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I’ll Know I’m Successful When I’m Just a Good Trainer

In the elevator to the lobby, a trainer from the gym asks, “Are you an OT?” “No, I’m technically an exercise physiologist, basically a glorified trainer.” “I saw the way you got him to overhead squat,” referring to my twenty-four-year-old athlete, “That was really cool.” “Well, that’s ten years of working together.” “No,” he replied, “The way you got him to do it.” I realized he was referring to my cuing technique, how I figure out what prompts, visual or kinesthetic, will get my athletes to move how they need to move. “Thank you, I appreciate that.” And I do. A lot.

I suppose that my secret goal is not to be know as the guy who trains autistic clients, but known as a really good trainer. To achieve that goal, fitness professionals working with the ASD population must become as common as any other group; general population, seniors, sports-focused strength and conditioning, and any other fitness demographic. If there is competition, fine. Glorious. The possibility of deceptive marketing aside, I would welcome more fitness professionals in this area. It only forces me to get better as a practitioner, to collaborate, and innovate.

Acknowledgment from one’s professional peers can have a moving effect. They know that you know what you’re doing, and they are bypassing ego to inform you. That is respect. This other trainer, he didn’t say “I don’t know how you work with the autistic guy” or “I think it’s really great what your doing..” He liked the way I cued an overhead squat. He called me a good trainer who trains clients.

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