Challenge Meets Challenge

Before I set out to get my personal training certification, I would have underestimated the power of how much of another person’s life can affect your own. We are all ridden with our own insecurities, ailments, limitations (most of the time more so mentally than physically) that we suffer from; that we hold onto and quietly allow them to saturate our minds and bodies until they make us feel paralyzed. Once we become aware of ourselves, we tend to place even more limitations and restrictions on ourselves, and very rarely are willing to step out of our comfort zone. Yes, even if we’re already uncomfortable, because even when we’re uncomfortable, most of us can still find comfort in our own current state of discomfort. Understandably so, it’s familiar to us. And even though some of us suffer in silence, we are still afraid to open ourselves up to change.

For a long time, after the college degree, I found myself becoming remarkably absent and unmoved from life in general. I had grown tired of constantly trying to discover “who I was”, and while I was desperately trying to savor any possibility of discovering who I really was or was supposed to be, I found myself slowly collapsing rather than rising to any sort of podium that would scream success. I was in place where it felt dark all of the time and at that point, going to the gym became my saving grace; it became something to look forward to; to be able to at least allow me to feel something; anything.  It was something I used to challenge myself, mentally and physically. It became more of a test mentally rather than physically because lifting weights seemed to defeat any self doubt or fear that might have been lingering around, waiting for me to reach back and grab onto it for one last fall.

Everyday was a new challenge, a new workout; one more day of hope and one more moment of feeling alive and present, and the best part was that no one could take it away from me.

My passion for fitness was never tested and I soon knew how desperately I wanted to share it with others; I just didn’t expect to feel even more motivated, more challenged by the work that the people who I would spend an hour with would put in. Each one of them was so unique and had a different story to tell; a different kind of shadow haunting them; chasing them and some were so willing to lay it all out on the gym room floor, beads of sweat dripping out of their pores, making me feel like I was someone to believe in just as much as I believed in them.  And I knew, right there that I wanted to be more than just someone who told you how to lose weight; someone who would put you through some vigorous workout that I knew that you might not be able to even achieve, not because I didn’t think you were capable, only that I knew the limitation; the mental barrier that needed to be torn down in order to move forward.

It has become much more than just a scheduled time, a scheduled workout. No. It was about earning trust and lending support. It was to help them destroy defeat rather than feel defeated.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is, if you’re thinking about becoming a personal trainer because you want to change lives; you want to help people lose weight, feel better, understand that you’re life will be changed as well, you will grow, and you will have to accept that you don’t necessarily know everything. You will have to understand that clients are people not science experiments, not a number or an outcome. No. They are much more than that. They are relationships, life changers, life savers, fighters, and while they hired you, that doesn’t mean that they are going to trust you right away, so don’t expect to throw some numbers at them, or change their entire method of living or diet the very first time you meet with them.

So, again, if you’re thinking about becoming a personal trainer because you know how to get a six pack or a reduction in body weight, that’s only short term for them. Are you prepared to set them up for the long term? Are you prepared to give them the tools necessary to achieve success and overcome obstacles even when you’re not with them? Are you willing to create a plan that challenges them emotionally, mentally and physically? To help them feel confident, strong, and healthier for the rest of their life? Even after you stop working with them?

Perfection Is Quite Ugly

I am sorry, but as a personal trainer, I cannot and will not guarantee that you’ll have an hourglass figure. I can’t promise you that you will have a “coke bottle body” or you won’t lose your breasts once you lose weight. And I’m also not going to lie and tell you that losing weight by “any means necessary” is not going to potentially cause you to have sagging, loose skin, and/or various health problems. I’m not going to advocate for fast weight loss or a quick diet to get you to your “goal weight”.  I don’t believe in a goal weight. We are all different, and your goal weight is when you feel the most energy; when you feel alive inside and out, when your skin is glowing and you’re happy and content.

 The only goals that I believe in are the small steps that provide you with the tools to improve your health and your life. If the side effect of that happens to be fitting into clothes that you never were able to before, then that is a bonus.  

 I am, however, going to keep my promise that you can gain strength, balance, flexibility; and overall the ability to depend on yourself, so when your children are all grown up and move to another state to start their own lives, you won’t feel so alone; you will not ever feel defeated or like giving up. You will have independence, confidence, and a boost in your self esteem as well as pride and love within yourself.

 I will also tell you that it’s the way a person twists their torso at the right angle, in the right lighting, and sometimes with just the right app, that they look “perfect”;  you look at them and see an illusion of  “a perfect body”, “perfect boobs”, “perfect butt,” “perfect abs, hips, legs” etc.

 I’m not going to allow you to believe that cellulite is going to completely vanish overnight. I cannot make those guarantees or promises. I will not lie. What I can and will promise you is through hard work and dedication, and of course sheer determination, you will and can achieve what someone else may call “their perfect body” But you will never be happy. You will probably still ridicule that reflection looking back at you.  

 Did you also know that it’s the way a person flexes in the mirror right before they snap a picture under the right lighting that makes their abs or muscle tone more defined and sculpted?  Sure, it also depends on proper nutrition and exercising, but it’s also genetics, lighting, and quite possibly the latest and coolest app. That may make them look oh so perfect. Or close to it.

 I know, because I am guilty of all of that. I am not yet vulnerable enough to put myself out there in a raw unedited image of myself. I am not comfortable with the cellulite that covers the back of my legs and makes me wince whenever I see a woman posing in a scantily clad bikini with absolutely no cellulite whatsoever. But I do my best, and I am proud of what I have accomplished through changing my eating habits and exercising. No one can ever take that away from me.  

 Perfection is unrealistic, yet so many of us spend so much time damaging and distorting our bodies and ourselves to try and alter our physical appearance, when all it’s really doing is causing us to suffer in silence as we allow it to destroy ourselves emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.

 All in all, perfection is quite ugly.