Top 3 fitness training obstacles

Before focusing on the pre-natal fitness niche, I had plenty of obstacles that I would have to overcome in order to obtain a new personal training client. With the more focused pregnant mothers target market, there are even more obstacles. These are the top three that could apply to almost any market you’re trying to target for your personal/small group fitness training business.20190117_204906.jpg

  1. Building trust.Β This is huge. It’s hard when you first meet someone/start talking to them to build trust but I have found it helpful to ask certain questions about them in order to get them talking about themselves and their fitness goals. Asking open-ended questions is key here. Rather than asking if they want to lose pounds, ask them what or who they admire and want to look like. Almost everyone (especially millenials) have a fitness Instagram account they follow and want to look like. You’d be surprised at how many male clients I would have pull up a male fitness guru’s account to show me his goal.
  2. Find their X-factor.Β Trust me when I tell you that every potential client will say something close to “I want to lose X lbs” or “I want to gain X lbs of muscle” or a mixture of both. Obviously, the prenatal market is looking to stay/be healthy for baby and to shorten labor time. That’s an X factor. So for those people who just tell you they want to lose weight and/or gain muscle you have to find their why. Some examples I’ve heard include: upcoming event (i.e. wedding), want to keep up with kids or grandkids, and doctor’s orders. Find out what’s driving them to get back in shape and your job will be much easier.
  3. Financial.Β This is the biggest obstacle to overcome. While everyone wants to get in shape, not every has the extra cash to pay for a personal trainer 3-4 times a week. If you do a little digging, most people can give up their starbucks/fast food/alcoholic beverages to afford about 30-80 dollars a week. Finding something comfortable is important, as you don’t want them to not be able to pay their bills. But also, you don’t want them to pay too little where they don’t take you seriously. So I like to have a range where I’m comfortable getting paid. I take a few things into account. I charge less for my online clients versus my clients I physically meet at the gym. All things considered, I wouldn’t undercut myself if someone could only afford 15 or 20 dollars a week. I could still help them by writing up a generalized meal plan and workout plan for a month at a time and charge them a flat rate for that month. But it would be on the client to follow through with the workouts.

What obstacles do you see in the fitness industry? How do you overcome them?

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Let your sweat shine!

Is it me or is this gym extra-shiny? Not sure if it’s the warmer than normal weather, or the new years resolution’s, but the gym has been pretty busy lately. With the extra bodies comes the extra sweat. Many of the regular gym-goers aren’t that happy to be waiting for equipment that ends up being a little stickier than usual. If this is your first time at the gym, or your first time in a long time, you may be embarrassed at just how much sweat is poring out of your pores. But don’t sweat it! Literally.

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Whenever we begin something new, we have to learn (or re-learn) how to become proficient at it. This applies to our bodies as well. Think of it this way, the first time you rode a bike were you doing wheelies? Likely not. Instead you were likely trying to stay balanced on 4 wheels (thankful for training wheels over here!) while also trying to actually move forward. Fast forward to now, you don’t even have to think when riding a bike. It’s second nature.

Our bodies are similar, but unfortunately unlike riding a bike we lose our conditioning when we put the activity away for awhile. Like a runner who stops running for a few years. They can’t just up and run a marathon out of the blue, they have to train and condition themselves to get back to 26.2 miles. And that doesn’t happen overnight. Our bodies are the same way when it comes to sweating. At first, when we’re out of shape and out of breath, we are sweating profusely. It’s our bodies way of regulating our temperature. And since we haven’t worked out in (XX) number of days, weeks, months or years, our bodies are just trying their best to stay alive. “For what reason do you torture me?” – Sincerely, your body.

But the more you exercise, the more adjusted your body becomes. And with that, the less you’ll sweat. So until then, shine on with your sweaty-ass self! And don’t be ashamed, since everyone starts somewhere. Sweaty and all.

What I wish someone told me

In light of all the New Year’s Resolutions, I felt like the topic of fitness, exercise and health was an important one to write about today. As most of you know, I grew up generally disliking exercise and absolutely hated running. I also didn’t have the best diet, my favorite food usually consisted of some sort of fried or processed food. And for most of my early life, I got away with my unhealthy habits and still was skinny. Or skinny-fat, which if you don’t know what that means click that link to learn more.

But half-way through college, the donut holes caught up to me. I was eating too much and just not working out. I didn’t know where to begin, but my mom insisted I take some sort of self-defense class to protect myself, and my boyfriend was a little too concerned over my new-found chub. With these wonderful people in mind, I enrolled in once weekly Tae Kwon Do and started pushing myself to go to the gym 2-3 times a week. Nothing crazy. I also started eating less processed foods and more veggies and protein in order to feel full for longer. But the biggest struggle I experienced was my lack of knowledge at the gym. I would show up with no idea what or how to do anything right. I would run on the track some 30 plus laps until I was sweaty and then be like now what?

There were these strength machines that I would just use like in a loop, the same machines every time. And I didn’t really see much in ways of toning up or getting stronger. Not to say I didn’t feel better, I definitely did, but I was just lost. So lost that after dumping said boyfriend and graduating, I went back to my sedentary life of which I was all too familiar with. Pounds started piling on and about two years later, new boyfriend same situation. This time, I knew I had to do something differently. Going to the gym was just too over-whelming for me. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how to do more than just run around like a hamster or sit on some random arm machine and pretend to work on my biceps.

This boyfriend was the evolved version of previous boyfriend and he too didn’t understand gym equipment as was apparent by his severely lacking muscle tone and way too skinny ass. But, I digress. Lucky for me, he had half a brain to suggest an alternative to the gym. One that I had already done before, but rather than just once a week actually push myself to practice martial arts more often, closer to 4+ times a week. We found and enrolled in a local Kung Fu school and the rest is history.

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Kung Fu led to me starting to run which also led to me wanting to learn said confusing gym equipment and proper exercises. Many years and Kung Fu belts later, I become a certified personal trainer and finally know how to go to the gym with an exercise plan that I can successfully execute and build upon. Where was this knowledge years ago when I was sitting on a leg curl machine next to my ex wondering what was the purpose of building this one muscle in my leg when my belly was the issue?

So my one piece of advice for those of you looking to get started, or restart your fitness journey is this. Do something you love AND are comfortable with. Or at least comfortable being pushed to learn something new. Having a teacher or coach is invaluable. Over the 6 years that I practiced Kung Fu, I dropped easily well over $8,000 that I didn’t even have. And every dollar was well spent. I distinctly remember one day I literally took every dollar I made from tutoring that week from one of my clients just to pay for Kung Fu for that month.

My point is, don’t do this journey alone. Find something you’re passionate about and if you have no idea what you’re doing, get with someone who can show and teach you. Their knowledge will help you grow and achieve your fitness goals. I wish you the best of luck in your journey, grasshopper.

Body image and self love

It feels like I’ve always had body image issues. Looking back, I can’t seem to remember a moment where I loved the way I looked. I would try my best to be content with my body, but I would always find something I’d like to change.

When I was a baby, I didn’t have a neck. My uncle called me Jabba the Hut since I was all baby fat. I didn’t ever crawl, because I was way too happy being immobile. Once I started walking, I lost the baby fat and thinned out. In high school, I was pretty active and stayed relatively thin but still felt chubby. I didn’t see myself as sexy and focused way too much on my extra-small boobs.

Freshman year in college I’d skip meals because I felt chubby. The other three years of college, I gained about 25 to 30 pounds that I instantly hated and tried to combat best I could. My boyfriend encouraged me by working out with me, but at the end of the day I felt fat and didn’t know what exercises to do other than run and some strength machines. Through the years, I’ve gone up and down in my weight. I started my fitness journey 7 years ago when I weighed in at my heaviest. I still hated my body, but decided to finally do something about it. So I joined a local Kung Fu school and started practicing traditional martial arts.

Even over the last 7 years, I still felt chubby and fat. In the beginning, my diet was crap as I was trying to workout 3-4 times a week. About a year into my fitness journey was when I decided to watch a few food documentaries. These altered my world and my diet. I was vegan for almost two years, and that was when I noticed the real change occurring in my body. I finally liked my body weight, and almost liked how I looked. My endurance was increasing but I felt like I needed more of a challenge. So I started running in addition to the martial arts training.

When I started running, I mostly hated it. But my friend Sarah kept me accountable and we ran many races together over the years. Even as a runner and martial artist, I still struggled with my body image. Especially after I fell off the vegan wagon and started to be more open with my diet. And, you know, got married and comfortable. When I turned 30 only a year and a half ago, I felt embarrassed when looking at photos of myself. That chubby tummy and love handles were too much! I knew I needed more strength training and a better diet, but kinda let myself go. It was when my ex left that I reassessed everything in my life, but chose to focus on self love and body image.

I turned to fitness and working out to help me get through one of the hardest situations in my life. I upped the frequency and intensity of working out. I made a conscious decision to focus on my health and everything else would work itself out. I felt called to run the Chicago marathon last year, and I chose to focus more on strength training both while running and after the race. Even after running the marathon, I still felt chubby. But I sat down and created a fitness goal for myself in order to help me work towards the body I want rather than the one I had.

And guess what? I didn’t reach my goal. My goal was to get to 18% body fat by last week. I’m currently hovering just above 19% body fat, but I started at 25% four months ago. Despite not meeting my goal, I can finally say I love my body. Just the way it is. I know I’m still a work in progress, and I still have fitness goals I’m working on. But I realized it isn’t about the numbers. It’s not about how much I weigh nor how much body fat I have (as long as I’m not obese). It’s about how I look and feel. Hard work pays off, but most of the work I’ve needed has been mental. 90% mental, 10% physical.

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Running

Running adrift, free from the chains this world tries to put on me.
Music: www.bensound.com