email) any Fitness NZ person to visit me but was told they don’t have the resource to visit.

This time I thought I’d have to prove my competency but no, again, I was refused. No one would visit.  No one from REPs seemed to care if I followed safe practises when training clients. What I was told was that instead, I just needed to pass a quick online multi-choice test.

Safe training?

So,you see,  that’s the proof of safe training REPs required – none at all!

just the certificates to say I’d passed my courses and then their online test –   but Richard Beddie is pushing the line that only REPs registered instructors are “appropriately qualified and bound by a scope of practise which ensures that the exercise delivered is both safe and effective”.

Something doesn’t add up!

And the only vibration training place that was REPs registered and employed only REPs registered trainers, was owned by an Exercise NZ staffer. The business advertised their registered status as a superiority over other studios but when I visited I was dismayed by, in my opinion, the lack of safe practise and lack of understanding the differences of vibration training to other training methods. Also I heard comments from people who changed over to train with me; there’s no way I would employ any of those REPs registered vibration training instructors.

What is Crossfit?

It’s the in-word in fitness and exercise and it seems that most everyone has an opinion on it – but what is it? 

An explanation in simple terms is it’s a strength and conditioning program, for all ages and abilities, that uses a wide range of extremely challenging and engaging workouts. The aim is to produce overall super fitness; muscular, cardiovascular, coordination and balance, stamina, speed, mental control and more . Each day a different workout (WOD) tests and develops strength in one particular area or function. The workout remains the same for all people with variance in load or workout intensity (and only if really necessary an alternative yet similar workout). Speed is a major component in WOD (this can lead to sloppy form in challenges where speed should not play a part, in my opinion).

With so much involved it’s obvious that Crossfit Instructors have to be very knowledgeable and highly trained.

My message to Crossfit

CROSSFIT people, don’t be bullied into joining REPs.  There’s no way that will make you better or safer trainers.  Richard Beddie thinks he can clean up Crossfit by making you all pay your fees and register.  You’ll even have to retrain if you don’t meet the registration requirements; no matter what your current experience, you’ll need that academic certificate!

But, Crossfit, you do have problems – I’ve watched videos showing terrible practices, certain to cause injury, and pushing people to achieve against all sense and safety.  I have clients who tell me they have done Crossfit and given up because of what they’ve seen or they have friends who have kept on despite getting injuries and then been forced to give up.

You MUST clean up your OWN methods and come down very hard on lazy or undisciplined instructors; get rid of them, they won’t change. Popularity or high advertising budget counts for nothing – get rid of any trainer or company that’s damaging Crossfit’s positive reputation.  The Vibration Training industry has done this, regulated their own; we’ve spoken out loudly against problem operators and those who promised great results but couldn’t possibly deliver as their equipment was too low quality. And we came out hard against unsafe practices.

Crossfit, it’s my opinion that REPs can’t help you do this. No one will come out and test your trainer’s competency or safe practise, or help you regulate within your own method. It seems to me that REPs is all about money, your money – you pay to call yourself registered and then you continue to pay to have your company registered and then each year you continue to pay. Only you can decide if what you get for that money is worth it to your company and your trainers. I decided, for myself, it wasn’t so I didn’t re-register a year ago – and no one from REPs even bothered to ask me why.

 

Vibration Training Or Death – your choice

June 29th, 2011

Okay, the first thing readers are going to tell me is that my title is very serious – it’s meant to be!

Will you die if you don’t do vibration training? Maybe you won’t but there’s a very high risk of premature death for certain groups of people who refuse to partake in strength producing exercise; and vibration training is the safest and most effective form of fitness training I know of. In fact there are only a few conditions where vibration training isn’t recommended.

Who are the people who would benefit so much and what happens if they refuse or, the much more common scenario, they start training (or therapy using the machines if that’s their starting point) and then they stop – for all sorts of reasons with laziness (just can’t be bothered) being the prime one.

slim shaped girl jumpingOkay, you don’t fit into this category if you are young, active, fit, of healthy weight, and maybe also if you are middle aged and go to a gym regularly (though vibration training on top of a gym session is the extreme that gives amazing results).  It’s not for you also if you are pregnant (as a precaution at this stage, we don’t allow it), if you have a pacemaker (but we haven’t forgotten you; there are small vibrating foot platforms available), or if you have an active cancer (even this contra-indication is being debated).

This leaves a huge population that CAN use a vibration machine and if they aren’t active in some other fitness method, they will benefit greatly if they do.

That’s the nice message – the harder more serious one is this

People who have a disability and can’t easily do other forms of exercise; people who are morbidly obese (considered to be around 40% BMI) and can’t even walk to the letterbox without pain in their knees or hips, or gasping for breath, those who have muscular dystrophy or M.S. and even older people who are sedate – these people benefit so much from Vibration Training or Vibration Therapy.  And I almost forgot to add; those who have diabetes or pre-diabetes which goes hand-in-hand with obesity and has become the Number 1 health problem in New Zealand.  These are the people my hard hitting title really applies to – Do it or Die!

The Joys and the Problems

At Vibra-Train we allow some people to be sponsored and do their sessions free. These are people with true life threatening conditions (very extreme obesity is one) or a major disability they are never going to recover from.  Coming in for free isn’t automatic – it’s done after discussion and generally with the support of their medical helpers (doctors etc). It’s certainly not given to everyone who thinks they’re a little overweight. Some of the people who are given this sponsorship have been in a severe health situation for a long time and don’t have the finances to pay for sessions so this is a wonderful gift that Vibra-Train gives them – and more so as the sponsors are the directors and staff; there’s no outside organisation that pays for this in New Zealand.

These people (the morbidly obese, those with M.S., in wheelchairs, and similar) work hard, some starting out with just a single handlebar assisted squat position. This can mean driving or being driven across the city to do just one single, 60 second position on the machine.  Those who are not able to do even that sit in front of the machine with their feet placed on the platform edge for 3 minutes, repeated once or twice.  Starting with just that one squat, or sitting in front of the machine with feet on edge, the client graduates slowly  into more squats and when they are able we add in a few more positions building up to the full program for some; others do what they can.

The results are truly amazing – they are life saving! I see people who can only walk with a cane or stoop and shuffle begin to stand upright and walk with confidence knowing their legs are stronger and will support them.  Within three or four weeks I’ve seen hugely obese clients gain strength and then start to slim down. It’s a slow change and no one becomes slim overnight despite what advertising for various pills and plans tells us but it is real and its forever if the person keeps training. Their whole demeanour changes, they tell me how much they look forward to coming in for their sessions. It’s very hard work doing the vibration training but that part is no different than it is for other clients – all real training is hard work.

The great thing about using the Vibra-Train brand of machines is that the sessions are fully supervised and the machines are very powerful but designed specifically for use by people who cannot squat unaided what we call “worst case scenario”.

I work with some of the sponsored clients and enjoy encouraging and pushing them as hard as they are able, and some more above that. We get real results from real training in a safe controlled environment.

What happens next is very sad

Sometimes it’s frustration because there’s no instant fix or miracle, sometimes its family pressure, sometimes laziness but there are some clients, some sponsored even, who stop coming after a few months. It happens at any time, even after we’ve marvelled at their results.  They know Vibration Training is working for them yet they stop coming. We usually don’t know why people have stopped – we wonder if they are unwell or moved to another city.  Then they come back – many months later, always so much worse in their condition, and they expect us to fix them.  Ask where they’ve been and they’ve been “too busy” or gone off to try a “magic cure” or just stopped for no real reason.  After the effort the trainers here put in and the effort they used to make, they stopped coming and think they come back and recover, get back on track again. This might be possible but often it isn’t!   Debilitating conditions get worse over time so we’re starting over at a huge disadvantage since their previous time.  We’ve had people come back in a wheelchair where before they could walk in. There are times we simply can’t help anymore!

Title of this article; “Vibration Training or Death?” The choice is serious so choose well.

The Vibration Training Safety Program

March 28th, 2010

It’s essential to use the right program with your vibration machine.  In Vibra-Train studios we use the Vibra-Train Safety Program.  This program is also used in many other brands of studios worldwide.   It gives a full body workout in a very safe and effective way and it’s simple to follow with full step by step instructions.  The program is specifically designed for use with lineal (upright) vibration machines but it can be used (adapted slightly) with pivotal machines also.

If you have a home machine this is a great program to use.  Really you can’t go wrong if you make the effort to follow the step by step instructions and never take shortcuts when getting into position.

I’ve written this short post after reading a blog by a PowerPlate P.R. person who recommends some positions that I consider unsafe depending, of course, on how high force the machine is that’s being used. On PowerPlate they can get away with it as the machines are medium force but please be aware and always use a mat if any body part other then the feet is in contact with the machine platform.