Learning Lessons From Fatalities

Last week I posted a picture of Buckingham Palace on my Instagram profile. I posted it because I was walking past it. I was walking past it because the Victoria Line was suspended. The Victoria Line was suspended because someone had thrown themselves onto the track.

The point I was making was that as Londoners it is very easy to find things to complain about. My response was that these things happen, I’ll take the scenic route. I wanted to get this point across because we get ourselves worked up so very easily, often over very minor things.

I wanted to raise awareness to the fact that we do not know what struggles this person faced which led to them making their fatal decision. My hope was that my post would help people put things into perspective and realise how lucky they are to have what they have in life and therefore that person didn’t die for nothing. They were able to provide some kind of learning for us all.

Just five days later, I witness the death of a Squash player in a facility I hire to teach my Personal Trainer students. He suffered a heart attack whilst playing and despite the great effort of the emergency services, it just wasn’t to be. He was 45 years old.

I do not want this post to come across in any way an attempt at scare mongering. I merely want to use this gentleman’s example to help others avoid similar outcomes so that he too has not died for nothing and we can learn lessons from him.

Whilst watching the paramedics do their work I noticed that he was a quite overweight and my assumption was that perhaps he doesn’t look after himself as best he could yet he goes and plays an incredibly intense sport once a week which ultimately triggered his heart attack.

I could be completely wrong. This is purely speculation. However it got me thinking. If this is indeed the case then what can we do to help prevent things like this happening?

When I train clients I go right back to basics. I feel that through years of, let’s say, neglect, it is very easy get out of shape, be prone to injuries and increase certain risks. I put my new clients through a comprehensive screening process and design programmes that will help build them from the ground up again.

This is a process that has been common sense to me for quite some time and one that I realise I take for granted.

Having taught upwards for 400 Personal Trainers, I have noticed that the material within the course I teach doesn’t place a big enough emphasis on screening procedures. Granted, we are not doctors or physicians of any kind but I do feel that it is our duty of care to understand as best as we possibly can what an individual can and cannot do.

As a result of freedom of speech we have so many components of the health and fitness industry that are way beyond the ability of so many people. High intensity workouts are just one example. Adding to that the desire of the consumer to be a particular way. Be it some kind of aesthetic goal or athletic competition.

What my industry has forgotten is the consumer themselves. What is it that they really want and why? How can we create a sustainable and realistic plan to ensure they lead a healthy lifestyle for the long term? Why, as an industry have we stopped listening to our consumers?

Sure, we can do market research to find out what they want but is that really listening? Is that really getting to the bottom of their motivations?

The venue closed early so that the gentleman in question could be taken away with no commotion going on around the area. As we were leaving I told my learners that there was a lesson in all of this. That was to understand that we have a duty to obtain as much information from a client as possible. To know exactly where we need to start them. The ensure that what we plan for our clients is relevant and appropriate.

Knowing that eight new Personal Trainers are going out into this profession with this mindset and attitude means that we may have some hope in salvaging an industry that, in my opinion, has some very flimsy foundations. It also means that this gentleman didn’t die for nothing.

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