The commercialisation of kids fitness: Profit over care

I address this to Parents and Guardians as a forewarning. This is going to sound like a jealous organisation attacking a rival. However, something must be said from a safety standpoint not a commercial one.

F45 have just released their F45 program for children called F45 Prodigy. Children or adolescent health and fitness is very close to my heart. That’s why we have set up our program at Hammer to get our young athletes moving well first then loading them up according to competency and capacity and not ego. We spend time on periodising each athletes program making sure we are doing everything we can to nullify the huge amounts of work these kids are undertaking each day.

With the multitude of our young athletes severely overtraining due to the tug-o-war between club and school competitions, the push for performance over development plus the need to impress and not let anyone down, has created an environment where kids are training too much. With no cross talk between coaches at clubs or schools let alone the plethora of things like HPE and other extra-curricular activities where they are doing cross country or other sports/music whatever, has led to a 150% increase in major injuries like ACL repairs, Shoulder reconstructions etc.

This is without even touching on the load-based injuries that contribute to the common based growth plate problems like Osgood-Schlatter disease, Sever’s disease and Parr’s defect which seem to be affecting every kid we see at the moment.

If a circuit-based organisation where they appeal to the masses with 45mins of circuit-based training on top of the already pack schedule will just increase these issues. F45 DO NOT have the kids’ interest at hand, this is a market they aren’t in yet and they are jumping in completely for commercial gain. Regardless if they claim its for children’s health their model CANNOT support that argument.

For example, if you have young athletes that participate in these classes well as mentioned above you are causing more problems then benefits.

But what about the kids who don’t train and are sedentary and need to get moving? Well if an untrained youth goes from zero to 100% with circuit classes with no thought to developing their capacity, there untrained body will feel the effects of those injuries at a faster rate.

Once again this is not to push our business, this is more a community announcement. The minimum requirements to train young athletes are these:

  • Must have a tertiary degree, preferably a post grad degree in the appropriate field
  • 3-5 years of extensive experience in this field, preferable with a mentor with better qualifications then above mentioned
  • They must have comprehensive knowledge on youth load management, mean peak height velocity (maturation vs chronological), skill acquisition, exercise progression and periodisation.

If they don’t then don’t do it. This industry constantly surprises me with the unregulated attitude where anyone can just do things without repercussions especially with an organisation as big as F45 where maximum profit is the priority. This means their staff will be minimally trained in order to keep wages down and maximise turnover.

I have no problem with these guys doing what they are doing, I don’t agree with there model for the normal population either but that’s there thing and they are very successful, so good on them but I will draw a line at this. I cannot sit by and say nothing about this.

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