Changing careers can be both exciting and scary. The prospect of having a new job as a personal trainer, where you are your own boss, can be a very motivating. The idea of having to start studying again; however, may feel like a huge hurdle. The longer it has been since you last studied, the higher that hurdle may seem.
Here are 7 study tips which will ensure you get the most out of your study and help you achieve great results.
1. Choose the right study option for you
Everyone has commitments and everyone's commitments are different. Think carefully about the commitments in your life when choosing your study option and then select the one which is going to allow you to meet all of your essential commitments plus the extra commitment to starting a new career.
Thinking about the time you have available to study before you even start gives you the greatest chance of success.
2. Prepare your study area
Effective study requires focus and concentration. Having a designated study area helps you minimise distractions and allows you to have everything you need all in the one place. Here are some suggestions on what you should have in your study area:
- Computer: you'll need to access the TRAINFITNESS Student Desktop or Mobile App. Your study area will need to allow space for a computer or mobile device, plus space for writing pads etc. as outlined below.
- Printer: as well as any course material you need to print, you might also like to research different topics and print any information you feel will help you revise before exams.
- Writing pad/cards: depending on your learning style, you'll need to have a pad to write on or cards to create mind maps and/or flash cards.
- Variety of coloured pens/highlighters: taking notes and putting things in your own words is a key task when studying. Whether this be writing notes or drawing mind maps, using a variety of coloured pens will help you differentiate, categorise and organise information into a structure that you understand and help you remember the information.
- Folders: having your study material organised makes revising much easier. Keep all your notes, flash cards, mind maps and lesson material organised in tabbed folders.
- Music/noise: there have been a number of studies on how music affects concentration during different tasks. A common result of these studies shows that everyone is different. So get to know yourself and make sure your study environment compliments your preference. If you work best with no sound, make sure you have a quiet study area. If you study best with lyric free music, then tune into your favourite classical playlist. No matter what your preference, a good pair of noise cancelling headphones can be beneficial in all scenarios. They can help cut unwanted noise and deliver JUST the sounds that keep you focused, even when your preference is silence.
- Phone: TURN IT OFF and put it in another room! This removes one of the greatest of modern life's distractions.
A clean, clutter-free area offers the best place to study.
3. Plan when you will study
Doing your personal training course is like being back at school or college. Treat your study like going to classes and schedule set study times throughout your week. Then make a commitment to yourself to stick to your schedule.
Allow yourself time for breaks, giving yourself 10 minutes after every 50 minutes of study. Commit to doing the full 50 minutes before taking a break. Then during your break, move away from your study area; stand up, walk around and stretch. This will help with blood circulation and make you feel refreshed before sitting down again.
4. Know your learning style
Over the years there have been several different theories about how people learn. In short, these theories state that everyone learns differently. Some of us are visual learners who like to see things (pictures, diagrams, colours etc.). Some of us are auditory learners who like to listen (spoken word, discussions). And finally some of us are kinaesthetic learners who learn best by doing (activity, movement).
Knowing your learning style can help you study in a way that maximises your absorption of information. If you discover you're a visual learner, focus on the pictures and videos in the course material. If you are an auditory learner, you'll like the podcasts and eClasses. If you're a kinaesthetic learner, get into the gym and do the exercises and training programmes.
Here is a great quiz that will help you discover your preferred learning style. As learning styles can differ depending on the subject, think about the answers in the context of studying to become a personal trainer when answering the questions. http://vark-learn.com
5. Immerse yourself in your subject
Fitness and being a personal trainer is a practical skill. You'll learn things that you can immediately put into practice in your own training. Go to the gym regularly and think about the information you've studied and put it into practice.
After having learnt a muscle group, for example, go to the gym and do a workout which focuses on that muscle group. Think about their origins and insertions while you do the exercise; touch the muscles and feel them to identify them. This can greatly improve recall.
Think about the energy systems when doing cardio or the sliding filament theory during strength training; everything you learn can be put into practice and focused on during your own workouts. All of a sudden what may seem like boring theory becomes a fun, practical exercise.
6. Get support from those around you
Getting support from those around you is the greatest way to increase not only your chances of success, but also your enjoyment. Having a friend who is on course with you gives you someone to talk to about the material and to practise with. Alternatively, a supportive partner can be your client during the different training programmes you have to become familiar with. Explaining these concepts to a lay-person helps cement that knowledge in your mind.
7. Focus on the goal of becoming a personal trainer
One of our favourite authors, Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about the science behind visualisation and achieving goals. His extensive research shows that seeing and feeling yourself achieving your goals creates that reality for you faster. So keep your focus on graduating; leave distractions behind and become the best personal trainer you can be.