Report from the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute. For the record, I did not see this guy there…and if I did, I might have run in the other direction!

This was my third time at the PTI–and the second since the pandemic necessitated two years of on-line sessions. There is an interesting mix of personal trainers at the conference; I seem to recall that the first time I went in 2019 there were a lot less “senior” trainers. Now it looks like we are almost a majority! I think that many older adults who have worked out with personal trainers in the past decided that they would get certification during the pandemic. In any case, it definitely reflects a shift in perceptions about what personal trainers do; it is not all about training elite athletes and well-to-do clients.

The theme of the conference (two years running now) is Train with Purpose. I am not exactly sure what that means, but I will give it a shot. It challenges us to look beyond athleticism and to focus on what we can do to make peoples’ lives better. This is especially true for those of us who work with older adults. A few of my clients are looking to tone up or participate in competitive events, but most are either trying to build or maintain muscle strength, mobility, flexibility, and balance. It is less about prowess on the playing field and appearances, and more about being able to live the lives we want with courage and confidence. This is part of what motivates me.

This year I took four courses: 1. shoulder health and posture, 2. pricing and programming, 3. how to overcome mind traps in building business, and 3. adaptive fitness–working with individuals with disabilities. I was able to learn something in each of the classes. Every month I also do continuing education in order to maintain my certifications. Of course, I do it for the credits, but I find that more often than not I learn valuable insights to bring back to the work that I do with my clients.

I look forward to next year’s conference. The learning never ends. And that helps make me a trainer with purpose!