Today, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and open up about something I have discovered over the past few months. It is one of those “take a deep breath and hit ‘publish’” type posts, and I have two hopes for this post:
- That by writing this out and allowing the world to see, I can finally face my demons and simply move on.
- That by writing this, I am helping anyone else out there that feels the way I do find some peace.
One of the classes I took this semester was a behavioral modification course, and it required that I maintain a coach-client relationship with another student in the class. That made me incredibly uneasy. I secretly prayed I could pair up with a friend who had a similar goal as me. Why?
Because that would have been easier.
The instructor chose our partners for us, however, and I was paired up with a 20 year old male “client” who happened to have played a bit of college football. In other words, he was already familiar with training, is still in very good shape, and his goal was to bulk up “for the ladies”. (This totally cracks me up. Remember those days? And no, I can’t believe I just referred to college as “those days”.) He was exactly the type of person with whom I didn’t want to be paired up.
Yet, do you want to know what this partnership did for me? It hoisted me clear out of my comfort zone.
What in the world do I have to offer this guy?
It was just a little over a year ago that I wrote about how I accepted myself – that I had truly become comfortable with who I am and what I look like. Today, however, I am facing a tiny bit of a relapse on that. There, I admitted it. (Keep up with me here…I may get a little scatterbrained on you.) Yes, I still need to lose some pounds. Yes, I still have a hard time practicing mindfulness. On the other hand, we all have struggles, and this just happens to be mine. It always has been, and I have come to realize that it will be something I will always have to work on. Twenty-something years of mindless, emotional eating cannot be “cured” overnight, and it is natural for setbacks to happen. However, I have enough confidence in myself to get right back up and keep on keeping on. I am the “comeback kid”, right? Two steps forward, one step back. (This is not me coming up with excuses for the mistakes I make, but it is me realizing that I have to forgive myself for being human.)
I struggle. So what?
By now, most of you know the story behind what drives me and why I decided to work in this industry and what I hope to do with the certifications I receive. Now that I have the NASM certification complete, I feel accomplished. Step one of the plan is complete. However, there is still a tiny, nagging, negative demon within me, and it comes out on occasion and reminds me of all the work I have yet to do on my own body.
I do not have unrealistic goals, though. I don’t strive to look like someone else. I don’t work out in order to obtain a specific body shape. I have come a long way. Yet, the one thing that seems to trigger the negative self-talk is personal training. Yes. This does mean I have questioned whether being a PT will be good for me. The answer?
I know plenty of PT’s, and yes, most of them look like the people that get plastered all over inspiration boards. The problem I am seeing, though, is that inspiration is still coming from an image when it should be coming from the lifestyle. It is entirely unrealistic for me to strive to look like this woman. She is nearly 6’ tall, and her genes are entirely different from mine. Do I think she has an incredible body? Abso-freaking-lutely. But I find motivation in her lifestyle rather than her body. Her attitude and energy is contagious. I have watched this woman and this woman transform their bodies. Do I think they have incredible bodies? Abso-freaking-lutely. But what inspires me most is their openness about the amount of time and patience is requires to find balance and provoke change. (I haven’t even clipped the iceberg on this one. I am surrounded by a tremendous community of beautiful bodies that house inspiring souls.)
So why is it that when it comes to seeing myself as a trainer, I focus on my own body? Why do I find inspiration in others’ accomplishments, attitudes, and dedication rather than their bodies and not find the same in myself? I do not have an answer to that question. I hope to find it, though, and that explains why I decided to hit ‘publish’ on this post.
This semester’s project dragged me right out of my comfort zone and made me face my fear of the fact that I do not fit the typical image of a personal trainer. It, however, made me realize that I have far more to offer others than I think. Yes, physical appearance is most likely going to be the first thing a client notices, but there are two sides to everything. At times, I forget that I have lost 70 pounds, that I ran a half marathon, or that I am a fantastic source of information. (Toot, toot!) I forget that I’ve come back from a very dark place. I’m the “been there, done that” (and still doing that) trainer. I am not here to help people try and reach unrealistic goals. I am here to help people who need to understand that it can be done, but that it takes time and no one is perfect. I do not expect to be perfect, and I do not expect to never feel negatively again. I do expect, however, to work on acknowledging what I have to offer.
I realized all of this when I was asked to reflect on what I felt I learned from this project and what I felt needed improvement. I realized that there will be a number of times when I question whether I am cut out for this or not, and there will be a number of times when I question whether I “look the part”. I am learning, slowly but surely, that there will never be a perfect coach, but there will always be perfect-for-someone coaches. So my plan is simple:
To know what I bring to the table…and use it.
(So how was that for all over the place?)