My favorite part of college was never my classes. When I was about to graduate, the thought of getting a job in the field I studied (accounting) made me miserable.
What I really enjoyed was working out at the gym, which I consistently did around 4-6 times a week, and I had often thought about becoming a personal trainer.
So... I did! I haven't used my degree at all, and I'm super happy, but I still feel like I'm behind the other personal trainers at my gym who knew for a long time that this is what they wanted to do. They also train clients outside of the gym, and if I wanted to get more private clients, and maybe even celebrity clients, I'd need to step it up.
One element I struggled with was recommending a nutritional plan for my clients. I knew what worked for me, but bodies are different, and I didn't have any science to back up my suggestions. That's when I decided to get a degree in nutrition - it would give me a leg up on the competition, and help me grow my business.
First, I looked at community colleges and state schools, but classes were super expensive. I also wasn't becoming a nutritionist, so I didn't want another B.A. I looked at online schools, but that's when I realized how regimented most school is - I'd still have to log in at a certain time to watch lectures, and there wasn't much of a discount!
When I was researching, that's when I found Shaw Academy - they're an accredited online school that offers courses in business, the arts, and nutrition. It was a 16-week course, with the first 4 weeks free. I'd get a degree, and with flexible hours, I wouldn't have to make alterations to my clients' schedules.
They offered courses in Nutrition, Sports & Exercise Nutrition, and Fitness & Weight Loss. Nutrition was the most popular, so I figured I'd take that one, and then do the others if I liked it.
I was able to see the full syllabus before I signed up, so I saw that I'd be learning about different diets for weight loss, maternity, digestive issues, and allergies, as well as some other diets I'd never heard of. It's designed by top nutritionists and health & fitness professionals, so I knew it would cover all my bases - I was much more excited to start than at the beginning of any college semester.
The lectures are released at a certain time, but if you're unavailable, you can watch them at any time during that week. My first lecture was when I was with a client, so I waited until the next day - after the lecture, there's a Q&A, and there's also a community with all your fellow classmates.
I decided to continue past the free trial, and when I finished, I immediately started the Sports & Exercise Nutrition course - Shaw Academy filled the gap I was struggling with in my career. Since I'm certified in nutrition now, I feel much more confident looking for new clients. They also specifically focused on how to deliver effective nutritional advice based on individual needs, so I have the information as well as the piece of paper to back it up. The course was delivered in such a clear manner (Thanks Michelle!) and they covered so much without being overwhelming.
Shaw Academy has a web design course, so I'm going to do that next to build my own personal trainer website; even though I've never tried web design before, their nutrition courses were so clear, I'm confident I'll be able to learn a brand new skill.
I'm so glad I don't have to go "back to school" to learn new things - for less than $150 a course ($49.99 a month), this was an affordable and accessible way to learn new knowledge and expand my business.