Find this article at: http://philkaplan.com/wildjourney.htm
I’m about to offer you insights, new potential, and a greater grasp of moving toward prosperity. Sure, you’ve heard that type of language in an onslaught of emails promising you the keys to the gates of paradise, but this one’s different.
You won’t find any promises herein that you’ll be an overnight millionaire, you won’t be asked to sell any powder, pill, cream, or lotion, and the absurdities that I’m about to share might actually begin to come together to form a new awareness. It’s that awareness combined with direction and the power you have inside that can take you along the wildest most thrilling ride you ever imagined. It isn’t a theme park ride, but something better. The Wild Ride that is your Fitness Career!
For a moment, somewhere in my senior year of high school (Bayside H.S. 1978), I decided I was going to pursue a pre-med education at University of Buffalo. Buffalo was nice in the summer. I liked the freshman girls, I hated chemistry, I was put on disciplinary probation for riding my Yamaha 400 inside the halls of the dorm, and by the time the snow hit, I surmised I wasn’t anywhere near ready to commit to 8 years of study. Little did I know.
I changed course early into my college education and traded pre-med for the pursuit of a career in exercise, never realizing this would take me on my own wild journey around the world touching people from literally every walk of life, from Trinidad to Moscow, Brazil to Costa Rica, Earth to Mars. The wild journey has taken me to a place where I have the utmost empathy for those in less than optimal condition, where I have a new recognition of the mess we’re in as a population , and where I have a new respect and admiration for physicians.
The wild journey, in this moment, has carried me to a place where I feel, along with several of you, I may have far more impact upon the health of our population than I might have had I never changed course.
Can I impact people’s health more as a personal trainer than I could have as a doctor?
Wow, does that question spark reaction when I pose it to medical practitioners, exercise academicians, or a mixed group of fitness professionals. I get rage, I get anger, I get praise, I get confusion, and I embrace it all. It means there’s a reaction, and the reaction opens the door for change.
What? Oh, you just picked up on the Earth to Mars comment from a few paragraphs back? Almost skipped right over it, didn’t you? OK, maybe I didn’t really travel through space, but sometimes it seems I’m somewhere in the Twilight Zone.
( imagine the deep deliberate announcer’s voice introducing the trailer of a movie ) . . .
IN A WORLD . . .
. . . WHERE NOTHING MAKES SENSE, WHERE THE FAT GET FATTER, THE SICK GET SICKER, AND THE WELL SCREW UP THEIR LIVES COMPLETELY . . . a small army of fitness professionals step up alongside the medical community and yell, “hey Docs, we can cure people,” and in this world, where nothing made sense previously, the doctors agree!
Right now I’m going to invite you to listen to the opinions of some of your peers, invite you to consider some new perspective, and most of all, invite you to step up upon the Platform that hosts a new wave of fitness professionals.
Allow me to first address the “cure disease” reference I just made before I prompt the usual array of venomous “you’re a $*%$$%” emails.
Cure, by definition, is “restore to health.”
Let’s now hyphenate the word disease (dis-ease) and recognize it as “the absence or loss of ease.”
It’s a provocative question.
I like provocative questions. My intention is not to pit trainers against doctors, quite the contrary. My intention is to help bring their respective boundaries together, to allow trainers and doctors to sit side by side determining how to better the lives of their clients and patients.
On May 6, 2010, I’ll be sharing some of my insights and findings with a mixed audience (including trainers, physicians, media, and health club owners) at the Club Industry conference in New York. The session is open to everyone with a conference badge, and if you can make it, I’d love to see you there. If you can’t, I’ll keep you tuned in via email. Until then, here’s some food for thought:
The Doctor of the Future?
Thomas Edison said:
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
That was in 1902. A century has passed, and then some, and medicine has become a pharmaceutical free-for-all with Big Pharma making lots and lots of money while Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, Osteoporosis, and inflammatory disease are on the rise.
So was Edison wrong? I don’t think so. I think sometimes you have to teeter so far to one side that the ground begins to shake, and then . . . change happens.
Doctors are good people. By virtue of the fact that they pursued a career requiring full immersion so that they can affect people’s lives, they are empathetic, caring individuals. They all pursued their positions because they had a desire in line with yours. They wanted to help people. Doctors are talented, wise, and educated. They often perform what people refer to as miracles. Our medical system is incredible in treating the injured and near dying. The primary population’s challenge is, they aren’t “near dying.” They just aren’t well.
The earlier Edison quote was adopted over the years by many chiropractors, and you might have seen it in their ads or in their offices. Here’s a less publicized Edison quote from a 1902 newspaper article.
“There were never so many able, active minds at work on the problems of diseases as now, and all their discoveries are tending to the simple truth – that you can’t improve on nature.”
It’s time for our field, our industry, to gain recognition, and with that come some obligations.
I am not claiming that every personal trainer deserves respect and recognition. In fact, I’ll be bold enough to say, many are simply exercise guides with little training in human form and function. If this paradigm shift is to take place, it must begin with a small group of pioneers, of leaders, of passionate fitness professionals who know there’s something greater than most health clubs offer, greater than ‘fitness tips,” greater than the simple utterance of the phrase “eat right and exercise.” It must begin with a pursuit of true excellence and a track record of evidence will follow.
Am I painting a pretty picture? I hope so, but I want you to know it isn’t fantasy. It exists.
My Be Better program has brought a new breed of trainer to the forefront. They understand their scope of practice, but they fully utilize every inch of territory illuminated by that scope. They provide nutritional direction without crossing any forbidden lines. They show not only aesthetic improvement, but they access biomarkers of health. They understand how exercise protocols can stimulate natural processes that are anti-inflammatory in nature.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting this new breed of trainer will work exclusively with people who have ills. This new breed of trainer can take a new perspective and bring it to virtually any population who can improve through exercise and supportive eating, athletes, moms, seniors, families, models, rock stars, and/or the chronic dieter (these are all populations currently being served by the Be Better graduates).
Be Better is not a personal training curriculum. It’s a life curriculum for personal trainers. It teaches you to separate who you are from what you do. It teaches you to gain control over your calendar and your income. It teaches you to love what you do and find immense reward every step of the way. It teaches you to face and overcome obstacles and find victory and humility can co-exist. It teaches you to influence others with a magnetic power, to gain control of mindset (your own or others), and to develop a new sense of dynamic possibility. It teaches you to find your own measure of excellence and go to bed every night feeling fulfilled.
Doc, Refer Me??!?!!?
If you listen to the recent focus group Kelli Calabrese and I conducted with a representation of your peers, you’ll find there’s a bit of deep-lying resentment toward both the medical field and the health club industry. The trainers want to be “recognized” and “respected.”
They wish doctors would refer patients to them. They wish, and sometimes they even ask. The fall-off-point is, they fail to prove their merit. Doctors have limited windows to speak to patients, patients come in wanting meds, and in open discussions I’ve heard many physicians criticize the patients for failing to take responsibility.
In fact, if you ask the doctor to “refer people to you,” you’re asking for a handout, almost positioning yourself as subservient. Wouldn’t things change if you said, “Doc, allow me to improve your health and your life?” If, in fact, you had the tools and skills to deliver, you better bet that doctor will refer you to everyone he meets in the office, in the hallway, and on the golf course.
This isn’t a criticism of personal trainers, but rather a perspective adjustment. Most personal trainers expect doctors to refer them but they fail to establish positions of respect. That is going to change. In fact, it’s already begun.
What’s the Cheapest, What’s the Easiest?
A part of the challenge competent personal trainers face is the challenge of association. If you are viewed as a personal trainer, you are subject to the opinions people form about personal trainers in general. If a client has a bad or less-than-satisfying trainer experience, it reflects upon your profession, thus it reflects upon you.
I know if you’re still reading you have genuine interest in betterment and you’re well connected with your fitness passion. Most trainers would not read this. It’s too complicated. It makes them think. Their egos are protective and they “just want to train people.”
Suppose I “just wanted to perform kidney transplants.” Should I be able to? It’s a ridiculous notion because the physicians’ expertise is respected, appropriately revered. They’ve earned respect collectively and individually. They’ve graduated, stepped up, passed exams, attended, assisted, experienced, and shared trauma, emotion, and challenge. It isn’t easy to become a doctor. It’s easy to become a personal trainer.
We must go beyond exercise, not dismissing it, but recognizing it as our primary tool. We have to recognize mindset, emotion, belief, and habit if we are really going to change people for the better. It’s easy to become a personal trainer. It’s hard to be a personal trainer who performs at the highest level of excellence. It’s hard to complete the Be Better program. That’s what makes it so powerful.
But I’m Different . . .
I’ve learned long ago to recognize, respect, and appreciate the paradox of sameness and uniqueness. We are all the same, we are all different. It’s a foundational principle of Be Better.
I know you want to feel unique, and you are, but not at the exclusion of sameness. Consider your client base. They all use oxygen to fuel aerobic activity, thus they are the same. They have unique preferences and tastes as to what activity they enjoy or are willing to endure, thus, they are different. They all require nutrients to survive, namely a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, water, vitamins, and minerals, thus they are all the same. They all have different food habits, appetites, metabolisms, and food preferences, thus they are different.
The same dichotomy exists with personal trainers. We are all bound by fitness passion, thus we are the same. Some trainers love to train hard-driving athletes, others prefer helping the deconditioned find greater ease, thus they are different.
Here’s the beauty of this awareness. As you aspire to your own unique ideal, you can rely upon principles that are solid, long standing, and proven for all. The key to our profession finding its footing lies in the ability to speak to both ends, sameness and individuality. Unique exercise for unique populations, basic education for the masses.
Trainers never set the paradigm
The evolution of the personal training profession is odd at best. It evolved as health clubs sought out a “service” solution that they could turn into a revenue stream. The key to profitability in the short sighted business model is, bring money in and don’t let it leak out. In other words, “pay” only for that which “generates.”
Salespeople have long been the core revenue generator of the health club industry. They produce. It’s their job. If they produce, they’re paid. Salespeople do what they do for money. Trainers do what they do for love. Honestly. That’s why they were so vulnerable when health club operators asked them to train members for free in the hope of securing paying clients, and so it rolled.
In other “professions,” there are boards and governing bodies which include an elected or appointed panel of practitioners.
Lawyers have the American Bar Association, Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice.
Doctors have the American Medical Association. The AMA was founded in 1847 by Nathan Smith, M.D., a doctor.
We do have resources. Lots of great ones, and in that we have private entities offering certifications, many of them valuable, some disposable. This in itself fragments our field.
We, as a unit, have never stepped up to create the paradigm for a credible personal trainer.
The Be Better principles were formed on behalf of the trainer. They work to help each Be Better trainer find an operating paradigm that proves productive and rewarding.
I am not looking to start an organization or an association, but rather a movement where a select few can demonstrate new possibility for our field, for our power, and for our deserved prosperity.
Not For All
I’m not reaching out to the entirety of our field. I don’t think it’s justified. I’m reaching out to those who seek growth and an ever-increasing love affair between their passions and their careers.
With time, perhaps an association of trainers will emerge, but for now, you have a chance to step up, to challenge yourself, to stand out, to put forth your uniqueness, and to get back in touch with that spark within you that drove you to seek personal training competence. Now it’s time to seek excellence.
Here are some resources available to you right now:
Listen to the Focus Group audio
Hear what a select handful of personal trainers “in the field” had to say related to the challenges, obstacles, and potential that exist right now. They were asked to answer three questions and while many of the sentiments were “the same,” some had unique perspectives to share.
Download The Complete Unedited Audio
Download The Powerpoint introducing the participating trainers
Download the Chat Dialogue that took place during the event
Order Commanding Yes advance copy
Trainers hate selling. I know. I’m a trainer. I hate selling.
I’ve written a new book sharing my NAVAQA system of influence, the persuasion strategy I’d previously only shared with consulting clients. It’s so simple, it’s so powerful, and it will get you so far beyond your discomfort with selling you’ll wonder why you struggled this long. Its official release is in the works, but I made 250 advance copies available. We sold out, so I printed 500 more. Get your copy. Money back guarantee. Unconditional. The book will sell for $44.95, but the advance copies are only $29.50. Go to the online store at philkaplan.com and find it under “Fitness Professionals.”
Get the Be Better booklet
This is a pdf download of a 31 page booklet outlining the career-altering Be Better principles, the cornerstones upon which the Be Better curriculum developed. Go to bebetteracademy.com or simply send an email with the Subject Be Better Booklet to firstname.lastname@example.org
Register for Be Better Academy
The Be Better Project centers upon on a specific 8-month curriculum sharing success concepts with Personal Fitness Trainers. Through interactive teleconferences, downloadable exercises, and directed actions, the curriculum was proven as a vehicle for enhanced career security, elevation in personal income, and increased capability to prosper by bettering the lives of others. The fee for the interactive program is $2600. The entire curriculum is now available via distance learning through Be Better Academy for only an $8.99 enrollment fee and $67.50 per month. If you have “the right stuff,” your life and career will show stunning evolution . . . guaranteed. Find Be Better Academy Registration under the heading “Fitness Professionals” at philkaplan.com.
Send your info and be heard
Although the Focus Group is complete, we will continue to review and consider opinions and perspectives from trainers in the field. If you’d like to answer the three primary questions addressed during the Focus Group, your opinions count.
And finally, if you want to send me an email, I’m always open to opinions, criticisms, feedback, and . . . questions! Coming in days:
The Betterment Blog
I’m going to set up a blog where I address questions and concerns from personal trainers. If you have a specific question (not a literary work, but a simply phrased question), I’ll consider addressing it in the weeks to come. Answers will be provided at times in written format, other times in audio format, all accessible through the Be Better Academy website.
Email me directly at: email@example.com
I appreciate you taking the time to consider the future of our field and the impact we can have at this point in time. Never before has the medical field been so impotent in addressing a populations primary needs. Never before have people abdicated responsibility for their own health and well being as they have today.
It’s time. Be Better. Always Better.