Every two years, nationally-certified fitness professionals - group exercise instructors, personal trainers, and the like - need to earn a designated number of continuing education credits (CECs) to renew their certifications.
In recent years, more and more opportunities have become available for these people to earn many or all of their credits via home study. This convenience is certainly welcome in our busy world - we all love the idea of "them" coming to us instead of us going to "them" - but are we giving up something by losing that personal touch of live training? I emphatically argue, "Yes!"
I see an occasional home study as a good thing - taking the time to focus on one subject area and really absorb the material at your own pace is a wonderful thing - but nothing beats live training, especially in an industry that is - or should be -- all about the individual (i.e., the club member or the personal training client).
Live training has many distinct benefits over home study. Following are just a few of the key advantages of live training:
Live Training Is Motivating
Participants at live fitness conferences experience a definite energy that a home study cannot provide. Being in an environment in which you are surrounded by your fitness peers, being instructed by an industry leader, motivates and inspires. It re-ignites or enhances your passion for your profession.
At home study is great in certain circumstances, but there's nothing like a live conference for certain fitness topics.
Live Training Is Interactive
Participants can ask questions of the presenters and get clarification when needed.
"Live Training Typically Provides A Lot Of Variety Under One Roof"
Usually a home study focuses on one particular subject area. Most fitness professionals today seek a well-rounded fitness education, with the necessity of a knowledge base in many areas - kinesiology, metabolism, management issues, special populations such as seniors and children, choreography, etc. Attending a fitness conference generally allows a fitness professional to take a wide variety of classes throughout one weekend.
One area in particular where live training is especially effective is in sales and management track courses. These lectures often focus on people skills. Personally, I don't see how a person can effectively focus on people skills through a written home study. This is definitely material that lends itself to live training!
Live Training Provides Networking Opportunities
The social aspect of participating in fitness instruction courses with others in your profession goes beyond being highly motivating. From a practical standpoint, it makes good business sense. Fitness conferences provide opportunities to network with others who perform your same job (to share exercise and programming ideas, for example), to make future job connections (club managers can find great prospective employees at such an event), and to try out, and sometimes purchase at a discounted rate, the latest in exercise equipment.
Many fitness conferences include an expo in which businesses in the industry promote their finest and newest goods and services. This creates an opportunity for the fitness pro to stay on the cutting edge, to get new fitness class/personal training ideas, and to buy everything they need (equipment, music, clothing, and much more) under one roof.
Live Training Usually Contains Extra "Material"
Oftentimes participants ask if a choreographed course's material is identical to what is offered by that same presenter in a DVD of the same name. Usually the answer is no. Typically the live course offers additional choreography that is not included in the DVD.
For these reasons and more, I encourage fitness professionals to attend live training, when possible. If a fitness professional seeks to focus heavily on one area of study, home study is an effective option - or, ideally, a combined course of home study and live training.
Don't lose the opportunity to get as much as you can out of your professional training by resorting to strictly home study. You'd be missing out on wonderful experiences and opportunities!
About Janice Jaicks
Janice Jaicks is the owner and host of the FitnessFest conferences, held twice annually in Arizona. Conferences are held in Tempe, Arizona in April, and Tucson, Arizona in October.
Ms. Jaicks is a seasoned water fitness professional and personal trainer, as well as a nationally-recognized author and presenter.
In 1985, Janice founded Waterworks On Wheels, an organization which offers backyard swim lessons in Arizona, and provides year-round indoor lessons at three health club facilities. Waterworks also serves hundreds of clients with safe and effective water aerobic exercise at assisted living facilities, apartment complexes, and community pools where homeowner associations provide classes for their residents.
The FitnessFest conference is a multi-discipline fitness convention and expo which was launched in 1998. Its nationally-renowned fitness presenters attract group exercise instructors and personal trainers throughout the region, and FitnessFest is now recognized as the largest land and water conferences in the Southwest.
Ms. Jaicks is also the Fitness Director at Fitness Forum Health Club in Chandler Arizona. She has authored and edited Aquatic instructor manuals and published numerous Aqua fitness articles. Janice's certifications include AEA, AEA Personal Training, AFAA Personal Training, ACE Group Fitness, Arthritis Aquatic and PACE, and W.S.I.
For details and complete course descriptions and schedules of the FitnessFest conference , go to www.waterworksonwheels.com or call 480-461-3888, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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