We’ve heard the complaints: Personal Trainers are evil! They are mean, bossy, and pushy! They’ve never been overweight so how could they know how we feel and what we go through?
There might be personal trainers who fit these descriptions, but from what I’ve noticed; a number of people who have a dislike for personal trainers and their profession, have all failed at successfully losing weight or achieving any significant fitness goal.
We need to be honest; personal trainers are there to challenge their clients mentally and physically. They are not there to babysit us or do the work for us. I’ve had personal trainers in the past, some were great, some were a waste of my time. What I liked about having a personal trainer was the accountability that came along with having someone design a program for me with the expectation that I would follow it during the week until our next one-on-one session.
If I had to guess why some personal trainers develop a lack of sympathy or compassion for overweight and out of shape clients it is because they’ve heard every excuse possible from people who don’t want to do the difficult work of changing their habits and routines. I hate exercising and any time I’ve paid for personal training services I’ve informed the gym staff to pair me with someone who has a lot of patience for an overweight out of shape crybaby like me.
I do as I’m told to, but I don’t do so quietly. I’m that woman at the gym who sometimes mumbles swear words under her breath and looks as if I am ready to roll over and die while engaging in exercise I’ve deemed “too hard” for me. Yup, I tremble, sweat, and swear. I’m never quite sure which is worse, the grunting weight lifter, or me the whimpering, mumbling, shaking lady who creates a backlog of annoyed lifters as they wait for me to finish.
There is a new show in on A&E as of January 2016 called Fit To Fat To Fit. The purpose of the show is to help personal trainers experience what it’s like to be overweight and have to lose weight. It is meant to help trainers develop more understanding and compassion for what their clients have to go through. According to A&E, this show is “A ground breaking new series that follows personal fitness trainers from across the country as they undertake the most extreme weight-loss experiment ever: by forcing themselves to gain weight, they aim to better understand the struggles of their obese clients as they lose the weight together.”
Listen and learn. Don’t let your stubbornness, ego, and pride ever prevent you from achieving a necessary and important goal in life.
A trainer shouldn’t need to have been formerly overweight in order to help clients. People who have never had a trainer don’t want to accept the fact that we, the clients, still have to do the work. It’s uncomfortable having someone tell you what to do and how to do it, but personal trainers are teachers and we are the students.
As I continue to focus on my One Word for 2016, grace, I am reminded to have grace towards people who don’t understand the struggle of weight loss. I can’t expect people to know what it’s like to have to develop a new way of thinking, eating, and moving if they have never been obese. With grace I am able to decrease my feelings of anger and frustration that occur every time someone makes an oversimplified suggestion or assumption about ways to loose weight.
Grace allows me to not focus on personal trainers who haven’t yet arrived at a place of compassion or for those who have become tired of hearing repeated excuses from clients. Grace means not being hard on myself when I have skipped a session or didn’t stick to the workout schedule for the week. Grace means not being discouraged when the scale or a measuring instrument doesn’t reflect the numbers I want to see.
Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle or run further and quicker, grace needs to be included in your transformation. Kindness and compassion towards yourself and your body will keep you going unlike self-punishment which never leads you to a place of healthiness.