Tag Archives: self perception

I’m back, and I survived!

1 Jun

It has been an extraordinary journey over the last 9 weeks. My face to face study time has finally reached it’s end, and with the exception of completing some written assessment tasks, I have made it through my training to qualify as a Personal Trainer! While there has been a lot of pressure and stress, there has also been a lot more in the way of fun and learning, and I have had the pleasure of meeting, studying with and working with some really amazing human beings, who I will count not only as colleagues, but also as friends.

Each person that I worked with was unique and wonderful, and each also taught me a little more about myself.  From one of these new friends I learned a lot more about how inner strength and fitness are intertwined, and how believing in yourself can really make a difference with how you face and ultimately overcome the adversities that cross your path from time to time. This person also pointed me to a really great quotation by Socrates:

“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

Those of you who know what it is to have been in a place in life where you don’t enjoy a great physical quality of life will probably find that this quote really resonates with you. I know that it does for me personally from my own experiences, and yet it also resonates in terms of my experiences during my course.

One of the great joys I have is when I teach someone something and I can see an improvement in their knowledge or skill. This was something I really got a kick out of when I used to be a kids soccer coach, and in the years since I had almost forgotten what it felt like. Those “feel good” vibes came back quite strongly during my PT course when I spotted some problems in a basic movement pattern with one of my colleagues, and I was able to use my newly learned skills to correct the movement pattern. Not only did I feel really pleased to have done something that helps someone else, I could also see with my own eyes what it is that Socrates was banging on about when he made is quote. There really is great beauty in watching a body move efficiently, and yet for the person who is moving efficiently there is also this delight that appears on that person’s face, and a sense of satisfaction when they realise that they can do something that they weren’t necessarily aware they were already capable of.

When we feel that our bodies are letting us down, it can be easy to convince ourselves that we can’t do something. We can convince ourselves that failure is inevitable, or that it will take a long time and incredible effort in order to overcome whatever obstacles prevent the thing from being achieved. In some cases this may actually be true, however for many this can simply be because they don’t really know how to move their bodies efficiently, and a few simple corrections to posture and technique can reap huge rewards in a very short time.  For myself, I have never been able to do something as straightforward as a chin-up, which has admittedly affected my enjoyment when I am rock-climbing because certain movement patterns will tire me very quickly. So imagine my delight when I completed my first ever chin-up only a few weeks ago, and how now within only a few weeks of training I can now do 3 in a row!!

I saw something similar in others, where a weight was difficult to lift or a movement difficult to do, and when I corrected their posture and movement they were able to comment that yes they felt I had worked them hard, and yet the work itself became easier after the corrections. In a couple of people, their obstacles were less physical and more in the way of mental barriers. One person in particular kept telling me “I won’t be able to do…” certain things, and yet with a little mental coaching and encouragement, this person found the motivation within to persevere and apply the inner strength required to break the mental barrier and achieve more than she thought she would be able to do. I felt great pride in this person for her achievement, and so pleased that I had the ability in that moment to coach her past her blocks. Even better though was the “payback” when it was her turn to train me, and she pushed me harder than I might otherwise have worked myself. Karma may be a bitch, but it can also be incredibly fulfilling on both sides.

I’ll admit that I had some doubts when I entered the course that I might not have the ability to succeed as a personal trainer, and when the stress started to rise, those doubts began to talk louder in my brain. Now at the end of my training, I’ve realised that those doubts were some of my own mental barriers that I hadn’t realised I would need to face. I feel very pleased to be able to say that I’m hungrier than ever for this new career I have chosen. I know that I will be a great PT because I love helping others to achieve, and because I really do believe that it would be the greatest shame if my future clients could not enjoy the beauty of their bodies which they have an inherent right to achieve.

So what’s next? Well, the good news is that I have a job to go to. I’ve been asked by the PT Director of a local gym to attend their staff induction, and within the next couple of weeks I’ll be working for myself as a contractor and personal trainer in a place that is less than a 20 minute drive from where I live. I’m finishing off my assessments so that I can officially receive my certificates, which I will need in order to get my fitness industry registration and insurance, and I am rapidly creating the processes and products that I will need to start running my own small business in Fitness and Personal Training.

Yes… this shit just got real people!!

I am really excited about getting myself out there helping others to grow, achieve their goals, and fulfil some of their dreams. In doing so, I’ll be achieving a few of my own as well. 🙂

Finally, to those of you special people who have been following my blog and my journey, and who’s lives have touched mine, I’m so glad to be back!!  I’ll be allocating blog time so that my own physical fitness journey – which is far from over – will continue to be a feature here. I’m looking forward to catching up with all of you very soon to see how you’ve been going and to reconnect after being away for so long.


Change the way you see yourself

10 Jan

I’ve been a big fan of the TED talks for a number of years now, and I am always looking forward to being amazed by the research and technologies that get presented there. A couple of days ago however, I found myself being not only amazed but also being very inspired by talk which encouraged me to take a moment to search within and to try to look at myself not through the eyes of others, but through the eyes of the person that I would prefer myself to be.

Now for those who know anything about me, I love being in the water. Whether it’s fully kitted SCUBA and 40 meters below the surface at a reef, or a more minimalist snorkelling around a pier, I have always found myself the most at peace, and the most fascinated when I have spent my time exploring the incredible life that lives in the sea. So this talk by Sue Austin appeals to me on a couple of levels, because not only can I completely relate to how incredible and life changing SCUBA diving can feel, I can also relate to her talk on a more human level and feel inspired by her journey and her life.

Sue’s story doesn’t encourage me to do the hard and life-changing things just because it’s something I feel I should be able to do as an able bodied person. Rather, her journey inspires me more to change the way I see myself in order to decide for myself what it is that I really need and want out of my life. If faced with something which seems either “difficult” or “impossible”, I am inspired to re-evaluate my own perceptions and to look at myself a different way.

Looking back over the last year, I can see that in some ways I had already taught myself to alter my own self perception, even if I hadn’t really recognised that this is what I have been doing. If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would choose to study personal training, I would have laughed and told them that this computer geek can’t become a personal trainer. Having tried and failed so many times over the years to stay at a healthy weight or to become fit, I would never have imagined back then that I could see a healthier future before me so clearly now. In some ways I was guilty of seeing myself as others saw me, and in other ways I was guilty of seeing myself for the person I feared to be, rather than the person I truly am.

Instead of saying “I want to be fit”, isn’t it better to say “I’m not fit now, but I am capable of becoming fitter… and I will be”. Instead of saying “I want to be thin”, perhaps it’s better to say “My reality is that I am overweight, yet with a little hard work and education I will reach my goal to be healthier, and I will enjoy the journey”. In every case it would seem to be better to accept the now, not as who you are, but as what you’ve allowed others to see you as. Instead of seeing yourself with those eyes, permit yourself to transform your perception of yourself, dare to see yourself as the person that you know you are capable of being, and then make it a priority to live the journey to set and achieve the goals that will allow you to become that person you truly believe yourself to be.

I once saw myself as overweight, unfit, and incapacitated. I now see myself as a fit, healthy, and life loving individual who has a great deal to share with others. My reality is that I am overweight and of questionable fitness, and yet I am also on a journey of my choosing to show the world this person who I know myself to be, and my journey will end when I believe I have achieved all of the goals that I am setting for myself. I know myself to be capable of achieving those goals, I am doing everything to make my journey a priority in my life, and I know that the journey itself be be its own reward.

Isn’t it wonderful how much you can achieve, simply by changing the way you see yourself.


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