Continuing education is a popular topic in the fitness industry. Between the continual need to stay current with credentials, the specific requirements you must meet and the annual live events that are available, continuing education likely stays on your radar. And as someone who has not only worked in higher education, but also has hosted over 100 live events and owned several specialty certification organizations, I’m keenly aware of the role continuing education plays in our industry.

I wanted to share a different way of looking at your own approach to continuing ed. Here are a few things to consider:
  • 100% of successful professionals I’ve met are people who I’d consider lifelong learners. They are in continual pursuit of a better way, whether it’s growing a business or serving a client.
  • Education isn’t only available through structured courses or live events. Many of my important learning experiences have come from studying other businesses, observing human behavior and learning from my mistakes. In fact, I’d tell you that if you only learn from structured programs, you’re missing out on most of what you should be learning.
  • Spend more time learning about the things that won’t change or, at least, won’t change quickly. Far too much time is spent studying fads or short-term tactics, and far too little time is invested in studying timeless principles and strategies.
  • Be curious. I’ve seen more than a few coaches and trainers build great careers by becoming experts in areas that began as curiosity-based research.
  • Learn business if you’re going to own a business. More than half of the trainers I meet who start a business do so without much, if any, business education.
  • Study successful people. Biographies, private coaching and internships can compress time and give you the key learning experiences accrued over someone’s career in a fraction of the time it took the expert to amass them.
  • Apply what you learn. I’ve seen far too many people attend a live event, take pages of notes and then go back to work on Monday, only to do things exactly as they’ve always done them.
There are more great learning opportunities than any of us can hope to take advantage of, so select wisely and make the most of the ones you choose.

Pat Rigsby is one of the fitness industry's leading business coaches and the owner of He has built over a dozen businesses in the fitness industry as a CEO and co-owner, ranging from two-award winning franchises to certification organizations and equipment companies. Now he focuses exclusively on helping fitness entrepreneurs build their ideal businesses.