Sir Francis Bacon (ironically enough) once said, "Knowledge is power." I firmly stand behind this statement, particularly since we, as trainers, are in an ever changing industry. As trainers, it is our duty to keep up on the newest trends and the latest research to better serve our clients and supply them with exemplary results. But does the learning stop there? Should we just read exercise science journals and acquire high level specializations and certifications? We would be best served to answer that question with a resounding 'No.' There is more information out there that is applicable to our journey as health professionals. Personal training encompasses so much that books from all different industries can apply to our jobs. Here a four of my favorites:

Motivational Interviewing by Miller and Rollnick
Motivational interviewing is a technique used by clinicians to overcome the ambivalence that keeps many people from making desired changes in their lives. Personal trainers can find this technique particularly useful in the first client interview and when clients are not getting the desired results, for one reason or another. Adding this to your repertoire adds another level of professionalism and expertise to make you a high class trainer.

Working with Emotional Intelligence by Goleman
Similar to motivational interviewing, emotional intelligence expands on psychological importance of being able to read emotions in clients and in our selves. Understanding our client's emotions, day to day, is an important skill to realize and utilize because of the dynamic that most clients bring us every day. This book does a great job of explaining the concept and also how to implement it into everyday life.

Relationships 101 by Maxwell
John Maxwell is my favorite writer, regardless of industry classification. In this book, he details how to create long lasting relationships with people. Of any skill, relationship building is the most important. Personal training is relationships; how fast and how many we make determines our success or failure as a personal trainer.

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Maxwell
As an educator, I would always tell my trainers that personal training is about leadership and most importantly about influence (John Maxwell’s definition of leadership). This book has shaped me as a professional, more so than any other. The lessons, or laws, Maxwell presents can be applicable in any client-to-trainer relationship. This book is a must-have for any fitness professional.

I have found that readings from other industries or specialties have made me a better fitness professional. Knowledge truly is power and what we do with that power is even more important. 

Josh 'JB' Bowen, BS, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D is the former Quality Control Director of Personal Training for Urban Active Fitness and is currently a personal trainer for Fitness Plus II in Lexington, KY and a consultant and National Fitness Director for Compel Fitness.


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