I don’t really love telling people that I am a personal trainer. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but the term “personal trainer” seems to bring with it an uncomfortable stereotype.
I’ve played around with “wellness professional”, “fitness trainer”, and often lead with the fact that I am a yoga instructor to dissuade any images of me screaming “PUSH IT!” into a sweaty client’s face. No judgement if that’s your thing, it’s just not mine.
I’ve been confused about my place in the wellness world for a while now. On the one hand, I find movement to be healing and joyful and strive to help others experience their own movement related joy and healing. There is something about a great workout that makes me feel like I can take on the world (and lots of research to back that feeling up!). On the other hand, I dislike the part of the industry that tells me and everyone I work with we don’t measure up until we resemble some aesthetic ideal.
Sometimes I feel like a computer with faulty programming. Like my subconscious and conscious mind are constantly arguing about how Laura should feel in and about her body. This confusion has the unintended consequence of spilling over into my world view. I want to keep others from suffering the cruel effects of heart disease and diabetes, but also want them to feel comfortable in their skin exactly as they are. I want to help heal people, animals, and the planet after being educated about the power of a plant based diet, but don’t want people to feel shamed by choices they’ve made on their particular journey. The more I learn, the more I see that making positive change and being ok with one’s current position are not mutually exclusive.
It pains me to see the defeated look in a client’s eyes after a vacation weight gain. Or when people “confess” to me about how “bad” they’ve been with their routine. I will be the first one to tell them not to focus on weight or should all over themselves. I also know that if I were in their shoes I would feel similarly defeated, but also disappointed in myself for not being more evolved (textbook second arrow) .
Health to me has often felt like a tightrope walk, a concentrated all out effort to remain stable and centered. I wonder if, instead of a tightrope, it could become a balance beam, with a bit more room for error on either side. Then, maybe gradually, a plank of wood. Still requiring some dedicated attention to traverse, but no need so be so rigid doing so. Ideally, it would be a bridge. Effortless and easy, with a pleasant soft breeze….
Truly, I find that health bounces back and forth between the tightrope example and the bridge example all the time and for a variety of reasons (mostly due the sheer fact that we are human……). This requires fitness efforts to follow a similar pattern. And maybe that’s where I come in. Helping people navigate the journey as I continue on my own.
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Dear T, may your health journey always be a bridge so you can move with ease…also, I don’t think I’d trust you on a tightrope…..