The Benefits of Personal Training - On The Flip Side
Clients Aren't The Only Ones Who Benefit...
For anyone who has made the decision to start working out, or to go back to the gym - good for you! You have taken the first step on an important journey - one that will influence not only the length of your life, but the quality of the time you have been granted. But even after this decision is made, some people require some additional motivation. As a personal trainer, it has been my job to motivate clients, and design training programs for them that will safely and effectively help them to achieve their fitness goals. For clients, the benefits of personal training are pretty clear: motivation, accountability, implementation of an exercise program that is safe and effective. All followed by the health benefits that regular physical activity can provide: improved circulation, improved pulmonary function, decrease in fat, increase of muscle, improvement and maintenance of metabolism, achievement and maintenance of a healthy weight - the list goes on and on. But what people probably don't see, is what the trainer and fitness staff get out of it - besides payment.
Sometimes I've felt that the Fitness profession is perceived as a joke. That people see trainers and think that they don't really work, that their jobs are easy, and that they are just coasting through life. What they may not realize is that, while there may be some trainers that fit that bill, most of us are EXTREMELY passionate about our job. In regard to myself and those like me, some may be surprised to know a little more about what we do. While Fitness is an industry whose success relies heavily on the dedication of the customer, there are a great deal of skills and an insurmountable amount of education necessary for those who choose to work in this field.
Firstly, it is NOT an easy job. In order to keep food on our tables, clients need to see results! They need to feel better, look better, have more confidence - and trainers, must see to it that these needs are met. Each client is assessed and, based on their fitness level, and the trainer must design a program that is safe, effective, and challenging in all the right places. They must consider injuries and ailments. They must be made aware of medical conditions and whether or not our clients are on medication. Then they must be aware of the side effects of those medications and what that means for their exercise plan. They must achieve sales quotas, and work their schedules around their clients' schedules, and also keep abreast of all new information in an industry that is ever changing and constantly coming out with "new" and "improved" methods, equipment, and studies. If they lose a client, or when clients cancel, postpone or go on vacation, and their payment schedule is thrown off, or if clients pay later than expected - trainers can suffer financial ramifications that range from minor to very severe. They don't get paid to stand around the gym and look pretty - we get paid to train. Not training? Not getting paid. So why do it?
The most important part of my job, the thing that has kept me coming back to do it day after day even when I know how much easier life would be with a regular 9 to 5, is the clientele. I don't just see clients as paying for a service I provide. I see people who have placed a great deal of trust in me. I see people who - just by showing up - contribute as much to me as I do to them. When you make the decision to get to the gym, and/or hire a trainer, that says to me that you have reached a very important point in your life. You want to do something now that is going to effect everything else in your world - you want to get healthy. This is not something that is taken lightly. As a member of the fitness staff, and also - for some - as a personal trainer, I get to be a part of your transformation. I get to witness your joy at being able to fit into those jeans you haven't worn in years, sure...but I also get to witness your joy at being able to play with your children the way you have wanted to since they were born. Or, in some cases, I get to witness your joy at being able to have a child at all. I was there when a client of mine was thrilled about having had her waist go below 30 inches for the time in as many years. I was there when another client realized that even though he was above the age of 60, he could still walk on a treadmill a lot longer than he thought he'd ever be able to. I was there when an osteoporitic client of mine who had used a cane when she met me came in ecstatic. She couldn't wait to tell me that in addition to not having needed the cane for quite some time, she was now also able to garden for 10 hours without any pain; and her bone density had increased by 12%. I have had people in classes I've taught thank me for saving their lives. I've witnessed the joy and gratitude experienced when recovery from surgery goes much more easily than that person anticipated. There is not much that is more rewarding than being a part of these moments in people's lives.
I look forward to seeing each and every client, each and every member, every day. How many people get to say that they want to see everyone they work with? Each of my clients has contributed so much to my life. They laugh with me, they vent to me, they tell me stories of their lives, share memories and sometimes even cry to me. They become my family - people I think about even when I am not with them, and people that I always want to see happy and succeeding. Perhaps I am just blessed, perhaps my clientele is a rare breed. But truth be told, as I work in more places and meet more of my colleagues, I am inclined to think that the reason I have had such great experiences, is that I work hard to get people where they want to go and genuinely care for them as they do for me. I have known many trainers and instructors as the years have passed, and have been awed by almost every single one of them. They are all intelligent, caring, witty, exceptional people, whose relationships with their clients, I believe, are probably very similar to my relationships with mine.
Nowadays, I train fewer clients as I have taken on management roles in Fitness. But this has provided me with the opportunity to be the person who helps those new trainers hone their skills, and appreciate even more the important tasks they have ahead of them. I have had the privilege of meeting gym and studio owners who have inspired, guided, and nurtured me; and shown me how best to communicate the importance of our mission to staff and members alike. I've loved being the architect that designs the better life for those who are looking to improve it. In the end, I believe that while I may have helped people along the way, I'm the one who has benefited the most from being in this industry. And I'm grateful for it every day.