To most people, the lives of their personal trainers or fitness class instructors are a complete mystery. How do we stay that in shape without getting burnt out? What is our secret? Now, I say “we” and “our,” because as a personal fitness trainer, yoga instructor, and professional dancer, I am always answering these questions for clients and class participants. Because of that, I decided to share my fitness tips and tricks with you!
1. Personal trainers make workouts fun
You can image that because fitness is our job, we can get bored of our own routines sometimes. That, or the well of inspiration runs dry. The crazy part is that due to our love of working out and activity, personal trainers, and group fitness instructors find ways to make fitness fun. We do what works for us.
For example, my routine (aside from the classes I teach and exercises I demonstrate for my clients) involves the activities that I think are fun and get me moving – kayaking, skiing, hiking, dancing, yoga, and gardening. When it comes to your health, getting “fit” should not override “joy” and “happiness.” Obsession is something that many trainers have to learn how to deal with before finding what fitness means to them.
What I am trying to say is, I don’t do anything that I loathe. I am not going to lace up my sneakers and go for a morning run when I know darned well I would rather stay at home and swing the kettlebell around or do some box jumps.
2. They work out all the time
Here is the thing: When we are training a client or in front of a class, we are not 100% into the workout. Why? We are watching you, of course! Therefore, most instructors, regardless of our specialty, don’t consider teaching a workout. We are doing those classes for you, for your benefit. Our time comes afterward, even if we are tired.
Because our health is important to us, and we love physical activity, it is not surprising to see trainers joining in on group exercise classes they do not teach or hitting the barbell set prior and after class is over with. I used to teach yoga then jump right into a Les Mills Body Pump class or go home, eat lunch, then hit the hiking trails for some HIIT.
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3. Personal trainers know how to maximize their time
Okay, that “all the time” thing was a lie. Fitness professionals merely know the beauty of time management. Most of us do not do the fitness thing full-time. Some instructors, myself included, teach a few classes, have a client or two, and make the rest of our income at our real career. Therefore, just like everyone else with adult responsibilities, we sometimes have to crunch seconds and minutes to fit in a good workout.
So we get creative. Squat jumps during TV commercials, push-ups, and mountain climbers before our morning shower and some yoga stretches prior to going to bed. We also know that standing is better than sitting. Also, you will find most trainers opt for the fitter route, like stairs over the elevator.
4. They push their limits
Your trainer is not yelling at you to work harder because they think you are lazy and not taking the workout seriously enough. Your trainer plays the drill sergeant role sometimes to prove a point that if you do not work hard, you will never see the results you want.
Trainers have been there. Most of us were not always the chiseled, fitness freaks we portray to you. So we understand why burpees suck. But we do them anyway because we know how effective they are. We also understand that starting out is brutally hard, but trust us.
The best trainers know how to push through those mental walls, and many aspire to teach you how to correctly do that as well. The reason why most personal trainers look the way they do is out of a new fascination with how far they can go on their fitness journey. Besides, we have to inspire you to seek out a six-pack or an Instagram-worthy behind somehow, right?
5. They know they are not perfect
If you run into a trainer that thinks they are all that and a bag of baked Lays, you need to drop them fast. A good trainer is two things: humble and human. There are some days where I don’t feel like going heavy because I am tired, or my form is a little off because I am feeling out of it. Maybe I didn’t eat well enough, and my energy levels are hovering on Empty. You know what I do? I take it easy.
Yes, most trainers work out almost every day. We push ourselves to muscular fatigue. But we also know when it is time to take a step back and say, “Whoa, okay now.” In other words, we know it is cool to rest once in a while. Our bodies need time to recover from intense workouts, or else they will crumble. It does not matter how “fit” you are.
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6. Finally, they know it is cool to cheat
Not on tests, either. However, if a trainer looks back on how they ate throughout the day or week and says that maybe ice cream is in order, they will not stop themselves from having a scoop.
I tell people all the time about the 80/20 rule. Make smart decisions regarding your diet 80% of the time. That means lean and plant protein, moderate amounts of healthy fat, and a good amount of carbohydrates for fuel.
That also entails not overindulging on alcohol or sugary, baked goods. Awareness of what we put into our bodies is crucial for workouts but also during recovery days when the body needs wholesome nutrients even more.
The other 20% of our nutrition goes towards having a slice of homemade pie during the holidays or sipping something luscious at the bar on Ladies’ Night. We know it is okay to kick back and enjoy life once in a while. After all, personal trainers might be crazily fit and energetic, but we are all about having a good time too.
Now that you have some insight on how fitness professionals function day-to-day, I hope that you can apply some of that towards your own health and wellness journey!