As personal trainers we are often asked by people, and almost always by our clients the question of “What made you choose fitness as a career?” Of course we want to give a great sounding answer such as “I wanted to make a positive impact on others, or I love helping people reach their goals.” These are all great answers, and they are usually 100% true for most.

But in reality the real reasons why are more personal than the status quo answers, and we aren’t really able to sit down with our clients and say “Let me take you back to where it all started.” For me at least the real reason I got into fitness as a career was because of a sense of feeling inadequate and unfulfilled if I really want to take it down to the root.

It was the early 2000’s and I was in my 20’s working a decent paying remedial job, loved working out and spending time with my girlfriend; all while trying to avoid the yuppie rat race I saw a lot of my friends killing themselves for way too early. My girlfriend at the time had always told me I should have gone to college, and I always responded with the typical comments like; “I still might, and I still can next year.”

Well as time passed on and we moved apart our relationship ultimately ended and I found myself still working out and contemplating a better future for myself. Now I am not sure if it is like this with every guy when relationships end, or if women do this too; but for me it seemed like a perfect time to just say fuck it, buckle down and focus on what I wanted to do. The only problem was I really had absolutely no clue what it was I wanted to do that would keep me happy and interested fifty years down the road.

I could have more than likely worked this problem out all on my own by listening to an endless loop of Stone Temple Pilots albums and driving to only God knows where; but it seemed like it would take less time if I sat down with my best friend at the time Tyler over a bucket of beers at a bitchin Mexican cantina.

Now I am not saying by any means that all of life’s important decisions should be made over mild moments of intoxication; but problems seem to be much smaller and his words allowed a Bud Light bulb to go off in my head. When we were talking about how I felt I should take this opportunity to back to college he made the comment to me that I should only go to college for something that I didn’t care about the job afterwards, but for the education I got. “Otherwise you will always have felt it was wasted”, he said.

That was the statement that got me thinking. The only time I ever felt at peace, clear headed, free of stress and not inadequate was in the gym while working out. So it seemed fitting that getting my degree in the exercise field would be something I would always have with me; and if I could make a career of it, great. If not, I at least wouldn’t be any worse off than where I already was and I could still take that endless drive belting out every word to the debut album Core.

So fast forward a few years to where I received my degree in Exercise Science, I was certified with the National Strength & Conditioning Association and had already started working with a few clients I found at the gym I worked out in. What I found in all this which really touched a chord with me was that through it all, it really came around full circle. By this I mean that what started it all was my sense of feeling inadequate and not as happy as I wanted to be; to now where I am literally taking something which had always been a passion of mine and I get to help those who have the same problems in some fashion one way or another.

It goes without saying that as trainers we have to be informed on proper technique and exercise prescription. But what goes further than that and actually helps the client is our ability to be the other part that unfortunately gets left out sometimes when all that’s focused on is making it a business; and that is being personal. When as professionals we get to make it personal with our clients we give them the understanding that where they are coming from looking for training isn’t anything to be ashamed about.

Ask any personal trainer who has been doing this more than a year and I’m sure they have some pretty amazing and crazy stories as to why people come to them for help. And I guarantee that if you ask most people who stay with their trainer; it is because they were treated like a human being and not just a client.

So at least for myself that is the reason I decided to make fitness my career, and the reason that keeps me going day in and day out as a personal trainer with a passion for fitness and my clients is the knowing that I will never forget why I started in the first place. It came from an underlying sense of a need and a want for more and to better myself. And that isn’t anything different than anyone of my clients would want or could wish for themselves.

After all, we are all in this together and there isn’t anything that can’t be solved with good friends, a few beers and a whole lot of motivation. Share with me your thoughts or stories and as always; Stay Humble, Be Blessed & Live Well.
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