Yup I have a really inflamed tongue today thanks to biting it twice in the last 3 days. Biting my tongue, as in the idiom, is not something I’m known for so I didn’t do that. What I did do was actually physically bite my tongue. On Thursday when grappling with Shayn, I passed guard and his arm struck me in the jaw accidentally. I bit my tongue, hard. There wasn’t too much blood but it swelled up a bit. Yesterday, with it still in it’s swollen state, Gordy’s foot connected with my chin as we were both scrambling for position and I bit it again, hard. This morning, I feel like it’s about 3 times the normal size. I can’t talk properly. And talking is my favourite thing to do in the whole world.
Do any of you float around Strength and Conditioning forums, or maybe just Fitness forums? If you do, you’ll notice something. Firstly that pretty much everyone is unhappy with being just a personal trainer or a fitness instructor. Everyone who has an NCEF or helps Maureen to lose her muffin top says “I work with athletes…” or “well, the work I do with athletes…” Now I personally know about 4 people in all of the island of Ireland who I would say would be able to write and implement a good training programme to improve athletic performance. Everyone else I know would write a programme that included bits of what they thought they knew, plus more bits of what they got off youtube/Eric Cressey’s blog/a Poloquin article, mixed in with something they thought would make the guy sore and cry, so then he’d know he was doing hard work. I know of an extremely qualified guy (sports science degree, ncef or ncea, did some internships, goes to a course once a week, lots of certs) and if he was the last fitness “expert” on the planet, I’d still sooner make it up myself and hope for the best.
For the last two years I’ve researched courses and attended a few. But the thing that I’ve realised is that my time is best spent in the gym working with real people, with the odd jump outside to work with other coaches to see how and what they do. Classroom sessions do nothing for me (I hated school!) and although I read incessantly, I have this healthy (I think it’s healthy anyway) tendency to doubt everything I read until I see it in action. Luckily for me I seem to have accidentally fallen in with the right people from the world of athletics, rugby and football, and even if there’s lots of things some of these people do I disagree with, I still get to see them in action, coaching skills and making their athletes stronger.
The other really funny thing is that when you find that people say they work with athletes, they then go on to say that they train “professional athletes”, which I think is awful funny. Ireland, in case you hadn’t noticed, is hardly awash with professional sportsmen and women. There is one true professional sport, Rugby, with several supported athletes in various athletic disciplines who rely on the sports council for money (think Kenny Egan etc.) and after that there are others dotted around the place including soccer which looks doomed to amateur status. I estimate that if every fitness professional who claimed to be working with professional athletes was actually telling the truth and training just one, then one in three people in Ireland would be a professional athlete (Source: My Creative Imagination, 2009).
I train a professional athlete. Did I ever say that before? It’s true. His name is Keith, and no, I didn’t just make him up. He does nothing but train MMA and watch Kilroy, Trisha and Ready, Steady, Cook. Of course, I should point out that the reason he’s so professional is that he’s deferred college for a year and is a bum until then, but since everyone else is doing it, why can’t I? He and I are going to have a great year together, making him fit, strong and skilled until such a day as he can go off to college and ruin in it all by eating Super Noodles, drinking special brew and chasing skirt.