Practicing Discipline Within Your Discipline
For the past number of years I have turned into a bit of a continuing education junkie and quite proud of it. I can say that my financial mindset has taken a bit of a shift from investing for retirement to investing in my modern day evolution. For me it is almost therapeutic to be able to travel to another city, meet some like minded people from all over, have some fun, and take in some great information. The best part of it? The idea of taking this new found information and putting it into conversation with people that I have just met as these conversations are often as deep as the conversations with people that I have known for years. It's a beautiful thing and if there is any recommendation that I would give to any fitness professional it would be to get out there and take part in as much of it as you can.
I have done a fair share of continuing education and plan on continuing to do so as there is certainly no shortage of quality information out there. However, what I can say about these experiences is that as big of an asset that new information can provide, it is the acquired ability to interpret and apply this information that I am most grateful for. I can say that in my early days that regardless of the information whether it be an article, seminar, or being on the other end of a training session, it would be basic instinct to put things into practice while still fresh in my head . As I continue to try and figure out this crazy game of training I can say the biggest lesson that I have learned from all of the reading, continuing education, and time in the trenches is the lesson of proper judgement when it comes to application. The acquisition of proper judgement seems to be a little more innate but I can say that it can be learned. I feel extremely privileged that I do have a career where I can travel and learn the way that I do. I can say that I have learned a lot from the science of exercise and will continue to do so, but it is the ongoing lessons in proper judgement and application that have proven to be what I truly appreciate. These lessons in judgement have taught me a lot about not only continuing education selection, but what gets done with education after the fact.
Relevance To Your Interest and The Best Interest of Your Clients
This would be my biggest decision maker for me when it comes to the education that I take in and I would have to say that this would be the most important. I can say that I do take in a lot of education for my own selfish reasons but remain mindful of why I take it in. I love to be challenged physically and mentally by advanced exercise but I believe that it can all have some relevance to any training environment if it is filtered properly. I am a personal trainer by title, however much of my interest is put in ''strength and conditioning''. There is a difference in the job description of each, but I can't say that I work with many clients not looking to improve their current levels of strength and conditioning. While not every client may require a strength and conditioning program, it certainly doesn't hurt incorporating strength and conditioning principles.
Don't Drink The Kool-Aid
We are blessed to have an abundance of exercise methods that can be added to the trainer toolbox. As important as it is to acquire knowledge within this industry, it is just as important to use proper judgement when absorbing it. Training methods have the ability to produce gospel like following and it can be easy to jump on the bandwagon. These methods are here because they have had success, but keep in mind that good coaching is the ability to acquire, filter, and practice what you have learned with proper judgement and a mindfulness of the aspirations of the people you are working with.
Feel It Before You Deal It
Nothing beats practical learning when it comes to coaching exercise. Your best teaching tool is the ability to feel and understand the training effect being experienced by the person that you are working with. The more visual and kinetic experience accumulated in your practical learning, the more you will be able to bring to the table of your coaching game.
You Are A Fitness Professional
Personal training is not just a job, it is a profession. Successful professionals from all walks of life all have characteristics in common and a good number of them have nothing to do with the letters in front of their name. You can have all of the education in the world as a trainer, but if you have the personality of the device of which you are reading this, your education will only take you so far. I don't want to dive into the details of what being a professional really means but if you follow people that you consider truly successful in this business, you be able to start piecing it together pretty easily.
I wanted to get this post on paper in order to bring clarity to applying education, but I want to finish by saying get out there and educate yourself. Whether it be articles, seminars, or conferences, do what you can to take it in. As I had mentioned in my 27 Things I have Learned post, one of the biggest lessons that I have learned and appreciate is the investment in your education. It is an investment in which you have control over your return and no economic downturns or shady banking practices can take it away from you.