When I first started my career in Personal Training I wanted to read everything. I honestly never realised how little I knew or understood as I do now. I’m 100% certain that when I look back in a further 10 years I’ll question so many of the programs, plans, and approaches I’ve used now.
Over the years I’ve read the classics; Bompa’s work on periodisation, Martinis work on anatomy and physiological processes, Cox’s book on motor learning, and hundreds more. These form the staples of what every good trainer should know and understand, however it can become so easy to get tunnel vision and keep reading the same types of material. I am coming to the realisation that to truly develop as individuals and provide effective services to clients we need to venture out of the realms of just physiology books, just anatomy books, just programming books. You can have all the knowledge in the world but if you can’t convey that message to the client or group your working with… what’s the point?
We need to understand how not only the clients make decisions but also how we ourselves make decisions – how subtle things such as the tone of a hello, sending a message, how body language can help or hinder a message, the choice of our words, the timing of our words, and an infinite number of other variables. It’s pretty obvious that our continual professional development will take a lifetime of learning and the clock is ticking. One of the best habits I’ve ever picked up was to read daily; set aside 1 hour a day as a minimum and you’re on your way. But what to read? To start with I highly recommend that you become competent in key texts so here are my PT book essentials:
- Periodization. Theory and Methodology by Tudor O Bompa
- Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology by Frederie Martini
- Motor Learning and Control by Richard Magill
- Olympic Weightlifting. A complete guide for athletes and coaches by Greg Everett
- Sports Nutrition by Asker Jeukendrup and Micheal Gleeson
- Essentials of strength and conditioning by Thomas Baechle and Roger Earle
Once you’ve gone through these a few times, I believe greater development can come from books regarding habits, processes, and cognitive themes. Here are some of the best books I’ve read over the past few years:
- How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carneige
- Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman
- Sport Psychology concepts and applications by Richard Cox
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The four hour work week by Timothy Ferris
So give yourself 1 hour a day and keep developing, you’ll only look back in 10 years and regret that you didn’t start sooner.