We all know the type of coach or trainer we don't want, someone that knows it all and doesn't need any help with their programing and/or coaching. If this is you STOP IT please, for everyone's sake? Now that I got that out of my system let's take a look at the millions of ways you or any fitness professional can be better.
Blogs- Oh the internet is a wonderful thing isn't it? It's an unlimited resource for knowledge for those looking to learn. Blogs are a great thing that's come about in the last 10 (maybe more?) years and allow people, especially fresh out of the gates, to learn. There's dozens and dozens of blogs out there, I promise there is something for you. If you like easy reads with fart jokes mixed in, there's a few of those, if you like something more technical and really getting into the sciences of training, yup got those too and everywhere in between. Just do yourself the small favor and make sure they are actually training and coaching people, there's way too many internet bros out there that think they are coaches because they gave someone a piece of advice once 10 years ago that happened to work.
Summits and Seminars- Going to listen to an expert that's smarter than you talk (even if they're not your favorite expert) is a great way to pick up some more tools to put in the kit. Summits like the ones Perform Better put on every summer are fantastic for doing this, they always have a solid roster of coaches presenting for 2 and a half days straight. Totally worth bailing out of work on Friday (even if you're sacrificing a bit of pay) to go to these things, and things like these. I've happily let a few Sundays go by the wayside to hear guys like Alex Viada and Brian St. Pierre talk about their experience.
Certifications and Products-Hands down the most expensive thing that you can do to continue your education. Depending on which product or cert you are looking at, it can be absolutely worth it. It also depends on what your strengths are and where you need to fill the gaps. I knew I needed to learn more about nutrition and helping people with their intake outside of their training sessions, so I took a nutrition coaching course from Precision Nutrition. If you're unsure if it's a good idea to buy a product or spend money on a certification, ask your colleagues that either have experience with them, or will point you in the direction of someone that has. All else fails, do some research on some of the more well known coaches out there that have experience with the products or certifications and ask the what they thought. Most will take the 10 seconds to reply to your e-mail when they have the time.
Talk With Others- The cheapest and easiest thing you can do to learn is talk amongst coworkers and colleagues. I'm happy to say I have a solid group of people I bounce ideas off of and I know I'm one of a high number they discuss with as well. As time goes on in this business, you will meet more people that are at least somewhat like minded to you, but have strengths that you don't. Chat with at least one of them every day and you'll be learning a ton of shit you didn't know in no seconds flat.
That's all I got today folks, go out there and get after it!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS