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  • Lisa Kelly

Trainer Confessions: What I Do When I Struggle

As a personal trainer, I often find myself in the unique position of being both a motivator and a student of fitness.

Clients look to me for guidance, inspiration, and expertise, but the truth is, I'm not immune to the struggles and challenges that come with the territory. Like anyone else, I have my moments of doubt, frustration, and setbacks.

But through years of experience and self-discovery, I've learned to navigate these rough patches and here’s what I do when I find myself in one of those dang patches:

  • Embracing the Struggle: One of the most important lessons I've learned is to lean into the struggle rather than fight it! Instead of resisting or ignoring the challenges I face, I allow myself to feel the frustration, disappointment, and even the occasional sense of failure. By acknowledging and accepting these emotions, I free myself from the burden of perfectionism and create space for growth and self-compassion. It gives me space to be real with myself and remember that I’m human, some of this shit will just go haywire – the trick is to not let it dismantle all the good I do!

  • Relying on Habits: When faced with a setback or a period of inconsistency, I stop to take a look at what habits I’m losing steam in. I lean on the habits and routines that have served me well in the past. Whether it's waking up early to hit the gym, meal prepping on Sundays, or scheduling regular check-ins with myself, these habits provide structure and stability during turbulent times. They serve as anchor points that help me stay grounded and focused on my goals, even when the going gets tough. And if I’m feeling like I can’t do all the habits I usually, then I turn my dial down a bit and focus on 2 of the most important habits to me and build from there again.

  • Taking it Back to Basics: Just like I mentioned dialing down my habits to just 2 if I have too, this is what I mean by taking it back to basics. In moments of overwhelm or uncertainty, I find solace in simplifying my approach and taking it back to basics. Instead of trying to tackle a laundry list of goals all at once, I narrow my focus to just one or two things that truly matter. Whether it's improving my form on a particular exercise, increasing my daily step count, or prioritizing sleep quality, I remind myself that small, consistent actions lead to big results over time!

  • Keeping it Light: It's easy to get caught up in the seriousness of fitness and the pressure to constantly strive for improvement. But I've learned the importance of keeping things light-hearted and maintaining a sense of humor, even in the face of adversity. Whether it's cracking jokes with my clients during workouts or finding joy in the little victories along the way, laughter and positivity are powerful antidotes to the challenges of the fitness journey. Maybe I didn’t do a hard core workout, but I showed up and moved my body – even if I just danced to the music in my own little world!

  • Not Getting Hard on Myself: Above all, I remind myself that it's okay to stumble, falter, and even fail from time to time. Perfection is an illusion, and expecting myself to be flawless, even as a trainer, is a recipe for burnout and frustration. Instead of being hard on myself for not meeting my own expectations, I practice self-compassion and forgiveness. I celebrate my progress, no matter how small, and remind myself that setbacks are temporary roadblocks, not permanent barriers.

In sharing these, I hope to remind you that even trainers struggle sometimes. We're all human, navigating the ups and downs of the fitness journey together. So, the next time you find yourself facing challenges or setbacks, remember to embrace the struggle, rely on your habits, take it back to basics, keep it light, and above all, be kind to yourself. You've got this!


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