How I’d Do It Differently

Do you remember the first time you went to a gym and completed the required assessment?

I do.

It sucked.

assessment

I had prepared myself in advance to be onslaught with how out of shape I was but it still wasn’t fun. It went a little something like this:

I was asked to squat. I was the informed I had terrible mechanics and could injure myself. My knee caved in  and I replied that I just have bad knees. I was rebutted with how to fix them.

I was asked about my diet habits. Having recently changed some of them for the better I was pretty proud to boast that I now ate yogurt and drank soy milk. I was then informed of the repercussions of soy milk and how much sugar was in my yogurt.

I left not in tears, but frustrated and feeling pretty crappy about myself.

I didn’t buy the training.

Having always been skinny I didn’t really care about anything he had pointed out in this assessment. My goal was to get more “healthy”. Who cares if my knees were weak or I had a bit of excess sugar.

Oh how much I’ve changed.

When I started working for Goodlife I myself had to put people through those assessments. And while I don’t think I was quite as belittling I do think I rather sucked. I still had to tell people they were wrong, unfit, unhealthy and would fail without training.

fail

I didn’t sell a lot of training.

Now, after having been in the industry for seven-ish years and having gone through enormous changes myself, I think I would do it differently…

I would still have someone squat- it tells a lot about a person. But I wouldn’t lead with “your squat sucks, here’s why and how I can fix it”. Instead I would applaud them that everyone starts somewhere. Just because there are things I think you could improve on doesn’t mean you shouldn’t squat.

When people tell me about their eating habits. I would remind myself that not everyone can or wishes to be as extreme as I do. That that’s okay. And that just by making simple swaps they can make a big different in their energy, mood and overall health. I’d tell them about my struggles and what things I changed first. I’d tell them that it won’t be done overnight, that it’s okay to have setbacks and that everyone approaches habit changes differently.

I’d tell them to be proud that they made the choice to join a gym and improve their eating habits in the first place. That it’s not easy to get started but it’s oh so worth it-even if your starting steps are super small.

I’d explain that hiring a trainer or coach is awesome if it’s feasible but that trying it on your own is okay to start with too. That I can give them some articles I found helpful when I was trying.

I’d let them know that it’s okay to struggle and it’s okay to ask for help.

help

I wish someone would have said some of/any of these things to me at the start of my journey. Instead, in assessments we often belittle and tell the potential client everything wrong with them- their movement patterns, body fat, habits and push them into an “all out or nothing” senario. When really, it doesn’t have to be that way.

So here’s to all the people just getting started. To those who have started but take small steps, to those who work alone or with a coach and to those who go for the extreme. You’re all worth a toast because everyone has to start somewhere and every little bit makes a difference.

Please don’t forget that.