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PICTURE:
Boys and young men are more likely to use exercise rather than extreme dieting to control their body shape and size
lynsey bowman rob beale
young ambassador • beat health and fitness manager • david lloyd leisure
“I
used to be addicted to exercise.
I’d work out for a minimum of two “T
he main challenge we have
is getting people to exercise
hours a day, but some days I’d do up to more, but there will always be the odd
seven hours. When I was at my worst, member who becomes addicted to
however, my parents stopped my gym fitness and we have a duty of care to
membership (I was under 18). recognise and help these individuals too.
I’m not sure how my gym could have As part of the FIA’s go programme,
helped because, once I was addicted, our Warrington club works with 150
nothing anyone said would’ve made me girls aged 15–16. We understand that
stop: I would’ve just exercised at home, although it’s easier to teenage girls are most at risk in terms of eating disorders,
hide it from your family if you’re exercising in a gym. so we look for signs such as over-exercising or gaunt
I actually work at a gym now, so I know how hard it is for appearances; my view is that it’s important to look out for
staff to intervene. You don’t want to encroach on someone’s these and address them as and when they occur.
privacy, nor do you want to falsely accuse them. Yet If a problem does arise, we try to build a rapport with
intervention is key. First, staff need to talk to a person to gauge a member and find out their goals. Once a sufficient
their mindset. They could then advise on the consequences of relationship has been established, we then offer advice on
over-exercise or, if they keep exercising too much, staff could appropriate exercise and the correct nutrition to help them
begin to log each visit with the member to show on paper how achieve their targets. But this is not a quick process.
much they’re coming – just in case the reality hasn’t sunk in. We strive to ensure our members are exercising properly
But until there are guidelines, I don’t think instructors will feel and safely, whether someone is over-exercising, lifting
confident to act on their instinct alone. These need to come weights incorrectly or running too quickly on a treadmill.
from government: they won’t work if only a few gyms follow the You can, however, only give so much advice. In the end, it’s
protocol, as the addict will just find another gym to go to.

their body and their choice.

july 2009 © cybertrek 2009 Read Health Club Management online 29
healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital
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