What a Difference a Trainer Makes

What a Difference a Trainer Makes

As my trainer pointed out early in our training, every person attending a gym has a personal reason for attending the gym unique unto him or her. Thus, my focus in writing concerns the reasons, which motivated me to embark on my current health and fitness journey.

I finally came to terms with myself, that even though I believed, and had the knowledge, of the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and attendance to nutritious meals, the reality was my style of living was in direct opposition to this vision. Despite the numerous attempts in making changes, I allowed everything else in my life to dictate an excuse for the failure to take care of my health. My weight climbed, my energy dropped, my blood pressure went up, and my joints hurt. However, I ignored it all allowing myself to think my job, family, and outside obligations were more important. I was even upset when my parents gave me my first membership to Lifestyles as a Christmas gift. I allowed myself to feel “offended” that they would give me such a gift; I did not need or have time for a gym membership. I canceled it after a year of only going two times.

Reality made an appearance in the ensuing years when I wanted to spend time with my grown children and my grandchildren. Instead of being the active person my current delusional mind envisioned, I found I lacked the physical and mental energy to engage in my family’s active lifestyle. My family would actually make accommodations for me because I physically could not participate. I felt ancient. I now had to face the result of years of inactivity, poor eating habits, excessive weight, and lack of exercise. I felt overwhelmed at the magnitude of changes I was facing as well as fear of failure to make it happen. I decided to join Lifestyles again.

Since I chose to join Lifestyles this time, I had more of an investment in attending. I went to the water aerobic classes occasionally and had some success. Nevertheless, I still allowed other activities to be more important than taking care of myself. I changed careers, went back to college, obtained a second Bachelors Degree this time in Nursing, graduating with High Honors while yo-yoing back and forth with my weight and health. I knew what I needed to change, but did not have a plan to make the change happen.

A journey begins with one step but without a map, the journey can take many years of twists, turns, and detours. Lifestyles gave me the map I needed to straighten out my path. In 2017, I started back to water aerobic classes on a more regular basis. My goal was two to three days a week. As I went more consistently and with a mission of “I can do this and I will show my family” attitude, I made more progress and started feeling better. All the water aerobic instructors were positive and willing to answer all my questions on how to make my workouts more successful. The encouragement I received help to reinforce my efforts. The instructors encouraged me to add other non-aquatic activities but I did not have the self-confidence to come out of the pool and venture “upstairs.”

During the summer, I had more time with my grandchildren and again found myself struggling to have the energy to be active in their swimming, bike riding, and other physical activities. I decided I was not going to spend the rest of my life with regrets. I vowed to myself that I would increase my efforts – somehow. Returning to the gym in August, I began asking about personal training.

I feel very fortunate that I had not rushed into personal training earlier, but waited until I had the personal conviction to make major changes. I had to know what I wanted from the training not what someone told me I wanted. I do not think I would have been successful or happy had I just picked a name of someone or been assigned to an available person without this first step. It was important to find a trainer who listened and understood my story, background, and goals. When I began discussions with my prospective trainer, I was so impressed with her professionalism, knowledge, and compassionate understanding for my impending journey. It was easy to see she loved what she did and her joyful enthusiasm was an infectious selling point. She made me believe what I was feeling as impossible, was not only possible, but would be a reality. She was also clear on her requirements – “If I didn’t want to work hard, she would not want to continue to train me.” This was just what my competitive streak needed to hear and I thought, “Well I will show her!”

What I found in my trainer was a person compassionate in her efforts to help a person make positive changes to better health and ultimately a happier life. I always tell her she brings joy and fun to my day – even while pushing me to levels I never thought I could reach. Looking back on our first training session, if she had not been so positive about achieving the goals, I think I would have quit – I could barely get down and up from the floor. However, she just held out her hand, pulled me up, and said, “we will get there.” How can I not work hard for someone that believes in me? I trust her knowledge in presenting me challenges I can achieve and to continue to push me to higher levels. Through our initial interview, she knew I did not have a formal athletic background, but was willing to try new things. Additionally, I wanted this process to lead to an active lifestyle outside the gym. I love that she uses a non-traditional work style to achieve fitness goals. We incorporate boxing, weight lifting, soccer, biking, core work, and balance with circuit and high-intensity interval training. She even still lets me play in the water – only faster!

Additionally, other Lifestyle Staff support my journey through testing and measuring my progress, helping me with weights and machine setups, and words of encouragement. My water aerobics instructors continue to inspire and challenge me while encouraging me as I make progress towards my goals. I love the smile I receive from the front desk personnel when I arrive after a stressful workday knowing I have two hours of hard work ahead. Seeing a friendly face and hearing a happy greeting with encouraging words reinforces - “I am in the right place!”

Since starting in late September, I am overjoyed with the achievements made by following my workout program. It is difficult to grasp the changes accomplished in the short time my trainer and I have been on this fitness journey. I have reduced my weight by over forty pounds with the majority being a reduction in my BMI. Since September, I have lost 28.6 pounds of fat as indicated by skinfold measurements and weight change. I have improved balance, more strength, and increased stamina. Additionally, I have less joint pain, lower blood pressure, decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol, and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. Physically, I am participating in activities I have not done in years – and it feels wonderful. I am happy!

Kristi boxing with her trainer Kristi boxing