The Power Of Practical
I took a bit of an unconventional route to becoming a fitness professional. When I was seventeen I was asked that strange question that you are asked when getting ready to finish high school. "What are your career aspirations?'' At the time I had been working out for a few years and was active playing basketball and football and had told my guidance councilor that I would really like to get involved in physical education. I had two red flags thrown at me that day as I was told that my physics, chemistry, and math marks would not get me into any Kinesiology program. I asked about being a trainer and that was quickly snuffed because where I grew up personal training was unheard of. University put me through a much different path as I took a much different direction and finished with a degree in Political Science with the intention of law school or policing when it was all said and done. It wasn't what I wanted to do but it was what I felt like I needed to do to make a good living. The problem was that being in the gym was still my big passion so in my final year I decided to take a general personal training certification with the hopes of putting it into use. I spent some time working in a family run gym in my home town and was eventually recruited to where I am today. It was this position where I realized just how much I had to learn. This turned into a lot of learning as I went, a lot of reading, taking in as much continuing education that my time and budget could handle. The lessons that I have learned? When it comes to working your craft the learning never stops. More importantly, what you absorb in textbooks, lectures, and video is meant to be a platform for inspiration. It is not a blueprint for your practice but a sketch that you are meant to interpret and draw your own version of.
I was a little insecure about my background in the very beginning until I heard a line from JC Santana stating don't let school get in the way of your education. While I don't want to rib on the idea of post secondary education I do believe that there is a lot more to career development than the piece of paper that you hashed out thousands for. Looking back on it I am actually fortunate walk out with the degree that I did. I did not walk away with a lot of textbook knowledge on human anatomy, biology, or kinetics. What I did receive was a lot of education on communication, problem solving, creativity, and art. I now know exactly how important possessing these skills really are in order to be successful as a trainer. It taught me to put feedback, listening, and thinking on the fly ahead of the stopwatch and the concrete programming.
The path that I took also taught me the importance of following your passion. I could have very easily stepped into something that I may not have truly enjoyed based on the advice that I was given back in high school. Although my path was approached differently, I could not be happier with where it is today and where I want to take it. Life is short so you may as well enjoy the ride.