I remember reading Muscle and Fitness when guys like Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone, Flex Wheeler, and Ronnie Coleman graced the covers.
I would pour over the articles, often reading each issue several times. I was enamored by names that had CSCS added at the end.
There were some that had PhD after, but to me that was definitely out of reach. I thought to myself that having that CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist) was it. That’s what I needed.
During my undergrad I took an elective course where we used it as a CSCS prep course and was designing it to be a regularly offered course at UB.
Once I passed my CSCS nothing changed. I just passed a test.
Then I thought I should get my HFS (Health and Fitness Specialist) so I did.
Again, nothing changed. I held the two highest personal training certifications from the two most reputable organizations in the fitness community one from ACSM and one from NSCA.
Fast forward to 2010 when a friend visiting from Chiropractic school tells me I should look into becoming a CrossFit affiliate.
It was a great deal of internal debate as back at this time CrossFit was evenore fringe and constantly being dragged through the mud but I apparently cannot resist an uphill battle.
I learned more applicable knowledge in that one weekend then I had learned in all my preparation for those two other highly regarded certifications.
This has allowed me to continue to learn. At one time when I was getting a little too big for my britches my father reminded me that no matter how many letters you have after your name you can always learn from someone with no letters after their name.
I needed time and practice. Since my first certifications I have accumulated over 10,000 hours in coaching and personal training experience. On top of that I have had over 10,000 hours of Chiropractic experience and an additional several thousand hours of nutrition experience.
I have made many horrible workouts. Horrible meaning they would beat the crap out of you, also those that should never have been done, also those that break you mentally.
I have also made some amazing workouts. Those that are brutally elegant. Simple in design and implementation that deceive the eye, where in the middle you begin to question yourself maybe even your existence.
I have written thousands of workouts. Thousands. It’s an art as much as science. Coaching is a performance as much as it is execution. It requires constant practice and refinement if you want to be your very best at it.
The learning never stops and it comes from every single area of life. You never know where and how you will find the inspiration to develop a cue.
I am constantly relating movements to people’s work scenarios or some of their yardwork or even some of their hobbies.
Then their eyes smile and it clicks. I have been reading or I should say listening to a ton of books since March. I have gained knowledge from every single one of those 50+ books even if it was Harry Potter or Ready Player One!
The point is that your certifications are the cost of entry. You get to play the game. Do not stop learning.
Do not think you are the best at your craft, you aren’t and if you think I am being cocky, I’m not either.
We all need to be better as coaches, people’s lives depend on it.