Research your trainer
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.