Friday, November 11, 2011
I am my own best personal trainer. Well, I could be anyway.
I know myself, inside and out. I know what I enjoy, I know what I truly dislike. I know what I need on the inside better than any other. I just have to listen to myself more often.
Many of us have had a personal training encounter at least once. Be it at a tour or orientation at a gym, or more on the lines of physical therapy after an injury. A personal trainer needs to know how to be patient and kind, yet be able to cut through the excuses and bull---oney. They need to know how to effectively motivate and encourage when the client wants to give up. Notice I said “effectively”. An effective personal trainer will also be educated in the physical and nutritional needs of the client, while keeping in mind that there is an emotional quotient to the mix as well.
So lets think this through. What else would make a GOOD personal trainer, for YOU?
To me, a good personal trainer would be someone who, like I said, is well educated. Someone who is always smiling and hopeful for me, encouraging, motivating, my biggest cheerleader, someone who knows exactly where I’m starting as well as my potential, and has a realistic plan for how to get me to where I want to be. Someone who will not let me stay where I’m at, but will also know not to push me too far either. They will not let me give up, ever. Someone who will help me every step of the way, who will have patience even if those steps are baby steps.
What would make a BAD personal trainer, for YOU?
To me, a bad personal trainer would be someone who is bossy, temperamental, ridicules me when I don’t live up to his or her ideals, doesn’t care where I’m starting from. They just want to get me to where THEY think I should be as soon as THEY think I should get there, and is impatient and disappointed with me each time I mess up. Instead of being a cheerleader they are more of a monster, a chiding nag, someone to fear.
Which of these two personal trainers have you been more like to yourself lately? If you have an off day or even if you clearly fall off track, do you kick yourself while you’re down barraging yourself with words of failure or do you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and say “Its okay, lets try this again, I just KNOW you can do it!”
I’m guessing not all of us would be the “good” personal trainer most of the time. What can we do then, to become our own best personal trainer of all?
#1- GET TRAINED! Learn how to be a good trainer. Get educated. Use the tools that are here- FOR FREE- on SparkPeople. Learn the difference between what is healthy, and what seems healthy, but actually isn’t. Use all of the amazing information here on SparkPeople to train your brain first. Learn what your body actually needs, not what you’ve always thought it needed. Don’t assume you already have all the answers, be a good trainer and learn the truth.
#2- BE ENCOURAGING! You of all people know exactly where you are starting. And when you’ve done something that you know is a big deal for you, be that cheerleader! Shout for joy! If you know something is hard for you, tell yourself you can do it. Say it so often that you finally believe it! Don’t give up on yourself, you CAN DO THIS! If you know something is really hard for you, get others rallied behind you. Create your own team of cheerleaders if you have to. Do whatever it takes to cheer yourself on to finally believe you CAN do this! Believe in your best client- yourself!
#3- PLAN FOR SUCCESS! Make your goals ATTAINABLE. Make a list of realistic goals: mini-goals leading to your larger goals that eventually lead to your ultimate GOAL. If it takes you too long to meet your goals, then try starting with smaller goals. You need to help yourself get on the track of success! Even if the goals seem so small and silly. You need to allow yourself to feel success. Its addicting once you start to feel success, so help yourself succeed however you can manage. Then once you’re on a success roll, start making your goals a little more challenging- but keep them just barely within reach. If you were trying to get a toddler to take their very first steps, would you go all the way across the room and punish them if they didn’t make it? Would you? NO! You would help them stand, and then let go just enough so they were clearly doing it on their own. Then you would move just barely within reach so they could come stumbling into your arms. Right?! Then what? CELEBRATE!!! You would tell everyone, right? Well, if you need to do the same with yourself at first, DO IT! The nice thing about being your own trainer is that NO ONE ELSE HAS TO SEE if you really don’t want them to. Of course, you should be cheering yourself on, not chiding yourself for having to take baby-steps. Be proud of yourself when you’ve earned it! Remember, be that GOOD trainer to yourself. Be encouraging, not demeaning. Cheer yourself on for even the smallest baby-steps!! And don’t be discouraged if your baby-steps are smaller than you’d hoped. CELEBRATE your successes!!!
#4- NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend that you were trying to help (or the toddler learning to walk). If you beat up your friends as much as you beat up yourself, you would have no more friends. Same goes for yourself. BE NICE. Be a good trainer. Be a good friend to yourself. Don’t revert to anything negative if you don’t achieve your goals. Remember the toddler learning to walk? Don’t go kicking the baby for falling down too many times, okay? Negative reinforcement doesn’t work. Just don’t do it.
#5- REWARD YOURSELF! For each goal met, try some positive reinforcement. Make sure that your rewards are motivating, yet don’t defy your goals with your rewards. For instance, don’t use food as a reward, or give yourself something that will keep you from being active or healthy. Nor use something you need in order to achieve your goals as a reward, like a good pair of shoes. But you can use a need for a future goal as a reward for an earlier goal. For instance, if you are currently on a walking plan and your future goal is to be able to go backpacking, you may reward yourself with some gear towards your future goal. You get the picture. Think carefully when making your plan. Don’t over do it for small goals, but do something! For each of your mini-goals, do something small but nice for yourself. Figure out what would make you smile, giggle even. Make them mean something for you. For ladies, maybe a cheesy fake flower that will eventually make a bouquet of your achievements. Or maybe give yourself a SparkGoodie (in the note, explain WHY, so you remember your small steps). Only you know what will work for you. On the other hand, don’t let negativity creep in if you’re not making your goals at the pace you’d like. Don’t ever deny yourself for unmet goals, but be kind and encouraging when you meet them.
Now this doesn't mean that we can't have outside trainers as well. There will always be people we can learn from who have more experience, more knowledge. But with all due respect, we are going to be with ourselves for the rest of our lives whether we like it or not. Let's make it a GOOD, positive, healthy relationship, shall we?
Let’s become our own best personal trainer by getting trained, encouraging ourselves, planning for success, rewarding ourselves for meeting each of our goals while making great strides, and when we are faced with challenge and difficulties -- let’s rely on our friends to cheer us on to make it to the next level. By empowering ourselves as trainers and our friends as cheerleaders, we can meet our goals and celebrate together.