Learning is fun, whether it be random trivia or scientific law. You’ll never get stupider from learning, right? In my everlasting quest to move father right on the stupid-smart continuum (with ‘smart’ being on the right, smarty pants!), I try to learn something new every day. Now, ‘something’ might signify one thing, so I really should say ‘many things’, because I try to be in a state of perpetual learning.
Now, being in school and taking classes is obviously a huge part of this, because in-person instruction is very important. However, classroom learning can leave out many things, so I ‘supplement’ with a number of resources. (‘Supplement’? Really? That was terrible.) I follow a number of blogs, listen to various podcasts, and read articles both online and in print forms. These I can do every day, and when the opportunity to go to a conference or seminar comes up, I make sure that I go. I’m looking forward to attending more seminars, the soonest would be a Boston based FMS seminar which I’m going to try to attend. After that, there will be AAHPERD and NSCA seminars through the fall and winter. The price of the seminars can add up, especially with travel and food costs, so I unfortunately can’t spend my weekends flying all across the country for them. Instead, I look for more cost effective mediums, and what is more cost effective than free information!
Daily, I check a number of blogs. These offer insight into the lives and practices of the trainers and coaches that I follow; I feel that they keep me in touch with the ‘real world’ as opposed to the lab. By following the work of the best coaches in the world, it helps keep you on the cutting edge. Here is a list of the blogs that I check on a regular basis, from daily to weekly. The writers cover a range of information, and I find it exciting to read from the minds of the best in the country. Here is the list of blogs that I read the most regularly: Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey, Tony Gentilcore, Bret Contreras, Coach Dos, Kevin Larrabee, Cressey Performance, The Fitcast, Nate Green, Leigh Peele, Nia Shanks, Nick Tumminello, Alli McKee, Martin Rooney.
I regularly listen to The Fitcast, The Strength Coach Podcast, and In The Trenches Fitness. I also have a collection of other podcasts, that range in topic from nutrition to injury recovery to information on Emergency Medical Services. I’ll dip into that large collection when I don’t have a new episode of the Big 3, so there’s something new to listen to almost every time I get in the car. The majority of music on the radio is utter crap, so I’ll use my driving time as learning time. Say I’m in the car for an hour everyday; that’s 1 more hour that I’m spending on my education.
I’ve been a subscriber to Men’s Health for about 2 years now, and as an NSCA member I receive copies of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and Strength and Conditioning Journal. Men’s Health, as a magazine, contains hundred sof little fun facts each month, on a variety of topics, and is a great magazine for those who want information and entertainment about healthy lifestyles. The Strength and Conditioning Journal contains information on the application of science-based training, while the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research contains scientific studies. Between these three print resources, I find a good balance of casual learning, gym based how-to’s, and ‘Wow-they-study-cool-things.’ Also, you can see the tendency of material to move from JSCR to SCJ to Men’s Health; This is because studies are conducted, tested by coaches, proven to work in the real world, and then filter down to the general population. The ‘latest workout tip’ that you heard on the news? They were probably studying that 10-15 years ago.
While those resources only come once a month, I can check internet publications daily. Honestly, I probably check a few sights at least twice a day. The biggest two sites that I check are EliteFTS and T-Nation. Both sites tend to have a number of writers in common, and the information is top notch. It’s hard to beat these two internet resources. With daily updates, there are always brand new articles to read, or extensive archives through which I can search. I can literally spend hours reading a day!
Say I’m not at the computer, or in the car. How can I learn then? Do you remember when kids read real paper books?! I do! I’ve purchased a number of books in an attempt to build my own library, and I’ll visit the libraries in Oceanside and at Nassau so that I can reserve/check out books I’d like to read. I admit, I’m on the computer a lot more than I’m reading books in paper, but there is a massive body of literature covering the plethora of sub-topics in health and fitness, and reading them all would be a daunting task. I can certainly try, though! (Okay, not really, that might be too much.)
With sources ranging from seminars to books, it’s impossible to not get some serious learning done. With the variety of mediums, I always have one present, so there is always something I can do, from pulling out a book when there are 10 spare minutes between classes, to listening to a 2 hour podcast in the car, to checking the personal websites of world renown coaches before I go to bed. The more I learn, the more I realize that there is more to learn. It’s not daunting though; there will always be one more fact for me to learn.