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Tackling language within the fitness industry and dog sports

Mind Your Language

dog agility dog sports health language think dog Dec 27, 2020

You know me I'm not one to shy away from difficult conversations, did you see my post about a webinar coming in 2021 on the menopause?

In my workshops I regularly talk about language, how we talk to ourselves and to be wary of influence. I actively promote that clients make the right choice for them, and I'm always honest about what I can do to help, or whether they need to work with someone else. 

I received a 'free' jumper the other day from @PilatesKatt, I was more than happy because I love their vibe but it made me think. I was contacted because of how my businesses perform and the following I have, which in real terms isn't massive, but clearly I'm being noticed.  It also made me conscious of the influence I'm having on other people, especially when I hear of my own programme filtering into other coaches work.

It is becoming more and more apparent that language in the fitness industry is being used poorly, and has been used this way for quite sometime. The age of 'no pain, no gain', 'you've earnt your breakfast' (Joe Wicks I'm talking direct to you with that quote) and 'now I can treat myself' is over, well it is in the elite sport circles I am involved in (and I highly recommend you read Cath Bishop's Book The Long Win). Sadly, it's going to take a momentous shift of language from the grass roots personal trainers, S&C coaches and fitness instructors to help kick this archaic nonsense from within the mindset of the general public.

There's even been a fair few conversations and behaviours in our own community that come across as aggressive or self destructive. 

Two questions I always ask myself, and I urge you to think about in 2021.....

  • Is this really an example we should be setting, especially for our juniors? 
  • Are you using an authentic voice?

Lets clean our palate in 2021

Our relationships with food and exercise need a really good shift, in my programme I don't ban foods and I ask my clients to make intelligent decisions for their body in regards to exercise. We've had decades of good foods versus bad foods, promoting faddy diets or exercise for quick fixes, but in a world of airbrushing and social media filters, the 'perfect' aesthetic is still speaking more volumes than it should.

I won't allow clients to trash talk themselves, but I will help them develop better relationships with themselves in this area, and help them decide whether they are here for weight loss/fitness or sport specific exercise/nutrition, a really important question as the roads are both very different.

As a professional, not only is the language I use with my clients important, but so is my public voice. I've campaigned for handlers to 'think dog' about themselves, to show handlers a sport-specific way of working and for better transparency from the top down, especially because several clients have felt the need to jump 'hoops' in previous years. 

I even ask my clients not to write over zealous adoring posts, these kind of posts make me wretch and 'leave me wondering who the post is really for' (S Weeks, Agility Voice, 2020).

Now, I'm campaigning to you.

Irrespective of whether you have influence, popularity or accolades pouring from your mantle, we all have a duty of care to be honest in our actions. I break things down and explain my reasoning for my choices with fact, and the figures from my own independent research. I will not teach anything that is out of my remit and I also credit the people that have inspired and influenced my work. In my world and circles, it is called plagiarism if you don't.

So for 2021 think about your voice and your influence, because no matter what you think, or how small time you think you are, someone is listening to you. And above all, always be honest about your authenticity, if it's not your work, or you've been inspired give credit where its due. 

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