Just 40 years ago, lifting weights was considered taboo and borderline moronic. Football linemen were actually discouraged from lifting weights because the notion was that by gaining muscle they would become smaller and less effective at their position. Now if an athlete doesn't weight train, it's common knowledge even to the fitness novice that he loses his edge against competitors. How things have changed! Now this multi-billion dollar industry affords us a bonafide and legitimate career path with endless possibility for success.
Fitness and health, probably more than most other industries, is ever-evolving, as is the public perception of the fitness profession. A keen fitness professional understands that in order to continue to thrive, he must not only accept evolution as a given, but that he must embrace it and capitalize on it if it aligns with his vision and goals.
The constant evolution of trends, studies, media and new equipment often poses several challenges for a fitness professional. There is the conundrum of balancing scientifically-based and safe training programs while at the same time keeping clients excited about committing long-term, which may mean incorporating new methods and new equipment without falling victim to fads or unproven methods.
Here are just two simple ways to commit to balancing keeping up with the industry while continuing to provide your clients with safe, effective and results-driven programs.
Listen to the "chatter." You often learn about new fitness fads directly from your clients before you even find out about them. Infomercials, the media and common conversation spread like wildfire among consumers. Even if you don't subscribe to certain methodologies used in weight loss TV shows or believe in the outrageous results promised by the newest fitness gadget, having even a basic understanding of these new trends and formulating an opinion based on science and fact, will give you a hand-up in educating your clients on the truths and myths. Your long-term success hinges on you maintaining your status as a fitness authority to your clients.
Educate yourself and share. Dedicate one day a week or one hour a day, solely focused on educating yourself. Subscribe to RSS feeds of scientific studies and journals that are pertinent to our industry. Read a book a month: the topic does not always have to be fitness and training methods. Read psychology books, sales and marketing books or biographies of people who inspire you. Reading will give you a well-rounded perspective that can serve as inspiration for your clients. Attend seminars, workshops and network with professionals in a variety of industries. Bottom line, continue to master your craft, surround yourself with other authorities. Share new information with your clients because this is where you have the upper-hand to mass media; you have the potential to directly impact their life on a regular basis.
The mindset of the general public continues to shift in our favor; the public continues to see the value of hiring a fitness professional as a staple part of leading a successful life. Most realize they can't do it on their own and they look to hire us for the same reasons they hire an accountant or an attorney: because we are masters of our craft and know fitness better than they do.
You must keep your edge and not fall behind an industry that continues to reshape itself. Aspire to be a leader and trusted authority in your community. Be the influence that impacts the general public's view of fitness, weight loss and health. When your clients are confident that you are an authority they will count on you for success, not the empty promises of mass media, trends or infomercials.