I often tell my clients that too much of anything can be bad. Fruit is good for you, but if you eat nothing but fruit it’s not a good thing.

I don’t know of anyone who would dispute that regular exercise is a good thing and vital for your health and well being. Yet taken to extremes it too can be dangerous.

As a trainer and fitness professional, you always have to be aware of that fine line between what is healthy and balanced and what is extreme and detrimental to one’s health.

I remember several years ago at the gym I would see a girl everyday doing her cardio the entire time I was there. She would be stepping away when I got there and still be stepping away when I left an hour or so later. She wore pants and a baggy t-shirt no matter the weather or season. One day I happened to be at the gym later than usual and I caught her in the locker room post workout. She was changing, huddled in the corner clearly trying not to be seen.

I could count every rib in her body. I could see the outline of her scapula. She was skin and bones. All of the sudden it clicked and I knew something was very wrong. 

At the time I thought to myself, why doesn’t someone at the gym say something to her? Her behavior and appearance clearly aren’t right, why don’t they do something? I wanted to do something but I am pretty sure any attempts on my part, a complete stranger without the proper training or knowledge to address such an issue., would have been brushed aside and made her feel even more body conscious.  

Today, I am the trainer.  I am the front line person who needs to be educated and aware of potential eating disorders.  While I have been fortunate to not encounter this in a client or potential client yet, I am fairly sure that day will come.  As a Certified Personal Trainer I do have some training and education on eating disorders, but I was exceptionally pleased to be provided another resource by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

NEDA has an outstanding toolkit that can be used by coaches and trainers in any situation (schools, gyms, after school programs, etc). Not only does it give guidance on how to identity and intervene when an eating disorder is suspected, it also provides tips on how to work with an athlete in treatment and additional resources for support. The stories and suggestions of others on the front line provide valuable insights and actions we can all learn from and apply.

I highly suggest anyone in the fitness profession, whether you’re a trainer, coach or gym manager, read this tool kit.  Even if you’re not a fitness professional but work with young men and women, I would suggest checking it out as well. Follow the link below for your copy.

NEDA Coach and Trainer Toolkit

I also tell my clients life is about balance. Inthe  pursuit of health and fitness we should all remember that.

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