this article as a pdf at: http://philkaplan.com/wildjourney.pdf
WILD JOURNEY BEGINS . . . for you . . . NOW!
about to offer you insights, new potential, and a greater
grasp of moving toward prosperity.
Sure, you've heard that type of language in an onslaught
of emails promising you the keys to the gates of paradise,
but this one's different.
won't find any promises herein that you'll be an overnight
millionaire, you won't be asked to sell any powder, pill,
cream, or lotion, and the absurdities that I'm about to share
might actually begin to come together to form a new awareness,
an awareness that can take you along the wildest most thrilling
ride you ever imagined.
It isn't a theme park ride, but something better.
I'm referring to The Wild Ride that is your Fitness
a moment, somewhere in my senior year of high school (Bayside
H.S. 1978), I decided I was going to pursue a pre-med education
at University of Buffalo.
Buffalo was nice in the summer.
I liked the freshman girls, I hated chemistry, I was
put on disciplinary probation for riding my Yamaha 400 inside
the halls of the dorm, and by the time the snow hit, I surmised
I wasn't anywhere near ready to commit to 8 years of study. Little did I know.
changed course early into my college education and traded
pre-med for the pursuit of a career in exercise, never realizing
this would take me on my own wild journey around the world
touching people from literally every walk of life, from Trinidad
to Moscow, Brazil to Costa Rica, Earth to Mars. The wild journey has taken me to a place
where I have the utmost empathy for those in less than optimal
condition, where I have a new recognition of the mess we're
in as a population , and where I have a new respect and admiration
wild journey, in this moment, has carried me to a place where
I feel, along with several of you, I may have far more impact
upon the health of our population than I might have had I
never changed course.
I impact people's health more as a personal trainer than I
could have as a doctor?
does that question spark reaction when I pose it to medical
practitioners, exercise academicians, or a mixed group of
I get rage, I get anger, I get praise, I get confusion,
and I embrace it all. It means there's a reaction, and the reaction
opens the door for change.
Oh, you just picked up on the Earth to Mars comment
from a few paragraphs back? Almost skipped right over it, didn't you? OK, maybe I didn't really travel through
space, but sometimes it seems I'm somewhere in the Twilight
( imagine the deep deliberate announcer's
voice introducing the trailer of a movie ) . . .
. . .
. . . WHERE NOTHING
MAKES SENSE, WHERE THE FAT GET FATTER, THE SICK GET SICKER,
AND THE WELL SCREW UP THEIR LIVES COMPLETELY . . . a small
army of fitness professionals step up alongside the medical
community and yell, "hey
Docs, we can cure people," and in this world, where
nothing made sense previously, the doctors agree!
now I'm going to invite you to listen to the opinions of some
of your peers, invite you to consider some new perspective,
and most of all, invite you to step up upon the Platform that
hosts a new wave of fitness professionals.
me to first address the "cure disease" reference
I just made before I prompt the usual array of venomous
"you're a fr$*%$$ignor%" emails.
Cure, by definition, is "restore to health."
now hyphenate the word disease (dis-ease) and recognize
it as "the absence or loss of ease."
that token, as our "typical Americans" decline,
degenerate, and rust, aren't we fully equipped to move
them back along the continuum toward health?
a provocative question.
like provocative questions. My intention is not to pit trainers against
doctors, quite the contrary.
My intention is to help bring their respective boundaries
together, to allow trainers and doctors to sit side by side
determining how to better the lives of their clients and patients.
May 6, 2010, I'll be sharing some of my insights and findings
with a mixed audience (including trainers, physicians, media,
and health club owners) at the Club
Industry conference in New York. The session is open to everyone with a
badge, and if you can make it, I'd love to see you there. If you can't, I'll keep you tuned in via
email. Until then,
here's some food for thought:
Doctor of the Future?
"The doctor of the future will give
no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of
the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention
was in 1902. A
century has passed, and then some, and medicine has become
a pharmaceutical free-for-all with Big Pharma making lots
and lots of money while Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome,
Osteoporosis, and inflammatory disease are on the rise.
was Edison wrong? I
don't think so. I
think sometimes you have to teeter so far to one side that
the ground begins to shake, and then . . . change happens.
are good people. By
virtue of the fact that they pursued a career requiring full
immersion so that they can affect people's lives, they are
empathetic, caring individuals.
They all pursued their positions because they had a
desire in line with yours. They wanted to help people.
Doctors are talented, wise, and educated.
They often perform what people refer to as miracles.
Our medical system is incredible in treating the injured
and near dying. The primary population's challenge is,
they aren't "near dying."
They just aren't well.
earlier Edison quote was adopted over the years by many chiropractors,
and you might have seen it in their ads or in their offices.
Here's a less publicized Edison quote from a 1902 newspaper
were never so many able, active minds at work on the problems
of diseases as now, and all their discoveries are tending
to the simple truth – that you can't improve on nature."
time for our field, our industry, to gain recognition, and
with that come some obligations.
am not claiming that every personal trainer deserves respect
and recognition. In
fact, I'll be bold enough to say, many are simply exercise
guides with little training in human form and function.
If this paradigm shift is to take place, it must begin
with a small group of pioneers, of leaders, of passionate
fitness professionals who know there's something greater than
most health clubs offer, greater than ‘fitness tips,"
greater than the simple utterance of the phrase "eat
right and exercise." It must begin with a pursuit of true excellence
and a track record of evidence will follow.
I painting a pretty picture?
hope so, but I want you to know it isn't fantasy. It exists.
Better program has brought a new breed of trainer
to the forefront. They
understand their scope of practice, but they fully utilize
every inch of territory illuminated by that scope.
They provide nutritional direction without crossing
any forbidden lines.
They show not only aesthetic improvement, but they
access biomarkers of health.
They understand how exercise protocols can stimulate
natural processes that are anti-inflammatory in nature.
misunderstand me. I'm
not suggesting this new breed of trainer will work exclusively
with people who have ills.
This new breed of trainer can take a new perspective
and bring it to virtually any population who can improve through
exercise and supportive eating, athletes, moms, seniors, families,
models, rock stars, and/or the chronic dieter (these are all
populations currently being served by the Be Better graduates).
Better is not a personal training curriculum. It's a life curriculum for personal trainers.
It teaches you to separate who you are from what you
do. It teaches
you to gain control over your calendar and your income. It teaches you to love what you do and
find immense reward every step of the way.
It teaches you to face and overcome obstacles and find
victory and humility can co-exist.
It teaches you to influence others with a magnetic
power, to gain control of mindset (your own or others), and
to develop a new sense of dynamic possibility. It teaches you to find your own measure
of excellence and go to bed every night feeling fulfilled.
you listen to the recent focus group
Kelli Calabrese and I conducted with a representation of your
peers, you'll find there's a bit of deep-lying resentment
toward both the medical field and the health club industry.
The trainers want to be "recognized" and
wish doctors would refer patients to them. They wish, and sometimes they even ask. The fall-off-point is, they fail to prove
their merit. Doctors
have limited windows to speak to patients, patients come in
wanting meds, and in open discussions I've heard many physicians
criticize the patients for failing to take responsibility.
fact, if you ask the doctor to "refer people to you,"
you're asking for a handout, almost positioning yourself as
subservient. Wouldn't things change if you said, "Doc,
allow me to improve your health and your life?"
If, in fact, you had the tools and skills to deliver,
you better bet that doctor will refer you to everyone he meets
in the office, in the hallway, and on the golf course.
isn't a criticism of personal trainers, but rather a perspective
personal trainers expect doctors to refer them but they fail
to establish positions of respect.
That is going to change. In fact, it's already begun.
the Cheapest, What's the Easiest?
part of the challenge competent personal trainers face is
the challenge of association. If you are viewed as a personal trainer,
you are subject to the opinions people form about personal
trainers in general.
If a client has a bad or less-than-satisfying trainer
experience, it reflects upon your profession, thus it reflects
know if you're still reading you have genuine interest in
betterment and you're well connected with your fitness passion. Most trainers would not read this. It's too complicated. It makes them think. Their egos are protective and they "just
want to train people."
I "just wanted to perform kidney transplants." Should I be able to? It's a ridiculous notion because the physicians'
expertise is respected, appropriately revered. They've earned respect collectively and
graduated, stepped up, passed exams, attended, assisted, experienced,
and shared trauma, emotion, and challenge.
It isn't easy to become a doctor.
It's easy to become a personal trainer.
must go beyond exercise, not dismissing it, but recognizing
it as our primary tool.
We have to recognize mindset, emotion, belief, and
habit if we are really going to change people for the better.
It's easy to become a personal trainer. It's hard to
be a personal trainer who performs at the highest level of
hard to complete the Be Better program.
That's what makes it so powerful.
I'm Different . . .
learned long ago to recognize, respect, and appreciate the
paradox of sameness and uniqueness.
We are all the same, we are all different. It's a foundational
principle of Be Better.
I know you want to feel unique, and you are, but not at the
exclusion of sameness. Consider your client base.
They all use oxygen to fuel aerobic activity, thus
they are the same. They
have unique preferences and tastes as to what activity they
enjoy or are willing to endure, thus, they are different.
They all require nutrients to survive, namely a mix
of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, water, vitamins, and minerals,
thus they are all the same.
They all have different food habits, appetites, metabolisms,
and food preferences, thus they are different.
same dichotomy exists with personal trainers. We are all bound by fitness passion, thus
we are the same.
Some trainers love to train hard-driving athletes,
others prefer helping the deconditioned find greater ease,
thus they are different.
the beauty of this awareness. As you aspire to your own unique ideal,
you can rely upon principles that are solid, long standing,
and proven for all. The
key to our profession finding its footing lies in the ability
to speak to both ends, sameness and individuality.
Unique exercise for unique populations,
basic education for the masses.
never set the paradigm
evolution of the personal training profession is odd at best.
It evolved as health clubs sought out a "service"
solution that they could turn into a revenue stream. The key to profitability in the short sighted
business model is, bring money in and don't let it leak out. In other words, "pay" only for
that which "generates."
have long been the core revenue generator of the health club
produce. It's their job. If they produce, they're paid. Salespeople do what they do for money. Trainers do what they do for love. Honestly.
That's why they were so vulnerable when health club
operators asked them to train members for free in the hope
of securing paying clients, and so it rolled.
other "professions," there are boards and governing
bodies which include an elected or appointed panel of practitioners.
have the American Bar Association, Defending Liberty, Pursuing
have the American Medical Association. The AMA was founded in 1847 by Nathan Smith,
M.D., a doctor.
do have resources. Lots
of great ones, and in that we have private entities offering
certifications, many of them valuable, some disposable. This in itself fragments our field.
We, as a unit, have never stepped up to
create the paradigm for a credible personal trainer.
The Be Better principles were formed on behalf of the trainer.
They work to help each Be Better trainer find an operating
paradigm that proves productive and rewarding.
I am not looking to start an organization
or an association, but rather a movement where a select few
can demonstrate new possibility for our field, for our power,
and for our deserved prosperity.
not reaching out to the entirety of our field. I don't think it's justified. I'm reaching out to those who seek growth
and an ever-increasing love affair between their passions
and their careers.
time, perhaps an association of trainers will emerge, but
for now, you have a chance to step up, to challenge yourself,
to stand out, to put forth your uniqueness, and to get back
in touch with that spark within you that drove you to seek
personal training competence. Now it's time to seek excellence.
are some resources available to you right now:
to the Focus Group audio