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For the past 18 months I have been working as a personal trainer in a boutique studio. I remember the day I started back in October of 2017. I was excited, motivated, and ready to change the lives of people in my community.
In all honesty the job was really great to begin with. I worked with a great team, my superiors were very supportive, and my own fitness level improved as time went on.
Unfortunately, this didn't last very long. For one, I worked mainly with male trainers. Don't get me wrong—these guys are great and I have learned so much from them. With that said, they operate at a different level than I do. Luckily for them they don't have monthly fluctuations in mood and energy, so they are able to sustain high output, without risking burnout. I, on the other hand, would find myself battling crippling anxiety before heading into work on my most emotional days.
In the fitness industry, it is expected of you to be the person your clients want to become. This means being chipper, energetic, fit, and disciplined. On my moodiest of days, I knew that I would struggle to be as chipper as I am closer to day 14 of my cycle. I couldn't give them this energy and so I felt like my level of service was never as consistent and I would have hoped.
The gentlemen I worked with were, on the other hand, the stereotypical personal trainers. Athletes dating world-class athletes, big biceps and shoulders, cool, style, and carrying around an energy drink or a protein shake most of the time.
I look like the girl you played soccer with in high school. Bubbly, blonde, round cheeks, fluctuating weight, and skin that decided to go through a second puberty at the age of 24.
Now, I am fully aware that my female-ness is an incredible asset in a gym setting. I am the safe choice for nervous men and women, and I bring the female perspective to the boys. I celebrate this and I have managed to find a niche within the gym that I can service well.
But my influence ends as soon as my clients walk out those doors.
You see my niche is young female students, professionals, and moms. This is an awesome group of people to work with because society is designed to make them feel like never enough. Sounds like it'd be great for business in a field that can help you look and feel better—right?
I have made a point of researching the female body by way of experimenting with different diets, supplements, and workouts on myself. I also do a fair amount of research and have been the main contributor on the blog for my gym. I have recently taken a deep dive into female hormones and the female brain with books like The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. and Beyond the Pill by Dr. Jolene Brighten. I have made it my mission to be as knowledgeable as possible for my female clients so that they can understand how and why their body is the way it is, and then how they can move and eat to have their beautiful bodies thrive.
My voice versus the voice of Instagram models selling detox teas and celebrities telling you to try coffee colonics is an incredibly unfair fight.
I have clients who over the span of the year have lost over 20 pounds—and have done so by making small, sustainable, lifestyle changes and yet they still don't feel like that's very good.
Because we live in a society where we are told that everything should be instant, women forget that slow and steady progress is actually what we should aim for. It took 9 months to make us and so many years to get us to where we are now, so why are we all in such a rush to change?
The reason I think being a female personal trainer will never be fulfilling is because no matter how many achievements your client has with you, society will always tell her she's ugly or not enough.
If my time as a personal trainer has taught me anything, it's that there is a fundamental shift that needs to occur where women are no longer told that they can get "flat abs fast" or "fit into that bikini and look hot!"
I want society to stop being afraid of periods. I want women to embrace their cycle and learn how certain foods can make it far more comfortable. I want young girls to stop idolizing people with good genes on the internet and start celebrating seeing their own reflection in the mirror every day.
It may make my client base smaller, but if I can have any influence on the societal changes that need to be made then that would be the most fulfilling act in my life.
If I can leave you with anything it is to be kind to yourself, do something good for your body every day, celebrate the men and women in your life, and feel as beautiful as you are.