As I go into my 7th year of being a personal trainer aka “fitness professional” I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on several areas, I am actually going through my re-certification process right now with American Council On Exercise (ACE).
why did I get in this field?
how has it changed me as a trainer?
how important is fitness in my life and others lives?
what does the future hold for me in this field?
I have always been interested in fitness, as a young kid I was super active, ya know the typical kid outside all day making tree forts, riding my bike, playing outdoor sports with my sister and our neighbors. I always wanted to be strong and have muscles..yup prob kind of weird for a 12yr old girl! I just thought people who were strong were really cool. I got really into distance running (not a muscle building sport) in high school cross country and track and I was lucky enough to run cross country for Eastern Michigan University where I got my BA in social work. Fast forward a few years down the line where I was not super stoked on my career path and dreamed of doing something with fitness and health but I was pretty scared to try something new and possibly fail as well as have to take a pay cut. I went for it with support from my husband and family and it was the best decision ever for me.
Being a trainer has changed me in so many ways. I am so much more aware of how lifting weights can change your body and your self confidence. Being a runner I didn’t touch the weights too often but after college my body was starting to put on some fat so I decided to switch up my running by incorporating some weights at home a few days a week, I pretty much taught myself and researched everything, in a very short time I put on lean muscle mass and started seeing some great changes in my body. I had to tell others about how lifting weights just gives your body that definition most people desire! So one of the main things I work on with people is meeting them where they are with fitness and putting them in a place they can succeed.
This isn’t a reality show, I am not in your face making you cry and feel defeated when you leave. I want clients to feel like they are getting stronger both physically as well as mentally. People can usually push themselves much further than they think they can and sometimes it takes encouragement from a trainer to bring that out. I have learned that many people struggle with some sort of disordered eating and have been on and off “diets” since they were very young. I hate the word diet, it instantly implies restriction which is something I am not about. I have learned that when people change their bodies physically…a big mental shift also occurs and that is actually the best part for me to see.
People are on their own path, I can lead them and help them but ultimately its up to them. I have learned that those you are closest with in your life such as your family and friends can be very hard to influence and they sometimes feel judged by me and feel the need to explain why they are eating the sausage burrito for breakfast. I have learned that no matter where I am in the world if I say that I am in the fitness industry, people assume I am a physical therapist, doctor or nutritionist and in our 5 min conversation I can either cure their back pain or get them 6 pack abs.
I have learned that leading by example is a very strong motivator for others.
I have learned that listening and establishing trust with people is the very foundation of helping them.
I have learned that skinny does not mean healthy and muscular also does not mean healthy.
Fitness and more importantly health is extremely important to me and it always will be, I am not the trainer you come to when you have a class reunion in 3 weeks and you want to get “skinny” or you want to know what the best “detox” is. I don’t do fads. I do long term health which comes with education around properly fueling your body and doing a form of fitness that YOU love, not the latest fitness craze. Health and fitness is a consistent long term journey that never ends.
What does the future hold for me in this industry?
I feel very strongly about empowering women through helping them gain education around how to properly work out…no not spending an hour on the elliptical or dragging yourself out for a run hating every second but doing it because you heard its the best thing to “burn fat”
My direction for my business fitness you can live with is all about doing it the right way and living better through your strength. Not exercising because you hate yourself but because you love your body. Focusing less on your scale weight and more on the weight your body can push or pull. Feeling good about your food choices, not beating yourself up for going out to eat and having a good time once in awhile. Life isn’t about being perfect or having the perfect beach body. I know people think they will achieve their perfect happiness when they get their perfect body but it doesn’t work like that, we are humans and we are always going to want more and never stop chasing.
Being a trainer I know that how I present my body is critical and I can definitely feel when I am being judged or appraised, this has definitely led me down the path at times to try to be “perfect” but ya know what? I think that showing my “imperfections” and my struggles makes me more real and able to connect with people. Do I love every part of my body? Hell no! Do I sometimes struggle with food choices and overconsumption? Yes of course! I am choosing to not participate in self hate or beating myself up though which is something I definitely struggle with. Surround myself with like minded people who are supportive and enjoy my life.