It's official- I'm now a Certified Personal Trainer! The last few months have been busy with studying, but I have very happily passed my certification exam. I suspect that no one reading this blog will be surprised by this.
My certification is from the National Academy of Sports Medicine(NASM). I choose NASM because they have one of the best reputations, and they seem to be the best complement to my sports massage work. The individual practitioner is always more important than the certification, but it certainly helps to have a good one.
Of course this is just another step in the never ending journey of learning about how to help people with their health goals. Personal training is a natural extension of my current bodywork. It will give me a way to better understand and advise my massage clients, make it possible for someone to receive both massage and training from me, or be a training only client. The body is the same after all, and there's a lot of synergy possible by having both perspectives and approaches available.
It hasn't surprised me to see how much the most cutting edge exercise thinking has in common with bodywork. More and more the top fitness experts are training for balance, symmetry, and mobility in addition to strength, speed, and endurance. The idea of isolating one part of the body, either to treat or to train, is well discredited. (All part of functional fitness, already a favorite topic on this blog.)
Over the last week I've been giving practice sessions to experienced trainers. The workouts have been going quite well, and I've been getting very positive feedback. The main challenge I've had is finding the equipment or floor space I intend to use unavailable. In my own workouts I adapt pretty easily, but I'm trying to make each session I give perfect, and the alternate exercises aren't necessarily as good as the one I want to offer. In general, it's all the things other than choosing, demonstrating, and guiding the exercises that are challenging me.
A fascinating thing is observing the differences in everyone's abilities. My practice clients have all been trainers, except for one yoga teacher. They are in good physical condition and very knowledgeable about workout programming. Yet for each person some exercise that would seem easy has been very difficult, either in strength or balance(or both, because the stabilizing muscles are weak compared to the prime movers.) Incidentally, the yoga teacher was the best at doing all the exercises with good form except for a jumping movement- not much jumping in yoga!
This observation convinces me even more of the value of working with a trainer. It is too hard to watch yourself, or sense your alignment proprioceptively, while doing an exercise(not that you shouldn't try.) Even more, picking exercises to continuously challenge yourself needs an outside perspective. Habits and opinions may be so well ingrained that a person is completely oblivious that their exercise routine is lacking. I include myself here, and I'm sure that any of the pros I've trained would find things I don't do well.
Finally I'll mention that as a business, I'm not quite certain how I will represent myself yet, particularly in all things Web. Positive Massage Therapy is very well established, but I want to have an identity that reflects both aspects of my professional practice. More to come...