If no one has told you today:
YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU are already an athlete.
YOU are amazing!
That’s not the underlying message the fitness industry is sharing on social media and in the gym, is it? Fitness industries and professionals, how they communicate with clients, and how media and corporations alter the way you see yourself have undergone a massive shift in the last 10 years. I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while … so let’s start from the beginning…
In 2007, I was planning to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician, and was sidetracked into the movement side of the wellness industry. I started my career as a personal trainer in 2008 at a small tennis club in a small suburb outside Washington, D.C. where some amazing people gave me the trust and leeway to learn how to work with humans.
Starting a few personal training clients and fitness classes each week changed my life and has given me purpose and drive and hope. But it didn’t start that way.
To be brutally honest – my deep struggles lit the fuse. I’ve opened up over the years about just how bad my eating disorder, exercise addiction and body dysmorphia had become. It was was one of the biggest reasons I became a personal trainer and I – sadly and painfully – thought I’d be able to FINALLY create a body that was good enough if I helped others get healthier and stronger.
The part that was vibrantly true then, though, and carries on today, was that I understood my clients’ experience on a personal level. I KNEW what it felt like to be uncomfortable in my skin, terrified about food and desperate for change.
I moved to San Jose in 2010, and – tired of just counting to 10 reps over and over – I grew from basic “personal training” to working with clients who were dealing with injuries, old messages and bigger goals of changing their lives. I found kettlebells. Found out what I was capable of as an athlete. Found out that “harder” doesn’t mean “better.” and was catapulted into running my own business of training humans that seemed to trust me with more than just their fitness routines.
But the bulimia and exercise addiction that plagued me hadn’t moved much, and had started to be compounded by insomnia, migraines and severe pain in my neck and arm. After I moved to Madison in 2013 and opened my first brick and mortar yoga and personal training studio in 2014, I finally came to grips with a fact that changed everything : no amount of dieting or exercise will fully heal deep, personal wounds.
So I started changing MY approach to wellness, and I met people who taught me that chronic pain, anxiety and disordered eating isn’t a life sentence, and that the human brain is capable of incredible changes.
I ended my career as a “personal trainer” and fitness junkie and began my life as a coach and real human in 2015. I started showing up more authentically with myself and with people — walking with them as we face our lives, struggles and bodies with intense strength and hope. It’s changed my life and challenged my career, but it’s opened the door to having a staff of former personal trainers-turned-coaches who love people and their vulnerable, brilliant bodies and hearts as much as I do.
We’re here – as holistic personal trainers or coaches or whatever we are – to tell you this:
YOU’RE AMAZING. YOU’RE DOING GREAT. KEEP GOING.
And if you’re confused by the fitness industry and by the personal training industry … so are we. Part 2 coming next week: The Fitness Industry’s Story.