If you are a recent graduate of a degree program or a newlycertified fitness instructor, personal trainer or strength coach, welcome tothe wonderful and ever-changing world of fitness. Some of us got into theindustry because of an interest in working out, a past rehabilitationexperience or for some other reason; but the main reason why we committed tothe industry was to help people on their way to better health.
As a business owner, there are numerous avenues and nichesin which you can specialize. Specialties can include training athletes,offering post-rehabilitation training, working with special populations orspecific chronic diseases as well as a myriad of specialized certifications toset you apart from other fitness professionals. One area with the potential toexplode is building relationships with your local medical community. Workingclosely with doctors and physical therapists can provide your business with asolid reputation in the medical community plus add unlimited potential for incomefrom referrals. Not only will bridging the gap in the medical community provideyou with added business, but this will help set you apart from other trainersin your community because you will ultimately become the go-to fitness personspecializing in a specific population focus.
This is where the fitness professional comes in to play. By partneringwith the medical community the fitness professional can pick up where thedoctor has left off. There are many different ways to develop relationships withyour local medical community. Here are three ways you can build a reputablebusiness relationship with the medical community and set yourself far apartfrom other fitness professionals in your area.
Exercise Is Medicine
Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is an initiative developed by theAmerican Medical Association and the American Council of Sports Medicine as away to help address the lack of physical activity in our country. The mainmission of EIM is to help physicians and fitness professionals work together tohelp reduce chronic disease around the world. This program helps bridge the gapbetween where the doctors leave off and where the fitness industry has the opportunityto add value to people's lives. By establishing this relationship, you arepositioning yourself as the go-to expert on chronic disease prevention.
People are more willing to participate in a program if theirdoctor recommends it to them. There is an easy-to-navigate, free website, www.exerciseismedicine.org, thatprovides fitness professionals with a template on how to contact local doctors,physicians and physical therapists to create a referral service as well asseveral free resources including handouts, educational materials andcertifications and information on how to set-up your own media press kit. Theinformation the organization offers will arm you with the protocol to establisha strong relationship with your local medical community.
Coaching is around us in all areas of our lives. Fromsporting teams to large business and now in the fitness world, coaching isbecoming even more popular as a result of the ever-changing fitness industry. Coachingrelies on the belief in positive thinking and being; defining who a person isnow and determining who they want to be in the future. Making small steps andchanges with the help of a coach, a person is empowered to make the case for changeas well as make the change itself.
Coaches can impact a person's life on many different levels,but truly, the change comes from within the client. Wellness coaching is a formof coaching that enables people to overcome obstacles on their quest to becominghealthier both physically and mentally. Coaches help empower clients to findout who they are; not by telling them what steps they need to take, but byfostering growth in the client's abilities and having them pave the way totheir dreams and goals.
Wellness coaches guide individuals through life's journey tobecoming the person they dream about. When issues run too deep or are out ofthe scope of the wellness coach, a referral to a clinical psychologist iswarranted, especially if there is no movement through the different stages ofchange. By partnering with local psychologists, they may also be able toidentify potential clients within their practice that might benefit from theservices of a wellness coach.
Finding a coaching certification that meets ICF standardswould be the first step on the road to becoming a professional coach. InternationalCoaching Federation, www.coachingfederation.org, provides free information howto become a credentialed coaching professional. ACSM and Harvard have collaboratedwith Wellcoaches,www.wellcoaches.com, to develop an elite coaching program to prepare potentialwellness coaches in all aspects of positive psychology and coaching.
Musculoskeletal injuries account for the majority ofphysician visits and missed time at work. Statistics show that more than one infour people have some form of musculoskeletal pain or injury. Physicaltherapists primarily help people who are overcoming soft tissue injuries andsurgeries to lead healthier and pain free lives. Often times, people are senthome with exercises to perform independently that will strengthen weakenedareas or stretch overactive areas.
Once a person has left the physical therapy office, thechances of that person continuing with the prescribed exercises dropdramatically. However, if the physical therapist refers you to their patient, youhave the opportunity to help them continue with the program and help themprevent future injuries by helping them create a strong foundation.
Having a background in post-rehabilitative care will help afitness professional design and implement programs that are both safe andeffective at transitioning the participant back into mainstream exercising. Bypartnering with the physical therapist, you can gain insight and feedback onthe individual and develop the appropriate program for them to get back on theroad to recovery.
Partnering with the medical community can provide a fitnessprofessional with a rewarding and profitable experience while closing the gapbetween medicine and fitness. Wellness coaching, programs such as Exercise is Medicine andpost-rehabilitation professionals establish fitness professionals as go-toexperts in chronic disease management. Educational experience and certificationsencourage the medical community to trust you as an expert by providing thecurrent research and up-to date information on issues that directly affecttheir patients.