The Fine Line Between Inspiration and Frustration
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Recently I shared the following article on my Facebook page:

7 Things Personal Trainers Do You Wish They Would Stop

I try not to take myself too seriously. When I originally read the article I chuckled because I am guilty of most of them (except for numbers 3 and 7). In fact my clients say number 4 to me all the time…

YOU make it look SO easy.

My standard response is “because I’ve had more practice” and I move on. It wasn’t until I thought about it more, after the Facebook responses rolled in, that I honestly started to get a little annoyed.

I feel that I am between a rock and hard place. On one hand, if I make a new exercise look hard, new clients might go running out of the gym. How would it look or feel if the expert you’ve hired is struggling to complete the exercise? That’s why I plan workouts in advance and never introduce a new exercise until I’ve had a chance to test it out several times myself. I HAVE had more practice. I have to make it look easy so you don’t start doubting my ability or yours.

On the other hand, I can image how intimidating some of the exercises that I consider basic may look to someone just starting a fitness journey. I can remember how scared I was walking into the weight room for the first time. If someone had asked me to do a push press or an inverted row during my first months in the gym I would have thought them crazy too.

The same thing applies to food choices. The other day a client made a comment about how on my birthday I probably celebrated with hummus and vegetables. I LIKE hummus and vegetables so that doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me. So why did the tone of it sound more like an insult? I shared with the client my love of hummus but in reality on my birthday last year I celebrated with homemade ice cream.

I practice what I preach because it makes me feel good. I follow the 80/20 rule that I also encourage my clients to follow. If I didn’t, how incredibly unprofessional and, frankly, annoying that would be? If I was one of those people blessed with a metabolism that would let them eat a pizza every day and not gain an ounce how inspirational would that be?  I stay accountable to my food quantity just like I ask my clients to do.

Here is the disconnect. They (and you) get to see me today – many many years down the road. Most of you never knew the BEFORE. Even if you did you know me back then you probably never knew my struggles. You never saw how hard it was to give up Diet Coke or to learn to cook something other than pasta or a grilled cheese sandwiches. You never saw me in the gym trying to figure out a how a Smith Machine worked or reading a magazine while I slowly pedaled away on the recumbent bike. It’s not fair to you (or me) to compare your habits and skills to those of your personal trainer. I’ve worked for years to build a fit life. I am still a work in progress, but I have indeed had a lot more practice.

You should compare yourself to no one other than yourself but I also want to set a good example. I want to push you out of your comfort zone but in a setting where you feel like you are in good hands. I want you to have that strong and capable feeling that comes from mastering a new skill or solving a problem. I want to be inspirational, not frustrating. How do I do this?

How can I (and all personal trainers) inspire you without making you feel frustrated?

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