Last year around this time, I decided to register with the National Academy of Sports Medicine to become a personal trainer. I entered the world of fitness classes when I was in college; after a lifetime of taking dance classes, I transitioned into the role of a dance teacher. From there, my post-college fitness path took me into a kickboxing studio, where I developed a true love for helping people change their lives, one roundhouse kick at a time.
The decision to pursue a certification in the field means gaining a deeper understanding of the science that goes behind exercise. It was a journey that was not only fueled by the desire to help others, but to change my own body in the process.
Here are 5 things I have learned from my experience with fitness, beyond just how to squat properly…
1. Practice What You Preach
Who would have any respect for a trainer that tells you to do a minute of burpees, that can’t get through 30 seconds on their own? The “do as I say, but not as I do” is not an effective approach to inspire others to learn, grow, and succeed. When studying for my NASM exam, I selected a self-study plan… which for them means that I receive a textbook, and have 1 year to learn the material, and then pass my exam. For me, a self-study plan means that I am going to internalize the material in a way that not only allows me to regurgitate facts for a test, but in a way where I can live and breathe what I have learned. In the year that I had to take my exam, I applied the principles of functional movement to my workouts, and an understanding of basic nutrition to my diet. I not only passed my exam, but lost 10 pounds in the process.
2. Life is about balance
Yes, I love exercise. Yes, I love pizza. Why not enjoy both? But this principle goes beyond that of nutrition. My love of exercise has stemmed from the fact that both my education and my professional role in the world of social media takes place online. A typical, productive day consists with me sitting on the computer for a very, very long time. To me, that doesn’t scream “balance.” So, I began working out as a way to even out my scale of physical activity. The gym doesn’t have to be a place that is such a task to get to. Instead, it can be your place of equilibrium, where you balance out your mind and body versus the trajectory of your typical day.
3. Team work makes the dream work
As Bill Withers famously sang, we all need somebody to lean on. Working at F45 has opened my eyes to a whole new form of team work. I’ve taken plenty of fitness classes before, but have always preferred to work out on my own. To me, there’s nothing better than being in my own zone. But F45 allows you to be in your zone, surrounded by others who are in their zone, supported and encouraged by a team who has set the bar of what “the zone” is. Speaking for myself, I’ve got a very “I can do this on my own” attitude… which can propel me forwards in some ways, but in others, can hold me back. Intrinsic motivation is important, that’s what gets you started. But, the motivation that comes from a team is what helps you reach new heights.
4. If you want it, go get it
Despite what the industry of diet pills, tummy tea, and cleanses want to sell us, there is no shortcut to a healthy, fit life. In fact, there is no shortcut to any type of great success. If you want something, you have to give it everything you’ve got. If you want that promotion, work your ass off for it. If you want that A in your class, fully immerse yourself in the material. If you to be able to run a marathon, get off the couch and start training for it. There is nothing more satisfying than looking back on how far you’ve come and thinking, “I earned this.”
5. Everyone has a story
You learn a lot about people from working at a gym. Everyone’s starting point is different, whether it is on their fitness journey, or their journey in life. Keep an open mind and you can be inspired by, and learn from people who you would have never crossed paths with otherwise. Sharing a common interest, such as working out, is something that unites us. You may be surprised what else you have in common with people who can be so seemingly different from you. As a trainer, it’s a privilege when members trust you enough to give you a glimpse into their lives outside of the gym. It’s truly an incredible thing to see the benefits exercise has on people’s mind, body and soul. It’s what keeps me inspired, enthusiastic, and proud to be part of such a badass community.