Crabby Gets Schooled

As regular readers may recall, I am now in the process of studying for the ACE Health Coach Certification which I will take in about week's time.  According to the Trans-Theoretical Model of Change (which they are very big on at ACE), I seem to be moving from Stage II: Slothful Procrastination, to Stage III, Freak Out and Realize it's Time to Get Your Ass in Gear.

So, rather than attempt to scrounge up breaking news about an important health and fitness topic, I decided it might be a good time to put the "Cranky" back into Cranky Fitness! So how 'bout I slop together a quick post bitching about test-related matters? Gosh, doesn't that sound fun!

Yeah, ok, may it doesn't.  But here we go anyway. Perhaps you guys have something to complain about too and we can all grumble and commiserate for a bit.

Because while I may be a firm believer in taking control of your mindset and adopting helpful thoughts and all... well sometimes you gotta get the tantrums out of the way first.

Bitter Complaint # 1:

I am Not as Smart as I Thought I Was.

I think it's fair to say that I am not an overconfident person. If I am mediocre or crappy at something, I am usually pretty well aware of it.

But one thing I have never been crappy at is studying for and taking multiple choice standardized tests.  It is a useless skill in real life, but whatever--I'm one of those people who is way better at the hypothetical than the practical.

Yet I do not seem to be acing the practice tests leading up to the actual 3-hour examination.  WTF? This is distressing!  I should be better than this, never mind that "shoulds" and entitlement and resentment are not generally considered optimal performance enhancers.

So what's the freakin' deal?

Well, in my mind, the study manual and materials and testing procedures are partly to blame (see #3 below). But some of it seems to be MY fault.  I hate that.

Some possible reasons for this discouraging turn of events:

1. I'm older now and my memory sucks.

2. I seem to be even more opinionated than ever!

This means instead of spending most of my time memorizing, I have these long conversations in my head with the authors of the study materials.  I patiently point out out the inconsistencies and omissions and faulty logic and convince them that they are wrong, wrong, wrong about so many things! (Note: They eventually apologize contritely and are very grateful for my input).

Strangely enough, while very satisfying, these imaginary conversations do not seem helpful in obtaining more right answers.

3. I'm a less anxious person than I was when I was younger.  Which makes life much more pleasant! However, this means I totally skipped the pre-panic stage of test preparation, in which I usually convince myself I'm far, far behind long before it's actually true.  I kinda forgot that pre-panic is a pretty darn effective study strategy. Now I'm actually behind for real.  Crap.

4.  I've been an attorney and I've been a psychotherapist, but neither of those fields gives you much of a background in physiology or nutrition. (Though it's a great background for over-analyzing and arguing, as well as spotting discrepancies, subtext, and disordered thinking).

Somehow I figured having a half-assed health and fitness blog would help make up for my lack of formal education and I would know a lot of the material already. As it turns out: um, no. Google U is not as comprehensive as one might think.

Bitter Complaint # 2: Apparently I am Not as Fit as I Thought I Was

I learned there are all sorts of fitness assessments a health coach can do to find out where clients are starting off.  Some of them are quite fundamental.  Remember me prattling on about how important it is to have a basic level of stability and flexibility before tackling more challenging feats? 

Yeah.  Well, guess who did some assessments on herself, and flunked several postural screens as well as two different balance tests? And who would have probably also performed poorly on the relative muscular endurance ratios and movement tests, had she bothered to complete them?

That would be me.  Despite helpful post-hysterectomy physical therapy, I seem to have forgotten the basics of lumbar stabilization. Coupled with my structural quirks (who says legs should both be the same length, how boring!) this all adds up to a big heap o' dysfunctional posture and movement patterns.

So while I may yammer on about interval training and pull-ups and dips all kinds of stuff like that, theoretically I should be skipping all that in favor plopping my lopsided butt down on a mat and re-training my body to do basic shit like lifting my legs off the floor using the right freakin' muscles. Getting all fancy-pants with lousy form could probably get me injured, not that I actually plan to stop entirely.  But I'm being forced to think about taking some corrective measures.


Bitter Complaint # 3: Standardized Testing Sucks

Someday, in yet another hypothetical blog post that will probably never be written, I'd like to do a review of the whole Ace Health Coach certification just in case any readers or googlers are considering it. There are many great things about it!

However, there are some sucky things too, as there are with probably any study program one undertakes.  I just forgot how frustrating it is when you are pitting your own fragile defensive ego against a source that you need to think of as Right in order to Pass a Test.

The smart thing to do, of course, would be to take my ego out of it, and just suck it up and do my best.  So what if some of the information we have to memorize seems to be contradicted by other research I've seen, and is perhaps at times somewhat... old school?

Good times!

Or that some of the questions zero in on concepts that are not mentioned even once in the study materials? Or that different chapters will say contradictory things and you don't know which version you should memorize?

Of course my personal favorite is the "choose the BEST" answer" format when more than one option is right, or where they are all wrong.  Which choice is "more right?" Which is "less wrong?" Well, to evaluate that you have to climb out of your own brain into the brains of the test writers. And who knows what goes on in their brains?

I just wrote out and deleted an actual example question so I don't get sued by ACE for copyright infringement. But this is the sorta thing I mean:

Question 33.

Your client, Brittany, is a 20 year old college student who weighs 124 lbs and has a BMI of 22.7. She states that she'd like to lose 15 lbs in time for a New Years Eve party she's been invited to, so she can look extra hot and win back her boyfriend because some skinny skank in a catsuit flashed her boobs at him last night at a Halloween party and stole him away. She adds that her check to you will probably bounce because she needed to pay $1400 for a designer gown two sizes smaller than she wears now, which she plans to use for motivation.

You should:

a.  Tell her that since New Years is only about 2 months away from Halloween, she's going to have to reduce her caloric intake by 500 calories a day and expend an additional 500 calories a day on the elliptical to meet her weight loss goal so she better get moving!

b.  Model appropriate goal formation by telling her about your own plan to teach housecats to speak Italian, and emphasize the long-term and incremental nature of this task.

c.  Tell her you had sex with her boyfriend too and he was not all that well endowed anyway, so she'll be less inclined to use him for extrinsic motivation and find more intrinsic motivation to improve her health and drop the inappropriate weight loss goal.

d.  Make sure your facility has sufficient cellular coverage to reach 911, then hit her over the head with a 35 lb kettlebell.

Anyone else have any gripes to vent about or are you all feeling pretty perky today?

Tantrum girl: Lucille Pine; Trainer Handbook:  Joyce Cherrier; School Photo: I forget, but I'm pretty sure it's public domain.

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