One of the great things about my line of business is that I get to work on a personal level with folks from all walks of life.
While the majority of my time is spent instructing and making sure exercises are done correctly, I do take the time to engage my clients in conversation about their lives and thoughts on a variety of issues.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best :
“In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”
While I feel that my responsibilities as a trainer come first, I take pride in the fact that being a friend comes in at a close second.
It is through this engagement with clients that I not only forge great relationships, but I am also challenged with different perspectives on life, and learn quite a bit in the process.
This morning, I was talking with one such client about a shoulder injury I incurred a little over a week ago.
Because of said injury, I have not been able to exercise the way I normally would over the past week, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to do so for at least one more.
We talked about the long walks I’ve been taking in the mean time, the books I’ve been reading, the programs I’ve been designing for clients, as well as the films and music I’ve been checking out – all because of this new-found “free” time that I’ve acquired while I patiently wait for my shoulder to heal.
My client pointed out that for many people who exercise regularly and have made great efforts to make fitness a part of their lifestyle, overcoming an injury can be very difficult for them if they are not eating better and exercising for the right reasons.
She brought up the fact that most of us eat right and exercise purely on the basis of vanity.
While sleeping better, increases in energy and productivity, and long term health are important, they are not nearly as important as looking good naked.
This might be enough of a reason to get you through a short term goal, but if your goal is lifelong health and fitness, you will soon find that it will not get you through the inevitable “down” times in life.
A few months ago, in honor of one of my idols and role models, I wrote a post called Living The Dream: The Three Dimensions Of Health.
In it, I speak about the “Triangle Of Wellness” – Mind, Body, and Soul.
It was almost 16 years ago that I picked up my first dumbbell, and almost 7 since I made health and fitness my profession.
I can honestly say, however, that it wasn’t until maybe the last 3 years that I realized the importance of diversifying my interests.
In the past, injuries and setbacks to training would infuriate me, and completely change my demeanor and outlook on life.
My entire persona was built around the fact that “I worked out.”
I see it so often in so many of those around me.
People spending 2, sometimes 3, hours a day at the gym on a regular basis.
Sacrificing family time, personal relationships, and countless opportunities to develop themselves in other areas of life.
Instagram and Facebook libraries filled with nothing but shirtless photos, PR videos, and pictures of tuna filled Tupperware hashtagged #GAINZ.
Believe me, I am in no way, shape, or form, bashing exercise or the desire to improve ones’ self physically.
I’ve seen the combination of training and healthy eating do some pretty amazing things for people (including myself), especially in regard to self confidence.
What I am, in fact, emphasizing is Balance.
Every coin has two sides, and every virtue does have it’s vice.
Self confidence and having a positive self image can easily turn into narcissism if we loose perspective on the bigger picture.
Three years ago this injury would have defeated me.
I would’ve been angry, moody, and my desire to lead a healthy lifestyle would have diminished substantially.
Throughout the course of the past 3 years, I’ve begun to gain some perspective.
I decided that while fitness is indeed a very big part of my life, that it would not define me as a human being.
I would no longer be a “one trick pony.”
I developed a passion for reading and writing.
I started this blog.
And while I began on this journey of fitness for purely selfish reasons, I realized that the bigger and more satisfying goal is to help others become better.
That’s why I do what I do.
Sure, I like to look good.
And yes, it does kind of suck that I haven’t been able to train for the last week, and quite possibly, for more to come.
But, on the bright side, I’m alive and breathing.
I have family and friends that care about me.
I get to help people achieve their goals and become better human beings each and every day.
Who cares if I lose 20 pounds on my squat or bench press?
I’m much more as a human being than just those numbers.
I’ve also learned that 80% of body composition is determined by my diet.
So in times like these I tailor my caloric intake, specifically carbohydrates, to a less intense lifestyle.
That way, I eat enough to get me through the day, but not enough to store body fat.
That’s what life’s about.
I will end this post by asking you all out there that are “obsessed” with fitness to take a step back, and ask yourself “why.”
Why are you doing it, and what are the other aspects of your life that you are sacrificing to do so?
Are you eating right to to have a longer life and be there for your family?
Do you train because you know that a strong body inevitably leads to a strong mind?
Or do you do it just to look good in a bikini, or boast about your 500 pound deadlift on social media?
Take the zoom off.
View life through a panoramic lens.
Diversify your interests and work on ALL aspects of your health, not just the physical.
Training shouldn’t’ be the “End All, Be All” of your life.
It should be just another set of tools in your kit to help make you better and achieve greatness in all areas of life.
We all have setbacks, and there will inevitably be periods in all of our lives where we are not able to train as ferociously as we’d like.
Learn to play an instrument.
Taking an improv class.
Start a journal.
Develop a healthy relationship with exercise, and realize that YOU, the human being, are much bigger than the sum of your “Big 3” lifts or body fat percentage.
Diversify Your Interests.
‘d like to give a big “Thank You” to Lourdes for a great conversation (as always), and the spark I needed to start and complete this post.