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Networking: A Career Investment that Pays

Networking in the fitness industry puts the power of curating lifelong friends, mentors and colleagues into your hands. Leverage it!

Happy Friday! As you read this, I am onsite enjoying the positive energy and the excitement of learning at IDEA Personal Trainer Institute in Alexandria, Virginia. This is our first in-person event in 2 years and I’m brimming with happiness to be with our IDEA #fitfam. If you are here, please find me, introduce yourself and say hello. I’d love to catch up with you. 

Next Tuesday, March 1, marks Fat Tuesday for folks who observe carnival culture. This is the big blowout party before Lent begins, a time of temperance and sacrifice for many. Ironically, I land in New Orleans on Mardis Gras Day and will spend the week working remotely while visiting with my dear friends Charlie and Mary Beth Hoolihan. 

Charlie has directed the personal training program at Pelican Athletic Club in Mandeville, Louisiana, for many years, and Mary Beth trains and leads group exercise there. I met Charlie while working the help desk at an IDEA event in Washington, DC, many years ago (the “blizzard year,” if you remember that). We hit it off famously and have been friends ever since. Charlie is a fitness scholar who can wax poetic and bring to life such topics as HIIT for Endurance Training–Really?, Exercise and Inflammation and Training Techniques for High Performance Masters Athletes, as you can see by this small sampling of articles he has written for IDEA over the years. 

I’m telling you about Charlie for a couple of reasons: 

  1. You never know who you might meet at an IDEA event–or at any event, for that matter. Our industry is an embarrassment of riches in terms of exceptional individuals who can become your amazing lifelong friends, mentors or part of your trusted network. Get over your shyness and mingle. Introduce yourself. Reestablish the relationships that may be frayed after 2 years of pandemic. To put this into terms I know you can relate to, check out this quote from Herminia Ibarra, PhD, the Charles Handy Professor of Organizational Behavior at the London Business School: “Networking is a lot like nutrition and fitness: We know what to do, the hard part is making it a top priority.” Take a page out of your own client playbook and change your behavior on this front incrementally.  
  2. I am often asked by IDEA members and others in the fitness community about writing for Fitness Journal. Know that this is exactly the same advice I gave Charlie when he expressed interest in writing for us many years ago. At IDEA we have a formal query process. Most of our authors are certified fitness professionals, some with advanced degrees or equivalent experience in a related discipline. You don’t have to be a seasoned journalist or master trainer to approach us with a query. 

We are drawn to article ideas that offer interesting, meaningful and timely information—topics that balance research with practical application. We want to empower and inspire our readers to improve their career paths, and to help their clients make sustainable health choices through fitness, nutrition, technology, recovery and behavior change strategies. If getting published is a goal on your career path, I encourage you to study our query process and submit your idea.

Meanwhile, I will be reconnecting with many old friends here at the event, but also making new ones and introducing people who I think would benefit from knowing each other. Networking is the lifeblood of your fitness career–make the most of it. 

As a final thought, I point you to next week’s episode of the IDEAfit PRO SHOW podcast with Lawrence Biscontini, MS, who gave me what is perhaps the most elegant, clear explanation I’ve ever heard about how to leverage your industry relationships. The episode is packed with actionable advice that will give you more than a few “Aha! moments.” Subscribe here, or wherever you get your podcasts, so the show lands in your feed next Thursday morning.

All of that said, I’m shining up my beads and getting ready to go second lining in the Big Easy. Until next Friday, laissez les bons temps rouler, friends! Meantime, drop me a line and tell me what you’re excited about or challenged with these days. Write to me at [email protected] or reach out to the content team at [email protected] to tell us what you need. We’re here to help!

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

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