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inspiring change

Continuing Education; Where Should I Put My Dollars?

For those of you out there who want to make sure you're making the best decision when it comes to continuing education spending.

I wanted to write about this topic because it was a question that I helped answer with so many of my trainers over the years. It was actually something that I used to ask in my personal training interviews. I would ask the person if I gave them $1,000 right now, what certification or course would they invest in?

I asked the question because it helped me gauge if they were researching what was out there in the industry, and also that they knew the importance of continuing education. In an industry where you are judged by looks and your monthly performance, inevitably you are also judged by your resume.

When it came to that trainer walking into my office and pondering what to do with their hard earned dollars in regards to continuing education, I had a few questions for them…

Question #1 - What piques their interest?

This is an easy question to ask. In our ever evolving industry, what do they find themselves reading about or seeking knowledge regarding? And furthermore, who are they training? Who is their favorite client and who would they prefer late canceled? Lastly, what time of client are they attracting? This will help to lay a framework for interests and ideas, which can better help serve to give them direction on continuing education.

Question #2 - What would help set them apart?

For those of you out there who want to make sure you're making the best decision when it comes to continuing education spending. don't have any boxing at your gym, and you enjoy that type of workout and have a need for it, there you go. Or what are members asking for? My last club we had a huge market for golfers, so my TPI certified trainer would literally get clients just because he had the certification, even if they wound up focusing on other things and not golf. For a business owner, this could be helping them strengthen their brand and diversify their current offerings. For instance, if they are looking to add group training, having a certification related to that or the equipment that is being used will help give more validity to what they are putting forth as an offering.

Question #3 - What is the ROI?

There are plenty of certifications you can get in a weekend. And if it’s a matter of that trainer wanting to learn more about a modality or a piece of equipment, that’s great. The more in-depth courses usually mean more money and time. But if that means being able to charge more, or add different skill sets, is that a better use of their money? This question definitely ties into the other two questions coined above. Just as we look at college in what we study as having an ROI, there should be a reason behind what we are putting our money behind in fitness, especially as the sticker price goes up. This is also a great time for those trainers to seek out other trainers that have those credentials they are looking for to learn a little of their process and how they went about applying the education.

"I believe in order to be successful...You need to be spectacular at one thing and just good enough to be dangerous in a few other fundamental, transferable skill sets. " – Jonathon Goodman

Closing thoughts...

These are just a few questions to ask yourself when it comes to investing in continuing education. I also encourage trainers to seek fitness professionals that are running a business or brand that they seek to emulate. Regardless, learning is part of our industry. Also, don’t discount the many podcasts and online education that’s available now to help you learn in between the courses that will cost you more time and effort.

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