Some of you might know, that back in May I started a distance learning course in Personal Training. I'm nowhere near finished yet, but here are my thoughts on the challenges and opportunities of choosing to learn from home.
Fitness Industry Education is a fitness course provider that specialises in personal training, yoga and pilates training. I didn't exactly stumble upon them - the BF is already a student with them. I had originally had my heart set on what was, in my mind, a kick-ass pilates course, through a much-reviewed and praised pilates training centre. However, upon calling them up and finding out that there was a £6,000 course fee, there was no way I could afford to commit that kind of cash - I mean, what if I hated it? Still I was determined to add something to my life that would not only get my brain moving beyond hair and beauty trends and social media analysis, but also get my body moving and potentially also make me some cash in the future.
Luckily, a few days later, my BF told me that Fitness Industry Education had shared an opportunity on their Facebook page; they were looking for people interested in learning and willing to blog about it. Once I contacted them and they kindly agreed to discounting the course fee (I think prices range from £1,200-£1,500 depending on the course and level but please check the website for full details) I was all set. Or so I thought. I had opted for the distance learning option, as, at the time, it seemed the most viable solution, given the fact that I am self-employed and have a number of clients that rely on me day to day when it comes to social media as well as publishing projects and running sohairobsessed.com. Plus I also wanted to be able to go to the gym on a more regular basis, and find time to start meditating - you know how it is when you just want to do everything?
So, three weeks after I'd made the initial monthly payment, I hadn't even looked at the course. (FYI, instead of opting for the pilates course I decided to do personal training to give me a better, more general knowledge of working in fitness, which means I have the option of adding yoga and/or pilates at a later date).
I'd be lying if I didn't admit that my lack of commitment lasted another few weeks. I could make excuses about client deadlines etc here, but what's the point? The fact was, I wasn't ready to be disciplined, for myself. When it comes to clients and managing their projects and expectations, I will do whatever it takes. For clients, I'm the list queen, I'll start my days at 5.30am, and work on the weekend when I have to, but when it comes to my own priorities? Well, you probably already know how it is.
Anyway, I finally began to sign in to my student desktop online, which is where my entire course was laid out. But because I wasn't religiously signing in on a regular basis, each time that I did, I found myself trying to remember what I'd learned the last time. I became frustrated, and again it was totally my own doing. I've watched the BF go through the same process, but he handled it differently. He'd go to work, sometimes six days a week, come home and head straight upstairs to study before he even ate dinner.
Slowly I realised that I needed to schedule in my study time in the same way that I would schedule a clients' social media. As I start my days usually around 5.30 or 6am, I set a weekday alarm on my iPhone for one hour of study time, at 2pm. So far it has worked well, and, especially over the past few weeks, I consistently adhere to that plan. Now I can actually have conversations about what I've learned with the BF, and I love impressing him with my worksheet scores; after you've completed each major component of the course, say Nervous Control of Muscular Contraction, you have to do a worksheet, which basically shows you how much knowledge you have managed to retain. Although I'm yet to score a full 15 out of 15 (dammit) I mostly score around 13 or 14 on each worksheet.
The layout of the course is pretty simple, especially if (unlike me in the early stages) you actually take the time to play around with it. Each segment offers audio and visual learning aids, so you can play back the 'teacher's voice as many times as you like if you learn better by listening, or you can read the accompanying text. There are also mini videos showing you certain movements, as well as some cartoonish illustrations, which, to be honest, I tend to ignore completely, but they might well work for you.
Recently I've begun thinking about switching to classroom learning. Fitness Industry Education offers weekday study, for four weeks, or Saturday study (18 Saturdays), which is probably what I will go for. I believe I can speed up my progress this way, purely because I now know that I definitely want to add yoga and pilates. Whether I complete these further options with FIE or not, I'm not sure at the minute, but what I do know is that I would not have come to this conclusion if I hadn't actually got off my butt and started learning. For me the course so far has been vital in my finding out what I really want to do with my future, and if you're someone who kinda-oughta thinks that you want to try something new, learning in this way could be the perfect solution.
If you'd like to know more about my experience, please feel free to leave questions below in the comments section. If you'd like to know more about Fitness Industry Education, please visit their site here
P.S I intend to blog about my course progress ever four to six weeks, so stay tuned!