I am going past 10 years in the field. Just a little reflection and how I am moving forward. The personal trainer’s role, as well as the Registered Dietitians role has certainly changed over the years. Here are a few brief topics that have come up in the field, and how I am steering my career and personal development in no real order.
Bodybuilding has had way too much influence on personal training. Personal training clients are not very well served by classic bodybuilding methods. We do not need single joint exercises, machine based exercises, or the volume that a bodybuilder does. I am in no way saying that there are no overlapping principles, but they are different fields. Bodybuilding workouts should be for bodybuilders. They are some of the most disciplined people in the world, and the amount of workout volume, supplements, and food cannot and should not be applied to someone who works a 9-5 desk job and can barely fit 3 hours a week in for workouts. These clients need to spend their time getting all of their joints moving, burn calories, eating smarter, doing posture work, and keep their goals in mind. I have respect for bodybuilders (the drug free kind), but it is not my area nor do I need it to be for my clients.
Physical therapy has been very big lately in terms of influencing personal training programs. This is good and bad. The good is that it brings awareness to trainers about posture issues, some things are safer for people than others, and certain small tweaks to programs and exercises to help the all too common desk job posture. Simple screening techniques have been wonderful for movement/posture corrections and exercises can be added in to help with these issues. The bad is that some trainers go too far, and spend too much time on these corrective exercises. If I need to spend all of my time doing this, I will refer out to a physical therapist. I consider myself a great trainer, not a physical therapist.
The one tool wonder movement. There are many in the field that fall into the trap of using just one piece of equipment and swear it is all you need. I think there have been great advancements in the field in terms of tools available for my arsenal. I love kettlebells for myself, but I know that it is not for every client. The TRX is great too, as is resistance bands, barbells, dumbells, bodyweight, etc. What I learned is that I need to assess what the client needs, and choose the piece of equipment (or bodyweight progression) that best fits my need.
Safety is my number one goal for everyone. I constantly look for better ways to keep my clients safer both during the workout and after.
The nutrition field is wide open. With the internet, good and bad advice is within a google search. Very poor studies can be used to create very poor advice. My goal as an RD is to help someone find what works for them, and get them educated and as independent as possible to own their diet, know what they are eating and why. I have learned to not only read what I think is right, but also what I have disagreements with. I have changed my mind on many things. One diet does not fit all, and I have many tools in my arsenal depending on goals, body type, and time to devote.
There are plenty of RDs who are worth much more than they are paid, and those who are not worth anything. The same goes for any field, really. I am not involved in the medical world, and many who are I have plenty of respect for. The problem is within the general population. RDs are not trained for the “gym client”, and the small amount of training they do have is based off of government recommendations. As long as big industries control congress, they do not have your best interest in mind. You can throw that food pyramid in the garbage. RDs, wake up and read the research! Be willing to think outside the box.
As with any field, if you stop learning after school, you are not a good professional. Period. I get better every day. I try to alternate between training, nutrition, and personal development books/lectures/seminars/workshops/podcasts. The day I stop doing this, I don’t deserve your time. I will never know it all, but I will try!
On the more personal side of things, I am looking forward to more hikes, kayaking trips, camping, and spending time with my fiancé and our pups. She is traveling as a physical therapist but we are starting to plan our future. I will be wearing a Hawaiian shirt in Vegas next year getting married, beat that! I am exploring business ideas, as well as other side things such as the stock market and real estate. The main goal is to do what I love and make enough money doing it to do other things that I love. Traveling, outdoor sports, going to superbowls (Giants!) my own pups as well as helping to save others are just a few things that come to mind.
My personal workouts have become less and less about the heavy weights and more about function, sport related, and keeping healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to lift heavy things, I am just smarter about it now than I was 10 years ago. I also get regular massages and eat mostly organic. I’d rather spend my money on health, feeling good, and life experiences. I used to spend too much on material things (not that I sacrifice too much, of course).