This is getting out later than I had hoped. I had it half done and then shut down my computer without saving. Go me! Saturday I spent getting the new mobile kid corral built and set up. Finally it was super bowl Sunday, so I'm kicking this out on Monday.
With membership being up, we are going to be in need of more trainers. That being said, you do not have to be wearing a trainer's shirt to coach and help each other. Having been in business for well over a decade, with clientele that has stuck with us for the long haul there are many of you that know your stuff. Cues that worked for you to help with positioning, will help others as well. If you see something that might assist a fellow member, feel free to speak up. One of the proudest comments that I have heard repeatedly of this gym is that "you can have an intelligent conversation with any of our members."
When you talk to them, it will be on them to decide if they take it on board or not. Don't be offended if they don't listen up right away. We all make our own decisions in life and have to discover things on our own path and in our time. Bringing something to their attention allows them the chance to be aware of it.
I have never put out what my protocol is for selecting trainers as it is an evolving process. Below are my thoughts on what I am currently looking for in a trainer and the recent process to become one. Even if you have no desire to become a trainer, please read the following, because I would love to hear your thoughts on the process.
The first part of being a trainer and probably most important is humility. When a person becomes a trainer at Alternative Athletics they give up any gym records that they hold. The erasing of records is a physical display of the decision to make their emphasis about the training of others. That doesn't mean that trainers can't compete in competitions, it is just no longer their top priority. To be a trainer at Alternative Athletics, your first objective has to be the improvement of others.
Humility is also part of the process of training others. Being a trainer is a never ending path of learning. One of the most important parts of learning is knowing when you don't know, or are unable to communicate the knowledge that you do have. If you are too proud or timid to ask for help in these situations, you are failing those you are trying to teach. It this humility that makes us all better people for asking for help and looking at things from a new perspective.
The second most important thing required to be a trainer is an established relationship with this gym and some of its members. I don't care how stellar your credentials are, no one is going to trust you until they know you. Also having a relationship allows me to know how other members react to you. If you don't have a good rapport with the members, the odds will be stacked against you as a trainer.
The gym times that you workout in, would over lap with the hours that I would have you train. The organic nature of this business is very different from that of any other I can think of, short of a business start up. There is a certain level of intuition that comes from being around the same people at a high level of intensity. You will end up knowing things about them, that they don't know about themselves and the reverse is true as well.
A person fresh off the street wouldn't know who needs to be pushed in a workout and who needs to be held back from going out too hot. They wouldn't know who to encourage, because they can lift more than they think they can and who has to be watched to make sure they don't injure themselves on max day. This only comes from knowing each other. One of the first things that comes out of my mouth when working with new members is "You and I have never worked out together, so . . . "
The third thing that trainers need is skin in the game. The easiest way to demonstrate this is through a certification process. The four that I have historically been willing to recognize are CrossFit, the NSCA, USAW and a bachelor's degree. I don't agree with everything that CrossFit HQ does and I teach some minor things in different ways, but it is a very solid certification. With the NSCA's CPT or CSCS programs (depending on what is available to you), I don't like their claims against CrossFit and the ensuing lawsuits, but their programs are in-depth and informative. With the USA Weightlifting certifications, in truth I have never participated in any of these directly, but the feed back that I receive from members who have is excellent. The reason that I like USAW certifications for my trainers is that the hardest thing to teach new members is the Olympic Lifts. Finally we have had instructors in the past with a college level degree in either physical education, health and human performance, kinesiology or similar bachelor and higher degrees. Putting in the time and money to get yourself certified shows me that you are committed. In general, you make that money back within the first year. It is a sign of resolve and commitment.
That is it. If these three things are in place, we can begin the journey together. Having a certification does not me that you are ready to train. Just as we hold the hand of new members when they walk into the gym, we are not going to turn you loose to the wolves as a trainer. Once you have taken whatever certification you have chosen, we begin our in house curriculum of shadowing trainers in both classes and fundamentals. Once you have a feel for the ropes, we then have you run several classes and / or fundamentals with one of our trainers shadowing you to help out if you need assistance. When you have a good feel for the reigns, the gym is yours.
I don't know what the curriculum is at other gyms, but this is an overview of ours. If you are interested in becoming a trainer, please come talk to either myself or Kelia. Also post your thoughts in the comments, I would love to know how things might be done differently or concerns members have regarding trainers.
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