An Appropriate Outlook on Continuing Education

About the Author: Eric Cressey

I’m positive that my outlook on continuing education has played a huge role in getting me to where I am today. If you ask most trainers to spend $199 to attend a seminar, they say that it’s too expensive. However, if you asked them to put $199 into the stock market with a guarantee that it would increase their income, they’re call it a wise investment. Does anyone see where I’m going with this?

Apparently, going to training and nutrition seminars in order to become a better training isn’t a wise investment; it’s just an “expense.” Last time I checked, when all things are held equal, good trainers make more money than bad trainers. In fact, I can speak from experience as someone who specializes in corrective training; I spend a lot of time fixing the damage some other trainers have done. I get the clients’ referrals, and the “other guy” gets all the public criticisms. Are those seminars, books, DVDs, and CDs still “expenses?”

And, these same people don’t seem to think that business education for trainers is a worthwhile investment. I can say without wavering that this couldn’t be more off the mark. Before I got into the fitness industry, I thought I wanted to be an accountant – so I spent two years at Babson College, the best entrepreneurial school in the country according to Business Weekly. They taught me a lot about how great companies like Dell and GE operate – but they never talked about the fitness industry. As much as I learned about business in a general sense in those two years, I can honestly say that VERY little of it applies to what I do on a daily basis now. Our industry is entirely unique, and that’s why products from guys like Ryan Lee and Thomas Plummer are paying themselves off hundreds of times over. I’d call that an investment – not an expense.

People also need to remember that a lot of these expenses can be written off at year-end. If you’re incurring income as a result of these expenditures, they’re business expenses (although you should still view them as investments). I never lost all the accountant in me – especially since I’ve got three CPAs in my family.

Brian Tracy has said that reinvesting 3% in your continuing education is one of the most valuable career moves you can make. That’s only $1,500 for a trainer earning $50K, but it would give you any of the following (or a combination of several):

· 6-7 two day seminars

· 10-15 one day seminars

· 15 manuals

· 30 DVDs

· 40-80 books

Think about what happens with a seminar, DVD, book, manual, or any other information product. A qualified professional devotes hundreds and possibly even thousands of hours to pulling together loads of information in an organized format – and then sells it to you for a tiny fraction of the costs he incurred to gain this knowledge. You don’t have to devote nearly as much time to acquire the information, either.

Seminars in particular are a fantastic expenditure not only because of the information presented, but also because of the networking opportunities. To be honest, at this point, I look forward more to talking shop with colleagues in the audience than I do to the presentations! At the LA Strength Seminar last September, for instance, I chatted at length with:

* John Berardi
* Alwyn Cosgrove
* Dan John
* Mike Robertson
* Julia Ladewski
* Jesse Burdick
* Scot Prohaska
* Nate Green
* Carter Schoffer
* The UCLA Strength and Conditioning Crew (who graciously hooked us up with a place to train while there)

Factor in that I also presented to 65-70 seminar attendees on Saturday and Sunday, and then to another group of high school athletes and parents Monday night, and you’ll realize that I had the opportunity to interact with a ton of avid trainees. You never know what training secrets they’ll bring to the table, or how they’ll add to the frame of reference you possess as a coach. I’d also like to add that I saw Jessica Simpson at the airport – but I’m still convinced that the paparazzi were just there to see me!

Eric Cressey

Experience the Event that took 30 Trainers, Coaches, and Athletes to the Next Level