Re­search your trainer

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

EX­ER­CISE & Sports Sci­ence Aus­tralia (ESSA) is call­ing on Aus­tralians to do more re­search on the back­ground of their per­sonal train­ers fol­low­ing last month’s story of a healthy, young Gold Coast woman end­ing up in hospi­tal with a po­ten­tially fa­tal con­di­tion af­ter a per­sonal train­ing ses­sion.

Shanteece Smith, 25, has told how she re­turned to the gym for an in­tense train­ing ses­sion with a per­sonal trainer last Mon­day night which left her un­able to move by Thurs­day. She was di­ag­nosed with rhab­domy­ol­y­sis, a po­ten­tially fa­tal con­di­tion also known as ‘mus­cle melt­down’ that causes a break­down of dam­aged mus­cle cells to re­lease mus­cle fi­bre into the blood­stream.

Anita Hob­son- Pow­ell, ESSA’s Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, says the con­di­tion is gen­er­ally seen in in­di­vid­u­als who over- ex­ert them­selves in train­ing ses­sions, and with people con­stantly be­ing told that the ’no pain, no gain’ ap­proach to ex­er­cise is the de­fin­i­tive one, rhab­domy­ol­y­sis is likely to be­come a house­hold name.

‘‘Ms Smith is a per­fect ex­am­ple of a young woman who ex­er­cises reg­u­larly be­ing pushed to med­i­cally dan­ger­ous in­ten­sity by a per­sonal trainer who was clearly work­ing out­side their scope of prac­tice," Ms Hob­sonPow­ell said.

‘‘If the nec­es­sary as­sess­ments aren’t done to iden­tify the risks prior to tack­ling high in­ten­sity ex­er­cise, the re­sults can be fa­tal. Yet we turn on our tele­vi­sion sets and see re­al­ity show con­tes­tants work­ing out un­til they vomit, which just re­in­forces the myth that if you aren’t in in­tense pain dur­ing ex­er­cise, it’s not worth do­ing.

‘‘At ESSA we are in­creas­ingly con­cerned about the num­ber of per­sonal train­ers who lack the ap­pro­pri­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tions to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for a client’s well­be­ing. People trust that if a trainer is run­ning a ses­sion in the lo­cal park they are qual­i­fied to as­sess the risks, but un­for­tu­nately that’s not al­ways the case.

‘‘ Ev­ery­one should be as­sessed by an ac­cred­ited ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist prior to high in­ten­sity train­ing to iden­tify risks such as un­der­ly­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions and to eval­u­ate the level of in­ten­sity ap­pro­pri­ate to their phys­i­cal con­di­tion," Ms Hob­son-Pow­ell said.

ESSA is the pro­fes­sional body for ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gists and sci­en­tists in Aus­tralia.

For Shanteece Smith rhab­domy­ol­y­sis re­sulted in a week in hospi­tal be­fore the swelling in her legs sub­sided and her test re­sults re­turned to nor­mal.

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