As I’ve mentioned before, being a personal trainer, I see a lot. I see people doing ridiculous things in the gym. I have potential clients come to me who have been doing dangerous things to lose weight. And I have had people flat out give up on themselves, only to wander back into the land of unhealthy. These kinds of things can be frustrating or even heartbreaking as a trainer. Having some knowledge in the field, I hate to see people doing things that could potentially harm them. I hate to see people putting their health at risk because they are desperate to weigh less. And I hate, hate, hate to see people give up on the reality that they can feel/look/move better. (I think this one is the worst). Then, of course, I eventually run into them and they’ve put all the weight back on and it just sucks.
Well, hasn’t this all been chipper?
The flip side of the coin is that there are some really cool things you get to experience and be a part of. Clients meeting goals, personal victories, smaller pant sizes, etc. These things literally make my day, or in some cases my week. Over the last few years, some of these have become my favorites. Here they are:
–Personal goals outside of the gym. It’s always cool when people reach fitness goals that you aren’t directly working on during their sessions. For example, I’ve had a female client for a few years now that has wanted to complete a half-marathon for quite some time. In our sessions we focused on keeping her healthy by strengthening the muscles she isn’t using while running more than the ones she is using. We focused on corrective exercises and we increased her efficiency at using oxygen through metabolic conditioning. We didn’t do any long distance running in our sessions. In fact, we didn’t do any running longer than 400 meters or so. The great thing is, all of this carried over to her running. It prevented injury and kept her feeling good. And the end of the story is she just completed her first half-marathon last Saturday!
–Random phone calls/texts. It isn’t uncommon for me to get an out-of-the-blue phone call or text from a client or past client letting me know of some goal they’ve accomplished. For example: “I’m at the store and the size 10 jeans are falling off! Even the 8’s are a bit big!” And yesterday I got a phone call from a past client just to let me know that in the last year she has dropped from a size 16 to a size 7/8. I love getting these kind of updates. They make my job even more rewarding.
–PR’s. Anytime a client gets a new PR, weather it’s a 1 rep max deadlift or max push ups, it’s a good day. The great thing is that I have clients setting these every week. It’s a great feeling to see clients getting stronger from week to week and to get excited about getting one more rep than they did the week before.
–Girls doing legit pullups. Let’s be honest, most guys can’t do more than a few pullups if they can do any any at all. And the reality is that it is much harder for a girl to be able to do one than a guy. So anytime a girl gets one, I get crazy excited. It really is no small thing. Here’s one of my clients that got a full pullup last week. The second one doesn’t count because she didn’t drop all the way way down and then she pushed off the wall with her feet. BUSTED! But, nonetheless, she got a legitimate one and that’s awesome!
–Kid clients. I have had the opportunity of working with a few kids and let me tell you, it is ridiculously fun. First off, I get to act like I’m 8 years old again. (My wife would probably wonder how that’s different from most days.) For example, yesterday I spent the afternoon calling out orders to a soldier (client) as he scaled the enemies hills (tires) and placed bombs (kettlebells) in their camps. Seriously, how fun is that? Secondly, it has made me a much better coach. When I have to break things down to an 8 or 10 year-olds level, it really forces me to strip directions down to the basics, which is better for my older clients too. It forces me to be creative in how I present things and how I set up execution of every exercise. It really has been a huge factor of growth for me. And did I mention that it’s really, really fun?
I have to be honest and say that, while this job can be frustrating and heartbreaking at times, on the whole it is incredible rewarding. The positives outweigh the negatives by a long shot. I hope you can say the same for your line of work. Because isn’t life way too short to spend 40 hours of our week doing something we don’t love?