Gym Talk: Are Fit Pros Helpful or Hurtful?

Happy Monday fit peeps and geeks! Cause if you follow my posts, you’re bound to have a little geek in ya ;)

Today’s Gym Talk session will hit hard on a subject pretty close to me: are fitness professionals HELPFUL or are they hurtful?

Little disclaimer here….I am what is considered a fitness professional. I value my career and love that I can spend every day doing what I truly love. If you don’t know me, trust me when I say EDUCATION is the paramount of my success as a trainer, nutritionist and coach. Never stop learning…..i.e. Stay in school kids.

The thought for this post actually came along while I was in California this past Summer for the Idea World Convention. I was a guest with Blogfest (along with a couple hundred other lovely ladies…..and like one man, Hi Laird!). Idea World is the world’s largest fitness convention with a completely mind-blowing array of fit goodies, but I really went for the education. One of my first classes was a nutrition class taught by a registered dietician. Let me break this down real quick: she is an RD, I am a nutritionist. She is more highly educated and knows more than me on the subject of nutrition science. I went to soak up the knowledge :) Sadly, MANY participants acted a bit more like the old guys in the rafters on the Muppets. It was disturbing to say the least. These people travel in packs too, because they cannot defend their unrealistic views without help….any guesses as to the crowd? I’ll never tell….

At any rate, people in the audience started questioning science. Not the good kind of questioning, but the kind that was pretty clear that GOOGLE is their personal nutritionist. When the RD (Jessica Crandall for those who want to know) would answer the question professionally, she was met with theory and statements that made no sense in the nutrition science realm of things. Then, when these people were dissatisfied with her lack of agreement in their argument, they left in the middle of the class….and they did it as loudly as they can. Jessica handled the entire thing FAR better than I could have hoped to.

Another thing I noticed (since I was attending alone) was that many of these fitness “professionals” would travel in their packs and literally walk through others. Keep in mind that the convention hall with all the goodies is open to the public (or commoners as I’m sure this group refers to them). Shoulder back and sauntering, fit pros would look over the heads of those deemed less than functionally fit…..and I believe it is professionals like this that hinder progress on any level.

Even now I notice this behavior in the gym. Trainers look over their own clients and watch others. People new to working out are intimidated to ask a trainer for help. Many trainers don’t make themselves available…unless they think they can get a sale. A lot of the latter can be blamed on how large chain gyms are run, but the previous 2 depend on professionals to put their professional pants on and make a difference.

As a fitness professional, what can you do to create an environment of change, wherever you are?

  1. Maintain an approachable demeanor, especially if you’re on the clock. Make eye contact with patrons, walk up to those who seem to be struggling and ask (with no expectation of being picked up as their trainer) if you can help them with a certain machine or movement.
  2. If you are training a client, pay attention to that client….the whole time.
  3. When you’re off the clock or at a convention, resist the urge to stay comfortable with “your” people. We’re ALL people. None of actually have super powers, so stop acting like you’re better than the rest of the population.
  4. Remember that training is customer service and customer service grows through word of mouth. I have always had a wait-list due to how I treat people, not because of how I look or the demeanor I project.
  5. Get a mentor. They don’t have to live near you, but find a trainer who has been successful in this business and LEARN from them. Learn about people skills, programming, education, etc. Never stop learning.
  6. Make it a point to watch everything around you. As you walk through a convention, stand tall but don’t be intimidating. Give others the right of way for a change and expand your vision past your own 6 pack.

It’s time for fitness professionals to set a standard. I know a lot of trainers don’t turn this into a career, but for those who do it can be very rewarding. The world needs the knowledge we have. We need those in the world to be able to put food on the table.

At the end of the day, we are all PEOPLE. There is no one better than the other or with more willpower or self control……we all have something others need. Carve your path, but carve it mind fully.

BTW, big thanks to Pamela with thrivefit.com for making the convention more fun for this fellow introvert :)

Be you,

Michelle

Motivation Monday: Shifting from Neutral to Drive

Good Monday Morning!

Have you noticed that Mondays get a bad rep? I mean, just perusing my Facebook page brought to light that Mondays have it rough. To me, Monday is like a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to make changes and press ahead! How do I get to this optimistic outlook? I follow a few simple tips to keep my goals and outlook fresh and ready for refinement. This ensures that I don’t allow myself to slip into neutral and become complacent. Want to live a passionate life that’s filled with goal reaching? Read on…

It’s probably no secret that I have issues right? Hey! I mean health issue (although the jury is still out on the psychological issues!). Due to the fact that I didn’t really start to understand the implications of caring for my earthly body until a few years ago, my body seems to have a lot of pent-up anger issues and expresses them in the form of arthritis, inflammation and sciatica, among others. I learned the hard way that simply forcing my body to comply with my wants and goals did not work. The more I would fight against my body, the worse my health would get. It’s during times of flare ups that I am truly tested though. It’s pretty easy for anybody that doesn’;t deal with health issues or the battle of the lazy bones right? What happens when you have to shift?

All too often we simply shift to neutral. We allow ourselves to get down in the dumps and feel as though we’ll never make it. This can happen in the instance of injury, sickness, family emergencies and the general business of life itself. We feel as though we were doing such a great job and then WHAM! we get knocked down. It can be an uneasy and downright nasty feeling, BUT there are a few ways to press on:

  1. Realize that “life balance” is just as elusive as perfection. Nobody’s life is completely balanced all the time. We all have the same number of hours in a day and I have yet to meet the master of balancing everything. As one part of life starts to take more attention, other parts will get less. That is why knowing your true priorities is key to feeling successful. For me, I made my call to missions and my husband and kids my top priority (granted, this took me 10 years to figure out! I’m trying to help you avoid my pain). That meant that some classes and gym time had to be altered or cut altogether. Is it hard? At first, yes, but you get to be quite proficient at it after a few weeks! Prioritize and work within those boundaries.
  2. You CAN re-evaluate and re-structure goals. Who made the rule that you can’t touch a goal once it’s set???? Seriously! What if you made a goal to lose 10 pounds and met it in 2 weeks. Are you completely done with goals? I certainly hope not! Goals can be altered to fit the state of your life. I started the year with some super big goals. One was to compete. This particular goal has been re-evaluated and set aside (for now). Why? Well, if you must be so nosy :) it isn’t lining up with my core values and priorities. I am making trips to teach self-defense to trafficking victims all over the world and my training has been altered to suit THAT goal at this time. See how that works? I’ll give you another example. A few years ago I decided I wanted to leave the house and the business and go work for a LARGE chain gym. I interviewed off the charts and was offered a near 6 figure income. Pretty sweet right? Well, here’s the catch…I would have been working every weekend and over 60 hours a week. This would strip me of my #1 priority. I had to turn it down and turn my trust up a notch! I’m glad I did because shortly after we decided to home school my youngest. Give yourself permission to re-evaluate every 4-6 weeks and see what needs to be altered.
  3. Catch a glimpse of the bigger picture. If your goal happens to be weight loss, health or more money, you will find yourself disappointed more so than not. You see, we need a cause, a bigger picture, a reason so to speak. As I was focused on weight loss, I kept thinking life would be so much better after I lost weight. Well, I became OBSESSED with that goal and priority 1 was out the window. I was seeking the approval and attention of others 24/7. I was getting sick all the time and training myself to the ground. I thought it would be better once the scale cooperated.  Well, at 104 pounds lighter my finances were no better, my kids still fought and after years of trying to fit into smaller sizes the big department chains stopped carrying 0-2. I got thin when it wasn’t cool :) . The bigger picture should have been focused on the health of my family and the reason I was here on earth at all. Change your perception a bit and loosen the reigns on tangible goals. Broaden your mind ;)

By taking the time to set your goals and priorities into alignment, you’ll create a successful life. After all, balance is totally overrated!

 

Michelle