Behind this body, and this smile, there’s a story you’ll never truly know. While my business is my body, I too feel the daily struggle to be healthy, fit, present, and always on.
As fitness professionals we often fail to discuss the difficulties and overwhelm we feel when it comes to sharing our truths. We’re seen as having it all together while consistently wanting to workout, be social, follow the latest health trends, and possess the ability to not feel pain the way others do.
We preach self acceptance, (that’s huge in our industry), and as personal trainers we’re supposed to accept ourselves just the way we are- when the truth is; the majority of us only accept ourselves some of the time, and while I’m willing to bet we’d all like for that to be more constant...we’re just like everybody else, a work in progress.
Most people tend to only know “us” as one dimensional ― we have it all together, and we enjoy lifting others up, so naturally we’re able to lift ourselves up at any given moment, and nothing phases us because no matter what, we’ll hit the gym, the mat, or the barre in order to relieve our daily stressors.
Unfortunately these are traits or principles that seasoned trainers have reluctantly taken on throughout years of being in the industry. People often think we start off on the career path of health and fitness to help others, but often times it comes from an unexpected place of needing to help ourselves.
For many of us health professionals our eagerness, and overall desire to be a part of this ever growing industry comes from a place of pain, depression, anxiety, self doubt, not being accepted, and of needing to feel strength in more than just a physical capacity.
It’s the screams of heartache and heartbreak that can only be heard under the water as a swim coach prepares for her next class, the avid runner who will literally try to run away from their problems, and the kid turned adult who was never chosen in gym class who not only wants, but desperately needs to teach others that they’re capable of being stronger.
For those of us in the industry, it’s the moments where our hands meet the iron in order to hand off a dumbbell to our clients, placing someone’s hips in a perfect downward dog position, or responding to an email from a client that’s reluctant to get started because they sense fear-those are the moments that truly remind us that our stories have the potential to set someone else free.
It’s throughout those times, and the hours during the day where we’re training someone else, teaching them new movements, and instructing them on the best principles where we don’t have to come face to face with our own reality all alone. We get to deal with someone else’s troubles and hardships, and it’s during that time where we realize we’re truly all in this together.
Personally, getting into fitness wasn’t originally about healing myself; it was the potential to heal others and acquire an aesthetically pleasing physique. Yet as a result I began to see fitness as my catalyst to heal wounds I never expected to have, to shine light onto dark spaces I didn’t know existed, and to ultimately find my inner voice that I knew was always there, but wasn’t confident I’d ever be able to hear it.
Often times we’re so willing to help others because we’re driven by a place of pain and not wanting the same dark cloud that tends to hang above our heads, to hang above the heads of others.
Being a personal trainer is often a coping mechanism, not necessarily bad or good, it just is, yet by sharing our professional desires with others we’re not forced to focus on what’s pulling us down, but rather what we’re truly capable of achieving, and rising above.
Although a large percentage of us may have entered fitness for the wrong reasons, or ones that didn’t have much depth, in due time it will come full circle. When we think we’re alone we must realize that a lot of us are struggling internally with something, whether it be our current situation or something that still haunts us from our past- and for us trainers, training someone else is not only our escape from the real world, but also our chance to show others just how strong they truly are, even if it’s only for a short period of time. At the end of the day it’s what makes us human and able to connect and identify with others.