I never had any intention of becoming a personal trainer. I was never really even interested in taking classes about kinesiology, physiology, or even fitness. It was the shock I had after tearing my rotator cuff out of nowhere that sparked a desire to learn how it could have happened, how it could have been prevented, and how I was going to recover in the years to come. My free time went from watching Seinfeld re-runs to watching physical therapists discuss posture and form. I stopped browsing memes and started researching common causes of chronic pain, almost all of which were caused by poor movement quality, and reversible by movement quality correction. All of sudden, one question posed by my wife when she saw what my interests had steered towards changed the trajectory of my career forever: “Have you ever though about becoming a Personal Trainer?”
Today, I’ve read a textbook on Biomechanics, one on restoring complete movement quality via functional movement training, as well as one on soft-tissue mobilization for restoring range of motion, all solely for the knowledge. No certificate, degree, or proof that I ever learned anything from the thousands of pages read. I have, however, read the textbooks and passed the tests to prove that I know what it takes to be a nationally qualified (aka, certified) Personal Trainer, as well as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, a Youth Exercise Specialist, and a Sports Nutrition Specialist. But these expertise are just the tip of the iceberg for the education that is to come.
This Fall, I will become a graduate student in Strength and Conditioning Studies. I’ve made a commitment to myself and everyone that I work with that I will never stop learning. I will never believe there is nothing left to learn, and I will never turn down an opportunity to improve my skill-set. My history supports this, and this Fall, thanks to my wife being on the faculty at a university that awards tuition waivers to immediate family, I’m able to continue this commitment at the graduate level. I am not sure where this journey will take me, but considering my wife will likely be on the faculty at a university for decades to come, a PhD is not out of the question. I literally have far too many interests in what I would like to learn more about that I cannot even begin to narrow down what field of study I would like to commit to long-term.
This decision to go back to college 10 years after graduating from the University of South Carolina and study material entirely different than my undergraduate degree was not without reservation. It’s weird being the “old person” in a classroom full of people in their early 20’s. If you went to college you probably saw at least one person in a class that made you say to yourself, or a friend, “What the heck are they doing? Do they work here? Surely they’re not trying to start a new career, they’re already half-way dead!” lol
Fortunately for me, I’m one of those people who don’t really care too much about what other people think of me. I learned long ago that you can’t make everyone happy, not everyone is going to like you no matter what you try, so you may as well be happy with who you are, who has chosen to be in your life with you, and never stop trying to become a better person. That’s exactly what I’m doing, and I hope if you ever face a dilemma that sacrifices some comfort to gain knowledge you can use the rest of your life that you will not hesitate to do so.