Recently I've spent a lot of time trying to find my focus. I have always loved the diversity of my field; the dynamic group classes, specificity of individual training and the intellectual opportunity in academic classes. I've been fortunate to have different outlets to express myself both personally and professionally. Often people ask me why I don't teach a particular format and I hesitate because the answer is complicated. First, let me say that over the years I have taught everything from aqua to Zumba. I believe there is something for everyone and that any approach to exercise can be a good one.
That being said, there are two reasons I continue to do what I do. One is that I love it! Two, is that I enjoy learning and growing.
When I first began my teaching career I would take anything and everything that was offered. I taught in gyms so cold you could see your breath and clubs so fancy I was embarrassed to park my old car in the facility parking lot. Over the years, I learned what I liked as well as what I was good at. At one time I held ten different certifications. Each certification comes with differing levels of training, most conclude with a certification test and all require continuing education, membership renewal or both. With ten certifications, there were a lot of classes, fees and training to juggle but there was some cross over in continuing education credits and I learned to make my education dollars count.
When I entered graduate school I began to let some of those certifications go, my education dollars were being used to earn a master's degree! I now maintain only four certifications. Each of these has been recognized by the NCAA, the institute for credentialing excellence. You can learn more here-www.credentialingexcellence.org/p/cm/ld/fid=121 To work in the college fitness center, I am required to maintain my NCAA certification , and while there is crossover, there is also specificity to keep my education and credentials current with the different organizations.
Professionally, it doesn't make sense to have certifications that are not recognized when I have to maintain those that are. Personally, I don't enjoy teaching pre-choreographed formats. There are some really great branded workouts that have attained a solid following in the fitness world, but I feel confined by having to follow something that I didn't have a hand in creating. Additionally, I feel conflicted when I don't believe current science is being reliably conveyed to the public. Unfortunately, we often mistake a fantastic figure for fitness knowledge. That doesn't mean there aren't great formats being delivered by vibrant instructors.
There is snobbery in both the educational and fitness worlds. Pieces of paper do not create fabulous teachers, trainers and educators but they do demonstrate a level of professionalism. The most important element is teaching safe effective methods rooted in evidence-based exercise science. So when you take a class or hire a personal trainer, think safety first but don't forget the fun. It doesn't matter how smart someone is if they can't apply their knowledge and share that information in an approachable way. I still enjoy taking branded classes, after all shaking your groove thing is fun, but for me freedom, and flexibility are the key to finding and keeping my focus.
Book Worth a Look: www.amazon.com/Invisible-Influence-Hidden-Forces-Behavior/dp/1476759693