I train a lot of clients from all different backgrounds, body types, and ability levels. One day, a client of mine saw another (extremely lean, extremely fit) client and commented:
“Why is she still doing personal training? She already looks amazing!”
A few weeks later, I mentioned to a different client that I had started training a trainer – meaning one of my personal training clients is also a reputable and successful personal trainer in her own right. She was astonished, asking:
“Why would someone like that even need a trainer?”
These two questions are representative of two of my main pet-peeve misunderstandings about health and fitness in general, which are:
- (1) that once you “look” fit (or in most cases, skinny) enough, you’re done
- (2) that people who already “look” fit (or again, sigh, skinny) don’t need training
Most of the health and fitness professionals I interact with accepted long ago the idea that wellness (and weight loss, and endurance event training, and dietary changes, and whatever other process of self-betterment we specialise in helping people with) is a journey, not a destination.
So why do so many clients get hung up on the latter?
When it comes to taking care of your health, there is no “done.” You don’t get fit by sitting on your hump, so why would it make sense that to stay fit you’d get to do that?
The dirty little not-so-secret is this – not only do you never get to be done; some things actually get harder. More muscle is harder to maintain than less. Faster runners have to push harder to elevate their heart rates than slower ones. Getting smaller means you burn fewer calories and thus have to eat less. Womp womp (cue the sad violin).
Furthermore, the idea that the fitter you are, the less you need a trainer is just infuriating. Why do Olympic athletes have coaches? Why do Hollywood celebrities hire an entire team of nutritionists, trainers, and wellness coaches to keep them tip-top and red-carpet ready? In fact, the fittest, strongest, and healthiest people in the world have one thing in common: they all have coaches (or at least had a coach at the crucial tipping/development point of their personal fitness journeys).
So why in the fresh hell would you think the average Joe/Jane doesn’t “need” some help?
Granted, we all feel very passionate about the necessity of our own professions, and I’m sure there are tailors out there who would be shocked to know I always buy off the rack or hairdressers that would die to know I haven’t cut my hair in over a year. That said, I’m not talking about clothes or haircuts – I am legitimately talking about the one thing that can make or break every single day of your life, from how you feel when you wake up to how you function throughout your day to how well you sleep – your health.
And what could possibly be more priceless than taking care of THAT?
I suppose my point in all of this (as I realise I am about to go full soapbox on this entry) would be to advise all the folks working hard out there in the #fitfam to reevaluate the way you think, speak, and judge about fitness.
Refrain from entertaining the idea that fitness goals have a specific beginning and ending, and refrain even more from thinking that the only way to get between these two arbitrary points is X (whether X is Paleo, marathon running, Keto, barre method, or whatever flavour of the day is popular right now).
Try not to compliment fellow fit friends on their bodies as much as their accomplishments, and try to encourage each other to keep reaching goals (rather than saying things like, “Wow, you did a marathon – time to hit the couch for a while, huh?”).
And finally – for the sake of my profession, my clients’ investments, and the health and fitness industry at large – consider that anyone and everyone can benefit from the counsel, guidance, and programming that a licensed and certified professional can offer.
Think you eat “pretty well”? Have your food log reviewed by a registered dietitian. Got a decent workout routine but not seeing the results you want? Book a few sessions with a personal trainer to see where you can spice up your program. Been stuck in a career rut for a while but can’t figure out your next steps? A sit-down with a wellness coach may be just what you need. Seeking out help and building a network of wellness professionals is not an admission of weakness; rather, it is a commitment to building strength in the areas of your life that matter the most to your long-term success.