Home Blog Cressey’s Holiday Wish List

Cressey’s Holiday Wish List

Written on December 13, 2009 at 11:32 am, by Eric Cressey

It’s not easy buying holiday gifts for me.  I’m “that guy” who really can’t think of anything that he really wants – or even needs.  Call me simple, or call me stubborn (or a bit of both), but short of books, audiobooks, and DVDs within my field (all of which are continuing education write-offs that go directly to the Cressey Performance library), I’m generally really at a loss for what to write after “Dear Santa.”

So, I thought I’d make my holiday wish list a bit non-traditional for the sake of this blog.  Without further ado, here’s my holiday blog wish list:

1. I’d like for the phrase “it’s all you” to be permanently banished from gyms worldwide.

2. I’d like to see it get markedly more difficult to be in a position to train people for a living.  In other words, I think that states ought to implement licensing requirements that – even if not very strict – would discourage folks from getting into the industry if they weren’t fully committed to being good at their chosen craft.


Now, don’t get me wrong; I would never discourage someone from making a career change to become a fitness professional.  I know some excellent coaches/trainers who have done just this and been very successful – and helped a lot of people.  These effective transitions, though, were made by people who invested the time, energy, and patience to do it the right way.

3.  Similarly, I’d like for more people in the fitness industry to appreciate the process (human interaction) more than just the destination (making money).  There’s been a big push on the business side of things in this industry to help people run their business more efficiently, and I think the intentions are fantastic.  However, I think it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that training people should be fun; I’m a firm believer that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.  If you aren’t enjoying it and letting your enthusiasm show because all you can think about is getting to the four-hour work-week, then you’re not doing everything you can to help your clients.

I know I can say that I am like a little kid on Christmas morning when it comes to helping out up-and-coming high school athletes with the college recruiting process, and I watch dozens of high school baseball games every spring.  In addition to the great time I have working with all our pro and college guys at CP, I’m also following all of them during their seasons – because it really does matter to me how they do.  While it may add value to your services in your clients’ eyes, this extra stuff isn’t “billable” (and never should be).  It may extend your “work” week, but you don’t perceive it because it’s all part of a process that you enjoy, not just something you “get through” as quickly as possible so that you can do something else.  Case in point: here’s how I spent one Friday afternoon last spring after the facility had closed up for the day (this video followed a crazy circuit we’d designed for the guys, and the winners got the hoses):

So, if you find that you aren’t having fun and taking an active interest in your clients’ successes, then your job should be to rearrange things to either find your enthusiasm or put someone else in your place who can provide enthusiasm of their own.  I guess the take-home point is that it doesn’t take any extra time to simply care.

4. I’d like for Tony Gentilcore to misplace every techno CD he owns.

5. I’d like to see more rehabilitation specialists be proactive with soft tissue work.  Please understand that it may not be indicated in every condition, but for me, knowing that a rehabilitation specialist is willing to use some elbow grease with a patient is a sign that he/she isn’t just going through the motions.

6. I’d like to know why my business partner needs to wear a weight belt to answer the phone.  Is it really that heavy?


7. Shameless (but justified) self-promotion alert: I’d like to see anyone who exercises purchase a copy of Assess and Correct.  The overwhelming majority of people who come through our doors with a history of pain are not just people who have dysfunction.  Rather, they’re often people who have had dysfunction for a long time and accumulated exercise volume on top of it.  Or, they’ve done therapy just enough to get asymptomatic, and then gone right back into their “normal routines” without addressing an underlying imbalance. That, to me, is why we made Assess and Correct.

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It’s a proactive approach in a more reactive fitness world.  People wait for something to go wrong with the knee, back, shoulder, or something else.  To me, it makes a lot more sense (both financially and in terms of the cost of one’s time) to assess oneself and address what’s wrong than it is to wait for symptoms to kick in – and then spend time in physical therapy.  As hackneyed as the saying is, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Click HERE to check it out.

8. Along these same lines, I’d like to see people think more along the lines of “contraindicated people” than contraindicated exercises.  Short of a few movements (e.g., upright rows, behind-the-neck pulldowns, empty cans), there aren’t many exercises I’d completely “banish” from my training arsenal.  Mike Boyle’s “The Death of Squatting” interview kicked off a lot of interest on this front.  I think that it’s our job to fit the exercise program to the individual, and not the individual to the exercise – and as such, we don’t need to worry about excluding certain exercises altogether.

9. I’d like to see distance running for pitchers (or any baseball player) completely abolished.  I’ve wrote about my opposition to it in A New Model for Training Between Starts: Part 1.

10. I’d like for this kid to get the record deal he deserves.

13 Responses to “Cressey’s Holiday Wish List”

  1. Justin Says:

    I think letting the state government have control of this would be a terrible idea.

    Do you really think they would have any clue what they are doing? It’s a novel concept but I dont think the practical application of it would be there.

    Not to mention, Im never in favor of the government having more control over something.

    – Justin

  2. Yael Grauer Says:

    Out of curiosity, what changes in licensing requirements would you make? Do you think everyone who wants to get into personal training should have a degree in exercise science or kinesiology? Or do you just think people should get more reputable certification (like NSCA) instead of some of the types out there?

  3. Eric Cressey Says:


    I’m actually as anti-big-government a guy as you’ll ever meet. However, they do it for lawyers, doctors, accountants, you name it. It would not be hard at all to have a system in place similar to board exams that would at least test basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics – independent of actual training philosophy.

  4. Eric Cressey Says:


    I don’t think a degree in a related field should be mandated, as I know what many college programs teach goes in one ear and out the other because it’s outdated. Reputable certifications are a step in the right direction, but I’d like to see a more challenging examination procedure (as I noted above) that actually has an appreciable failure rate.

  5. Eric Lagoy Says:

    I’ve always thought some sort of observational hours in addition to a test would benefit. Observational hours could be with another trainer, therapist, etc. It seems odd that a person can become certified to offer health advice to another person when they could have never even interacted with another person before.

    p.s. I really hope that squat picture is fake that is by far the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen ever.

  6. Jon Says:

    I can not agree with you more on teh topic of making it more difficult to train athletes and individuals. It is a real shame that a person can get a certification in a weekend and call themselves a certified personal trainer. I think that the public also has to invest in their own health and safety and really check out who is certified by a reputable organization such as the ACSM or NSCA…thank you for talking about this because it has bother me for yeaars!! I graduated with a BSAS in exercise physiology and will be finishing my Doctorate in physical therapy in May and it is very disturbing to see a majority of the trainers that are out there.

    I also agree with you on the prevention issues being so important. I think that there should even be a push for insurance companies to cover preventative services such as PT and training to prevent not only musculoskeletal injuries but also preventative medical conditions such as diabetes, HTN, obesity, etc…

    Yes, PT’s and rehab professionals should be touching their patients each time they see them…feeling whats going on it half the battle!! You cant just observe the human body with out touching it…palpation is becoming a lost art and it is ashame!!!

    Keep up the awesome work man!!! Hey, do you ever run specials on you Asses and Correct materials? I am working for free right now and money is tight but I know that it would be a great reference to have.

  7. Vin Says:

    Hi Eric,

    It’s refreshing to see how passionate you are about your profession! I’m not sure about the licensing, though. It may help, but I don’t think it’s the answer. Think of all the registered dietitians and doctors who are nothing more than puppets for the food and drug industries. Although this certainly isn’t the case with all of them, it is for many of them, and they’re all licensed.

    In the end, I think most of the responsibility falls on the consumer to do some digging to find knowledgeable and genuine people like yourself.

    I’m looking forward to checking out Assess and Correct!

    Happy holidays!

  8. JT Says:

    Record deal for dancing? wut?


  9. Brendan Says:

    As an LS baseball alumnus(2001),former division 1 pitcher, and now fitness professional, it’s great to see what you have done for that program as well as high school baseball in general. Even at the Division 1 collegiate level in the South where I played, we did things in both the weight room and conditioning that I realize now were absolutely counterproductive and potentially dangerous. Our squat test was a bodyweight and a half smith machine to parallel depth for max reps! We never got any movement screens, shoulder prehab, med ball work etc… Its awesome to see how young players can make such progress through a properly implemented intelligent program like yours. Also, great to see fellow New England guys succeed at the college and pro level!

    PS Got assess and correct and I’m really impressed, covers a lot of areas I wasn’t assessing with FMS and TPI

  10. CSIII Says:

    Nice to see the picture of JP squatting on a Swiss ball resurrected 😛

  11. Colin Says:


    I’d like to weigh into the licensing debate from ‘downunder’. Over here we have a single nationally recognized qualification for personal trainers. No one can register themselves as a personal trainer or get insurance without being qualified to the same standard. I am currently doing the part time version of the course and it involves around 400 hours of study. The ‘full time’ version takes around two months of classes.

    There are many providers of this course and they all have to cover the same basic topics to a similar depth as a minimum. Some offer a few ‘extras’ to try to entice students.

    I understand that the industry itself produced the original guidelines for course content which is updated from time to time as necessary. The government handles the ‘licensing’ part the same way they oversee trade qualifications etc.

    It works very well. The government doesn’t intrude
    and the issue of who’s better or more credible is not one we have to deal with.

    I would suggest that your industry over there has a look at what other countries are doing. There is probably a better system out there that you can adapt to the US situation.


  12. Derek Peruo Says:

    Hey Eric–

    I too am a firm believer in the importance of prehab and soft tissue work. I’m such a believer that I’m thinking about going back to school for physical therapy.

    Have you ever thought about doing the same? What advantages/disadvantages are there to a strength coach also being a physical therapist?

  13. Andrew Barker Says:


    I was just wondering what you considered to be a reputable personal training association. I am in agreement that there should be a standardization in the market for personal trainers. Almost all other professions have boards, tests, or other standards that have to be met and there is a governing board that “rules” over the different professions.

    Do you know of any good clinics in the South? I really like what you do, and I am willing to travel and learn, but I was just wondering if you knew of any people that have what you have here in Texas. I am working on my Master’s in performance enhancement and injury prevention and I have learned so much about this field and I absolutely love what I am learning. I have been able to help several of my clients to become pain free and even move on to some great feats.

    Currently I train different teens and I am finding that I really like corrective exercise and teaching and seeing the light come on in people. This is a great field, and I have found that people really need to find their niche and move from there.

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