I work at a university fitness center and run into this problem all the time. I call it “I can ride a bike, I can teach a group fitness cycling class” or “I can do a bicep curl, I can personal train anyone”. It is a fine line trying to encourage the students, but at the same time making them realize there is SO MUCH more to learn. How do you tame that cocky and arrogant attitude? The continuing education for these newbies just stops because they know it all. As an educator I am up for some ideas.
Hi Madelyn. Interesting question! I used to be the Director of Wellness and Fitness at a local College. While I never ran into this issue, I made it a point to have each of my Fitness Directors stay on top of our student staff by holding regular staff in-service meetings on topics such as ‘how to train’ or how to set-up a program… I have two thoughts. One would be to hold these types of meetings and during each have one of the students show/demonstrate/explain an aspect of training or an exercise. Not only will this potentially force them to ‘learn’ about the technique in preparation for the presentation, but it allows you to make suggestions/corrections etc. in front of the entire group so that in essence you are telling them ALL how you as their supervisor want it to be taught to gym goers.
Second, you may want to make t a policy that for the first X months (or whatever time frame you choose) ALL exercise or programming advice MUST be reviewed and cleared through you or some other experienced trainer who you trust and can assign that duty to. By establishing such a policy, you will not be singling out or embarrassing any one but instead will be applying the same requirements and standards to everyone. I realize that this can become cumbersome, but it may save you headaches and heartaches in the long run.
I hope that this helps.
am I correct in the assumption that all your trainers have been certified as personal trainers or group exercise instructors in order to teach at your facility?
Even reputable organizations often discharge their newly minted trainers into the world with the attitude of “You are now one of the country’s best trainers” just because they have just passed a rather difficult exam.
I am wondering whether the cocky and arrogant attitude derives from over-confidence or from insecurity made to look like confidence.
You are at a university fitness center; are your trainers ‘personal trainers’ that have their personal clients or are they there to assist other students in the use of the equipment?
Are the trainers expected to perform a static and dynamic movement assessment with pictures on new trainees? This would be a great way to start a conversation on the training plan based on the assessment findings. I have yet to see a person who presents perfect symmetry. Performing an assessment by itself is a challenge, and interpreting the results is not easy even if you have learned all the right things about it. Discussing such assessments will give you an opportunity to evaluate the trainers knowledge and can serve as a teaching moment.
I wish you good success.
I’m not sure of your position, are you in charge of the instructors?
It’s very obvious that in this industry there are many “off shoots” of exercise programs that have the “I’m “certified” therefore I can do anything I want.”
We must remember that this is NOT a regulated, licensed industry. Once a trainer gets certified there is nothing to stop them from training any way they wish, except a law suit.
With that being said, it’s very important to maintain professionalism and integrity at all times and maintain CEC’s and educational input.
I think we all have seen a few people along the way who seem to have all the answers early on in the game! I think I was probably even like that in some ways when I was just starting out too! Just to add to the great ideas already offered, one word that comes to mind is “mentoring.” I actually wrote an article about the “Magic of Mentoring” years ago, because I had the good fortune to have an amazing mentor early in my career. This person took me under his wing and provided encouragement and guidance–and most importantly, allowed me to make some pretty big mistakes and learn from them. Maybe you could pair your students up with an appropriate seasoned trainer and encourage learning by watching and doing that way. I know for me, it was an invaluable learning experience and shaped the way I moved forward in my career.
I also think that sometimes a person just has to learn the hard way. In terms of valuing the importance of staying current through continuing education, it is a very competitive industry out there these days. Your students will learn that without solid credentials and skills they will not be able to get the best and highest paying jobs that are out there. If they want to make fitness and wellness and career instead of a hobby, they will have to invest in continuing education. That may be all the motivation they need to get on board or move on to another career.
I hope that adds something to the discussion. Take care, Meg