I’m scared for this industry, and I know I’m not the only one. We have got fads out the yin yang right now and it’s only going to get worse. How do I know this? Because every time a new fad comes along the company (or person that’s own by said company) hits people over the head with it until they buy it. Things like an Ab Shockers and Brazilian Booty will continue to exist until we can somehow convey the message about faddy things. They don’t work for the long haul. Fads might get you where you want to go short term, but in the end they are not sustainable and may yet leave you worse than when you started (Biggest Loser anyone?).
When asked what he thinks the future holds for the industry at the Perform Better Summit in Providence Dan John stated the industry will only get faddier, hard to disagree with a man with so much experience and so well respected. This is a man tough to prove wrong, but let's give our best shot. Future fitness pro’s and wannabes take note. Matter of fact anyone that’s ever even attempted or thought about starting a fitness regime, you all can use this information for your own good too.
-Get a decent certification: You need a certification that will take you more than a weekend to acquire, no you don’t need an CSCS or a CSCCa but you need something that’s not a weekend course where they spoon feed you the answers to a 10 question quiz and let you use your notes. Things are not spoon fed to you here in this world so you need to be able to absorb the knowledge and drawn on it when it comes time.
There’s certain “school” for Personal Trainers that I’m not a tremendous fan of, why? Because I’ve met probably 4 different trainers that all went to said “school” and quite frankly they lacked. End of this story, get a certification that will make you think for yourself at least a few times while you take the exam. I’m not an exam taker myself and I have one of these certifications, you all can get one too I’m sure. One of my closest friends and mentor, who taught me much of what I know today, did NOT have a CSCS or CSCCa, but he also didn’t go through the above mentioned Academy either, he was a bit smarter than that. Decent certification also come with some sort of liability insurance so if you have subpar cert with very little financial backing to it, if someone decides to be a real jerk and sue you for all you’ve got, you are on your own.
-READ: Pick up a few key books that will get you a foundational knowledge of what exercises are actually worth a damn. Continuing Education is not only going to help you stay certified, but it’s also going to be the thing that makes you move forward with the industry. Simply put, if you are not learning every day in this field, then you will fall behind so fast it’ll make your head spin. Here’s my preferred top 3:
1. Functional Strength by Mike Boyle was THE first one out there I read front to back. A lot has been said about Boyle’s methods, good and bad, including by yours truly. Just the same this book still gives you a big exercise foundation and will help more than hurt. It doesn’t have to be the FIRST book, but it should be 1 of your first few.
2. Next book on the list is Eric Cressey’s Maximum Strength. Eric has gone out of his way to say there are things in this book he no longer likes, depending on the person, as all fitness pro’s should be able to do, but it’s a good book to learn about the big lifts and how to program (see Show n Go by him also for a 2.0 version of this one).
3. Take a deep breath and pick up Movement by Gray Cook, Lee Burton and Company. It is super wordy and technical so I don’t recommend reading this one first or when super stressed, unless that type of stuff interests you, GO NUTS. It helps starting with this one to already have a foundation of knowledge. It’ll make you less likely to get lost by page 3.
The FMS and SFMA screens both lie within the book so if you use it for nothing else but that, then it’s still worth picking up. The FMS is a great start when learning how to assess client movement, some believe it’s the only thing, but I won’t hate on them for that. If it works for you then you can’t hate it. 4. Last book definitely worth picking up is basically anything by the guy I mentioned earlier, Dan John. Most of his stuff is pretty straight forward and you’ll pick up so much information your head may just explode.
*Bonus-Any book by Dan John will serve you well too!
-Progression System: Next step for newbies out there is to find a system that works for you. If you LOVE Mike Boyle’s system and believe in it so deeply you want to get his companies initials tattooed on your butt, no one will stop you (from using the system, the tattoo is all you). Get yourself a list of exercise progressions you’re comfortable with and put it somewhere you can reference easily. You should have progressions for the following movements (minimum); Squat, Hinge, Vertical Push, Vertical Pull, Horizontal Push Horizontal Pull, and Carry. Mix and match, steal someone else’s system call it your own (but give credit when credit is due) and watch the magic happen.
Evolve or get left in the dust: EVERY great fitness professional will tell you something similar to this: If you don’t look back on your programming in 5 years and think, what in the holy heck was I thinking? You’re doing it wrong….very wrong. Being ultra-dogmatic in your approach does you 0 favors and likely will lead to your downfall. Maybe not right away, but yes those that cannot evolve and change with time will fall behind and fail. Sorry I really want to drive this point home for everyone’s benefit.
There are things out there that I absolutely despise in the industry, but even if you learn something as simple as, don’t do that, you’ve learned something from it. I’ll tell you right now I have my issues with CrossFit.
-I’ve seen friends get hurt because their coaches sucked or just simply didn’t pay attention.
-I believe it will make you better at things you suck at, but worse at the things you’re probably great at, for the most part.
-Butterfly pull-ups make me sick to my stomach when I see them.
I already hear my inbox filling up so exhale CrossFitters here's the GOOD side I see.
-CrossFit has brought Olympic lifting and power lifting more into the light which is exactly what we are trying to do any way, am I wrong? For that I thank CrossFit.
-It's brought into said light how important protein is in a diet (maybe a little too much?). Just the same anyone that's tried to talk food with a client knows this struggle is real when it comes to getting more protein into someone's diet.
-It also promotes community, with each member encouraging one another, EVERYONE could learn something about that these days it seems.
-Do not stop learning: whatever you do, you do not know it and understand it all…. ever. Even the best and most respected men and women that have been doing this for much longer than you or I, still crave knowledge in some capacity for their field. Don’t stop and then use your power to educate those that have been brainwashed by the mainstream media with things like; women need to have the body of a 12-year-old boy and should never pick up anything heavier than their purse, that all dudes need a 6 pack and biceps bigger than a bowling ball (steroid use much?) and gluten (or whatever the hot button food issue is) will take your children away from you. None of those things are the facts, don’t let you or anyone you care about fall into these absolute bogus fads started by media and greedy millionaires that just want the public’s money.
That’s all I got today everyone, hopefully I can do some good with this post/rant and teach everyone that as much fun as fads are. They aren’t sustainable and they aren’t going to get you anywhere long term.