I have been blessed to walk alongside hundreds of individuals in the last seven years of personal training. I have witness and coached through some AMAZING transformations and have even detailed many stories on my website for “Transformation Tuesday.” I have designed a book of over 50 before and after shots that are absolutely jaw-dropping incredible. (I don’t share many of these pictures due to confidentiality) And that was just from Anytime Fitness!! I’m currently working on collecting all my before and after shots from T.T. OH man! I will have at least 50 more incredible before and after photos from the last three years of starting the biz. #Hadtobrag
However, I wanted to shed some light on the types of people I haven’t been able to help. Not all of the people that cross my path get the results they were hoping for. Trainer’s don’t typically post about their “unsuccessful” stories, but I want people to know what they are up against if they truly want to change their lifestyle. Here are some examples of circumstances that have made me scratch my head, do endless hours of research and look to God for answers:
1) Hypothyroidism: This is a TOUGH one! Hypothyroidism means the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. The main purpose of the thyroid is to control your metabolism. Metabolism is the sum total of all the chemical reactions in the body. Hypothyroidism can negatively affect your metabolic rate (The speed at which your body digests food) the chemistry of your body is a quite a complex thing. Metabolism doesn’t occur in the body alone, and it has been proven that how you FEEL can greatly affect your metabolism. Long story short, (I could go on and on) if you have a screwed up thyroid, you will have a screwed up metabolism.
Now let’s make one thing very clear: If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, all hope is not lost! There are many ways to combat this diagnosis. Here are some of the most important things I have witnessed:
A) Get your meds regulated. This may happen right away, or it may be a trial and error process. I have seen a client have an incredible energy/workout day on a good med day. Then the next day, if a pill is missed or the dosage is off, it’s like a bus hit them. Not only that, the weight can fluctuate… and it unfortunately can fluctuate a lot. It’s important to find a wise doctor and follow their orders.
B) Proper nutrition: You should be eating certain foods based on this diagnosis and also completely abstaining from certain foods. (I help coach people through this) If you do not get serious about your nutrition, you are going to have a REALLY hard time meeting your goals.
C) Weight training: I’m going to give it to you straight: You are going to have to work 10x harder than the average Joe to get the results you want. That is the unfortunate part of this diagnosis. You have to come to grips with the fact you have an uncooperative metabolism and it is going to take TIME (a lot of time) to reach your goals. You MUST stay consistent. I have coached thyroid trainees who have started to get results and because the results are so minimal, or it takes so much time, they give up all together. Don’t do that!!! Rise above your circumstances and start going to battle for your health. I have been able to help about 50% of hypothyroid trainees reach their weight training goals. (Specifically weight loss goals) Will you be the one that refuses to give up?
2) Food Addiction/Disorder: This is a sensitive subject, but one that needs to be addressed. A food addiction can come in all shapes and sizes: Binge and purge, anorexia, bulimia, sugar addiction, emotional eating, alcoholism, body shaming etc.
These are all psychological conditions characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. Believe it or not, I have trained ALL of these types of people. Many times, I have no idea they are struggling with a food addiction until we are a few months into training or even (in one case) a year into training. With many trainers (myself included) we are not trained in this category. Meaning: I don’t have my degree in psychology nor do I want to pretend I have one. The WORST thing a trainer can do is claim to be something they are not. I have gotten much, much better at recognizing certain behavioral patterns if someone has an eating disorder. This is why God has blessed me with meeting these people to train. It has given me practice to better understand how to properly coach these individuals. Now that I am more aware of certain behavioral patterns, I can refer them off to a specialist, dietician or nutrition psychologist. I do not think it is right to train someone who is not actively seeking counseling. I have only helped (maybe) 10% of food addicts meet their goals. Although, the cool thing is: I’ve found out that once a food addict starts taking a hold of their condition, their goal(s) change. They no longer want to lose weight, or get into a certain size pants. They want to train to help their mood or their stress or improve their range of motion or their heart health etc. I am so encouraged when I see this and I can still play a part in their wellness journey! Personal training is SO much more than just a number on a scale my friends! If you are struggling with an eating disorder, please seek professional guidance before meeting with a personal trainer. Final note: If you think you have a food addiction, don’t let this define you or shame you. I struggled with sugar for SO many years. Tell a trust-worthy soul and begin your recovery program. Xo
3) Over-dependency: I have a lot of fitness consults with people who decide to hire a trainer because they need someone to push them, or they need accountability or motivation or whatever it may be. That’s my job and I LOVE IT soooo much!!! However, if I ask the question: “What are you currently doing for exercise?” And I get the response: “Nothing.” I get a little nervous. A personal trainer, nutritionist, therapist, friend etc. should not be the cure-all for the mental, physical, or emotional goals you are trying to meet. Ideally, a personal trainer (or any other wellness professional) should be an add-on to what you are already doing to try and better yourself. It’s not a bad thing if you were sedentary before meeting a personal trainer. I’ve met people who have been idle due to previous injury, cancer, depression, crazy-busy work schedule, new baby etc.. That’s ok! Deciding to get moving again and reaching out to someone for help is a BIG step. I’m proud of you for doing that!!! And thank you for those of you who trusted me to be your coach. It means the world. But I want to lovingly warm you -based on what I have seen in the past- If you want to make this a true lifestyle change: you must begin exercising on your own. Every week. This is one of the many reasons I give write ups along with the one-on-one training! I want my trainees to get in the habit of creating their own routines, building their own cardio programs, and eating healthy without me constantly checking up on them. If you decide to hire a trainer, it is our job to keep you on track. And we most certainly will! But keep in mind: We will not always be here. I would love to train everyone I’m training now FOREVER because they all ROCK, but that’s not realistic. People move, change jobs, get married, have babies, go through tragedies or simply just decide not to continue with a trainer. It is our job to give a client all the tools to do exercise and proper nutrition on their own. If I can get a client to continue to pursue wellness on your own, that is my definition of success! I have had about a 90% success rate in this category. YAY!
4) I’m simply not the right trainer: If you are at the point where you want to hire a trainer, it’s in your best interest to do some research. Make a goal sheet of what you would like to accomplish and what your expectations are from that trainer. Make sure to do research on their previous experience, their education/degrees and what they specialize in. Also, ask for a trail session. I always give a complementary fitness consult. You want to make sure you vibe with this person. I’ll tell you right now what I specialize in:
- Weight loss
- Corrective Exercises/Rehabilitation
- Pilates and Stretches
I have been personal training for seven years and I have my degree in Kinesiology through Northwestern University with a minor in Biblical Studies. I am currently teaching Pilates and Stretch Classes and have previously taught group fitness classes such as: Kettlebell, TRX and Small Group Weight Training. I also nutrition coach and have spoken at wellness seminars and small business centers to improve work place wellness. The majority of my clients are weight loss, but I also have experience with muscle building and hypertrophy. I do not have a lot of experience with CrossFit and if you want to lift really, really heavy, I would not be comfortable spotting you. I love the Lord and I will love you and pray for you if you decide to train with me, but I will not be weird about it. (Or at least, I don’t think I’m weird about it)
So, if you are looking for hardcore CrossFit, or if you think my faith may make you uncomfortable, I am not for you. I use to beat myself up about not being able to help someone I trained, but God has revealed wonderful things to me about this:
A) He has taught me to give over people pleasing. If someone did not have a quality training experience with me, I have to learn to move on, continue praying for him or her, think about what I could do better in the future, and remember I can’t fit into a certain mold for every single person I meet. I am not perfect. Only God is.
B) Sometimes, God brings a client into my life and it turns out to be for a purpose outside of training. For instance, I trained a girl for many years who was able to coach ME on a very, deep insecurity I have. God used her to help heal something I never thought I could heal from. Also, I have made many wonderful, long-term friendships from training and I am so grateful for this.
C) This piggybacks off my previous point: I have to keep an open mind with every person that comes my way. I will always give 100% to someone who is looking to change their lifestyle, but if I am not a fit for them, I have learned that I am simply not the right trainer for them, and I am ok with that!
Thank you for reading. God Bless!