Right now, there's just one qualification for becoming a personal trainer: Being a hunk.
Or better yet, being a hunky hunk:
[N]o matter which Bachelor programming you’re enjoying (or being forced to endure alongside your significant other), there exists one recurring and somewhat societally verified job title guaranteed to show up, highlighted in gradient yellow across the bottom left corner of your screen: Personal Trainer. By our calculations, there have been a total of ten on The Bachelorette alone, and the last guy won—though let’s be honest, this was mostly a manifestation of the pull of this pullover.
But all that may soon change for the masters of the inguinal crease. The District of Columbia is poised to create an official registry of personal trainers based on credentials that have yet to be specified but are certain to become a model for the rest of the country.
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and regulators gotta regulate. According to the Washington Post:
The problem for personal trainers is that no standards currently exist. Instead, dozens of competing descriptions have been written by gym owners, for-profit training companies and self-proclaimed fitness experts. There are even competing organizations that certify competing tests.
"No standards!" Horrors!
Grappling with all of that, an obscure group of D.C. regulators — the Board of Physical Therapy — is preparing to release rules that could send a shock wave through the American fitness industry. Fearing the outcome, some of the loudest voices in the field have decided to go on the offensive. They are calling the process into question and urging city lawmakers to pull back or even halt the effort with threats of drawn-out legal battles.
Some exercise specialists who work most closely with medical groups say the D.C. physical therapy board has an inherent conflict of interest and is trying to restrict professionals with whom their own industry is in direct competition. They point to draft language that could be construed as cutting out personal trainers from potentially billable future work….
For consumers in the District — and eventually Massachusetts and other states where registration or licensure is under debate — regulations could cause some gyms to close while owners and trainers obtain suitable certifications. Such state registries or licenses could also pervade preventive health-care programs. If an employer can get more credit for offering a certified lunchtime pilates program than for a calisthenics routine run by a rogue instructor from CrossFit, it could shape offerings that may suit the fitness needs of some consumers more than others…..
Under a bill passed unanimously last year by the D.C. Council and signed into law by the mayor, the District’s Board of Physical Therapy was tasked with writing the new regulations. The board plans to release its rules next month, seek public comment and then publish them as law. And the heat is on: The District is behind in the process ordered in the legislation. By a strict reading of the law, no personal trainer is operating legally in the nation’s capital because the deadline to register has passed.
Behind this rush to make rules for the mentors of the sixpack-seekers is–you guessed it–that federal health cow to milked, Obamacare:
The credit — or blame — for the newfound urgency can be traced in part to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. A variety of workplace wellness programs and preventive health-care initiatives called for in the law could soon translate into rivers of billable hours for those with credentials to keep American waistlines in check.
And that means the race is on to be eligible for those credentials, which could eventually lead to the ability to bill insurance companies for services, much like such professionals as dieticians and physical therapists. With billions of dollars potentially at stake, lawyers and lobbyists are engaged in a no-holds-barred fight to shape the nation’s first-ever rules over who has the right to tell someone else how to exercise.
In other words, we the premium-payers–and also the taxpayers–may soon be helping to subsidize Hilary Duff's clubbing dates with Jason Walsh.
Is there anything that Obamacare can't do?