My mom teaches Microsoft Office for a living and the other night over dinner, she was making fun of my aunt's computer's operating system - saying that it was the most useless system out there because it wasn't compatible with anything, blah blah computer talk. Since I don't know anything about the computer world, I joked that my aunt was using what sounded like "the Zumba of computer systems." We all had a good laugh at how both my aunt's computer system and Zumba were "useless."
But then my aunt admitted that her computer was still getting the job done, and my mom chimed in that she actually loved Zumba when she took some classes and that it was really fun for her!
Sometimes, as fitness professionals, we get way too caught up in the "my way or the highway" mentality. We have spent years being programmed to make fun of anything that wasn't the "best" type of exercise.
And I understand why so many of us do this. We find something that finally works for us or changes us for the better, then we see it working for our clients and changing our clients for the better, and we just want to make sure everyone else knows that we've found the BEST way to train! Our intentions are good. As fitness professionals we got into this industry to help people, and we want to both steer them in the right direction and steer them away from things we don't think will be as effective for them!
However, there are other ways to get our message across to the people who need to hear it, without putting anyone down or making anyone else feel bad about what they're doing. Just because I believe that strength training has a greater overall effect on someone's health and well-being, doesn't mean that Zumba is bad for them! In fact, if it's the hour a day that they feel completely alive, who the heck am I to tell them that that's "not helping them." It is! If they're a happier person because of it, it's useful.
We're all going to have biases toward what we have personally seen help the most people be healthier, happier humans. But that doesn't give us an excuse to discount or make fun of someone else's method. Instead, we can educate those around us on the positive effects of what we believe in, and then let them decide if that sounds like what will work best for them.
If we say things like "you're wasting your time doing that" or "you'll never reach your goals doing that" it doesn't provide a solution, it just creates negativity and more separation in our industry.
Let's rise above the negativity and come together as a group of people who want the best for everyone we work with! We will continue to educate our readers/clients on the science behind the exercises we choose and the nutrition strategies we believe in, and we will let them decide for themselves if it is more or less useful than other things they've tried. Because remember, it's not about us and what we believe, it's about them and what makes them healthier, happier human beings.