Someone once asked me why I became a personal trainer, and I think for me the question now is why do I remain a trainer. Lord knows that I have dealt with some very difficult situations, difficult people and odds that just seem unfair. Yet, I endure and continue to do what I do. When asked why I became a trainer, I can say it had much to do with martial arts and trying to develop as a person.
When I was young I got into martial arts, and as I grew I wanted to continue improving so I needed to figure out the best way to prepare my body. I needed to learn to lift properly, to eat, when to eat and overall what to do in order to best assure that I was getting what I needed to improve. So after a semester of lifting weights, gaining 20 lbs of muscle and fat, I signed up to be a trainer. Years later I achieved the balance I needed to perform properly: low body fat, great strength and endurance and a disciplined mindset. It took me some time to learn my body, but all that work paid off.
Back then it seemed impossible, I didn’t even know where to begin. I’ll never forget, my floor mate at the time was working as a Supervising Trainer and as my RA (Resident Assistant), and he suggested that I looked into Personal Training. I had never even really set foot in a gym, I was so accustomed to calisthenics and doing my own body weight that it was all very new to me.
Spring 2006 I started lifting, I started learning, I read the instructions on the machines, I asked the trainers, I payed close attention to people and made friends with some of the guys at the gym. I was blessed with great people who helped me growth. They were “all natural”, they ate only food and didn’t take drugs or supplements and stuck by their regimes. They knew how, when and what to eat, they knew how to lift, they lifted safely (though some very heavy) and they trained hard to get their results.
Fall 2006 I signed up to be a trainer, did a great job at the interview and got the position. Again, I was blessed, because my boss at that time had taken in some extra people, something that he didn’t do for many years after. I stayed in that gym for next 5 years; I eventually moved to Miami where I trained at the legendary Fountainebleau Miami Beach and upon returning for my Masters, went back to train at the gym again. I do training on my own now and one day I may even open my own company, but today I reflect on being that professional.
Getting certified with the right company isn’t always easy; there are other professionals who told me that what I have isn’t enough, or they devalue the nature of your experiences and knowledge. I’ve been told I don’t lift heavy enough, I don’t eat enough, I’m not big enough to be a trainer etc. Clients can be lazy, they complain, they fall down and blame you, and if they gain weight or anything happens to them while you’re training them, the opportunity for them to rest that blame on you is there.
Despite all the negative, being a trainer gave me a lot of strength and confidence when dealing with people. At this point, I can’t be stopped, I’m a professional and I can say I work hard to be what I am. Any knowledge I lack now or forgot is a page, website, conversation and college course away from bridging that gap. I choose to do what I do, I train the way I need too and I make adjustments when need be. I can tell you when I’ve gained a lb of 2 and I can pinpoint where it came from, the activities I need to do and how to recover.
When clients fall down, I work to pick them up, when they are scared and worried, I work with them to ease that burden, when they need to make a change, I help facilitate that process. Training someone isn’t about money for me, it’s about helping someone reach their best. The joy of working with someone till they get their results and teaching someone how to nurture, listen and take the best care of their body is fulfilling.
Several of my past clients have lost weight, kept the weight off, gained the weight again and then took it right back off…why ? because they learned their body, we were able to work together to build an understanding of the way their body works. I don’t do radical weight loss, I avoid gimmicks, I don’t lie to anyone about results and I don’t endorse supplements. If you’re a supplement fan, more power to you, but I refuse to do it because I feel I don’t need it. Whether my clients need it or choose to have them is their choice, but they are going to learn the value of eating and food first.
I endorse making a lifestyle change, I endorse learning your body, I endorse learning self knowledge, I endorse learning to eat and work your body in the best way possible. If i’m wrong I take responsibility and I work to make it right. David Rachel III, Trainer and Owner, once told me that you have to work yourself out of a job; At first I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the concept until some of my clients wanted to teach and become trainers and group instructors. Wow, what a feeling to have worked with someone through thick and thin and to have them strive to do the same for others.
Reader, this post goes beyond Personal Training, and I’m sure you can relate it to other aspects in your life and career. Be the best you can be at what you do, avoid judging someone else, always make yourself better, do what you need to do, regardless of what other people think, be genuinely happy to help and do the right thing, even when you’re not necessarily being paid to do it.
Damien, Stelianos, Captain, Jean Joseph, this is for you guys, you’ve taught me, you’ve inspired me and I continue to work toward creating a brighter future for all those who I work with, I’m still all natural and I’m still hungry to make a difference. Thank you…