- Celebrity trainer and gym owner Jason Walsh hates the fitness industry.
- He told Insider that he believes most people do it to make money, not help others.
- For example, group workout classes can be dangerous because they aren’t personalized, he said.
Jason Walsh is a celebrity gym owner and trainer who hates the fitness industry. In fact, he hates the word “fitness” and everything it stands for.
“I just despise the word ‘fitness,'” Walsh told Insider. “For me, ‘fitness’ encapsulates everything I hate about the industry. ‘Strength’, ‘conditioning’, ‘health’ and ‘wellness’ mean a lot more to me and have a lot more value. ‘Fitness’ to me is me all the people who want to profit from the industry and make money.”
Walsh started lifting weights around age nine and qualified as a strength and conditioning coach after graduating from the University of North Carolina. He started his career with athletes before leaving professional sports and going to personal training in Los Angeles.
“Jessica Biel was one of my very first clients,” Walsh told Insider. Since then he has worked with celebrities such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Brie Larson, Matt Damon and Bradley Cooper.
Walsh has been working in fitness for 30 years now and is the founder of Rise Nation, a workout studio that offers VersaClimber classes, with clients like Jake Gyllenhaal, who has four US locations, as well as branches in the Philippines and Australia.
“Rise Nation launched almost 10 years ago, and that was just a passion project,” said Walsh. “I never wanted to get into boutique fitness.”
Walsh’s biggest complaint is that much of the fitness industry is designed to make money, not help people, he said.
“There’s tremendous potential in the health and wellness industry right now, and unfortunately a lot of it is just a bunch of bullshit,” Walsh said. “It’s people trying to take advantage of people and make money.”
Forget about group lessons – tailor-made training is essential
Walsh opened up to Rise Nation because he was so “angry” about what was happening in a lot of fitness studios, he said.
Walsh discourages people from attending most group workouts because they can injure themselves if the workouts don’t take into account people’s individual bodies, injuries and mobility, he said.
“It’s a one-size-fits-all mindset in the industry and that kind of approach really hurts people,” Walsh said.
Simply sweating, raising your heart rate and hurting your body isn’t an effective way to exercise, he said. But he believes this is what many trainers and fitness instructors do because it makes people think they’ve trained well.
Ideally, you should work with a personal trainer who assesses your movement and your body, then tailors your workouts to build your strength and fitness while avoiding injury, Walsh said, and this is what he does with his clients.
Walsh trains his clients for resilience and longevity, he said. “The fitness industry likes to use that to bring you in, take your money, but not necessarily do anything for you,” he said.
Steer clear of overly complicated health and exercise advice
Walsh believes that the fitness industry overcomplicates things and that the people in it don’t want the public to know that getting in shape and staying healthy is actually simple.
Sure, it takes dedication and consistency, but it’s not that complicated, Walsh said.
“What I do is so damn simple,” Walsh said. “It’s disgusting and it’s boring.”
But it’s not necessarily easy.
“It’s not magic,” he said. “You have to do the work. You have to get uncomfortable and get used to being uncomfortable. You keep doing it over and over and eventually there is progress.”
Walsh used the example of how much stronger Brie Larson has become during her years of training with him.
“Brie Larson, she was the girl who couldn’t open a water bottle and then all of a sudden she’s doing her own stunts and she doesn’t get hurt,” he said.
Some aspects of the fitness industry are designed to confuse people so they can continue to sell diet and exercise plans and products, he said.
“I just don’t think there’s any integrity in the fitness industry,” said Walsh. “People are gullible and they’ll eat it, but I’m just not going to be a part of that.”