One day I decided to apply for a job and chase a dream.
Scratch that. I procrastinated for 2 years because I was scared of failing. I stuck a toe in the water, but got my teeth kicked in. A year later, I carried around an application in my car for a week waiting. Waiting for confidence, the right moment, or whatever. I was just plain scared. I don’t “look” like a trainer. I’m not 20 and a size 2. But I filled out that application.
While filling it out, one of the fitness directors came over to chat with me. He took a chance on a stay at home mom with a dream. Shortly after I started teaching spin classes again, I was hired as a personal trainer. Had it not been for this initial conversation, among many other circumstances leading up to it, I would probably still be waiting. Waiting for confidence, waiting to feel like I’d “earned” the right to chase this dream.
Now I’m over a year in, and as the minions are closing out this year of school, I am stepping away from the personal training and will be continuing with only the group training. I still get to do work I love, but I will have more time for my family. It is certainly a bittersweet transition as I look back on this year and these wonderful people I am lucky enough to work with everyday.
Clients have lost weight and they’ve indeed gotten stronger. But it’s the non-scale victories that give me goosebumps, makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, and feel all the feels.
“I took down my daughter while wrestling. She got up and said, ‘Wow mom! You’re strong!'”
Transforming from “I’m not comfortable in a bathing suit” to “Look at me. Who cares? I don’t care. I work.”
Going from: “I’m nervous about trying out for the team. What if I’m not good enough?” to “Coach singled me out and said, ‘Do it like her – she’s the hardest worker here!'” grinning as she relays what coach said because she moved through the fear of the unknown and did something scary, and is excelling at it.
Chatting at the end of a spin class about how so much of fitness is not about the physical. Letting new people know that, “it’s hard at first, but keep coming back. It’s the sitting in the mental stuff and working through it. Clearing out the can’t and bringing in the CAN.” I got to watch as others spoke up about what fitness has done for them, what it means to them.
Being texted pictures with the caption: “I bought a new swimsuit and I feel amazing in it! Thank you!”
Being shown pictures with ear to ear grins instead of hiding behind the camera, or behind other people.
“Oh! I love that TRX. I can’t wait to tell my husband what I did today! That was so hard. But I did it!” – 65 year old client.
Laughing with clients when they say they hate me as they smile at me and roll their eyes. (But yet they keep coming back…)
“I can’t believe I made it through that class! You never make it easy. You tell me what I need to hear, even if I don’t like it at the time.”
“I’m signing up for my first 5k. I can’t wait!”
“I haven’t done a headstand in forever! It’s kind of scary to be upside down,” she said giggling. “But I did it!”
“I’m off of blood pressure and diabetes meds! All gone!”
“I almost walked out. It was so tough. But when you said, ‘We aren’t quitters in this room’ I knew I could do it. Thank you! I’m so glad I stuck it out!”
“It took me 12 weeks, but I can now stand up every time you do and keep up in spin! I leave here floating!”
“Can I get in an extra session with you this week? This is SO fun!”
“I just feel so good. Not only do I feel better, my clothes fit better, but I realize how bad I felt before. Four months ago, I was such a different person. And the person I am today was screaming to get out.”
Being a witness to the deep stuff that tends to happen – the hard stuff. Being thanked for doing my job. A job that enables me to witness courage, to witness determination, to witness stomping fear in the face. Being humbled by the stories of these amazingly strong people. “Today I was able to take off my own shirt without help, I’m getting stronger and my balance is better,” a client (who happens to be recovering from an accident that has her in a wheelchair) told me.
“I have hope again.”
These are just a few of the things I will never, ever forget.
I’ve been told, “I hear you in my head when I’m working out now. Ugh!”
I remember saying that to my trainer. (I still hear her screaming at me “DON’T QUIT! QUIT QUITTING ON YOURSELF!” You can check out her awesome self at DumBell Fitness!)
I know well those voices that propel us further when we just want to give up. I’m humbled and beyond grateful for the opportunity to be that voice for others, if only for this season. While my voice may be stuck in their heads, their strength, their tenacity, and their willingness to learn will forever be in mine.
Here’s to the next chapter!