James FitzGerald’s 2019 Review

My Annual 2019 Review

As 2020 gets rolling I have decided to take a moment to look back and compile my thoughts about 2019. So much went on last year and it is tough to remember every detail. So instead I broke up my year in review into three different themes.

  • What Went Well this Year?
  • What Didn’t Go Well this Year?
  • What Did I Learn this Year?

1) What Went Well this Year?

A clear standout is completing the latest version of the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP).

The OPEX Coaching Certificate Program first came into existence 20 years ago when I started OPEX Fitness. The goal of CCP has always been to fill an education gap in the market by giving students exactly what they need to become coaches in the fitness industry. I want this education to prepare anyone who graduates for a career as a coach and give them the tools they need to begin coaching right away. It has gone through many iterations but I am happy to say that the latest version is the most complete fitness education we have offered to date.

The second high for 2019 was the release of another new course, Programming: Movement. This course was designed to help coaches learn the fundamentals of movement while giving them the knowledge they need to assess movement and link its faults to fixes. I am excited about this course because it is another offering that allows coaches to specialize, aiding them on their journey to becoming professionals. 

2) What Didn’t Go Well this Year?

The expansion of OPEX Gyms is not growing as rapidly as I would like. While I am thrilled with our more than 70 OPEX Gyms worldwide, I have high hopes for the expansion of these premium functional fitness facilities. These gyms are the brick and mortar reality of our beliefs and a way that I believe we can positively change the current conversation around fitness. 

These gyms are selling the long game – for the coach and the client, but we are up against an industry that praises and promotes quick fixes. Maybe we are too early for the market, but in any manner we won’t give up and I urge anyone that is interested in positively impacting their community through fitness to open an OPEX Gym and join in leading the charge.

3) What Did I Learn this Year?

This year I continued to learn what it means to participate in fitness for a lifetime. I realized once again that our priorities change over time and it’s important not to get too attached to a certain way of doing things. As I have gained experience I have also realized the metabolic and mechanical overload that intense training creates long term.

Every year I add to my understanding as I experience another year of fitness along with its ups and downs. This year the ups and downs included creating consistency again in my training and realizing that I have finite exercise experiences left. As of writing this I am on exercise session 9,839. Beginning in 2017 I started counting my exercise sessions (I post the total daily on Instagram), and I also went through the arduous process of recalling the sessions I had done up to that point, hence this total. 

Something else I learned this year is the importance of always pursuing knowledge. This year I made an effort to speak less, read, and listen more. During this time I read 80 books, listened to countless podcasts, took numerous live courses, and had hundreds of one-on-one conversations with people in the fitness industry. 

This was beneficial for multiple reasons:

Firstly, it helped me upgrade my knowledge. Getting back in the trenches as I like to call it, and seeking out all of this knowledge really gave me a great understanding of the current state of  fitness. 

Secondly, it challenged my ideas. As I spoke to hundreds of people over the year I was forced to voice my ideas about fitness and what it means to be a professional coach over and over. As I got feedback this helped me refine my message.

Bonus: Why Do I Feel Compelled to Call Out the Nonsense in the Fitness Industry?

Something I am known for and continued to do this year was call out the nonsense in the fitness industry. Why do I do this?

It’s because I care.

I love fitness, it has great intentions. But the current understanding and offering of fitness is egregious. At the moment, there are no real standards that define what fitness is and how it should be delivered. Further, I have noticed that the intention for exercising, for most people, is flawed. Instead of viewing exercise as something we get to do and is part of our daily lives, it is viewed as a fix for our poor behaviors.

I recognize this and want to be a part of a nuanced conversation that leads fitness from its current state of disarray to a higher potential. 

But I need help. I need people like you that want to embody what it means to be a true fitness professional. Someone whose purpose is to guide others on their lifelong fitness journey.

Sound like you? Take a step towards becoming that professional fitness coach and sign up for my free Coach’s Toolkit. Covering the fundamentals of fitness coaching, this course is perfect for those interested in creating a career in the fitness industry.

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