The McTrainer Epidemic
The fitness industry is full of really intelligent, well-qualified people who understand the science and psychology of exercise. Unfortunately, those who are qualified often find themselves undercut by the hoards of McTrainers who flood the industry. These trainers take weekend seminars or online "courses", pay a fee and BOOM! You have a McTrainer. A well-meaning person armed with just enough information to be dangerous. These are the guys and gals who think that Shape and Men's Health are scientific journals. They think GNC is so amazing that the lack of FDA approval is just a small detail that can be overlooked. The kicker is that McTrainers have so infiltrated the commercial fitness industry that after graduating with by Bachelor's of Science in Exercise and Sports Studies from Rutgers University, I was actually asked if I had a weekend certification to prove that I was qualified to work at a New York Sports club.
We have now entered an era where it is not only the McTrainer, but the McYoga studio, the Mcdojo, the McUFC gyms and the McPilates studios that have sprung up EVERYWHERE. They charge the same price as the real deal but the quality of what you get is sorely lacking. These places are injury factories. BUYER BEWARE!
The muay Thai and Boxing world has been slow to get infected with McTrainers. Especially in the case of muay Thai, most people in the U.S. had only been exposed to western kickboxing and so the integrity of the sport remained intact. The trainers at NJMT have trained with Kru Nestor Marte (Ultimate Gym NYC), trained in Thailand, have 12+years of experience training themselves and others and have slowly built a loyal following of dedicated individuals who want to keep muay Thai looking like…well… MUAY THAI. All their dedication and hard work has gotten their gym 2 championship belts and the respect of the community for putting out quality fighters. In the last year however, boxing chains like CLUB KO and LA boxing have come on the scene. Enter the McTrainers. The weekend certification warriors have now invaded the recently popular world of MMA and muay Thai.
Who are the McTrainers at these establishments? They are people looking to expand their fitness resumes by going to a legit establishment, like ours, and copying what they see. We recently had a trainer from LA boxing in Hoboken try to come in and certify HIMSELF to teach muay Thai techniques in the 6 weeks before he opens his location in Hoboken. SIX WEEKS! Those of us who have studied this sport knows that it takes months to get a basic domination of muay Thai footwork and movements, forget about the finesse and logic behind those basic movements. That takes YEARS! But this McTrainer will go forth and faithfully pronounce that he can teach muay Thai, MMA, and Boxing at his gym. He will undoubtedly cause injury to countless people who are just looking to get in shape. We know because many of these folks come to us after the damage has been done to help learn the right way to move.
To sniff out a McTrainer ask the following questions (some are specifically for muay Thai)
1. What kind of formal education do you have? (Bio, Exercise Physiology and Nutrition a plus)
2. How long have you practiced the sport you are teaching?
3. Can you provide me with references?
4. Have you fought?
5. Have you trained in Thailand? Where?
6. How long have you been an instructor?
7. Who has certified you to teach this?
8. Have you done any apprenticeship? Under who?
9. What makes you feel you are qualified be an instructor in this field?
Questions are free and most people who want your business will have no problems answering them. Be an informed consumer! Find out about contractual obligations and their policies towards injuries and freezing your membership in the case of emergency BEFORE you sign up. If you get hurt by something you do in class, legit establishments will work with you. McDojos? Well who knows.
This last is for fighters only. If you go to a fight and you see that some poor individual goes into the ring and gets the stuffing beaten out of him just because he is UNPREPARED, take this as a sign NOT to train at that gym. Fighters are a reflection of their trainers. A responsible gym will not let you walk into a slaughter. If someone guarantees to a fight 6 months after you start, thank them for their time and walk away. A legit gym will take their time with you and they will let you fight when they think you are prepared, not when your package of privates is up.
To quote GI JOE: "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!"
Friday, May 9, 2008
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