Jan. 3 2019 08:12 AM

Education is the best preparation.

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The start of a New Year can be a catalyst for setting fresh goals or making big changes. For many fitness professionals, that means re-evaluating their career and taking the next step toward their ideal position. Whether that includes leaving the security of being an employee to become an independent contractor or going all-in on opening a facility, making these moves can be incredibly scary. That’s probably why they call it a “leap of faith” – because it’s risky. However, with risk comes excitement and the key to minimizing the fear and optimizing that excitement is preparation.

Imagine going to the grocery store without a list or a plan of what food you’ll make for the week. You’ll likely end up with some good choices, but you may also find yourself short on the items you need to make the meals you want or having to make another trip before the week is up. This all could have been avoided by knowing the plan (what to eat that week), taking inventory of what items you already had, and making a list of what was needed to purchase. This same process can be applied to the career path for a fitness professional.

If you know where you want your career to go then you need to start by taking inventory of what you need to get there. This means assessing areas of strength and weakness for coaches and trainers. Those further along in their career could need sales and marketing training, while others new to the industry may still be struggling to get a handle on exercise basics or programming. Once identified, a plan can be made to improve lacking areas through education, which is the cornerstone of effective preparation. Education is vital because it can tell us what to expect, how to proceed, and most importantly, what to avoid. Let’s call it your safety net.

If you want to take a leap this year, give yourself the best chance to succeed by being prepared. Attend courses, read books, and learn from others who have traveled the path ahead of you. In an industry that is moving as quickly as fitness, it may be the only advantage you have to stay ahead and keep moving forward.

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