5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Personal Training
By Cody Osborn (Langley Personal Trainer)
1. It’s important to be ok with the idea of not knowing everything.
It can be intimidating to be the one person who is expected to help change people’s lives even though we ourselves may not have absolutely everything together. It is true that our clients put a tremendous amount of faith in us and highly respect our opinions. As flattering as that is, it can be refreshing for your client to know that along your fitness journey, you went through similar trials and even to this day are still trying to figure out the best ways to reach your own goals. A vulnerable trainer is an empathetic trainer, and as many of us may have learned in our studies of becoming a personal trainer, empathy is one the single most powerful qualities a personal trainer can hold. If a client asks you a question, don’t pretend you know the answer and double down on that improper technique. Perhaps make a modification for that day and say “I don’t have the answer right now, but I am going to look into this for the both of us”.
2. It may seem cool to be the lone wolf in the gym, but you are making life 1000 times more difficult when you shut other trainers/ members out.
It’s interesting that at some point in our life we’ll preach about how important a sense of community is in a gym environment. Yet, when it comes to fitness professionals, it’s so common to see us tear each other down and find faults in one another. We tend to think in terms of scarcity, as though another trainer succeeding will somehow make our success more difficult. What’s often forgotten is that 2 minds working together can help get you to your goals twice as fast. Increase that number and you would be surprised at how fast things can turn around. However, if you have an unhealthy level of competition among your peers and coworkers, you may end up bringing them down. Once you come to the understanding that people in that environment are likely there with the same positive intentions and goals as you, it becomes much easier to see them as friends rather then rivals.
3. The energy in your voice and your interactions matter and don’t go unnoticed
If you had nothing but your positive attitude and intention to help others, you would still be miles above those who have the knowledge but don’t carry the intention to care. Now of course as trainers and fitness professionals, we are fortunate enough to have the knowledge and experience to back this up, but I know when I started training people I used to see how experienced others trainers were and think that in comparison I had absolutely nothing to offer. It’s a common feeling among trainers known as ‘imposter syndrome’ and it allows us to get in our own head and feel as though we don’t belong or have anything of value to add. Like I mentioned, if you carry your energy and your intention to help others, along with the intention to ask questions and constantly get better you have a lot of value to add. Even if a client can see that you don’t know everything, they can appreciate that you care enough to learn more for them. And that carries more weight than anything else will. When a client feels supported, it lets them know that you’re in their corner cheering them on and that you’re with them in their struggles. This never goes unnoticed and will support you in all your efforts as a personal trainer.
4. There is no right way to train someone. There are methods that will assist you in your success but as a whole there are endless ways to move your body and as trainers, we are afforded the privilege to share this knowledge and passion with others.
It’s easy to listen to a podcast, get really into a training style, and prescribe it to all our clients and friends. That’s called passion and it’s a beautiful thing. However, out of mental convenience we sometimes find ourselves stuck in old ways and never willing to expand on these ideas. In fact, we will make a genuine attempt to dismiss others perspectives so we can create our own echo chamber of fitness knowledge and practices. There are so many amazing communities within the fitness community. Get familiar with all of them and find valuable things that each perspective can teach you.
5. You are valuable and deserve to be treated as such
We are trying to promote healthy balanced lives in our clients but we tend to think that doesn’t apply to us. Many trainers came from an athletic/competitive background so the tendency to overwork ourselves and be as busy as possible is very real. Regardless of what background you came from though we all care about our clients and as human beings we all want to strive to be as successful as we can be. This can lead to opening up crazy availability in our schedule to accommodate to as many clients as possible and often taking on more than we can handle. That along with many other ambitions and goals without room for proper physical or mental recovery can lead to what I’ve been referring to as “trainer burnout”. We want to prove ourselves to our managers and our peers by having that go-getter attitude and we know nobody wants to hear our excuses so we put our head down, plow forward, and pretend like we have absolutely everything together. Managers eat it up, your peers admire you for it and some even aspire to be like you but underneath you’re one bad sleep away from collapsing into another mental breakdown. You start to notice that no matter how hard you work, your enthusiasm and energy you prided yourself on is just non existent. Your lifts suffer, your ability to be present suffers, and you constantly feel overwhelmed. You’ve made everyone else in your life a priority at the expense of yourself. Now you can’t even do what you intended to do from the beginning which was change others lives and give them your best because your best no longer exists. It’s some 40% of yourself that you’ve settled for because hey at least it’s better than letting others down. You matter. You always will matter. To your clients, family, and friends you matter more than you could know. Ideally you set the way you’d like to be treated from day one and set realistic limitations with your clients and yourself. Most likely though if you’re reading this and it happened to resonate deeply with you, then you’ve probably already dug your hole pretty deep. At this point you need to have those uncomfortable talks with your clients, friends and managers. Let them know that you are a priority and that you need to achieve a level of balance that resembles what you would inspire your clients to achieve. People are much more understanding than you would think and you may just be surprised at how accommodating they can be
- Sourdough bread
- Cherry tomatoes
- Bocconcini cheese
- Olive oil
- Oregano and basil for final touches
- Preheating oven to broil and place your slices of sour dough onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prep your ingredients by sautéing your tomatoes on the stovetop for around 3- 5 minutes.
- Assemble time- spread marinara sauce and place sliced bocconcini cheese, pepperoni, and cherry tomatoes overtop
- Place the baking sheet under the broiler in the oven for about 2-5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
- Finish with some oregano, fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!