When I completed my personal trainer certification over 10 years ago, I could never have imagined the equal measures of joy and pain being a trainer would provide me. The joys were obvious: helping people reach their physical goals and live stronger, happier and healthier lives. These are the same perks most trainers cite when asked about why they love their profession, and while perhaps cliched, the reasons are nevertheless true.
The downsides of the job are far less vocalized, and far more varied from trainer to trainer. Some trainers are exhausted by the hustle to build their client list. Others live for it. Some trainers enjoy the crazy hours, that also allow flexibility. Others aim to cultivate a more stable, structured schedule. But these reasons are easy to fix: as you gain a good reputation and experience, your client list grows and have more freedom to create your own hours.
The one less than ideal aspect of being a personal trainer that people don’t talk about is that it can be emotionally exhausting. Most trainers get into the industry because they genuinely want to help people. A lot. And sometimes, no matter how much good advice we give, and no matter how many incredible, tailored programs we design, we cannot help people reach their goals. Investing in a personal trainer will not automatically translate to success, any more than buying a Le Creuset skillet makes you Mario Batali. When people walk away from from each session, they have to take the lessons they’ve learned and the guidance they’ve been given and apply it to their day-to-day life.
And this, in my experience, is something that almost everyone can do---but not for long. For people who don’t know me, I’m Hollay--BodyRock Content Manager. I stepped away from training full-time a few years ago, and the distance gave me clarity about the one thing ALL of my clients who didn’t get the results they wanted had in common: a chronic lack of patience.
Patience is the one thing you need to reach your fit goals. More than that initiation push, more than money for sessions and gear, you need to be patient AF. If you can chill out and embrace the grind that is long-term training, then you stand a good chance of being successful.
Losing fat and gaining lean muscle mass takes time. For some of us, it will take longer than others. Genetics plays a huge role in how fast we burn fat and build muscle. Fat loss at a healthy rate of half a pound to a pound a week is ideal, which means if it could take you 10 months to lose 20 lbs. This is a far cry from programs and diets that promise you can lose this amount in a month. Unless you have a shit ton of weight to lose and have really been overeating, you are unlikely to lose that amount of weight in a short amount of time.
What’s more, as an off-shoot of being patient, you also have to be open to the fact that you may need to change your approach as you go, tweaking your macronutrient intake or sleep schedule, or, if you’re intermittent fasting, playing with your feeding and fasting windows until you find the right fit for your life.
Example: You may discover your body responds better to a certain combination of training over another. Perhaps you have to up your tricep training to two days of targeted work a week instead of one to get your tris to pop. Maybe you need to reduce your cardio-only training days to two days a week instead of three, and load up with resistance for an intense HIIT session instead. Point is, any two bodies can respond differently to the same type of training. Give any new program or routine at least a couple months to gauge results before you decide it’s not working. Don’t throw in the towel because you haven’t seen results in two weeks, because if you’re doing it right (i.e. healthfully) you probably won’t.
Focus on the Feels
Instead of focussing on physically measurable results in the first few weeks, focus on how you feel. Are you energized? Sleeping better? Happier, despite not being able to get off the toilet after leg day? Do you feel more confident and stronger? Then keep going. You’ll see this feel-focussed attitude everyday in our Insiders Group on Facebook.
This group is where BodyRockers come to talk shop, ask questions and get support from BodyRock Trainers and other members of our #FitFam. People talk about how the amazing way they feel is a main motivator in continuing their commitment to healthy eating and regular training. These good vibes are what makes being patient, easy, because this pay-off is almost immediate. You don’t have to wait months to feel the incredible results of a cleaner diet and solid HIIT workout: that happens right away.
However, if you’re on the newest fad diet and are feeling like a bag of crushed ass after a couple of weeks, then maybe it’s time to reconsider. Discomfort with change is natural, so is frustration. Forgoing your usual 2pm pastry for some grapes and raw almonds make you feel irritable at first, but soon, choosing a healthier snack will feel natural, and you’ll feel better for it. However, feeling constantly hungry, sick and nauseated is not normal.
You know you best. Look deep when you want to give up: you’ll know when it’s because it’s not working and when it’s because you’re not letting it work.
Have questions about your training or diet? Join our Insiders Group. Or, if you’re in it, stop lurking and start speaking up. The Insiders Group is a safe, supportive environment and tapping into the strength and knowledge of this community can be the difference between crushing a goal and letting it crush you.