When I chose my majors for both my undergraduate and graduate studies, I never had money in mind. The same is true for personal training. I never thought about fitness being my full time job, let alone taking over my life. I just wanted to find some type of “fulfillment” in a life I no longer recognized. I went from being a driven, hustling social single parent of an active little boy to a stay at home mom in an another state with no friends of two children, one not even one years old who had just lost a desire for everything EXCEPT keep my health together. I had just come off a roller coaster of post-partum depression. We had just lost our house. My son was having problems in school. I was in foreign territory. And, I was constantly being haunted by the things I had not laid to rest. I’d like to think that me taking that minimum wage gym selling memberships at the gym was “coincidence” and me getting certified to teach yoga before I started to teach anything else was a “coincidence” and becoming a personal trainer in an all women’s gym was a coincidence was a “coincidence.” But, as I watched an episode of “Extreme Makeover: The Weight Loss Edition”, I knew I had shown up for a divine appointment and I was on both sides of the desk. That’s what makes it so personal.
If you have known me for any period of time, read my blog, heard about me then you know I am the textbook story of “big girl turned fitness advocate.” Or at least that’s the story people tell. It’s not quite that way. There is so much behind my story that hasn’t been told. There is so much pain and struggle and screaming and resistance and failure and success and triumph and guts and glory. I bring all of this to my personal training sessions. Like Chris on “Extreme Makeover”, I have wanted to pull my hair out when a client looked me in my face, screamed in my face, told me what they weren’t going to do to my face, called me a bitch to my face NOT because I felt personally responsible but because I felt personally offended and not even by the screaming and being called out of my name. How DARE you tell me what you can’t do when you haven’t even tried? How dare you tell me that I don’t get it, I don’t understand, I’ve never been there, it all comes easy to me, that I don’t know what the pressure is like, that I don’t know how strong the cravings are? YES! YES! YES, I DO!!!! That’s how I get into this in the first place! I want to scream back. I want to grab people by their collars and tell them to MAN UP and get it done. But sometimes you just don’t know how deep these behaviors go back. And I know how that feels too. That was the other part of the show that cut me deep.
I do not have the same pain as the young lady on the show. My father is alive and well, has been in my life since 6:33 p.m. on July 7, 1975. However, there are some things that I have not faced, that I have so many questions about that I wish someone would answer for me. I know what it’s like to feel abandoned. I know what it’s like to put on a persona because you are covering for your hurt. I know what it’s like to crawl up with a bag of potato chips or chocolate or alcohol or doughnuts because I felt so lonely, so misunderstood, so trapped, so confused. It always manifested as me being mean or stand offish or sensitive. I felt like a prisoner inside of my own body. Anybody who tried to get me out of it, I attacked them. I turned away from them.
Both sides of the desk.
When I come into a personal training session, I respect the fact that people are letting me in on a very personal part of their lives. I have to be mindful of that space while protecting my own space. I have to help people face their “stuff” while simultaneously going through my own “stuff” and dealing with it. Because I DO understand, because I have experienced that space, I can handle the personal-ness of the situation and not take the lashing out personal. I can also push when I know it’s fear that has my clients frozen.
Personal training isn’t something I do. It’s what I am. And it IS personal.