CanFitPro – Certification I Now Hold

I attended and took a lot out of the 2008 CanFitPro conference in Toronto. I was like 1000’s of people who attended with the intention of gain new qualifications, certifications and experiences that will make their journey through the fitness land-scape more rewarding and more enriching for those they interact with. I now hold two certifications that I didn’t hold before – my Spinning certification and my CanFitPro PTS certifcation.

So What?

I’m now qualified to be a personal trainer and to teach indoor group cycling classes at places other than GoodLife; given that my LMI RPM certification only qualifies me to teach at GoodLife in Canada.

What now?

There are two things I need to consider now, the first is the easier of the two and that is to create and market some All Terrain cycling classes using my own choice of music and my own choreography. This shouldn’t take me too long given that I’ve been riding while listening to music for the last 4 years. Things I need to complete before I’m ready to launch my class include getting my computer set up with music editing software so  I can cut and paste songs to create the specific profile that a track requires, track objectives or scenarios, riding and hand positions and their names, class format stuff (e.g. length and pacing) and the materials to teach participants about zone training.

The tougher of the two things is setting up a personal training company. I say this is going to be tougher because unlike cycling classes, I’m NOT already doing this. While I have trained before, it was working at GoodLife and at SST, but this is going to be the first time that I have gone out on my own to do it. I’ll need to come up with waivers, educational materials addressing nutrition and lifestyle behaviors, templates for workouts, assessment materials and tests, goals sheets, designing workouts, creating and pricing a list of services, training clients, building a client base and marketing myself as a trainer and a brand.

There is a good connection between teaching cycling classes and being a personal trainer given that both are natural next-steps for the active person. They are a great complement for each other in that those who do a lot of riding should also be doing some weight training and those who do a lot of resistance training should be doing some intense cardio based training.

It’s going to be a fun and challenging venture and I’m looking forward to see how this next chapter of my life works out! Stay tuned for updates!

What If I Was Right When I Was Young…

Rachel got me thinking the other day. She said that “young people KNOW what makes them happy”. We were having a conversation about what my next move should be and she implied that maybe I was on the right track when I was at university right before Natalie got died. In the 13 years that have past I hadn’t really considered that the younger me did know what he wanted out of life and instead felt that I could think my way onto the path. Her words really resonated with me.

At my new job as an IT recruiter I work with a lot of younger people. I’m the oldest person the team and while I bring a lot to the table in terms of life experience, maturity and a keen ability to connect with and engage others, I lack something that the younger recruiters have – mindless drive and ambition. I am all too aware of everything about my job and have a very difficult time looking past the next 2 years of extremely hard work to build my network and create enough relationships with people to see my way into higher earnings. I work hard and give it my all, but my all seems to be missing something that the younger people all possess; I know what two years of hard work feels like and I know what I’m going to have to sacrifice to be successful as a recruiter. At 35, it’s very hard to overlook these things if I’m not able to get lost in whatever it is I’m doing. Young people don’t seem to have this issue.

The recruiters who are in their early to mid-20’s have no difficulty with the hours, the time on the phone and all the paperwork. They seems to just exist in the role doing whatever is needed to be successful. They are highly driven and attack their jobs without so much as a thought about what they are going without by working so hard. The truth is that I am kind of jealous that they are able to function at work this way because they attack work the same way I attack my training and my passions. I think one of two things is happening – either they have found their passion in their job or they can’t tell the difference between work and passion so they approach them as the same thing.

I do recall a time when I was younger and working for Ranger Online. I approached the job with the same intensity and passion that I now direct towards cycling. While it did start to consume me, I can see the parallel between my behaviour during this time and the behaviour I see in the younger recruiters I now work with. It was easy to work extremely hard and lose myself in the job and I did so without thinking about it; something that I haven’t been able to do for more than a few months at a time since then. In fact, the length of time that I am able to stay committed to something that I don’t fully enjoy is getting shorter and shorter as time go on. It seems that my threshold is getting lower with each new experience.

So on Thursday when Rachel mentioned to me that maybe I was on the right path before and have been struggling to find my way back over the last decade, I was able to hear it. I’ll admit that I don’t find my professional life all that satisfying. Sure I do a good job and my bosses are happy with my performance but it’s a constant struggle to forget what I’m doing, forget that I don’t like what I’m doing or to stop thinking about what I’d rather be doing. I have no sense of surety or certainty with my professional actions – I know that I’ll advance my career if I do them, but I rarely feel like I’m on the right track. As such, I don’t work mindlessly and my ambition sorely lacking.

What if I was right when I was younger? What if I had yet to be impacted by life experiences and was simply doing what I was passionate about and enjoyed? Wouldn’t that mean that I had already found my path and that the way back to it was a matter of forgetting what I have learned since Natalie died and simply return to doing what I was doing before? Could it be that easy?

What People Want To Hear

After work on Thursday I met up with Travis who I used to work with at SST. He has started a personal training company call DNA Fitness based out of Burlington and has been interacting with other trainers who work with private clients. At SST we primarily worked with athletes who were driven to succeed but lacked the knowledge to create the right program to achieve optimal fitness. His new venture is different and he is starting to get exposure to the psychology of fitness.

“What do most people want out of a trainer?”

In most cases people who are not innately active want to hear that it isn’t their fault that they are out of shape. They want to be told that they are fine and that there is something unique about them that makes it impossible for them to stop eating unhealthy food, to start exercising and to get into better shape. For those who seem to love to exercise or tend to make more-healthy food choices the knowledge is there that they have control over these choices.

Let’s be honest here and say the way that someone looks is a reflection of their choices in almost every instance. Obese and unhealthy people do make the choice to eat poorly and move as little as possible. For them the realization that they have complete control over their choices has not yet been made. They are looking for validation that they are victims of something that is out of their control. In fairness this is a characteristic of most human beings, it just tends to manifest itself differently in people.

The toughest thing for a trainer to do with these types of clients is to teach them that it IS their fault that they look the way they do and to help them see that they CAN do something about it. Frankly, I found teaching this lesson to be one of the most draining things you can do because there is 10-40 years of thought inertia to overcome. It’s a task that is compounded in difficulty by the human tendency to seek out information that validates their belief and to outright disregard evidence to the contrary. Never underestimate the power of denial.

In most cases a doctor is a better person to teach an individual that their state of health is a result of their choices and too often it comes in the form of bad news – a test revealing cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a heart attack. The news is a shock to them, but not necessarily a surprise.

What can a trainer do to help their clients hear what they don’t want to hear?

People learn better by doing, particularly when they are not open to learning; which is the case with people who hold victim beliefs about their fitness abilities. If a trainer can get a person moving and eating a little better, their client will notice some results. This is often enough evidence to help them see that they CAN do something about it because they HAVE done something about it.

Let the client know that human beings are 99.9% genetically identical. Since almost everyone has the same potential to achieve a certain level of fitness, by achieving it themselves, a trainer can effectively BE the proof that it can be done. I have found this to be one of the more effective ways to show people the light.

Let the client know that the body has a strong desire to keep doing what it has been doing and that as a part of the body, the brain is the same way. Thoughts are going to be sticky and it is going to require a lot of effort to change the thoughts and to change the behaviour. It could be months before they find working out to be a fun activity simply because they have found doing nothing to be a fun activity for so long.

I think Travis is going to do well with his new business because he is knowledgeable and because he cares about people. I have always known him to tell people the truth and not just tell them what they want to hear and these are the reasons why I would trust him to train my family.