I never wanted to become a personal trainer. The thought of it gave me butterflies in my stomach. I cringed at the notion of being responsible for someone’s health.
When destiny calls you may have no other choice but to answer.
During my initial weight loss I was the lead cook in a nursing home. I was reluctant to the new attention with questions of how I lost the weight. It was the feeling of alterior motives behind the questions.
When I shared what I did it was usually met with raised eyebrows followed up with, “I can’t do that.”
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At that time I wasn’t as empathetic as I am now. Those responses got the Kanye shrug because I really didn’t care to carry on a conversation beyond that.
This day I was in the break room when two co workers were discussing a weight loss challenge amongst each other. Everyone always talked weight loss when I was around. Truthfully I could have cared less what they were talking about. I was too involved with playing words with friends on my phone.
One of them, let’s call her Jenny, was going on and on about how she has a personal trainer and how she was gonna beat (let’s called her Natalie) in this weight loss challenge. I believe it was the first person to lose 20 pounds by said date. The victor would receive $50.
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Natalie didn’t have a personal trainer at that time. She just wanted to lose weight for the challenge. I offered to help due to the fact I didn’t like how Jenny was talking down to Natalie. Jenny’s misguided arrogance bothered me.
It was something she said to Natalie that pissed me off. In that moment I offered my help. I didn’t have a price structure set up. I wasn’t “certified”. I didn’t have an exact formula on how I was going to do it. All I had was the self documentation written from what I tracked while losing weight. I had planned something else with that info. Opportunity presented itself so I decided to give a helping hand.
The bet between Natalie & Jenny was on! The playing field was even. I wasn’t looking at it from the standpoint of personal trainer vs personal trainer. I just wanted to prove to Jenny, just because you have a personal trainer, it won’t guarantee you victory.
Natalie and I began our journey together. As she was learning from me, I was learning from her. Patience, empathy, accountability, communication, and structure were lesson I learned in that process. Natalie followed the plan I set for her day in, and day out. During that process I was nervous because I didn’t know if it would work for her. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in her. It was the “I can’t do that”, response I would get when I told those who asked, how I lost weight. Natalie followed that plan, with some modifications.
Natalie hit her weight loss goal for the challenge earlier than Jenny and said date. Jenny reneged on the bet when it was time to pay. Natalie had earned her victory through discipline and dedication. To see that victory met with jealousy, to the point where you back out on your word because you lost, spoke volumes. That situation burns me to even thinking about it now.
The best thing to come out of that situation was the confidence Natalie gained. She proved to herself she could lose the weight for herself. The smiles on her face as she began fitting in to sizes she hadn’t in years, was really what all this was about. Yes the money would have been the icing on the cake, no pun intended. For clarity, I wasn’t going to receive any prize money. That wasn’t a motivator for me.
For the first time I let go of the fear of being responsible (or playing a huge part) for someone else’s health other than mine. It wasn’t a bad experience as I thought it would be. I was motivated to help someone who wanted to be helped. Natalie wanted a change in her life. She wanted better. She accomplished her goal.
When others saw Natalies success, they were inspired to do the same. From that day forward, each client that I took on, I grew in the lessons learned with Natalie. Presently I look back to that situation to realize how much I have grown as a trainer. This was something I didn’t set out to be initially. Who I am now is thanks to Natalie for believing in me to help her. That was the confidence I needed to believe in myself to help others after her.