The three things that kill your exercise program.
Being a fitness trainer isn’t exactly a difficult job. Let’s face it: we’re paid to watch other people work out.
Okay, I’ll try not to discredit the job too much. Fitness trainers are crucial when it comes to guiding exercise, and lending the client energy he would otherwise not lend himself. We’re the extra motivational push, we hold our clients accountable, we create a process for the accomplishment of an otherwise elusive goal.
Three things that hurt the trainer-client relationship are work, injury, and illness; and negotiating around these things can be difficult and tiresome. The first time a client cancels due to a work-related issue will typically not be the last. Illness may continue to re-cur. Injury is likely a permanent end to the relationship.
Whether you are working with a trainer, and going solo at the gym, if you intend to achieve your goals, handling these three things well is crucial. I always say, if you can’t get your life under control, you won’t have your exercise regime under control. It just doesn’t work that way.
Each person is responsible for himself. If you have a job that pushes you around, disrespects your free time, coerces you into working longer and longer hours at the expense of your well-being, then you are suddenly attributing responsibility for your missed gym sessions and missed appointments to someone other than you.
I’ve had clients go through hell and back in work and still never miss an appointment. The difference? Their personal health is their priority.
Illness is a result of poor attention to one’s health: not merely coincidence or chaos. Stressed out, under-slept, over-worked, unhappy, and under-nourished people get sick more often. If you try to change your life by undertaking a fitness program and you are not able to control the factors that tend to cause illness, you are being unrealistic. Your fitness goals will contribute to your illness.
Injury–perhaps the most misunderstand of the three. Injury is less often a result of pure accident, and more often the result of a misunderstood intention. I see people get injured all the time, mostly in minor ways that go unacknowledged but ultimately set them back weeks when the compromise in their workouts is compounded. Catastrophic injuries are likely the expression of a larger desire–for an excuse, and out, a way to call attention–whether we know it or not. (It took the highly offensive opinion of a Beglian man to wake me up from the memory of my life-threatening illness, when he told me I wanted to be sick. It was the best “out” from responsibility in my life that I could will upon myself. In hindsight, he was probably right.)
I’ve also seen people push themselves so hard that they cause serious injury, or more permanent conditions that hinder and chase them for months on end. These are the people, unable to rest, unable to compromise, who are the most difficult to reason with. Time off does not compute. Injury does not register. They don’t realize that the same factors which cause illness contribute to their exercise-induced injury.
When something hurts, you monitor, test, eventually stop and rest. Recover.
When you feel sickness coming on, you stop, rest, eat, sleep, recover.
When work gets in the way, you stop, assess, re-arrange, re-prioritize, and re-approach your goals when you are ready. You do not stagger through your work week, a victim of your boss.
You are not a victim. You are responsible for yourself.