It is important to know who you are professionally, and the first step in determining your professional philosophy is to identify what you value. This statement succinctly demonstrates your passion, your focus and the overall experience you want to provide others. Without identifying your personal fitness philosophy, you risk working in environments that do not support you, which may reduce your opportunity for personal and professional development and potentially lead to unsatisfying career experiences.
Identifying Your Philosophy
A fitness philosophy helps you understand who you are as a professional, assists in narrowing your focus to the types of clients, participants and employers you want to work with and defines who you are to your community. Understanding your philosophy is imperative to decision making. The more clearly you can articulate your unique values, the more informed you will be about career decisions.
Your fitness philosophy is a broad summary of your values. It is the sum of your personal attributes and professional passions, and includes the following elements:
- Your method for teaching, coaching and motivating others
- Your personality and how you use it to connect with others
- The experience you want your clients and participants to have
- Your specific knowledge and use of exercise, nutrition, behavior change, etc.
Following is an example of how you can use these four elements to determine your own philosophy:
- Your method for teaching, coaching or motivating others:
Backed by evidence, I focus on educating clients in ways that can support their goals and exercise adherence. I meet them where they are each day and never push them harder than necessary to help them feel successful. I use inclusive language that supports a positive self-image and the unique identity of the client.
- Your personality and how you use it to connect with others:
I am playful and focused. I am direct and kind. I enjoy laughing with my clients while also providing them with a comprehensive exercise experience.
- The experience you want your clients and participants to have:
I want my clients to know that it’s about them and their needs. I want them to feel seen, heard and respected. I will be understanding when they are having a hard day and equally support them on good days.
- Your specific knowledge and use of exercise, nutrition, behavior change, etc.:
I believe in evidence-based exercise and nutrition programs that have a strong standing in the industry. I utilize behavior-change approaches with all clients to ensure self-efficacy and long-term success. I value my education and continued learning. It’s important that I have knowledge and experience with new equipment or techniques before engaging in them with a client.
A comprehensive statement about who you are is what will guide you in successfully supporting others and yourself. Take time to reflect on each of these statements to help determine your unique philosophy. While some of these concepts can be modified at times to meet the client’s needs, you will feel more fulfilled by remaining authentic to who are.
Using Your Philosophy
Let your philosophy guide you in decision making. For example, when evaluating potential career opportunities for compatibility with your values, your answer may be:
- “Yes, this fits my values.”
- “No, this doesn’t fit my values.”
- “It nearly fits my values. I would need to modify something for me to feel more aligned with this opportunity.”
Choosing the right employment is critical to your professional success. Letting your philosophy be your guide in these decisions is certain to help you make an informed choice.
Speak about your philosophy regularly. It is not something that should be identified once and then put away. Share it with your colleagues and clients, and use it as a marketing tool by posting it on your website or through social media.
Keep evaluating your philosophy. As you continue to learn, grow and experience new things, your philosophy will likely evolve and change as well. Continue reflecting on your philosophy to make adjustments so it always accurately reflects who you are.
The Value of Your Philosophy
Your philosophy makes you unique and special. Do not compromise your beliefs to secure employment or enhance your reputation. Stay true to you and find the community that best supports your philosophy fully.
Want to elevate your career and learn the skills to support meaningful and lasting lifestyle change for you and your clients? Become an ACE Certified Health Coach!