Here is a unique perspective on the perception of much of the fitness industry from Jennifer Ritchie, wife of Dan Ritchie, 2014 PFP Trainer of the Year.

    Have you been in a situation where you feel totally out of place? We all have; it's a part of life. Walking into the Club Industry Show in Chicago, I had that feeling almost immediately, and my initial reaction was to turn to Dan and say, "Wow , this is exactly what intimidates people about health clubs."

    First, everyone was in workout clothes. Head to toe. Exercise equipment of all types filled the booths. People were riding on bikes with touch screens, stretching cables, hanging from jungle gyms and leading workouts on the live stage (in tiny outfits). Some 6' 5" guy strolled by me in head-to-toe spandex right as we walked through the exhibit hall doors. This owner's wife, mommy-of-five in her jeans and sweater could have almost turned back around and gotten in a cab!

    All the initial hype of the exhibit hall was a little overwhelming to the senses (and comfort zone). It made me realize that I am spoiled to be a part of a personal training studio that scales back on the spandex, grunts and fads. I know there are other gyms and owners who are trying, too. But what about the rest of the fitness industry?

    Fitness industry, what about me? Have you forgotten about the regular people? Do you think that we don't want to be healthy? Do you think we don't want to age gracefully? Do you think we don't want to be fit?
    Fitness industry, let me tell you what I don't want...

    I don't want to hang clean 135 pounds or barbell bench press 150.
    I don't want to wear a sports bra as a shirt (or see anyone else doing that, by the way).
    I don't want a trainer to hand me his business card with a picture of him with his shirt off on it.
    I don't want to eat chicken breasts everyday.
    I don't want to eat clean every minute.
    I don't want to hear about your cleanse.
    I don't want to hang from a jungle gym.
    I don't want to hear about how you ate a salad and you were so full.
    I don't want you to market to me like I am a twenty-year-old.
    I don't want to hear about how you got up at 4:30 a.m. and got a 2-hour workout in.

    I DO want you to hear me!
    I am not old and washed-up. I am only 39.
    I am a mom of 5 kiddos who wants to be strong and brave and fit.
    I am a girl who owns her own boxing gloves and loves to hit stuff.
    I do want respect.
    I do want to push myself. I want to sweat. I want to meet my goals.
    I want to hike in the Rocky Mountains.
    I want to lift more.
    I want to read labels and eat right.
    I do want to have chocolate every day.
    I do want to be heard and asked what would be best for me.
    I am just like a lot of people in this country. Regular, want-to-be-fit, could-lose-a-little, trying-hard people!

    So take your earbuds out and listen to what we want. Open the conversation and make room on the mat.We do want a place in the fitness industry.


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