e·qual·i·ty and priv(ə)lij

Equality and Equity are two ways in which we can produce ‘fairness’ in training for our clients. In most gyms, we have a group design scenario. In this situation, we are focussed on creating equality because we need to make the group inclusive. Since there is one program, which is the ‘scaled’ (the same program watered down) we have created an equality model by treating everyone the same.

Equality models harness and promote fairness. But this only works if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help.

Equity, on the other hand, is giving each person what they need to be successful. Equity at first can appear to be unfair because it treats everyone differently. However, its only via equity differences that we can actively move each person closer to success.

Look at this image to see the difference.

As coaches, we know that its true that not every client is starting at the same place. They also have different goals and needs. Apart from differing goals and differing start points, each client has a unique learning style. Some learn lifts via visual cueing, others by tactile or auditory learning. In the group model, coaches are fine with embracing different learning styles so therefore are demonstrating an understanding that fairness and success are contingent upon the differences between individuals.

When I suggest that everyone should have their own program though, coaches are up in arms. Giving everyone the same program isn’t equity. It isn’t fair. Making decisions that benefit enough of the people, but not all of the people is actually called privilege. Its wrapped up in a warm blanket of equality and therefore how can you argue against it? Ripping off the blanket of training equality, we can see in a privilege model, client needs simply are not met.

Albert Einstein once said “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid”. In other words, lets think about how it could be that insisting on administering the same training to a membership base in the hundreds, of diverse individuals may be the opposite of moving people closer to their goals.

Privilege is a tricky thing to recognise. Especially as head coaches, where privilege generally works in our favour. We write programs that work for us or for ‘most’ members. But the other side of privilege feels like driving your Ford Fiesta around a NASCAR track. Sure, it can be done and is fun, but eventually bits will fall off the car because it wasn’t intended for that purpose.

Any system that doesn’t meet the needs of every paying client is flawed. We cannot rely on blanket programming because its most fair for most people.