If you’re not a natural-born leader, it can be hard to find your place in the world of fitness. But there are ways to overcome this common anxiety and build a great career.
The do you have to be ripped to be a personal trainer is a common anxiety that many people face. They feel as though they aren’t fit enough and are not qualified enough to do the job. This article will provide 6 ways for overcoming this anxiety and building a great career.
When I first began working in fitness, my young zeal was stifled by a crippling sense of uncertainty. “Perhaps I’m not fit enough to be a trainer,” this tiny voice kept saying. Fortunately, I discovered six methods for overcoming common anxiety and establishing a successful job.
I was ecstatic when I first started working as a fitness instructor.
Since middle school, when I went from being overweight and inactive to being a devoted gym-goer in order to (barely) join the volleyball team, I’d understood that fitness, weight lifting, and movement made me not just stronger, but also happier and more confident.
I couldn’t wait to assist others in experiencing the same emotions.
I wanted to motivate people to succeed in their lives and to rescue the world from the health issues they were experiencing.
But a doubt began to eat at me as soon as I started my first work, as a personal trainer at a large gym…
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Is it true that I am physically fit enough to work as a personal trainer?
My undergraduate years were spent training for marathons, teaching group fitness, lifting weights, and studying for an exercise science degree.
I have a relevant personal narrative, enthusiasm, and excitement, as well as the desire to really assist customers in changing their lives.
I seemed to possess all of the necessary qualities to be an excellent coach. However, it seemed that “all” of the trainers I worked with were in greater shape than I was.
I recall thinking to myself, “That must be why they’re receiving so many customers.”
I was suddenly filled with uncertainty and self-doubt.
What if I’m simply not physically fit enough to be a personal trainer? I questioned myself.
Of course, I’m not the only one who feels this way.
It may seem strange for a fitness coach to worry whether she’s “fit enough,” but I’ve learned through working with hundreds of clients over the years that the question “Am I fit enough?” is universal.
New mothers are under pressure to “reclaim their bodies.”
Professionals of all ages and backgrounds believe they must seem to spend their days at the gym (even though they might actually spend it behind a desk).
Why are we so fixated on the notion of being “fit enough”?
We’ve traditionally associated our self-worth with our physical appearance.
However, anxiety may be more prevalent than ever before.
Social networking sites with a lot of pictures don’t help.
Eight out of ten people who read this spend a lot of time on Facebook.
Instagram and Pinterest are used by at least 30% of us… However, the percentage is likely to be considerably greater among fitness and nutrition enthusiasts.
According to studies, spending time on social media makes us feel worse about ourselves, particularly when we compare ourselves to those who seem to be “better.”
We wonder, engulfed in this “fit enough” worry, fuelled by photos and Facebook comparisons…
Is it possible that someone would employ me as a coach?
I considered my current physical condition.
- I didn’t seem to be in great shape.
- I didn’t have a six-pack on me (okay not even close).
- I couldn’t even perform one pull-up.
- I wasn’t a bodybuilder in the traditional sense.
- My hips, legs, and buttocks appeared to be “too big.”
- My hair wasn’t styled like it belonged on the front of a fitness magazine.
Then I examined my actions.
- Is it possible that I ate too many cookies? (However, I like cookies!)
- Is it possible that I haven’t worked out enough?
- Did I do the “correct” exercises?
- Was it acceptable to eat French fries instead of salad on occasion?
- Is there such a thing as too much coffee?
And then there’s social media…
- I didn’t photograph each workout.
- I never tweeted random nutrition information (I wasn’t sure if I really knew any nutrition facts at the time).
- Because I can’t squat 200 pounds, there were no films of me doing so.
- On Instagram, I wasn’t half (or even slightly) nude.
- I didn’t include detailed, colorful collages of my weekly meal prep (all vegetables and chicken breasts #fitspiration #gymlife) in beautiful Tupperware.
- There aren’t any turmeric smoothies.
Clearly, I wasn’t cut out for a successful fitness profession.
What is really essential and relevant to your objectives?
I looked at a few job descriptions for trainers and coaches to see what they called for in order to get a sense of realism.
I discovered the following in these descriptions:
- People should be taught how to exercise correctly and safely.
- People should be coached so that they feel confident, competent, and pleased with their exercise or diet plan.
- Assist individuals in staying motivated to achieve their own fitness and health objectives.
- Create a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere.
- Assist individuals in setting and tracking personal objectives.
- Create programs that are tailored to the requirements of your customers.
All of the terms are action verbs. All techniques and abilities. Everything I could do was geared toward assisting others.
There were no words about how I felt or how I appeared. There was no mention of six-pack abs, cookie quotas, or beautiful hair.
When I took a break from worrying about my non-washboard core, I saw that I was gradually adding customers – and they were staying with me.
I have to concentrate on doing better rather than being better in order to be a successful coach.
The work requirements mentioned above are very specialized.
I needed to put my navel gazing to rest and focus on honing my coaching skills.
What qualities did individuals look for in a coach?
I paused to consider what I may be doing well, bolstered by a client list and a fledgling sense of satisfaction.
What could my customers actually be searching for, putting away preconceived notions about “fitness”?
Clients want a personal relationship.
I tried to be kind and empathic. I told them about my own difficulties and experiences to let them know they weren’t alone.
I, like my clients, sometimes find it difficult to fit in my exercises. Dessert is something I like. I’m simply too weary some days.
I shared my experiences with my clients (while remaining focused on theirs, of course) and tried to build stronger and more meaningful bonds with them.
They shared their lives as I shared mine. In reality, we were quite similar and could encourage and hold each other responsible.
We discussed our dietary choices throughout the weekend, how we were handling work and life stress, and how much sleep we were receiving.
As their coach, I felt energized, and I noticed a significant improvement in their results (as well as their emotions during sessions).
Clients want responsibility and a sense of belonging.
Giving customers the attention they need and deserve requires time and practice.
I treated each client as an individual, but I also worked with them in groups to ensure they didn’t feel alone.
There was no such thing as a little problem or hardship, and everyone was important.
We rejoiced in both large and little triumphs.
These factors seemed to be essential in the process of positive behavior modification.
Several customers even expressed their delight that I didn’t have steel abs.
Because we were in this together, they trusted me just as I was.
I finally realized I was barking up the wrong tree.
If you want to be the next Fit Mom, you may need to be “fit enough”… But it doesn’t matter if all you want to do is be a good mother to your children.
If you want to be on the cover of Outside magazine, being “fit enough” may be important… If you want to go on a walk with your family, though, it makes little difference.
If you aspire to be a fitness or nutrition star, being “fit enough” may be important… Being a competent fitness or nutrition expert, on the other hand, is not as essential.
One thing to consider is your appearance.
Another consideration is what you do for yourself and others.
Don’t confuse appearances with abilities.
Learning, practicing, and perfecting a skill set is the key to being a successful coach.
Being a good coach has nothing to do with appearance, stature, or form.
Most of us, for whatever reason, are prone to comparing ourselves to others (social media just amplifies that tendency).
We frequently feel demotivated and disheartened when we believe there is a significant difference between ourselves and the “ideal.”
When confronted with the “ideal,” becoming “better” seems so far away… and frequently unachievable.
The risk is that we just give up on our objectives for some ridiculous reason, such as “I didn’t upload a smoothie video, therefore I can’t have a coaching profession.”
Concentrate on where you want to go and what you want to accomplish instead of what you believe you’re not capable of.
No matter who you are, how you look, or what you do for a profession, spinning your wheels and obsessing about things that don’t important is a tremendous waste of ability, talents, and potential.
Make a move. Practice. Over and over again, do the correct coaching things.
Here’s what you should do next.
Are you wondering whether you’re physically fit enough?
Here are six questions to help you shift your perspective.
1. What percentage of my time do I spend on social media?
Examine how much time, effort, and attention you devote to social networking.
It has an effect on you every time you see a photo of someone who seems to have it all together, who can squat a home, or who has “perfect” kids (yeah, right).
Set a social media limit, particularly before going to bed. Those pictures may creep into your dreams, as well as how you feel when you wake up.
Also, consider the following:
How do I feel when I’ve finished scrolling through social media?
Motivated? Energized? Inspired? How do I feel about myself?
Is it possible that I’m resentful of my taco salad because the Internet ate a kale salad? Is it possible that I’m concentrating on the female deadlifting 300 pounds and forgetting that I just set a new personal best in the deadlift today?
Do I ever feel “insufficient” as a result of the Internet’s alternative reality?
2. Who, and why, are genuinely effective role models?
Who is it that assists me in my studies?
Who can assist me in resolving issues?
Who can educate me about what I wish to accomplish?
Can I learn from others who are doing what I want to do?
Are there any masterminds or programs that will help me learn more and allow me to work with role models?
There’s a difference between comparison (seeing how I stack up against someone else and concluding that I’m “not good enough”) and ambition (seeing someone who’s doing something well and figuring out how to replicate it in my own life).
I can put aside my personal emotions of value or inadequacy when I use ambition, and just approach it as an engineering problem:
What would I do if I wanted to get this result?
3. What are the opinions of my smartest and most trustworthy advisors?
My father rolled his eyes when I inquired whether I was fit enough. This question made no sense to him.
Of course, I was physically capable. For years, he had seen me strive to improve my abilities.
When I voiced my concern to a valued mentor early in my career (“What if I’m not fit enough to teach bodybuilders?? ), he replied, “The appropriate clientele will find you.”
I felt more secure and at peace after I understood I couldn’t assist everyone, but I could help the right individuals in big, significant ways.
We may get so engrossed in our own thoughts, expectations, and comparisons to others that we lose sight of what we are doing well.
We may need the assistance of a neutral observer (such as a coach) to provide us with a realistic perspective and to properly “calibrate” our own views.
4. What am I attempting to say with my emotions and thoughts?
Identifying the tales and scripts in my mind is easier when I notice and name my emotions and thoughts.
I’m wanting more strength — whether physical, mental, or emotional — and a “negative” thinking like I’ll never be able to easily knock out pull-ups like that other lady tells me I’m craving more strength.
My narrative for a long time was that my hips were too large. I’ll never be able to get over the bar.
Then it occurred to me that I might make up a new tale, such as My arms are powerful and can get stronger. I can achieve progress if I establish a goal and strive toward it.
Our emotions and ideas provide us with valuable information and influence our actions.
Consider what your mind is telling you and whether or not it is a useful tale.
5. What do I take pride in?
We have not been taught to think on our strengths, but rather to focus on all of our flaws and places where we fall short.
So here’s something more to consider:
Take a piece of paper and jot down 3 to 5 accomplishments that you are proud of.
Anything, no matter how large or little.
Every day, put this into practice.
After approximately a week, you’ll be surprised at how this alters your viewpoint.
If you share your “proud lists” with friends and family, this activity gains even greater impact.
6. What are some areas in which I can really and legitimately improve, and why?
To get beyond the sensation of not being “fit enough” (or “good enough”), it’s helpful to identify the areas where improvement will really benefit you.
Taking on the challenge of change and learning with an open, inquisitive growth mindset may really boost your confidence, happiness, and optimism.
Could you try practicing and becoming better…
- Every prospective improvement should have a compelling reason to exist.
- Rather than attempting to fulfill expectations that you think others have set for you, every possible progress should make you better from the inside out.
Consider coaching if you’re not sure how to reach where you want to go.
A coach can provide you with the objective, honest, compassionate, but direct feedback you need to feel “good enough,” but yet want to be “a little bit better” (in a healthy and sane way).
To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.
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Using social media for social comparison and feedback-seeking: gender and popularity mitigate correlations with depressed symptoms, according to Nesi and Prinstein. Journal of abnormal child psychology, vol. 43, no. 8, pp. 1427-1438, published online November 1, 2015.
Effects of perceived fitness level of exercise partner on intensity of effort. Plante TG, Madden M, Mann S, Lee G. J. Soc. Sci., vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 50-54, 2010.
Investigation of Body Comparison Among Adolescent Girls1, Schutz, H. K., Paxton, S. J., and Wertheim, E. H. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2002.tb00264.x Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32, 1906–1937.
The impact of social comparison in the influence of magazine ads on women’s mood and body dissatisfaction, Tiggemann M, McGill B. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 23, No. 1, February 1, 2004, p. 23.
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fitness Trainers & Instructors. 2015.
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Who compares and despairs? Vogel EA, Rose JP, Okdie BM, Eckles K, Franz B. The impact of a social comparison mindset on social media use and results. Individual Differences and Personality 86:249-56 on November 30, 2015.
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The what should a personal trainer look like is a common anxiety that many people have. There are 6 ways to overcome this and build a great career.
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