I adopted my dog Simba from the shelter earlier this year. He is a Welsh Corgi mixed with a Pit Bull. I joke that he looks like bad Photoshop with his funny little legs and his bobble head. I knew he would be good for me and get me outside in the mountains more, in a better routine, and give me unconditional love. What I didn’t realize is that he would help me be better at my job than any business expert guru ever could.
So I don’t know much about dogs. I am learning, but for the most part I have trusted the advice of the professionals in the field. His veteranarian recommended one kind of dog food, an avid dog lover friend of mine recommended another. Then his dog trainer at a professional facility not only recommended another one, but warned me against the one my trusted veterinarian told me to buy!
I read one dog training book and felt like I learned a lot. Only to hear from a trusted friend that this trainer “Has no idea what they are talking about”. One professional dog trainer says one thing; another says something totally different. Friends swear by this or that and it seems like as soon as you feel confident about one thing you are doing, someone has a reason why you need to stop doing exactly that. For myself, being uneducated with dog science, behavior, and the works, this is really frustrating and confusing!
Unfortunately, this is exactly what it is like for people new to a healthy lifestyle. Their doctor says try the caveman diet, so they do. Then they read a blog post from their favorite online expert and it says they need to do Keto. They ask their friend who just won the overall at the local bodybuilding show, and he tells his friend he has to eat clean. (Whatever that means!)
The problem is two things:
- Everyone is working hard to discredit other trainers and promote their own unique style, rather than just sticking to something more simple. Clients become frustrated with conflicting information.
- Oversaturation, the fitness industry has a booming market bubble of “certified personal trainers”. This exacerbates problem #1, because you now have a large population of new trainers trying to stand out from the crowd.
Now don’t get me wrong, everyone should eventually find their niche and be good at something. However, it is adding to the overall problem that we as the fitness professionals are trying to solve. Our clients are giving up and getting confused with conflicting advice. I just got back from my first day of obedience school with my dog and I feel less confident about his wellness than when I went in! That is not how it should be at all, yet that is what is happening to people trying to be healthy too. Then the worst part is, they give up.
Instead of my dog trainer saying “Veterinarians don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to dog diets.” She could have given me some trusted resources to do my research so I could draw my own conclusion. That way I would not have left with a bitter feeling towards my dog trainer and my vet. Same thing goes for fitness professionals! Stop telling your clients that doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, other personal trainers, CrossFit, bodybuilding, etc. is giving bad advice. Instead of putting down another professional, really try to educate your clients and empower them to come to their own conclusions with trusted research sources. I have been guilty of this myself and used to brag about fixing certain health issues on my own that my doctors couldn’t help me with.
If we continue to just regurgitate information we hear, we are no better than other professionals we are putting down. I want to make this promise to my clients starting now that I will strive to always provided them with the resources to draw their own conclusions. I will not simply spew thing I accept as facts and expect my clients to comply with me because I have the title of “certified”. (It is really more of a learners permit anyways) I am proud to say that I feel like I have done a good job for the most part of not subscribing to one specific trend or style with my clients. I have always been open to try new things within safe reason. Some things I now will never recommend; others I have come to embrace.
Here are some bullet point tips on how to do your research on something before you accept it
- Don’t get all your advice from your Facebook feed.
- If you are going to Google for information, use Google Scholar instead of a regular Google search
- Avoid blogs and opinion writing, try to read scientific research
- Read more than one study
- Read more than the abstract
- Come up with your own conclusions
- Ask questions
- Think logically and critically
- Accept that you might not ever come to an absolute truth, especially with science. What science accepts at one point, may change as new evidence or understanding comes to the surface.
- Since scientific understanding of things like nutrition, biology, and chemistry is ever changing and deepening. You should make a habit of keeping up to date
- Ask professionals in multiple fields with varying backgrounds
- When in doubt, go walk your dog
Ok that last one is either the least relevant or the most profound depending on how you want to look at it. If you liked this post, please share it! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram please. Drop a comment if you have questions! Till next week everyone.