“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” ~Kahlil Gibran
The fitness industry is fast-paced and multifaceted, a sure-fire recipe for needing to stay on top of your education.
Luckily, we live in a world of information and never in the history of mankind has it been more accessible. As a result, we are constantly bombarded with new and interesting topics we want to learn. So, we listen to audiobooks at 2.5 speed on the commute to work, watch webinars at lunchtime before catching up on some pre-bed reading and attending weekend seminars.
Information, information, information. Consume, consume, consume.
But are you actually any better as a trainer? Did you take something away from each of these resources? Have you provided yourself with professional nourishment or the learning equivalent of “empty calories”?
Have you Improved Your Knowledge?
Acquiring information is not synonymous with developing your knowledge and certainly not nurturing wisdom. To expound, let’s take some basic definitions.
Information can be defined as “facts provided or learned about something or someone”, an example might be “carbohydrates provide 4 Calories per gram”.
Knowledge, however, is defined as “facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education”, thus, “If I cut a client’s carbohydrates I reduce their caloric intake and can create a deficit”.
Lastly wisdom, “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement” the ability to synthesise information and shape it through experience, “I’ve learned some clients can’t stand being on a low carbohydrate diet and it’s the ability to create a sustainable deficit, not the reduction in carbohydrates, that create the conditions for fat loss”.
Application bridges the gap between information, knowledge and wisdom.
How do You Know if You’re Simply Acquiring Information or Developing Your Knowledge?
Quickly make a list of all the books (audible and paper), seminars, webinars, courses and articles you have consumed in the last 3 months. Next to each one write down what you took away from it and how it improved you. Notice I didn’t say what you remember about it, but how it improved you, WHAT YOU ACTIONED. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
If you’re anything like I was you will have read entire books and not actioned a single thing. Raced through courses at breakneck speed without ever stopping to apply it, or looked back over old seminar notes to think “why the hell didn’t I implement any of this stuff?!”
You’ve acquired information and along with with it the self-delusion of knowledge, when despite all this perceived time and effort, you’re probably much the same trainer you were 6 months ago, still on the hunt for more, more, more in your ceaseless pursuit of betterment.
Many of us need to learn to do more with less!
Ultimately education is an investment of your time, the most precious of commodities for modern personal trainers. We want the greatest return for the smallest investment.
Reaping a Greater Return From Your Education Than a Bitcoin Entrepreneur:
1. Start With a Performance Review
You need to critically analyse your strengths and weaknesses, this will help you identify what you need to focus on, compared to what you want to focus on. Use a simple scoring system of 1-10 to highlight your areas of development. Topics might include:
- Coaching skills
- Lead generation (if you constantly lose clients lead gen isn’t your biggest problem)
- Onboarding and service
- Client motivation
- Programme Design
If you’re not sure, speak to a trusted colleague, peer or mentor to help appraise your current performance.
Of the list you created, which capacities score the lowest but are imperative to your business’s success? Start here. If you’re not sure try asking yourself “is this for my interests or my client’s and business’s benefit?” The latter wins. You might have a passion for contest prep but if your main client base is 40 and 50-year-old Joes and Janes you need to prioritise their needs over your interests.
3. Set Goals and Plan Towards Them
With your learning objectives identified research which sources, individuals, books, seminars and podcasts will best help you attain the information you need. Make a list and set a goal for what you will get through over the coming 1-3 months. Underestimate your abilities here, give yourself more time than you think you need. It’s human nature to think best case scenario when it comes to planning which often leaves us playing catch up and rushing. Slooooooow down.
4. Implementation Intentions
Don’t just hope it happens, or think it will just happen, plan for it to happen. Implementation intentions are a powerful weapon in ensuring action gets taken. At the start of each week identify what sources you will consume and when. Write it down in your planner or diary and protect that time like it was a client’s training session.
5. Trainer Journal
The trainer journal or a learning log can be used to document your daily or weekly progress, this will make quarterly reviews much easier (see point 6). Taking time to reflect on your service and learning a couple of times per week is a potent tool to identify what is and isn’t useful in your development as a trainer. Watched a webinar? What were your key take-homes? Read a great passage from a book or article? Paraphrase it in your journal to recap later. The journal is your TL:DR (too long; didn’t read) summary of your learning.
6. Quarterly Reviews
These are your checkpoints. Every 3-4 months review your journal or learning log. What have you consumed over the last three months and what have you implemented as a result. What action did you take? Check back in with your development plan and set goals for the next three months. This should include what you will continue to implement from the previous block and learning goals for the next.
Ever got halfway through a laborious book and felt like you had to finish it because you had started? Maybe it’s currently one of the trendy ones everyone is talking about or one of the books “everyone should read”. Stop. If a book, podcast or webinar is missing the mark for you put a fork in it, it’s done. Move onto the next resource in your list, one that serves your time better.
Finally, resist shiny object syndrome. With your learning plan in place, it’s common to come across something new, something that’s “hot right now” in the industry. Resist the urge to divert from your development plan. Add the topic, article or course of interest onto a list in your journal to be critically appraised at your next quarterly review. Then you can decide where it sits in order of importance for your development (once you’ve finished this current development period). This can stop you from jumping around from topic to topic, starting everything and finishing nothing.
“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle”.
Bridge the gap.
Find Out More About LTB
If you would like to learn more about what we offer at LTB, head here to check out our membership benefits and to learn about our 2-week free trial. You can come on board, watch any of our courses (ranging from programme design to marketing), download any of of our documents (things like marketing checklists and PAR-Q’s) and then decide it’s not for you on day 13 without paying a penny!