Back in 2011 when I did my first photo shoot, I made sure I was in the best shape to date. I was in the midst of training hard, lifting 3x a week and training hours a day for triathlons. It’s safe to say a large chuck of my day was wrapped around my workouts and when I could get them in. Now, don’t get me wrong, I get we have to workout for our sanity, but I feel there’s a point of no return if we’re not aware of our tendencies.
Whether you’re an athlete, fitness professional or someone that just enjoys being in really good shape, I really think you’ll get me here.
First, let me just say in terms of fine lines with exercise, it’s easy to get caught up in the need for more, isn’t there? For those of us type-A personalities or those that just like to push HARD it’s easy to get over consumed with doing MORE trying to breed MORE results right? We despertely want more of where that came from. We might start off aiming to lose a few pounds or get in better shape for our kids, but often we’re left with that feeling of wanting extra. We become dissatisfied and often lose focus of why we chose to get in shape to begin with. I think this is a topic for a whole other blog, so I’m just going to stick with a more specific window for this one.
Ladies, I know you get me here. Regardless if you’re in the fitness industry, own a gym, land covers of magazines or coaching people on the regular, this line of work can be hard!
Of course, just like with all professions there’s moments of challenges which are understandable and that’s life. But-I do feel there’s an underlying pressure to attain a certain status or “look” if you will when we’re in this fitness bubble, don’t you?
We really do ask ourselves, are we going to be taken seriously if we’re not 10% body fat, ripped and lean as possible when applying for a job? Or, what will our clients think if we’re not at our peak performance, on all the time or maintaining a look that they strive for? “Oh Kim, I want your arms.” “Oh Sara, I want a butt like yours, can you make that happen?” Or, “Jenny, how can I get as lean as you?” Right? It’s effing hard to try and live up to this certain standard in which we’ve either created on our own behalf or been told otherwise. Maybe a bit of both.
If you’re like me, I seriously thought the only way I could be a trainer or work in the fitness industry was I HAD to be lean. There wasn’t an option. Plus, the mere fact of a client knowing that I binged on cookies the Saturday before I saw them was always kept on the down low. My clients couldn’t know that I was weak, that my diet wasn’t spot on 24/7 or I caved and overate for emotional reasons. Then, we fall back into the cycle by doing what we know: training hard, trying to rid of what we just ate because we feel like failures, losers and inadequate humans because we can’t sustain this life style. Ahhhh, I know this all too well.
Come Monday, we put on our game face, get our shit together, act like everything’s Pollyanna and smile for #fitfam.
This was one of my website photos taken in 2011, and while I’m appreciative I was able to achieve that look, it took everything I had to try and sustain it. It’s funny because during those photos I thought I HAD to look like this to get the business, to be seen as legit and accepted and yet it’s painful to know that’s not reality.
2011 was intense. I was running around with my head cut off, trying to get in my 2 + hour workouts while managing a business and coming off the withdrawals of a horrible divorce. My life was chaotic if you will. I was running off fumes (even though I didn’t realize it at the time) and my body was about to blow. (I suffered from severe adrenal burnout which has taken me years to overcome.)
Do I think we need to be in shape in this profession? Absolutely. But, not to our standards. I truly believe that often times we can be the most insecure humans on this planet if we don’t have our fitness and physique to fall back on. When we get sick, when we get injured or when we flat out get burned out and OUR. BODY. WANTS. TO. STOP. AND. DO. NO. MORE. we feel inadequate, don’t we? All those feelings of self-doubt, criticism, and negative self talk come back and replay over and over again.
Which leads me to this, over the last few weeks I’ve been working hard on my rebrand along with creating a new website for myself. I couldn’t be more excited. Like I had mentioned above, my last shoot was in 2011 and here we are 5 years later and a whole lot different.
I’m saying this because if you deal with any of this stuff I’m writing about, I know you can relate so much. You get the burnout, you get the exhaustion, you get the need to do more or else and you get the pressure to stay lean. If you’re like me, I truly thought that I had to continue to grind day in and day out, especially when it came to my body or I would be a failure.
Only if I looked lean then I will be able to get more clients, I will be taken more seriously and people will want to work with me. When deep down, the leaner I became the more insecure I was and the less confident I felt. I was so worried about how I looked externally that the majority of my prep was based around how ripped I looked or how low my body fat was. Even though I wasn’t horrible mentally or feeling super insecure when my eating disorder was in full blown mode in the past, I still felt I had to show for it.
You know if you’re in the fitness realm how hard you have to work to stay lean, look the part and try your hardest to diet down before a shoot. I had the tan, the extensions, the full on makeup and the muscles to show for it. BUT-did that really give me credibility as a fitness professional? I don’t believe so.
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I can guarantee our clients aren’t working with us just because we maintain a body fat percentage. They love us for US. Our personalities, what we offer them, how much we care and that we genuinely have their best interest at heart. From experience, I’ve found they have become even MORE supportive and connected with me when I’ve become more open, transparent and less obsessive. I think we’re more relatable the more we can let our guard down, be who we’re truly meant to be, allowing ourselves to be human and not this machine that drives hard ALL THE TIME. A) it’s not sustainable and B) it’s not relatable.
I don’t know about you, but I would sure would rather have a bit more body fat and more energetic than feeling like a walking zombie day after day. Living off caffeine, having my hormones thrown off and merely surviving is enough for me to say, nope, not going down there again.
To wrap, do I think in order to work in the fitness world we need to take care of ourselves? Absolutely. Do I think we need to maintain a certain degree of health and live by example? No doubt. If not, it would be like telling a patient not to smoke when we’re a cardiologist that just lit up a cigarette. It’s frowned upon and I get that. However, I do feel we can absolutely maintain a true balance of the two.
I feel that we’re not only doing our clients a disservice, but also a disservice to ourselves when we don’t allow ourselves to chill. To be and let things flow more organically without feeling the desire to drive hard all the time. Yes, this takes time and a ton of practice and patience but it can no doubt be done.
Now, I can’t imagine my life any other way.
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