To say I am furious is an understatement. I am gone well beyond furious.
The title of this blog is the response given to a client of mine with diabetes when they approached a gym for assistance in developing a programme to control their weight and get better blood glucose control this week.Unfortunately this the second incident in recent weeks in which I have heard of someone with a medical condition being given this response by another gym. I am not going to disclose the whos and whys etc, patient confidentiality is a priority at all times.
Appalled & Disgusted
Appalled, disgusted, furious and saddened are all emotions I am feeling right now.On top of this incident, today I had to cancel a one day seminar I had designed for the fitness industry in diabetes management due to lack of interest. Excuses that were given were bad timing etc. The same excuses given to me by an industry who prides itself on overcoming obstacles at all costs to gain maximum results from their clients.
This has been my 3rd or 4th attempt to reach out to the fitness industry in Ireland to provide training, information & knowledge in diabetes. Many professionals & practionners lament the fact that the health care profession does not take lifestyle change & different approaches that are not conventional seriously. But when training is made available and handed to them on a plate, there seems to be an apathy towards it. Also with an answer given to someone with diabetes as above, its virtually impossible in my opinion to take them seriously. I know its wrong to tar everyone with the same brush, but these incidents aren’t isolated.
Fear & Ignorance
Is there a fear and ignorance of diabetes amongst the fitness industry, the same level of fear and ignorance held across many sectors of society? I know other diabetes professionals and organisations have reached out to the fitness industry to be met with the same response. So my experience and that of my client is not an isolated incident.
How can we ever tackle an obesity crisis if we live in fear of the medical conditions that are associated with it? I can’t cherry pick my diabetes clients for me to get maximum results, so as to look good and advertise the before and after pictures in a local newspaper. This would be ethically & morally wrong. Taking such action like that could be professional dynamite for my career. So why should there be a different set of rules for other sectors of the health, wellness and fitness industry? It all speaks of an industry that is in need of some serious regulation in Ireland.
For fifteen years I have had people with diabetes tell me of incidents where they have been refused gym membership based on their condition, they have not been allowed access to spas, saunas etc. To a point I can understand the reasons why, but I feel it is based on fear and ignorance. Embracing education, training and knowledge would be part of a solution to this problem which I have attempted to reach out and do…..only to be met with silence.
People with Diabetes Need to Have Confidence
Not all people with diabetes whether they have Type 1 or 2 Diabetes are exercising to lose weight. For many its maintaining weight and good blood glucose control. Many people with diabetes are highly knowledgeable on their condition, in a way that would leave many of us so called experts in the shade. So they are well able to self-manage their condition regardless of whether a gym or personal trainer has a level of knowledge or not of diabetes.
But for many people when they are diagnosed, they may be lacking in confidence especially when using a gym. I have had people diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in their twenties and thirties who ran marathons, played GAA etc in the lives before diabetes. For them diabetes should not stop them, but may at the beginning slow them down. They have to build confidence back in themselves and in their bodies, and also in the people they surround themselves to help them get back to where they once were. They are afraid of low blood sugar levels, in their ability to recognize & deal with them, this does get better over time. So having a gym respond in such a way when taking a medical history in saying ‘You Need an Undertaker Not a Gym’ is not only horrific and soul destroying, its dis empowering and can have long term consequences.
We Need to Work Together
I have to say not all my experience of dealing with the fitness is bad. My husband is a personal fitness trainer and pedantic to a fault when it comes to technique etc. I have worked with some gyms in training staff when it comes to diabetes, who approached me and I was more than delighted to build up a relationship with them and support them with clients attending their gym who have diabetes.
My two greatest fears are those who work within the fitness industry who think they know everything about diabetes because they did a one hour workshop ten years ago or someone related to them has diabetes, so that makes them an expert. Also my other fear is some people are avoiding learning about diabetes because they perceive it puts a certain amount of onus on them when dealing with an individual with diabetes, which horrifies me.
I am looking for those within the fitness industry to reach out to Diabetes Insight and see how we can work together to help those with diabetes live their lives to the absolute maximum. My direct mobile number is 0861739287 or email: email@example.com. You can also fill out the form below. Together we can achieve more……