This article is going to veer away from the informative ones we usually run at the PTDC. It’s a much more personal piece from me that I usually don’t write. It’s my thoughts so probably isn’t organized in a fluid manner because, as anybody who knows me will attest to, my mind jumps all over the place. That having been said, enjoy and please do share your own story below in the comments.
Where did you come from?
I just purged my apartment. It was the first time I had gone through all of my old files since University. Enough was enough and I needed to get rid of the stuff.
Just then nostalgia kicked in and I had to sit down and reflect on my journey and what it’s meant to me. Over the past 3 months I’ve probably been asked by 20 coaches from around the World what got me into fitness or what my personal story was. They all wanted to know what drove a successful personal trainer to do the insane thing of attempting to set up an international resource on the internet who knows nothing about web design, blogging, or social networking.
Why in the hell did I decide to devote the time and money it’s already taken and will continue to take?
I brushed off every question, maybe I was embarrassed or maybe I thought it wasn’t special enough for anybody else to care.
I just knew it was something that had to be done was always my response. No resources like the PTDC exist. The amazing coaches were present and not mobilized. So, after going through my memento’s I started to realize why people would care about my story.
So why should you care?
It’s not because I overcame any huge barriers. I was never overweight, I have an amazing loving and supportive family, my friends are always there for me, and I’ve never been stressed for cash.
It’s because I’m a normal human being and live a normal life. Like many others I’ve always struggled with insecurity and self-doubt. High school was tough on me and testing was never my forte. I still remember getting 61% in my grade 11 business class to go along with my 57% law grade. I also never felt comfortable starting conversations with women while some of my friends seem to do it flawlessly. All normal issues!
I was small (and still am). Sports were my outlet but, as much as I hate to admit it, I was terrible. I just loved to move so kept at it. Day in and day out I would practice my hockey shot in the driveway or pitch a hardball against our house sometimes breaking windows (sorry Mom and Dad).
My first gym
To combat being small ~5″4 and 115lbs I joined the local YMCA at 15 years of age. I can’t imagine what I was feeling the first couple times.
or all of the above. All that I can remember is staying in the area with the 2.5-15lbs weights and longing for the time when I could lift in the big boy zone (where the 20lbs+ dumbbells were).
For some reason I kept coming back day after day, week after week making very little progress. I made such huge gains that, at 17 years of age, I weighed in at a healthy ~117lbs entering University!
Becoming a trainer
In second year University I decided to get certified and become a personal trainer. Like many starting out I had no clue what I doing but at least I weighed a solid 120lbs!!!
The most important thing that came out of 30+ hours/week working at the gym for 3 years was the mentors. Some of the smartest people I know worked out at that gym. From bodybuilders to professors to everything in between they let me pick their brain. After second year I weighed in at 140lbs and started to become more comfortable in my own body.
I realized early on how important it is to have amazing mentors (the walking textbooks)
What’s my point
I wrote out my story in a lot more detail in my book due out at the end of the year. It’s where I detail the difficulties / struggles I encountered and what helped me to overcome them. I feel that by educating future generations about our own journeys they can avoid the same mistakes and be shown the right direction earlier on.
In addition I want to point out the importance of knowing yourself. Reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Vintage International)by Haruki Murakami showed me that my mindset was perfect for weightlifting. I never excelled in team sports because I had the intrinsic need to compete against myself and push my own boundaries. I don’t have any desire to compete against anybody else. In doing so, I will continually grow and evolve.
If there is one thing I want you to take home from my story it’s this:
Once you finish reading please take a couple minutes to reflect on where you came from. Write down some of your early experiences, struggles and doubts. Remember your past. By doing so you will be able to put yourself in your client’s shoes.
No matter your client’s age or demographic sit back and examine where they’re coming from in terms of exercise. If they’re new they have reservations and doubts.
If you take the time to understand their doubts you can help them through the difficult transition phase earlier and help them to increase their self-efficacy.
The best trainers are those who understand. We deal with people from all walks of life who deal with all different struggles.
- Be that mentor to the young kid who just walked into the gym
- Give your clients the leeway or support they need when they’re going through a tough time
- Provide well-researched education to your clients so they don’t get caught up in IG-nonsense.