Pascale Rothmann would like to see more oversight in the fitness industry and help make the certification process more strenuous for personal trainers and other fitness professionals.
BY RICK WEINBERG
ON THE WALL INSIDE PASCALE ROTHMANN’S SPACIOUS OFFICE AT HER POSH FITNESS COMPANY, UEvolution, in downtown Los Angeles, there is a plaque that reads “Live With Intention, Be Bold and Fearless and Live the Life You Were Destined For.”
Across the office is another that reads, “Anything is possible if you have the courage to make it happen.”
She should have a third about honesty, integrity, trust, professionalism and character. That’s because this is what brought on this interview, her request to be heard about the state of her industry and the dilemma she faces regarding the professionalism of some of the employees – particularly the personal trainers — she has hired to work at her cutting-edge mind, body and sculpture business.
“The financial world has oversight from the Security and Exchange Commission,” she begins. “If they’re not honest, if they breach your trust and break a contract, they will be fined, suspended and possibly lose their license. Same thing with psychologists. There is a code of ethics that they work under. If they breach the trust of their profession, there are consequences to pay.”
In Rothmann’s world of training and fitness, there are no such stringent rules, regulations and oversight. Yes, like any industry, there is a code of ethics, but in her case, it has been breached far too many times by employees.
“It’s a situation that runs rampant in this fitness industry,” she says.
Without serious oversight, there are no consequences should that trust and honor be broken — or shattered as in her case. Sure, there are legal avenues she can pursue, and that is a lengthy, time-consuming and costly course of action she is taking in some cases.
Yet her primary concern is that there is no overseeing body in her industry. Virtually anyone can obtain a personal training certification in as little as three months. There are some online services where an individual answers a brief series of questions and can soon get certified.
“I would like to see a governing body overseeing this industry, which has exploded in popularity over the last 10-15 years,” Rothmann says. “Everybody is running to facilities like mine and to personal trainers to fix themselves, to fix their broken minds, bodies and spirits. We have so much power over people’s lives and psyche. We’re dealing with many fragile people who desperately need help – and we’re doing a great job fixing them, renewing their zest for life, rekindling the confidence and spirit inside of them. It’s a very important job. Yet there is too much dishonesty and pouching of clients that hurt reputable businesses like mine.”
Rothmann is hopeful of setting meetings with politicians in her district to discuss this topic in the hopes of getting legislation passed.
“I want to bring this situation to light,” she says. “There should be boundaries between clients and trainers, just like psychologists and their clients. First, the certification process should be much more stringent. It should be harder to get certification. It’s far too easy right now. It should be the opposite, especially when you deal with clients who are very vulnerable and in a desperate state of mind to get better. And they look up to our trainers to get them to the place they want to be and need to be to get their lives back on track. They look up to the trainers like a God.”
Rothmann spent more than $5 million to establish UEvolution. She put her heart and soul into it. She put all her sweat and tears into it. She spent countless hours into it make it the ideal facility for clients to come to so they can work out and rebuild and pamper themselves in a plush, private environment that is the polar opposite of the typical chain-store gyms.
Yet Rothmann has caught many of her personal trainers taking advantage of her by convincing clients to strike side deals and work with them on the side for additional and higher costs. She has even discovered that they have had sexual relations with clients and built friendships that the clients finds hard to break, even if they don’t require personal training any longer.
“It’s a breach of trust,” she says. “That’s why there needs to be more regulation.”