You know guys, Personal Training is a funny old game to be in sometimes. When I first got into the industry I remember being judgemental (I was very professionally green then……. also if I am brutally honest I used to be particularly judgmental about a lot of things…….. I am embarrassed to say 🙁 … if you are a follower of this page or if you know me personally and have for a long time you will know I have made major life changes and losing the judegment [as much as is humanly possible] was one of the things I focused on changing).
An example of this judgement in a professional sense: I remember looking over at a PT (who is actually one of the best in the business) and his extremely immobile, extremely obese client and I thought, ‘Far out! I cannot believe how unconditioned the client is. I wonder how long the PT has been working with him’. I later found out he had been working with him for years. In those days I assumed in my brain that I would NEVER have a client look and move that way if he was one of mine etc etc etc…….blah blah blah B####X, B####X, B####X!
The reality of the situation was that the client had an extreme form of arthritis and a hell of a lot of other hormonal, health issues going on. The trainer spent 15 to 25 minutes stretching and mobilizing the client so that he could actually function. Without this trainers expertise and coaching this guy would hardly be able to move at all. At that time I was way under educated to be able to work with this type of client let alone make ridiculous assumptions on something I knew nothing about!
OK, so to get to my point (it is my jibber jabber after all……. don’t expect a quick lil post:) sometimes the stuff we do as PT’s is not so easy to quantify. Don’t get me wrong it is great when clients lose lots of KG’s with us, it is amazing when we increase their strength and one rep max, it is fantastic when we see people drop 3 dress sizes etc. We LOVE this and it is totally rewarding and fulfilling.
There is however, another side of PT that does not get as much attention. I guess because it is harder to show, take pictures of or write about and in all honesty, is not literally in our job description.
Generally, people will call me to ask about our services because they have had, what I term, ‘an uninvited guest’. It could come in the form of: not being able to do their jeans up, a heart attack, a cheating partner, constant, debilitating pain, a break up or divorce, being depressed, low and not feeling that they can attract a partner etc etc etc the list goes on and on.
Sometimes a client’s journey with a PT might be simply to listen to their problems, be a sympathetic and empathetic ear. This will obviously be wrapped up with some physical prescription too. The trainer might offer nutritional and supplementation advice, may prescribe workouts to do independently of the PT sessions. But, if the client is not in the right head space to receive and implement this advice all the PT can do is be a constant in that client’s life until the time they are ready (or not).
I know of many clients that have trained with us and have made major life changes by simply having the accountability of showing up at a PT session which in turn drags them out of a depression or dark space if only for 45 minutes x 2 a week. These clients may not have dropped massive amounts of KG’s or lost 5 dress sizes in these sessions but have been helped out of dark spaces by our trainers so that they can move on with their lives, find what they are looking for and feel better about themselves.
It is great to help clients create curves and toned muscles but it is also amazing to help them get their head in the right space to be able to create effective change in all other areas of their lives including the physical side. So the next time you are watching a PT session, don’t judge based on pure physicality as there may be a hell of a lot of other type of amazing coaching going on ‘behind the scenes’ to help that client get into a much better space in their life.