Expertise is a lifelong pursuit, so don’t get hung up on the concept. Instead, make continual learning your mission, writes trainer and educator Clare Hozack.
It takes more than having a baby or completing one course in women’s health to be an expert in training women. While one women’s health-related course may equip you to train one aspect of one kind of female client (a perfectly healthy pregnant woman, for example), none of them will immediately make you an expert in training all women.
You may have heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, which says that you need 10,000 hours of practise, skill development, research, competition and execution to become an expert in any one thing. If you were to work a 40-hour week training women alone (which few, if any of us do), it would take 250 weeks, or about 5 years, to become an expert – assuming you learnt something from every client you trained. Seems like a helping hand might be in order, no?
The more you know the better
Whether you decide to specialise in women’s health or another niche, it’s worth investing in all the courses you can related to that area (provided they look to be of value). There will likely be subject overlap between courses, but that doesn’t diminish their value. It’s beneficial to consume as many courses as you can for these very important reasons:
- They are all very different. Some are a conservative approach to postnatal women, others are about female strength and performance, others are specific to a training modality such as Pilates, and others still dive deep into the hormone changes of the menstrual cycle, or a woman’s life phases. No single course covers it all.
- Each course has a different slant on what’s important, and a different way of achieving its objective. This means you’ll have multiple tools in your toolbox for different client’s needs.
- Each client is different, so you’ll need all the strategies you can learn if you want to train all kinds of women. The idea that ‘one size fits all’ is outdated, especially for women, whose hormone fluctuations are unique to the individual (which is the reason women were often excluded from scientific studies, until the 1990’s when it was legislated that women must be included!)
- Each course provider is unique, so you may appreciate and get more out of different delivery methods – online versus live, versus live streamed, or text-based versus video presentation, for example. You may prefer to knock a whole course out in a day in-person, or over a few weeks, or enjoy self-paced anonymity with an online course. You may prefer a powerful, assertive presenter, or to avoid presentations altogether. Each offering has its own delivery method and ‘personality’ which will either enhance your learning experience or detract from it.
- It would be silly to believe that one course covers everything you need to know. It’s not possible to know everything. There will be common threads between courses, and completing multiple ones will confirm these, but it will also open up your practice, knowledge, and experience to the differences.
- You only take seven things away from any course, apparently. If it takes 10,000 hours of study or practice to become an expert, between your courses and clients, how many are you really up to?
Women’s fitness and wellbeing training courses
In Australia we have access to some of the best women’s health training courses in the world. Here are just some that you may want to consider if you are choosing to focus on women’s fitness and wellbeing
- IntoYou: From a NSWIS athlete and Strength and Conditioning Coach to a champion for training women, especially mums, Clare Hozack also runs a Women’s Health Study Group where you can study “real life” female clients and their training programs. burrelledaustralia.com
- Australian Fitness Network: Network has a range of online courses, with topics ranging from early postnatal programming and Strength Training for Women, to Pilates for Pregnancy and Hormones and Fat Loss. fitnessnetwork.com.au/course-cat/womens-health/
- Nardia Norman: Fitness Business Coach and Female Performance course provider. nardianorman.com
- Jen Dugard: Author and presenter of Safe Return to Exercise, she’s also providing groups of small business providers support and ongoing business management skills in her Body Beyond Baby Affiliateship. bodybeyondbaby.com
- Stacy Simms: Exercise Scientist who has pioneered research into the female athlete and has books, resources and ‘Women are Not Small Men’ courses for fitness professionals. drstaceysimms.com
- Burrell Education: Jenny Burrell founded one of the world’s first female-led, female-focused education providers for fitness professionals and manual therapists. burrelledaustralia.com
- Girls Gone Strong: Led by the inspirational Molly Galbraith, GGS has drawn from an international pool of experts to create leading education for fitness professionals who train women. girlsgonestrong.com
This is just a handful of the options out there – so how do you choose? The answer is, you don’t. If you want to position yourself as a women’s training ‘expert’, do them all. Stop trying to decide which course is ‘best’, because no single course will give you all you need. Start with the one that attracts you the most, and work your way through them all. By the time you’ve finished, you may even feel knowledgeable and insightful enough to write your own!
A former athlete and strength and conditioning coach, Clare applies this experience to her work training and educating pre- and post natal women to help them develop ‘next level’ fitness for parenting. A trainer with IntoYou studio on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, she is also the Australian and NZ Master Trainer for Burrell Education, which delivers a range of women’s health and pregnancy-related courses. You can download Burrell Education’s free Pre-Screening tools for pregnant women here and post natal women here.