The Truth about being a Fitness Professional

I’m a fitness coach but I am not the healthiest and fittest out there.

Working in the fitness industry, everyone expects us to look absolutely ripped (2% body fat and 8-pack abs and all), and have so much time in our hands (freelance coaches like myself, especially). Not that it’s an unfair or impossible expectation – we should practice what we preach, after all.

As with most expectations, it’s not all it’s perceived to be. After 8 years in the industry, here are a couple of things I’d like to share.

  1. We have the same 24 hours as everyone else.

When you work in a gym, everyone (including yourself in the beginning, probably) expects you to be working out all day. Hey, gym use is free all day, every day. However, our time is highly dependent on client schedules. When we have a lot of clients in a day, we’ll be lucky to get 15 minutes to work out and eat. If a client comes in late or has to reschedule last minute, our own schedule can go haywire.

This is doubly true for freelance coaches. Aside from client schedules, travel takes up a lot of time (Manila traffic does not make this any easier). We go from one gym or house to another, training once client after the other, and our entire day is gone! (No complaints, though. These are blessings!)

This doesn’t mean it’s okay not to work out because “you don’t have time”. You still have to make time like everyone else.

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The time I was able to lift more that 2x my body weight, 130kg!
  1. We need our cheat days, too.

Sometimes we just need a good pizza or burger, or just that nostalgic taste of a quick and easy instant noodle dish. Sometimes we do go out to drink until we can’t stand anymore. As much as we’d hate getting caught (especially by our clients!) bingeing on buffets and fast food, we’re only human with very human food cravings.

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Burgers – my ultimate weakness.
  1. We don’t have all the answers.

Health and wellness is a broad, ever-changing and still relatively young field of study. Almost every day, there is new research coming out which may contradict a previous study. In addition, one size definitely does not fit all in this industry. Different body structures, injuries, lifestyle, goals, strengths, weaknesses, etc., all need to be accounted for when training.

This is why continuous study and a united fitness community play an important role. We need to keep studying. We need to ask for help. We need to discuss. I, for one, am guilty of this, but the only way to step forward is to really see yourself and evaluate whether or not you need to ask for help from the rest of the community.

  1. Our wallets will sometimes be empty.

Being in a service profession is not easy. Commission-based salary structure can be very rewarding, but can also be risky. Some clients will stay, some will come and go. Some will go on vacations. Some will have financial difficulties, and will have to deprioritize your sessions. We can plan all we want but it can be uncontrollable at times.

  1. We struggle with body issues, too.
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It will always be a battle to be physically fit.

This hits me right in the heart, because I am not your typical ripped coach that you see on Instagram. Most days, I compare myself to others in my industry. But, I am a human being – I gain weight, I lose it, I gain it back again.

This doesn’t mean I will stop trying. The constant reminder to be healthy and fit will forever be there. Every day, I work a little harder, I eat a little better. I lose some body fat – great, motivation to grind harder tomorrow. I gain some body fat – sad but motivation to grind harder tomorrow.

I may not be your role model body, but I hope I’ll be your role model attitude. I struggle, I work harder. You’ll struggle, but I hope you work harder, too. We can do it together.

Being here in the fitness profession requires a lot of passion and hard work. I knew before hand that it would be hard – that it will be a constant struggle physically, mentally, and financially. After 8 years, I still wouldn’t have it any other way. Knowing that I helped someone feel stronger and more confident about him/herself fulfills me. Seeing them smile after setting a new personal best is a huge push for me. Heck, even seeing them have a slice of cake from time to time knowing how hard they work on themselves everyday makes me happy. That, in turn, also pushes me to work harder on myself, to study more, and to look and feel better about myself, too. I know I will always be glad that I chose this profession.

I may not always be the fittest and healthiest, and I won’t say it’s okay, but I will always try harder.

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