This week my course Peace for PTs went live. It’s a course for fitness professionals wanting to avoid or recover from chronic stress. I drew heavily on my own experience both personal and professional for the content. Early on in my fitness career I experienced a sustained patch of serious stress, which, although it was undoubtedly damaging my health, went on for quite some time. It was brought to an end with a crunch event that left me with no choice but to stop, heal, and rebuild differently.
- Was much of the source of my stress things outside my worklife? For sure.
- Was some of the worklife stress due to the currently inescapable demands of living under capitalism? Check.
- But was a good chunk of the stress due to the exploitative nature of working conditions in the chain gym industry, which can be improved? Definitely.
In light of this third point, I dedicate a prominent section of Peace for PTs to looking at exploitation by chain gyms, and collective responses by yoga teachers organising a union with IWGB as cause for inspiration and hope.
Many practices that really belong in the Middle Ages, including the expectation of free labour on top of rent, no guarantee of income, and bondage to one company, are quite simply normalised when working in large nationwide gym chains.
I also used to work as a union organiser, and one of our most powerful agitational questions is: ‘if you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you’d want to change about your job?’
The Yoga Teachers Union was set up to tackle low pay, lack of benefits, discrimination, bullying and harassment.
What’s on the wishlist for our gym sector?
Let’s start the conversation here, and keep it going. Feel free to comment below, use my contact form for a more discreet approach, or DM me on Instagram where I’ll also be making this a regular question in my stories. I’m happy to share your reflections and ideas.
I want to also highlight and acknowledge the great work of the Gym Safe Ladies campaign, who have led the way in directly confronting the leading UK gym chains about risky conditions for women gym users, which many PTs will be familiar with – I know I was…
Stay tuned for more posts on this theme!