Over the past 6 months I’ve had a constant flow of comments about my figure from gym members, clients and colleagues. Like every job, personal training has it’s ups and downs. I absolutely love being a personal trainer, but working in a gym exposes you to a lot of criticism – the trainer’s are meant to have the best bodies in there and don’t have any struggles of their own right? I pride myself on being an honest trainer, practising balance and consistency in my life. So I wanted to share with everyone what’s been going on.
Now, I’ve recently been through a stressful couple of months, resulting in losing quite a lot of weight. I lost my appetite and was struggling to get through even half of my regular portion size. This was a product of anxiety that built up, for various reasons, last summer. I started to obsess over the fact that I couldn’t eat, which made it all worse. It was an unhealthy cycle that proved hard to break out of.
This point in my life was the leanest I’ve ever been, I had a completely flat stomach and my lowest body fat percentage ever. Many women commented on how amazing I looked. This was weird to hear, because I felt so weak, fragile and not amazing at all. Comments from men on the other hand, were more related to how much muscle/curves I’d lost. One guy from the gym even said,
I can’t believe how much weight you’ve lost, you’ve gone from having a great body to nothing, like I mean you’re a negative now.
I can hear you all cringing, what an awful thing for someone to say. I don’t know what his aim was by saying this and he definitely wasn’t thinking about how I would feel, but you can tell why the conversation stayed with me.
It’s so hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when you notice something different about them. A compliment to one person, could be another persons criticism. We really have no idea what each individual is going through.
Everyone’s comments aside, I was feeling pretty shit. I had zero energy and weight training was unbelievably hard. I could only lift 30-40% of my previous maximum, which was mentally difficult to process – I’ve always loved being strong.
I had to get out of this cycle. With massive support from my partner, I wrote a training plan to get me back to my strong, confident self. I occupied my mind with books, tv and conversation whilst eating, which helped me to stop obsessing while I was eating.
I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to break the eating cycle, I’m slowly lifting more and believe it or not, I’m pleased to see my abs disappear!
We all go through challenging times in our lives, in my experience having focus, structure and persistence is the best way to overcome the struggles. However, it’s not going to all go to plan. You’re going to have weeks that you feel you’ve achieved nothing.
Remembering to keep consistent, with your diet and exercise, is what will pay off in the end. I used to train 5-6 days a week. I got so bored and lost the love for training because I felt weak. So I cut it back to 4 days; push, pull & 2 x legs and focused on just a few standard compound movements; squats, lunges & overhead pressing. I basically took myself back to a beginner and slowly worked through a progressive overload phase. As a result, my appetite improved and I’ve managed to increase my meals by one teaspoon every week, and adding nutribullet smoothies as ‘drinks’. The extra calories that I was consuming, fuelled my body to be able to function better in, and out of the gym.
It’s so easy to fall into this fast paced lifestyle, where you want something and you want it now, especially if you’ve had it before. I’ve always been consistent and focused on training for myself and no-one else. I’ve also always had a balanced, healthy lifestyle. But one thing I’ve really learnt, is to be patient.
We all go through tough times, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on each day as it comes, and not the end product. Be proud of your journey.