Modern society is changing rapidly. We are becoming a society who expect everything immediately. Put it down to modern technology and the Internet if you wish. However, this demand for instant gratification is now transferring across into modern education – and nowhere more so than the fitness industry.


It's easy to become certified in the fitness industry - but that doesn't always mean you've been educated.



Athletes spend a lot of time seeking the next greatest training program - usually a super-secret-never-seen-before-Russian plan. Yet athletes should be investing more time in their own education and understanding of the process. Have you noticed that many athletes fail to actually complete any given training plan?


Perhaps this is through boredom, but I would put it down to a lack of understanding of the science and education behind the process. Without thorough understanding, mastery becomes near-on impossible. The path to deep mastery is education.


We’re Not Using Our Weapon

Education is far from a quick fix or the ability to download something instantly. It is a lifelong pursuit. Nelson Mandela declared, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Yet as a fitness nation trying to change the world of 2.1 billion obese people we seem to fail in a big way.


"Cheap one-day courses are also now in abundance. Such is the low barrier to entry for fitness education certifications that anyone can become an expert and run one."

Industry standards have become so low that coaches are now confusing the very population they are trying to help. In the desire for one guru to outshine another, coaches contradict each other for the sake of it. For athletes, the weekend warrior, or fitness enthusiast, our desire to understand our training has become null and void. Monkey see, monkey do. Then move on to the next shiny object.


Let’s look at the options for self-improvement.


Put Down the Books and Attend Live Events

Reading should of course be a staple part of anyone’s diet in self-improvement, but attending live events takes things to a new level. These events or courses facilitate a deeper level of mastery. They allow you to be the dumbest person in the room (think about that for a while), to connect with like-minded peers and individuals, and to ask in-depth questions of the experts.


It’s not easy to figure out where to start with these live events. The fitness industry has an abundance of certifications to choose from. Type in “BOSU balancing circus acts” and you’ll probably find a level 3 qualification. Cheap one-day courses are also now in abundance. Such is the low barrier to entry for fitness education certifications that anyone can become an expert and run one.


Although in-person classes are best, some are more valuable than others.


How to Choose the Right Course

First of all, ask yourself these two questions;


  1. How much am I prepared to invest?
  2. Will this course or certification fill a void in my educational needs?


Take your time to think about question one. If you think it’s just about the money, then buy the cheapest course out there as you are missing the point. I’m talking how much time are you willing to invest in your own education. Price should be irrelevant.


"You can be the best theorist in the world, but remember we’re in the fitness industry, and practicality is essential."

Investing in your own personal development and education is one of the richest and rewarding things you can do in life. Treat fitness education like a university degree. Invest wisely and look at the long haul. Would you like to buy that instant training program or learn how to write multiple programs for different scenarios?


The best things in life have to be earned. Nothing in life should be a given, yet sadly the fitness industry is handing out certificates like there is no tomorrow. When I talk about investing time in education, I like to look at the pre- and post- learning material to the course. And that is both from a theoretical and practical perspective. You can be the best theorist in the world, but remember we’re in the fitness industry, and practicality is essential.


With the best courses, the learning is mostly in the journey to the certification. The effort required is both mental and physical preparation. To teach and apply our knowledge we must first seek mastery – and in the fitness industry that means getting our hands dirty and hanging out in the trenches. 


Take the Strength Matters Level 1 kettlebell certification as an example. We advise a four- to six-month pre-certification training period. Minimum. Not because we want to give you a beatdown. Because we expect our students to be just that, students. And to become an instructor, you must follow the path and journey to becoming an instructor in the way a student would. That is where the real education is. The journey of self-discovery. The ability to empathize with students.


strength matters, fitness industry, professional development, education

To be a good instructor, you must be a good student.


My Advice

So whether you’re an athlete, coach, or fitness enthusiast, my advice to you is this. Put down the computer, put down the book, and go and learn in person from the industry experts. YouTube University is merely a starting point in your journey of fitness. Think of fitness as education. Invest wisely for long-term rewards.


I’d guestimate that 99% of training plans are never completed. Be part of the other 1% who thinks of fitness as an investment for life. Value yourself and own worth like a university degree. A deeper understanding of the subject matter and will set you apart from others who follow the herd mentality and seek the easy option in life.


Be different. Value your education and work hard for it. Seek mastery. Nothing is more rewarding in life.


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Photos 1 and 2 courtesy of Shutterstock.

Photo 3 courtesy of Strength Matters.