If you’re in the field of fitness, you’re in the field of education. You may be in the business of health & hotness, but it’s the field of education, and more importantly, the art of facilitation.
Training isn’t about deadlifts, or sets and reps, finding your abs, or touching your toes. It is, but it isn’t. Training is about creating the interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships that help people learn the most appropriate strategies to continually create their best self.
That sounds philosophical and pretentious, doesn’t it? Let’s break it down.
As fitness professionals, we’re often viewed as the person who is responsible for making people exercise, for making them healthy, for making them hotter. If that’s your one and only passion, that’s great for you, but there’s a bigger picture out there. If you’re claiming responsibility for your clients’ success, or allowing your clients to assign you responsibility for their success, you’re serving yourself, not them.
Every time I hear about patented or protected exercises, or proprietary formulas, your integrity drops. Exercise science shouldn’t be protected by fallacy that you’ve personally discovered something new. It’s movement, it’s nutrition. It’s being human. Being human is inherently about exploring the world around us, and often times we’re tasked with helping our clients discover the world that’s inside them.
That doesn’t mean they need to know about mitochondrial density. That doesn’t mean they need to know about pelvic obliquity. That doesn’t mean that polyvagal tone is on their learning agenda that day. If you want to teach those things, then trainer education or a professorship may be in your future.
Personally, I’ve never heard someone ask, “Hey, what’s this L AIC pattern I’ve been reading so much about?” or, “How does my chronic stress and Twitter addiction contribute to my metabolic disorder?” Instead, the most biggest goals are,“I want to learn how to exercise.” “I want to learn how to eat.” “I want to learn how to take care of myself.”
If you’re in the field of fitness, you’re in the field of facilitating someone’s ability to take care of themselves. This isn’t about exercise. This isn’t about teaching. This is about facilitating success, independent of your presence. This is about making yourself obsolete.
To many, this is a problem.
The greatest service that we can provide in the world of fitness is that of independence. If we can communicate and cultivate our skillset in our clients so that they can successfully recreate and repurpose their knowledge when not in our presence, we best facilitate their success. If you’re truly worried about the potential of clients learning so much that they leave you behind, perhaps you should worry about the quality of your work first. Our role in this world of Google searches and Youtube video is moving from supervisor to facilitator.
This isn’t about sculpting sexier puzzle pieces, or watching them put together their own puzzle pieces. This is about a continued effort to create a skill set that allows them to work on any damn puzzle that gets in their way.
Just as being the same person with the same goals becomes stagnant, training the same person with the same goals becomes stagnant. As we grow as people so do our goals and abilities, so we’re regularly reinventing whom we are and what we do. We develop as coaches, clients, and people.
Training is about thoracic mobility, pathological dysfunction, or macronutrient ratios. It involves addressing those issues, to a degree that both coach and client is comfortable with. Addressing those issues doesn’t mean you’re cracking out textbooks, Power Points, lectures, and homework. It means you’re empowering the people you work with to become people who work with themselves to get better.
Training isn’t about exercise, it’s about education. Too often this becomes teaching, and that’s not what the goal is. The goal is to facilitate success. If we appropriately transmit our skill set and passion for movement, our clients see increased self-efficacy and success with you, and on their own.