It sounds incredible to say this but, as I write this, I have been a physical trainer now for 11 years and I have been specialising in online training for 5 of those years. Its been an amazing time for me professionally and personally.
When I look back over that time, its mind-blowing just how much things have changed in such a relatively short space of time. From the big, world-changing events weve seen through to the smaller, but equally important life experiences weve all been part of. Time really does fly when youre having fun!
Over this time, certainly in the health and fitness arena, Im never anything other than amazed in how things have shifted from one extreme to the other. When I first got into it, fitness wasnt cool. It was more about lad culture; getting drunk, eating whatever you want, revelling in the carefree attitudes that the new millennium brought us.
I dont think anyone I knew actually went to the gym, not that theyd admit to it even if they did. They might have had memberships, but few would openly admit to going to the gym as a conscious life choice. It was something theyd refrain from openly promoting about themselves.
At that time, I distinctly remember telling a girlfriends family that I was a personal trainer. They didnt even know what that was. Personal training was seen as a luxury and sessions devoted to you and your own personal fitness were hard to visualise and even harder to come by. Thankfully, times have changed and Im incredibly proud of playing a small part in that cultural shift.
Nowadays, it seems that every person on social media, especially Instagram, seems to be a body transformation coach, or a healthy-eating master chef. Im not hating on them, far from it. I am one of those people too. The more the merrier I say, but not everyone who can write a profile is capable of inspiring you to life-changing and life-affirming physical transformations. We might have come a long way, but sometimes you need to work your way through the noise to find the one that rings the right bell.
Its important to stress that getting into shape yourself doesnt mean you are suitable to help others. Its definitely admirable, but not necessarily appropriate or achievable. If you did a First Aid course for example, its useful sure, but it doesnt make you a Doctor.
To get yourself into shape once and the ability to help hundreds of others people get into shape are not one and the same. It takes time and real effort, both physical and mental, to understand the intricacies of the human anatomy. To work with them to make sure their goals are achievable in the time they have. More over, it takes a real understanding of people to be able to help them. Not everyone is the same and the differences in their lifestyle is just as important as the differences in their abilities.
It would be lovely to think helping people achieve their goals is as simple and straightforward as it sounds, but its just not the case. For every success story, there may be failures. For every gleeful pound lost, there might be demotivating pound gained somewhere else. You have to be there for those who are struggling, just as much as the success stories, often even more so.
Understanding what works isnt as transparent as doing it yourself. If youre going to pass yourself off as a fitness expert, you need to be one and thats the hard part. Its easier said than done.
Ive been a physical trainer for over a decade and that time has taught me more about fitness than any text book or online course ever could. Exercise isnt about social media profiles and big promises, its about hard work, real effort and time.