One of my favorite quotes, and one that I put up on the board at school on the last week of each semester, is: The Truly Learned Never Graduate. This means that you should never stop learning and just because a formal component of your education might be complete it doesn’t mean that now you stop learning about the topic. This is a bit of tangent but one might argue that a fundamental difference (perhaps the only fundamental difference) between things living and dead is the ability to learn. In a nutshell, learning is the essence of life.
Fitness is an ever changing field. This doesn’t mean you must jump on the latest fads just to be up to date, but we as humans are learning new information at an amazing rate and as a professional you want to do your best to stay at the top of your game. With that in mind, here are some suggestions to implement in your everyday routine:
Read more – reading is one of the best ways to learn. Pick a topic and read about it. I always felt like reading a book a month was a good yet very realistic goal. If you can do that regularly your base of knowledge will grow exponentially in a few years. Jim Wendler (creator of 5/3/1) made the simple statement that he feels the best when he “trains a little, reads a little, and writes a little every day”. That sounds like a good recommendation to me.
Learn from others – if there are other trainers at your gym, trade sessions with them. You train them for an hour and let them train you. If you have another area you want to work on (sales, flexibility, marketing, etc) then trade time working that. Even if you don’t love the entire session, my bet is you will learn at least one or two things that will make you a better trainer. In the long run that is valuable.
Attend a seminar/clinic – some seminars are better than others and sometimes they are a little pricey, but one effect that those seminars often have is they tend to revitalize you and motivate you. It is fun to be around like-minded individuals all working on the same thing. You can network, pick up some info, and maybe even have a good time. You don’t have to break your budget on this, but at least once a year try to listen to a presentation on a topic that interests you.
Work toward a new physical goal – when you are applying what you know practically, you will learn more about it, and training is solidly grounded in the world of reality. Try to drop 5% bodyfat, or bench press more weight, or complete an obstacle course, or learn a new skill. Remember that good goals are SMART so when you are finished you should very easily be able to tell if you accomplished your goal or not. You will learn something in the process, and your clients will find it motivating to see that you not only talk the talk, but you walk the walk as well. When you don’t lead by example, the power of your lessons are greatly reduced.
Be open minded – Humans are amazingly adaptable and there are many versions and expressions of fitness. People have been achieving incredible levels of fitness for centuries with many different methods. Try to not to think of things as right or wrong, instead just think of pros and cons. If you think that kettlebells are better than dumbbells or low carbs is the only way to lose weight or CrossFit is for suckers that will tend to blind you to the potential benefits of other systems. Acknowledging that a system has benefits is not a weakness and it doesn’t mean you should abandon your current philosophy. In reality it is empowering because then you can pick and choose the right tools for yourself and for your clients, instead of being married to just one way of doing things. You can’t argue with results. Don’t try to use results as a way of pushing your dogma, instead just follow those results wherever they may lead you.
I encourage you to learn whenever you can. It might be from something formal, it might be from something informal. It might be through NPTI, or it might be through another organization. Do whatever works for you. I do want to use this opportunity to mention our next Continuing Education Classes that we have coming up. They are posted on our coming events page with more details (http://virginia.nationalpti.edu/coming-events); here is the short version:
- NPTI’s Suspension Training Certification Sunday August 10th
- NPTI’s Advanced Dietary Supplementation Sunday August 17th
- Advanced Pedagogy for Personal Trainers Sunday August 31st
- Dealing with Lower Body Injuries Sunday September 7th
- All About Powerlifting Seminar Sunday October 19th
If you are interested in signing up for any of these seminars, please contact Tim Henriques at 703-531-0795 or [email protected]