The following article is by Charles Poliquin who is a Canadian born highly successful personal trainer who has trained Olympic medalists in over 12 different sports. Poliquin is looked up to in the fitness industry for his training technique as well dedication to the fitness lifestyle. By Charles Poliquin
I try to learn as much from my clients as they learn from me. My rates have been at the top of the field since the mid-90s, and I tend to attract well-off clientele of self-made, enormously successful millionaires-and I try to learn as much from them as they learn from me.
I always ask them the following questions: “To stay at the top of your field, how much learning time do you budget per week for seminars, reading trade publications, etc…” The answer is always practically the same: Eight to sixteen hours a week are spent learning by these experts. Take note that this is the amount of time men and women who have made fortunes in very different fields-real estate, logistics, sales, supplement industry, etc.-all spend bettering themselves and improving their knowledge.
Unless you spend at least eight hours a week learning you will never make it to the top one percent of our field, or any field for that matter, whether you are selling coffee, shipping helicopter parts, or developing world class athletes. I spend a minimum of sixteen days a year sitting in seminars such as a recent one I went to by Mark Houston on cardiovascular health. At those seminars, I often pre-arrange to meet speakers and pay them for consultation time.
I also read an average of 300 books a year, ranging from biomechanics to psychology. An average of six books per week is easy to read when you forego time wasters such as watching TV. To read such an impressive amount of books, I use a kindle on my Mac. It allows me to speed read in a diagonal fashion.
Over the years, I have managed to collect everything written on strength, weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding since the late 1800’s in English, French, and German. This has allowed me to learn about how the modern field of knowledge about strength and health has evolved.
All successful people I know are avid readers. Experts like Doctors Mauro Di Pasquale and Mark Houston, and nutritionist Jonny Bowden all have extensive libraries. I remember visiting Dr. Di Pasquale at his house in Canada and asking how he learned. He quickly displayed his own computer databank of scientific citations. It had over 8,000,000 references in it. This was 1995. It probably has over 50 million papers in it now.
If you want to make it any field, the best piece of advice I can give you is to get rid of your TV and read more. We live in an age of information. Remember, there is a direct correlation between knowledge and income. For example the strength coach or personal trainer who completes his level one PICP certification with us doubles his or her income within one year. The more you know, the more you are worth.