A longtime client of mine recently asked me why I became a personal trainer. The question made me realize that the reasons I initially became a trainer are not the same reasons that I remain a personal trainer today.
My answer echoed something a martial arts teacher of mine once said. He first started studying martial arts so that he could kick asses like Bruce Lee did in the movies! But through his decades of training, ass kicking became an afterthought while his primary motivations became self development and self expression through the art.
After I graduated from college, I floated around for a while before a generous relative offered me an entry level position at his company in California. Although I greatly appreciated the job, I quickly realized that I was ill suited to sit at a desk for 9 hours a day. I’d find myself chomping at the bit, doing pushups and hand stands in the warehouse during my lunch break and bolting out the door to get to the gym as soon as the work day ended.
I’d always had a passion for physical fitness but wasn’t sure if or how I could make a living from it. I wasn’t a professional caliber athlete in any major sport but a conversation with a close friend who just passed his CSCS exam made me realize that I could make a living as a personal trainer. This was music to my ears! I thought to myself “Great! I can learn as much as I can to improve my own training and share it with a few other people to make some money and sustain my workout habit.”
My motivation at the time was partly selfish. I wanted to be active and work out all day long! But I also knew I was a pretty good teacher so I figured that I could help a few young, athletic clients improve their fitness. Most new trainers (especially athletes) want to train young athletic people like themselves. I soon realized that it rarely works out that way. To be a successful trainer you have to be able to work with people of all ages and levels of fitness.
Over the past 7 years my motivation has changed. I’ve grown to love training anyone who wants to improve their health! Young or old. Healthy or injured. Fit or soon-to-be fit. I loved seeing my clients finish the session more energized then when they started. I can share in their joy of seeing their fitness goals become a reality. I also see the bigger picture: A healthy person tends to be a happy person. And what’s better than a city, country or world full of happy people?! The more people I can help be healthy and happy, the better.
I still get my fill of working out and improving my own fitness, but it brings me great pleasure to do the same for others. That’s why I do and will continue to be a personal trainer!