It often seems as if getting “certified” has become an accessory perfect for the person who “loves to work out.” To be completely transparent (and blunt), I cringe every time someone, friend, stranger and many times, even a client, tells me they are thinking of getting their personal training certification. Most do not appreciate the scope of scientific, theoretical and practical knowledge required to be truly skilled at the craft of “training” a client, not to mention the intuitive abilities necessary in order to connect with people, often in their most vulnerable forms.

I cringe, not because I don’t believe they genuinely want to impact the lives of others (in most cases), or because they like the idea of a career that allows them to stay fit; rather I believe I have this visceral reaction because I feel as though true career fitness professionals continue to fight an uphill battle to separate ourselves from those who look at fitness as simply a job opportunity, not as a lifetime career.

When one chooses a career path, they inherently are more vested because they have skin in the game. When you have professionals in an industry who are vested, the industry as a whole benefits and therefore our clients and consumers, in theory, will experience a higher level of results. There will always be “jobs” available to those who will take them, but when your livelihood is inextricably tied to your career you have no choice but to consistently stay at the top of your game.

People don’t become doctors so they can treat patients as a side-job, or study law to just practice on the weekends or in their spare time. In no way am I inferring that a career as a fitness professional means it must be full-time; rather I believe it is more a matter of mindset. A career fitness professional constantly seeks and prioritizes continuing education; invests time, money and energy in developing their skills personally and professionally. A career fitness professional realizes that there is infinite knowledge and commits to excellence.

Consider for a moment your commitment to your career; are you taking risks, investing in yourself and vested for the long-term? As more fitness professionals enter this industry and remain committed to excellence we will continue to up-level industry standards and have a greater impact on our clients and on the greater society.