When I accept you as a client or athlete, I accept your fight as my own. Your struggles become (in part) my struggles. Your failures and successes sit on my shoulders as well as yours. On good days and on bad, I feel the joys, frustrations, triumphs, and defeats along with you. When you and I decide to work together (and this is a mutual decision), we do so as a team and we share our strengths and tackle your challenges together. They aren’t just mine and they aren’t just yours. I provide the driving lessons, but you steer the car and it’s your foot on the gas. It takes both of us focussing in the same direction for this to work.
I try to see the whole of you and get the big picture of your life. I care about your family, career, hopes, and limitations, and all shape how I plan your workouts and what I teach you. If the balance seems off to you, it helps me a lot if you tell me.
I am not a drill sergeant. My role is more that of teacher. My job is to teach you things like how to do a Romanian deadlift, but it is also to teach you things that are essential to your success, like perseverance, resilience, working around injury, how to enjoy the feeling of working hard, how to make changes over time that add up to something substantial, and how to incorporate activity and fitness into your life. Teaching the deadlifts is the easy part.
There is a time and effort price tag attached to fitness and health. They also come with many rewards. To see the rewards, you have to put in the effort and time. There are no shortcuts for this and no miracle diets/pills/workouts. The “ten minutes a day for ripped abs” promises that you see on the internet which appear to good to be true…. yeah, they are.
The best results come from a series of changes in lifestyle that are learned gradually. The people who have the best success are the ones constantly seeking improvement and who persist even through setbacks. You know this. My job is to remind you and help you find ways to keep going.
I don’t see you as fat, out of shape, weak or any of the words you sometimes use for yourself. I see a human being who wants to improve or I wouldn’t see you in front of me in the gym at all. You hear me use words like “stronger,” “better form”, “improved nutritional habits” or “changing body shape/leaner” that you think are to reassure you but they are more than that. I am giving you new words to describe yourself. Words that will help you change your reality. You ARE stronger. You will continue to be so. You ARE changing all the time. The reality of your words will shape your future. I know this from experience. What you call yourself, you become.
I cannot care more about your success than you do. I can carry you for very short times, like on bad days, or when you need a boost, but the driving force of your health and fitness has to be your own desire to improve. My shoulders are strong but so are yours.
If you cancel sessions, I lose income, it is true, but that is actually not the first thing I think about. When you cancel sessions for reasons other than illness or disaster (I.e. family emergencies), my first thought is to worry about how you are doing and if your health is being impacted by choices you are making. I cannot make those choices for you, but part of my job is to teach you how to work through and adapt to injury, exhaustion, and stress. Part of my function is to be a stabilizing influence when careers get demanding and you need a safe place to do something that is for you and you alone. When you cancel, I worry that you are not taking care of yourself. I know that you can’t care for others or live as well if you don’t care for yourself.
My life can be coloured by your attitudes and moods. When you come into the gym after a hard day, I pick up on that. When your words are chronically negative, I hear them and have to filter them out so that they don’t stay in my own head. I am also human and I absorb that energy and have to work to dispel it. If I step under the bar to do my own training with those words in my head, the weights are heavier. When you walk into the gym and tell me that you’ve had a rough day, but are willing to work and that your fitness is important, I have a much easier job of helping both of us send that negative energy packing.
I do not ask you to work any harder than I work myself. I fight the same battles as you do in many ways. I am a mother and wife, I have a career and a house and a car that is in the shop because it needs the winter tires changed just like you. I also sweat, bleed, fight through injuries, collapse in exhaustion, and cry in frustration when I encounter obstacles. I spend hours and hours each week forcing myself to work harder and get better. I do exercises that I’m not so great at and I work hard at getting better. Wherever I am asking you to go, I have already gone and I know from experience that it’s possible.
I am a student and you are my teachers. Every one of you is unique, with unique challenges and gifts and learning how to use and work with those is my classroom. I also learn from other coaches and athletes, but the most important lessons I learn come from the challenges of helping you find success and I really enjoy the creativity of problem solving that goes into that.
When you work hard, I often carry that memory into my own training sessions. I use your positivity and success to fuel my own fire. I am immensely grateful for it. More than you can possibly know.
I enjoy my job hugely and would not want any other. You are a large part of that and I thank you.