My profession makes me a better person. How crazy is that to say? Such a miniscule percentage of the world genuinely feels that way about their jobs. As I begin a new phase of my career journey, I cannot help but pinch myself and wonder how this has happened? For the past couple years, I found myself answering a frequently asked question much differently than when I began my career. The question is “What are your goals in this industry?” I used to give the standard issue answer that went something like “I want to be a director at a college or own my own facility”. Although both of those goals are phenomenal, I have found that as I envelop my life more and more around this profession, the goal does not revolve around a position.
I believe that our skill-sets will continue to play a larger role in human health and wellness. I believe that we will inevitably work together to develop a new iteration of educating the future generations of this profession to have a broader range of skills. I believe this education process is essential in order to move beyond performance, health, and wellness and into having a more formulated impact on ailment alleviation and prevention. I believe the proverbial bar representing the quality of work being done across the board is much too low. I believe this because of the impact I know we can have on all demographics.
We complain about the inactivity of today’s youth and society in general. We complain that pharmaceutical companies and doctors have created a population quick to resort to pills to provide a band aid over a deeper problem…or over no “problem” at all. We complain that personal trainers don’t know what they’re talking about. We complain that our certification processes are less than stellar. We complain that nobody knows how to move properly anymore. We all know these things to be true, therefore we know we need to raise the bar. Raising the bar is not rude, its not abrasive, and it shouldn’t prompt the social media mob to call for someone to be fired. We are currently starving for our politicians to raise it from the depths, yet we are frightful to even say what we want to say about the CSCS.
Each of us has been exposed to the gluten controversy, which provides a perfect example of our affinity for lowering the bar. Gluten democrats and republicans shout from the rooftops about celiac disease, neurological functioning, paleo diets, and even what gluten actually is (hint: all you have to do is watch the South Park episode on gluten…surprisingly informative but definitely NSFW). Why have blue and red, when we can all agree that we currently do not readily have access to quality forms of wheat and grain in general, foods that we know are unhealthy like pizza, pasta, and bagels contain gluten, and that most of the time when we do not include gluten in our diet we feel pretty good and body composition usually improves. Instead, we lower the bar and try to argue that gluten sensitivity is a myth, pasta parties are awesome for athletes, and, the biggest societal absurdity of all, that breakfast foods are cinnamon toast crunch, doughnuts, pancakes, etc. all washed down with a tall glass of OJ. It’s like going green. We can dance around the politics all we want and argue about glaciers all day, but we all know it would be beneficial for everyone if we just did it (a bit naïve to the process involved, but you know what I mean).
Raising the bar in our industry seemingly follows this same logic. We use phrases like “there are a million ways to skin a cat”, “squat deep get money”, “#beastmode”, and “I’m a strength coach not a PT”…when talking about learning yoga. These notions hinder our potential impact and force us to have the wrong conversation. As the old adage goes, if you don’t like what is being said…change that shit.
Here is where I circle back to that question about my future goals. I want to continue to find a way for us to make a greater impact on the health of human beings. I want to find people who believe we can make that type of impact and have the desire to do so. Because of this, I know I have won the lottery with my new job. I would have moved anywhere in the world to be a part of this staff and am humbled that I would even be a person considered. Being blessed to now work from such a strong platform as professional sports, I feel it is a responsibility to use this reach to be an educator, to listen, and to inform as many people as I can of the importance of our impact.
I want to continue to be able to learn, document, and provide an avenue for everyone to view or listen to my version of what I have learned for FREE (It takes an hour to shoot a video with your iphone, put it on your computer, and transfer it to YouTube…that shouldn’t cost someone $100). If I meet awesome people, I will make sure others know they are awesome. Secrets have never been fun and as Hozier so sarcastically put it, “That’s a fine looking high horse”, and I’m telling you man, that high horse doesn’t need to squat deep; it’s a horse…he’s going to be beastly with or without going below parallel. We need less grey and more black and white. There is right and wrong in our profession and we are responsible for knowing the difference.
I’m currently called a strength coach, so I apologize if this stuff sounds a bit negative because that is NOT what we are about. What I do know is that doing the dirty work, raising the bar, and holding each other accountable does not change how unbelievably fun it is when that whistle blows and our sessions start! I still wake up knowing I am a better person because of what I get to do everyday; the least I can do is make sure I can give back whatever I can to a profession that has given me so much.