Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Breaking The Mold

Recently I was mocked by a peer. A fellow personal trainer actually said out load that I am an "embarrassment to the fitness industry."

The justification of the claim was because I am not skinny, I am "not as toned as a trainer should be." He said that I lack a level of visually apparent muscle tonality that a fitness industry professional should have. 

He ended with, "true fitness professionals do not have stretch marks, a gut, or an ass as big as [mine]."

This experience has really been like a punch in the gut... the very gut that has stretch marks from major weight gain (thank you steroids for treating MS, binge-eating, caffeine addiction, etc) and major weight-loss (90lbs).

I entered the fitness industry as a means to help others who were like me: 

  • struggling with chronic disease (in my case multiple sclerosis); 
  • using food and beverage as a means for coping through life; 
  • affected by anxiety and/or depression;
  • body image issues;
  • negativity;
  • poor daily life activity; and so much more.

I relayed this experience to another fellow fitness industry professional who knows me and I couldn't thank her enough for her response. 

She said that I am definitely not like the stereotypical fitness professional, but I am a powerful one. She said I'm a motivator with never-ending positivity, tremendous fitness knowledge, skill, and surprising energy. She said that I am a lot stronger than I appear. She said, "so no, you don't fit the mold - you break it."

Another fitness professional said that she has been more of a stinky sweaty mess from one of my classes than any other that she has recently attended.

Though this experience with the meanie fitness professional has hurt my confidence as well as my feelings, I want him to know that: 

  • I sincerely hope if he's ever faced with a debilitating illness that impedes mobility, that he too can overcome it. 
  • I hope that if he ever drinks or eats too much while trying to cope with life, that he can overcome the emotional shame and body image issues that are associated with being overweight or obese. 
  • I hope that even he can overlook his own stretch marks if that occurs.
  • I hope that no matter what comes his way and how his body changes, that when he looks in the mirror that he can not only realistically see the flaws, but also be proud of them and and what those flaws represent.

Today I outran a teenage boy, though I know that in time after I am done training him, that he will outrun me.

Today I spent one hour in proficiency training using TRX and a TRX Rip stick.

Today I completed an intense 58-minute cardio bout.

Today I spent time writing group exercise class designs for Spin, Lift, and TRX/Rip classes that I intend on using.

Now in retrospect, 10-years ago I was out of breath walking down a hall and terrified to step down from a curb without assistance.

I have made an impact to many. My clients have had tremendous success. My family has benefited tremendously.

Here I go, breaking the mold...

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