I had a moment this morning which touched me so deeply, I'm still emotional right now. It's funny, few things in life move me to tears easily. I'm tell people I'm pretty stoic individual and I present a hard exterior to the world. I profess to have a steel exterior and a hard, galvanised heart.
The reality is something quite different. I've learned to wear a uniform of armour to protect myself from some of life's harsh realities. I have a gooey, soft, marshmallow heart which loves fiercely and intensely, but bruises just as easily so I pretend it exists in a cryo state and thaws rarely! So when something moves me to the point of a public display of emotion, it's both rare and excruciatingly uncomfortable!
But a little discomfort can sometimes be a good thing. In fact, sometimes it can be one of the best things about your day!
I went into this industry naïve, filled with knowledge and theory, and desperate to crack on and start coaching people to be healthy, fit and strong. I wittered on about how much I could bench, deadlift, squat. I boasted about 'smashing' myself in the gym. I lost hours and hours to maniacal training to the point my body was ALWAYS sore. I posted endless pictures of sweaty patches left on the gym floor by me post workout. Or pictures of a red faced and sweaty me with the caption, 'that was disgusting'.
God, just typing that makes me CRINGE! What a difference a little time and experience makes, huh? I now know that image presented to the world was very intimidating and in fact was limiting my audience and therefore my potential client base. It was also completely at odds with what I want to promote as a coach, but that's what other 'fitness influencers' were posting so that's what I had to do, right?
WRONG! I've learned over the years to settle into my own value set and methodology and acquire a client base which mirrors and supports this rather than try and be everything to everyone. Be confident in my skill set and passion, and allow that to shine through in everything I do. Do not compare myself to others, but instead be happy and content with who I am and what I stand for. That is engaging people in positive change. Man, it's liberating! My business is so much healthier these days and I am much more relatable to my client base. Which is eclectic! My online team are all over the world and are a 50/50 split between male and female with an average age of 29. My one to one team are a smaller crew, mostly females but range from 23 to 86!! They have one thing in common. They want to be fit for life, with a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
So what moved me so much? Why am I rambling on about this…. Well, let me tell you. I work with a proportion of older clients, over 55s to be specific-ish. This demographic of clients are often over looked by coaches as the less 'glamorous' side of personal training. For me, however - they are one of the most interesting, challenging and rewarding group to work with.
I had a health and accountability review with one of these folk this morning. I schedule regular meetings like this to review progress, ensure we are on track and test fitness and health goals. It keeps me accountable and focused - two things which are key to a successful coaching relationship, IMHO. This particular client is 71 and has been on blood pressure medication and monthly medical appointments for the last 12 years. It drives her crackers!
I surprised her this morning by slipping on my blood pressure monitor to her wrist as she was setting herself up on the recumbent bike and before she could complain, her pressure was being taken…. stealth mode you see!! No white coat syndrome here!
She looked anxiously into my eyes, avoiding the monitor for fear it will tell her that the last 6 months of hard work, sweat and tears was all for nothing.
Beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeeep. OK, Kerrie - tell me the bad news…. Kerrie… She nudged me and I looked back up at her with a look of absolute shock on my face.
'Oh christ, what - it's not worse, oh sh*t, it's worse….' I pulled myself together. It wasn't worse. In fact, it was the lowest, healthiest reading she's had for over 12 years. She burst into tears, big fat, lung wrenching sobs and flung her arms around me. At this point, I burst into tears too. And believe me when I say I'm an UGLY cryer! Snotty, ugly crier! Other people in the gym asked if we were OK, concerned glances coming our way.
We both roared with laughter at our display and quickly pulled ourselves together. Yep, we are GOOD. BRILLIANT. Just BRILLIANT. The next hour passed in a blur and I left the gym, waving good bye and heading to my car feeling incredibly emotional and well, proud. After all, that's why I do this job. Not to crow about squatting my own bodyweight, but to engage people in positive change. (Oh, and FYI, I can squat my own bodyweight but that doesn't make ANY difference to how good a coach I am!)
What a way to start the weekend huh? I have my family coming to visit this weekend too, so I feel very, very blessed. My heart is full. Whatever you have planned for the weekend, be happy, be healthy and be grateful. Life is short, we should live it well.