As I’m still working on the second part of the recap of our west coast trip, today’s post will be quick. I just want to share a few thoughts I’ve had lately on continuing to improve your craft.
Whatever it is you do, whether you are a fitness professional, an educator, a medical professional, or anything else in the world, there are always new things to learn about your specific field. Yes, some fields change more rapidly than others, and some of us need to stay on top of continuing education for our professional licensure, etc. but beyond that, there is so much value in continuing to improve whatever it is that you do.
I don’t want to hire a plumber who hasn’t done anything to change or improve his trade in 30 years, so why would I want to hire a trainer who hasn’t done anything to change or improve theirs? I know of fitness professionals who meet their continuing education requirements who don’t necessarily put a lot of emphasis on the “education” portion of that, completing only easy online continuing ed “courses” to meet the criteria. But if all they’re doing is meeting the criteria, and not really trying to find things that will help to make them a better, more educated, more equipped professional, are they really doing any good?
There’s a huge difference between doing enough to get by, and doing enough to get better.
Yes, as an athletic trainer and CSCS, I have to do continuing education to maintain my license and certifications. But I try my hardest to take advantage of CE opportunities that will not only keep me legally practicing, but that will directly help my patients and my clients.
Last weekend, I went to a really great workshop at a local studio, Iron Body Studios. This studio is owned and operated by the dynamic duo, Eric Gahan and Artemis Scantalides They have built this studio from the ground up, and their passion and expertise are apparent as soon as you start a session with them. This particular workshop was called Kettlebell Fundamentals (I’ll probably be doing a separate post to talk about some of the great things that I took away from the workshop). We went over the fundamental KB movements (deadlift, goblet squat, swing, and turkish get-up), specifically how to do them properly, as well as how to coach them. As soon as I heard about the workshop through Eric’s Facebook page, I knew I had to be there. The two of them are pretty much KB masters, and with my love of KB training, I knew that some specific instruction from Eric could help me to not only better utilize them myself, but to also better utilize them with clients and with patients in rehab.
The group at the workshop was mainly athletic trainers, personal trainers, and strength coaches. However, there was one stand-out participant, and he is the main reason why I’m writing this post today. There was an older gentleman who turned out to be a local policeman. When asked what his goal was for attending the workshop, he answered that he just “wanted more knowledge”.
It turned out that he runs a bootcamp for his fellow policemen, and wanted a little bit more knowledge to bring back to them. Now, maybe I’m wrong, but he probably doesn’t need fitness continuing education. He probably didn’t need to be at that workshop, but he was. He was there because he wanted to be better, in order to help his colleagues to be better. How’s that for motivation?
Not only was he there to learn, but he was on the floor with the rest of us, going through the motions of KB swings and turkish get-ups, and he was doing them extremely well. I can only hope then when I’m in my 60s, (I’m just assuming he was in his 60s here), I can move half that well. Heck, I hope that when I’m at that point, I’m still motivated enough to want to keep learning about all this stuff.
The workshop was wonderful, and I came away with a lot of great information and new ideas to use with my patients and clients. But more importantly, I came away with a view of someone who takes the “never stop learning” mantra very seriously. There are plenty of trainers out there who have been training clients for a while, who may think that they know everything. In my opinion, those are the most dangerous ones. This guy, although not your typical personal trainer, is actively going out of his way to learn more information that will help his “clients” (his colleagues). That is exactly the type of person that I want teaching a bootcamp that I’m taking — someone who realizes that there is always more to learn, no matter how long you’ve been doing what you’re doing.
So the take away today is if you’re a trainer or strength coach, what are you doing to better yourself on a regular basis? And if you’re in the process of looking for a trainer or are one yourself, a little humility goes a long way; someone who knows that there is always more to learn is almost always the smartest one in the group.