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Why Supervision is Linked to Safety and How Some Gyms are Failing 


Scrolling through Facebook’s newsfeed expect to see someone reporting on the World Cup. Someone’s team lost, someone scored a goal, or some player is acting overly dramatic. That’s the name of the game for most and they’re glued to their screens to soak in all the action. With all that’s happening in the world it’s the little known stories, the stories that often fly under the radar are often the stories that need to be discussed the most.


[National Posture Institute] Why Supervision is Linked to Safety and How Some Gyms are Failing


A month ago, 66 year old Kevin Wyles suffered a heart attack while he was training at a 24-hour gym. It’s disheartening that this story wasn’t in every fitness newsletter or being promoted more, but it’s even more disheartening to read the circumstances around how this happened. Kevin was training alone in the gym. There were no people or even staff in the gym to assist him. He died alone with no one to help him, a tragedy indeed.


You’re probably asking the same question as anyone else who heard this story, where were the people? Where was the supervision? Since his passing, his family has been trying to lobby for the closure of 24-hour gyms or for increased staffing. This tragic event took place in Australia, but it’s not too far from home because many of us hit the gym or a training session alone.


This story is, unfortunately, an example of why supervision is necessary in the gym. It’s still a dangerous environment despite our comfort level and the area should always have proper supervision. It’s possible to swipe your membership card and have full access to a gym regardless of someone being there or not. As time passes and we become more innovative as an industry more gyms might opt for a 24-hour structure and this could become the norm.


It’s important to remember one of the key values of our industry: safety. The gym environment may seem safe; the weights are sitting on the floor, the machines don’t jump up and attack people, and the water fountain isn’t out to get us, but it’s when we start exercising things can get a little scary. You’ve seen people fall off equipment, get pinned under weights, and need support when they suffer an attack of some kind, can you imagine these incidents happening when there’s no supervision?


To reiterate the point here, safety is one of our primary concerns and if a gym is going to stay open for 24 hours it should be staffed. Even if there are no personal trainers, there should at least be an attendant who’s trained in CPR, AED, and/or First Aid, because this could mean the difference between life and death.


Some would argue that he should have never been there alone, that you assume the risk when you enter the gym. The reports state that he was seemingly “invincible” which could be interpreted as he was in good health and that his family may have felt something like this was unlikely to happen. This is a huge wake-up call; Not only was he 66, which if we understand health and risk of heart disease we know there’s cause for concern, but also he was unattended.


Do you believe gyms like this need to be staffed? It feels like a strong debate could brew from this, but for some there’s no question, a gym or fitness facility that’s open to the public should have trained staff on hand in case something happens. Let this also be a reminder for all fitness pros to stay certified in CPR, AED, and First Aid, because you never know when something is going to happen and those skills will be necessary.


The hits just keep coming in June, but that’s how things are in this industry. We have to challenge ourselves to do better and keep our values in sight. One of the things we, the National Posture Institute, values is helping to educate fitness & health professionals like you. Please take a moment to check out our premier program, the NPI-Certified Posture Specialist™ program. If you want to analyze and correct posture, this is hands down the best program for you.


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