Personal trainers eat dessert too.
I’ve been in this industry for 22 years. One thing that has been true then and is still true now is that my clients always seem to have a sigh of relief when they find out that I eat dessert too. Maybe it will make you feel better to know that I don’t always feel like working out and I don’t always feel like eating grilled chicken and broccoli. Being fit, being healthy, being at an ideal weight has been “gramified.” Instagram shows us fitness trainers and social media influencers who post fancy pictures of their healthy food, show us how their abs are shaping up and let us peek in on their workouts…all making it look easy to do, easy to stick to and easy to follow. It’s as though they’ve reached the destination island called “fit” that is so hard for the rest of us to find. It appears that they always enjoy eating healthy and working out and NEVER want to eat dessert or be lazy. That may be true for a very small few…but for most…it’s “gramified.” Being healthy is not about following a strict set of rules perfectly or a one size fits all equation that produces a rock solid body if you follow A + B + C.
Don’t get me wrong. Consistency of the same actions done repeatedly over time builds habits. Those habits are what help shape us into a “fit person” not just a person always striving to be fit. BUT, the lie that discourages people like you and me is the “gramified” illusion that we shouldn’t be falling, failing or straying…or even enjoying foods that aren’t super nutritional or enjoying down time. I’ve fallen into that trap. There were years of my life when I’d be so hard on myself for eating too many brownies or gaining 5 unwanted pounds. Growing, changing and ‘becoming’ is a windy road that includes failures…yes, even when you’re a trainer. I should also say that it includes “straying from the plan” on purpose because life cannot and should not be black and white and over the top regimented in every season.
So what is the trick? How do you perform this balancing act of habit building and identity shaping, but deal with unplanned and even planned straying? If it’s not straight and narrow, what does a healthy lifestyle with healthy habits look like if it’s not perfect? If ‘fit’ is not a destination, then what’s the process? Your healthy lifestyle role models, you know how they do it? They bounce back fast! If an obstacle presents itself today, they find a new strategy to help them bust through it right away. If they make a choice and they decide that the choice doesn’t line up with where they want to go, they decide to choose differently the next time. Not just the next Monday or the next month or after their circumstances change, but literally the next moment they can make a choice. If they get sick, have an injury, have a huge life changing event or they get down, they don’t blame and shame…they find a new way. Their old way may not work any more. They might have to develop new habits. Being healthy, staying fit, staying in shape…it’s part building habits and part finding ways to adapt and adjust to our ever changing lives, bodies and circumstances. Don’t let the “gramified” illusion trick you into thinking it’s one easy path that is straight and narrow. The fitness trainers you follow stray and drift, but they have learned to realign quickly and have prioritized making ‘fit’ part of their identity…a way of being not a destination to reach.
Maybe you’re in a place where you have failed, where you’ve strayed, where you’ve faltered and you are stuck there. Or maybe you have found yourself in a place where you need to “begin again,” and you need to figure out the best first steps to do it. Begin by letting go of the strict expectations you’ve had on yourself. Remind yourself that what you “see” is often “gramified” and “glamified” and the truth is that everyone strays and everyone fails. Then, just like the pros, pick yourself up quickly and begin again. Take one step today….not Monday…not the next month…but literally, the next moment you have…take a step and realign. You ate too much for lunch? Have a light and healthy dinner. You ate dessert yesterday? Drink water and avoid added sugars today. You haven’t worked out for a week? How about a quick walk in the next hour? No matter the season or the reason for your drift…you have the power, in this moment, to make some sort of a shift. We all drift. Some of us are just better at making quicker shifts. Learn to shift back when you drift away and ‘fit’ will become who you are rather than a destination you’re trying to reach.
Regional Group Fitness Director