What is it like to be a fitness instructor? From the outside, and especially for those who go to classes, it can seem like they have it made. They get to work on their bodies while making money, while also connecting with a wide and varied crew of people while they do it. They have epic playlists, the coolest workout gear and always seem to sport a sensational smile. One instructor weighs in on the reality.
"I’m a kinesiologist who specializes in helping people overcome their eating disorders. I help them move in a way that allows them to enter the body’s sensations without judgment. That way they can trust it instead of giving an absolute power to the mind, as they used to do with numbers and scales," begins Dominique Champagne. "I teach aerobic classes once a week and also do one-on-one personal training. The message I want to pass along is somewhat difficult to hear because it is rare that people dare to listen to their bodies."
Dominique has three truths about the industry she wants to share.
1. "People will come to you primarily based on how YOU look."
Dominique says that because she doesn't have six-pack abs or the body people are trying to get, it is sometimes difficult for her to get clients. People, plain and simple, prefer the ripped trainers.
"While I'm totally fine with that fact, it can be discouraging at times," Dominique says. "Even if I don’t follow these big fitness celebrities on Facebook, I can still see a lot of people liking these photos. Seeing those thousands of likes makes me feel like I should look and act the same way."
She is aware that this is not a part of her values, and cannot let this brutal truth get to her.
"I'm very healthy and feel amazing about my body, which is energized and strong. I'm happy with how I look, and I encourage clients to feel the same about themselves and to move their bodies at any and every size. But I also try to be realistic with them — you may never have those six-pack abs and that’s perfectly fine."
She urges her clients to understand that there is no "ideal" body, and that they need to work to be healthy as opposed to try to fit into a shape they can never achieve.
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2. "You have to be 10 times more motivated than everyone else."
Just because Dominique is a trainer, doesn't mean she doesn't go through her fair share of ups and down.
"What no one tells you about the life of a fitness instructor is that you have to be inspiring and have a lot of energy if you want people to follow your pace. There are days when my mood is lazy and my energy level is really low. On those days, it's very difficult to find a way to dig up energy in front of lots of people," she says. "I have found a solution to make this work by being as authentic as possible when I arrive. I explain to them quickly how I feel because I encourage them to feel their energy level too, and work from this place."
3. "Your relationships with your clients are 80 percent more psychological than physical."
In a lot of ways, clients look up to their trainers for their ability to motivate and inspire them, but sometimes this can open up other floodgates as well. Dominique says that many of her clients often come to her with life problems outsides of fitness. She is very aware that she is not a psychologist, but does try to be there for them as much as possible, and in whatever way she can.
"For example, one of many clients suffers from binge-eating disorder and comes to me to compensate for all of the food she eats. She wants to be thinner, but I hear a lot of deeper issues when we sit down to talk. Clients often open up to me and talk about psychological problems that I can't help with, and it makes me feel at a loss. At these times, I just try to help them focus on how they feel in their body."
What Dominique's big takeaway is is that fitness instructors are human just like everybody else.
"We all have our issues and want to be understood in a certain way. Be respectful of your trainer because they put a lot of energy into helping you achieve your goals, and sometimes they push harder just so you can get there. Try to find someone who respects your body and embraces all that you are now. Not someone who wants you to look a certain way."
Did you expect to learn these truths about a fitness instructor?
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Source: Mind Body Green