The Importance of Accreditation Within the Health and Fitness Industry
Accreditation- “To be officially recognised or approved” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2020)
Accreditation is important in the world of science as it assures a standard measure of professionalism within a given field, this includes health/ safety precautions as well as an approved level of knowledge in said field.
Within the current health and fitness climate, there are a multitude of ways to get around being universally recognized as a fitness professional. Many “coaches” in the current fitness industry have little accreditation from governing bodies, solely relying on personal merit, although this does not necessarily mean they are not a viable option. A lot of “coaches” have made personal investments into training courses to improve their knowledge and have years of reputable experience behind them.
On the other hand, many use this loophole as an easy way of making money with no initial time or monetary investment, providing an unsafe service with uncredited rationale. This in turn leads to unsatisfied customers or customers who have been led into a false sense of progression when in reality very little effort has been made by their coach to elicit change.
This is the rationale for the formation of initiatives such as Fitbook, with our mission statement being:
“To eradicate cowboy health & fitness professionals who are damaging the industry for everyone. It is to raise the overall standards within the industry and change the public perception on the best and safest way to find and contact a professional.” – Fitbook
Fitbook provides a service which allows individuals to contact coaches/trainers who have been vetted thoroughly, in order to ensure a high standard of training and service is being provided within the current industry. We also provide a platform in which vetted trainers can showcase their work and services, along with client testimonies, so the right decision can be made when choosing a trainer.
Accreditation amongst the scientific world and its relative subsidiaries is a growing initiative and the range of scope in which a subsidiary is protected is ever growing. New cases and incidents arise within the world of science, providing an opportunity for these initiatives to become more aware of potential risks.
For example, in 2015 Northumbria University undertook an experiment investigating the effects of caffeine on the body during strenuous exercise, in this experiment a simple calculation was provided in the lab manual (4mg x bodyweight in Kg). However, it was made unclear in the lab manual as to whether the caffeine powder measurement was taken as a corresponding decimal or as a whole figure. As a result of this discrepancy, as opposed to calculating and consuming 300mg of soluble caffeine powder, two students consumed 30g.
This resulted in a dosage almost double that of what has been previously recorded as fatal, with the two students being admitted to intensive care for dialysis. From this, the university was subjected to a £400,000 claim. Scientific accreditation initiatives such as BASES can learn from these incidents and tighten their policies on training and risk assessment to ensure situations like these do not arise again.
The above case study is a prime example of the necessity of accreditation and vetting within the world of health, fitness and accompanying sciences.
By Tireoghain O’Neill
- (2020). Deans Court Chambers, Manchester and Preston. Retrieved November 25, 2020, from Deans Court Chambers (en) website: https://deanscourt.co.uk/chambers-news/peter-smith-defends-northumbria-university-in-health-safety-case-after-2-students-overdosed-on-caffeine-during-experiment
- Cambridge Dictionary. (2020, November 24). ACCREDITATION | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. Retrieved November 25, 2020, from Cambridge.org website: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/accreditation