We received a comment in our last customer satisfaction survey that read:
Your trainers are too attractive. Please hire less attractive trainers.
Now, I will let you know this was a wonderful compliment that caused our team member’s self-esteem to soar through the roof, but even though I understood the meaning of the suggestion, I couldn’t help but wonder the true “why” behind the statement.
For someone who is unhappy with the way they look, walking into a fitness center is scary. Like really, really scary. It is something I address with each and every client I get to interact with who shares trepidation when exercising in front of people.
I have been told things such as:
I’m being watched
All these fit people make me feel bad about myself
I’ll come workout after I lose a little weight
I’m too fat to do those kinds of exercises
In a nutshell, making judgments about anyone no matter how fat, thin, muscular, tall, short or middle of the road isn’t going to help you find balanced wellness. Here are some concepts that may help you get passed your own insecurities and help you focus on ways to improve your personal health and wellness.
You don’t know their story
I can understand the trepidation of joining a fitness center only to be matched up with a trainer who could give Arnold Schwarzenegger a run for his money. After all, how could a man or woman who looks like that have any idea what I feel like or need? And in some cases, you might be correct. Especially if they give you an exercise program for a body builder. That is a red flag and you should run away as fast
as you can.
However, if that is not the case, please take these thoughts into consideration. First off, their goals are probably way different than your goals and secondly, if the trainer is worth their salt, they will produce an exercise prescription and plan that is perfect for your current fitness level, experience, readiness for change and personality.
I have trained clients next to a professional bikini model and it always hurts my heart when I hear snide remarks or comments that put her down. What many of these folks don’t know is that this model is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet on the planet. A trainer herself, she helps women build their self-esteem and has a great deal of compassion for women struggling with body weight and image. Especially women who have had kids. Many think she can’t relate until they realize she has three kids of her own (daughter and twin boys). That old saying of don’t judge a book by its cover? It goes both ways.
How full is your tire?
Your personal wellness can be thought of like a tire on your car. If you are under or over inflated, the tire will be out of balance and will not roll very well. Fill that tire with the proper air pressure and it will roll beautifully. I have known people with a very high level of physical fitness but a very poor level of overall wellness? Aren’t they one and the same? No.
I have seen relationships dissolve because one partner becomes so engulfed in their fitness, they ignored the other areas of wellness (relationship, environmental, financial, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, emotional).
One example that pulls on the old heart strings is watching a parent completely ignore her son during his baseball game because she was too busy posting about her fitness accomplishments on Facebook. This person is fit. One of the fittest people I have ever been around but I would have to question her level of wellness when social media and feeding the ego is more important than watching a six year old
play baseball. By the way, the kid notices mom isn’t paying attention.
Physical wellness, which includes fitness and nutrition, is very important, but so is finding balance in the other dimensions of wellness. One can never be perfectly balanced. Humans are flawed, messy creatures but so long as we have an awareness and the resources to work on these 8 dimensions, you will find yourself becoming happier with who and what you are.
You may not be the most fit person but if you can find ways to include exercise, clean eating, a date night with your partner, a means to tap into your spirituality, you develop (and follow) a budget and find ways to develop personally/professionally, your tire will roll quite nicely.
Ditching the negative thoughts
Which leads me to my final thought: How do you look in your swimsuit?
As many do, this story comes from the most reputable source for all knowledge known to mankind: Facebook.
In the story, a woman was at the swimming pool with her kids who were having a fantastic time. The woman however, was spending the afternoon staring at and resenting another woman across the pool who looked better in her swimsuit. Both of these women had children. After a few minutes of fixating on the body she doesn’t possess and the one the lady across the pool does, she realized the second mother was not focusing on others but playing in the pool with her young children. The first lady was spending her afternoon focusing on her body.
At that point she made a decision. She knew that with her job, raising two kids and her other responsibilities, she may not ever have a body like mom #2 but there was one thing she could do. Stop wasting time worrying about other people and start playing with her kids (who are getting older each and every day).
So for the rest of the summer, mom #1 put on her swimsuit; muffin top, stretch marks and all and went to the pool to have a good time with her kids. She did try to exercise a little more and eat a little healthier but she refused to let negative thoughts infiltrate her mind and as a result, her overall level of wellness rose.
Is this a true story? We’ll have to ask Mark Zuckerberg but regardless, I have seen these situations play out in real life. Work on ditching the negative thoughts that put you down. You are after all, your own best friend.
So in reading this are you ready to throw on your swimsuit and never be self-conscious or put yourself (or others) down again based on the way you look? No. Not by a longshot. Remember when I said we are messy, flawed humans? It will happen again I promise. Shoot, it happens to me from time to time and fitness is kind of like my job (some accuse of hanging out for a living).
Please understand that the road to wellness isn’t a destination. It is a journey. Concepts like what is written in the paragraphs above are resources for you to find your way. If the team at Integrated Wellness Concepts can be of assistance, we would be honored to help you on your way to better health and wellness.