When I first decided to become a personal trainer I spent months studying for my NASM certification. I passed the exam and embarked on a new career. To maintain my certification I need basically 16 hours of continuing education every two years. Not an overly burdensome requirement. I would venture to guess that a significant majority of the trainers out there do the minimal amount of continuing education and find the easiest way to get those hours. For a smaller group, who really actually enjoy what they are doing and who want to get better, continuing education is viewed as an ongoing,” you can never get enough” situation.
To that end, last spring I signed on to do a one week mentorship at a facility in the greater Boston area, Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning, or MBSC. I feel so fortunate to have this facility and this man within a short drive of my home (other participants traveled from San Francisco, The Netherlands and Germany!). The mentorship lasted four days, mornings spent with Mike Boyle himself, afternoons spent doing a workout and then observing all the young athletes coming to train at his facility. Mike Boyle is truly a guru in the strength and conditioning world. He has been doing this longer than most people, before personal trainers and strength and conditioning coaches were the norm. For me, part of my continuing education is learning from someone like Mike Boyle. Mike trains athletes from middle school all the way to pro level. At one time he was the strength and conditioning coach for the Boston Bruins (who are playing game 7 tonight, and I get to go ~ are you jealous?), currently he is the strength and conditioning coach for Boston University Hockey. All of this is just to say, when this man talks, you should listen. I like Mike Boyle because he talks at a level that most people can understand. He’s just a normal guy, who having been in this field for so long, has gathered a wealth of knowledge. So today I want to share two pieces Mike has written that are simple and to the point.
The first piece is titled “Only One Body.” This is a short piece that makes you think. Mike starts out by posing a question, what if you were given one car when you were 16 and told that car needed to last you the rest of your life, you would never get another car. You would take damn good care of that car, wouldn’t you? Well then why don’t you treat your body the same way…you only get one. You’re going to spend money on it either way, why not spend money to be proactive and take care of it?
How about this perspective? One of my clients is a very successful businessman. He often is asked to speak to various groups. One thing he tells every group is that you are going to spend time and money on your health. The truth is the process can be a proactive one or a reactive one. Money spent on your health can take the form of a personal trainer, massage therapist and a gym membership or, it can be money spent on cardiologists, anesthesiologists, and plastic surgeons. Either way, you will spend money.
Take the time to read Mike’s full piece, it will take you two minutes.
The second piece I want to share with you is relevant for those of you who have kids. There is a trend in this country to start “training” kids for sport earlier and earlier. Kids are specializing in a single sport from very young ages, playing some of these sports year-round. The negative effects of doing this are starting to show, with kids experiencing serious sport-related injuries at younger and younger ages. Mike Boyle is a big advocate of kids playing multiple sports, even through high school (which is supported by many studies that are showing that kids who do not specialize early actually have greater athletic success as they mature). This piece that Mike wrote, titled “Summer Training for Nine Year Olds?” was in response to a question from a youth hockey coach that was wondering what kind of summer program he should have his 9-year-old hockey players doing. Mike’s response is classic ~ he advises “play another sport,” “only sign up for one week of hockey camp” and “do not play in a summer hockey league.” As Mike says:
Acknowledge that the key problem in youth sports is applying adult values to children’s activities.
That is a great, great quote. The man is a genius. He then advises the youth hockey coach to get bikes and ride them, buy fishing rods and use them. That is what 9 year olds should be doing in the summer.
Again, please read Mike’s piece ~ it also will only take a few minutes. If you don’t have young kids, maybe you know someone who does…pass it along.
Have a great holiday weekend. Weather looks to be good here in the Boston area…finally we are being rewarded for surviving a winter of copious amounts of snow and a cold and rainy spring!