The Wave of the Future
Having split my time between teaching at the college level here in Vancouver and being on the floor working one on one with clients gives me a unique perspective of this evolving industry we collectively call “fitness.”
So many of my students ask me about my job as a strength & conditioning coach in the industry of fitness and how it differs from that of a personal trainer, or a kinesiologist, or a corrective exercise specialist, or a physio, or a lifecoach and so on . . .The lines in this industry are becoming blurred as are the job descriptions of what these professionals might be doing on a day to day basis.
Is this a good or a bad thing?
As a strength and conditioning coach, I tell them I can train athletes for performance-based pursuits and even under that umbrella I more expertise in some sports than others. I can also do personal training and work with the general population – but my focus there is also performance, not aesthetics. As an exercise physiologist (I wear that hat too), I can prescribe exercise programs for special populations including: pregnant clients, children, those with metabolic syndromes, seniors, but it certainly does not make me an expert in all those areas. And I do not work in a lab all day, collecting oxygen and carbon dioxide samples from people running on treadmills. And lastly, as a corrective exercise specialist if my clients present with pain or fail part of my movement screen, I work on weak links, ensuring they have full function before I increase load and intensity. So, in essence, I wear many hats.
However, even though I wear these hats and I have a lot of tools in my toolbox now, after 16 years of practical coaching experience, I let my students know that I am well aware of my limitations and my boundaries. If I am not the person for the job, I have an allied health care team and a slew of consultants of those who have a particular expertise that I can refer to. This is the wave of the future. Those that are good and I mean really at the top of their game, in any field, know when to refer out and when to call upon those who have the specialization they are lacking.
The true pros are humble enough to admit when
what they are dealing with is out of their realm of expertise.
So, the future of training and the fitness industry, in this age of information we are swimming in, does not lie in the jacks of all trades, master of nothing approach. It lies in networking and referring so that client care is always the main objective. For example, If your client becomes pregnant, refer them to a pre-natal specialist. If your client is injured, seek a qualified physiotherapist or chiropractor for a thorough assessment. If your client is overweight and wants to become leaner, seek a holistic nutritionist to help them. If you are an advocate for your client, they WILL come back to you.