Raising Another Bar – My ISSA Experience

When I decided to scrap my old blog (or at least seriously revamp it), I kicked around a lot of ideas as to what the new title should be. Raising those Bars seemed to be the most logical fit, because I obviously love lifting and I own a pretty young business that happens to be a bar. Plain and simple, two huge facets of my life wrapped up in a pretty package. But the more I grow personally, the more I realize how appropriate my blog title is for another arena of my life. In November, I started my journey towards becoming an ISSA personal trainer. Since I was already engulfing myself in fitness related research on a daily basis, it really seemed like the next natural step.

One thing that I seriously regret about my past is not finishing college. Don’t get me wrong, I am very comfortable with my career and I feel that I’ve derived more education in the past 3 years as a business owner than I would have studying for an advanced degree, but it still kind of chaps my ass that I didn’t have the determination or intellect to finish something I started. College was an iffy time in my life – I didn’t know what I wanted to be, or even who I was, and although I always had enough common sense to support myself and land on my own two feet, that was about it. I screwed up royally, burned a lot of bridges, and successfully dropped out weeks before I flunked out.

Now things are kind of messy. I have half of a degree in political science and pre-law, with a really shitty GPA, no universities in an hour radius of my house, and no determination to pursue a degree as a lobbyist or a legal clerk. This is why an ISSA certification seemed to me like the first logical step back into the educational groove for me.

Completely online and on a “work at your own pace” schedule (with an 8 month cap), the flexibility alone has been a lifesaver with my chaotic career. When you sign up, you are shipped a big box of goodies, including this heavy duty textbook, and access to all their online resources.


So far, I am really enjoying my studies, and I have been learning a lot. I have been able to apply the things I’ve learned to my own actual training (selfish, but yay!) and I have taken on a few test clients who I have yet to kill. This can only be good.

Although I know a certification is in no way comparable to an advanced degree in exercise sciences or years of experience training clients, this is my first step towards raising my educational bar. I like that the essays you have to write require you to go beyond the book and actually think critically. I like that ISSA offers many more follow up certifications and to stay in good standings you must continue your education in the future. I like that I am actually taking the time out for myself to complete a course I feel passionately about.

Maybe I will use this one day to develop my career, or maybe this is just one of those “prove that I can do it for me” tasks, but right now, I like being student, even if it is on my own terms.

I am looking to be certified by the end of May, and I’m completely satisfied with my current pace. I’m also already itching to dig into some other certs, and I’ve started a nice little educational fund for myself in the meanwhile. So yes, this is my effort to raise another bar – this time one that will help me leave my past behind and move towards a more positive future full of less self loathing.

How do you all feel about continuing education? Is it something you make a priority in your lives?


5 thoughts on “Raising Another Bar – My ISSA Experience

  1. I’ve just returned to uni after a long break and incomplete degree – and I’m so glad I made the decision to do so! I am enjoying it so much more, I am taking advantage of every opportunity, and really committed to my studies, and have a better understanding of what I need to do to have balance and be successful. If you’re considering it I say do it!

  2. College isn’t for everyone. I never should have gone. I wasted many years and a whole lot of money getting a degree that I didn’t need and is of no use to me now. I would have been much better off getting a job and saving money to go out to LA and follow my dreams.
    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are so far ahead of the game it is disgusting. You are a business owner, an entrepreneur and a wonderful example of the true American spirit. You are going to be an awesome trainer. You already have the drive, determination and motivation that make a leader great. 😀

    • Thanks for the kind words!!
      I hear ya on the “meaningless degree” but you have it and it’s yours and you accomplished something that’s a big endeavor! The experience itself means more than the paper or the use! 🙂

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