By Leah Staff, BA Psychology, Speech Communication Minor, PTS
Stop! Don’t cancel that appointment with your trainer! Didn’t complete your workouts this week? Your nutrition intake was more than a shade off target? You might be tempted to cancel your session because you are too embarrassed to face your trainer but hang on a minute. Your trainer likely told you that in order to achieve your goal (the outcome), consistency in your behaviours (workouts, rest and nutrition) is absolutely necessary. But as an intelligent adult you already knew that. So yes, when you haven’t been able to keep up your side of the program it is tough to face your coach; however, here are some points to remind you that your fitness level is not about keeping your trainer happy, but rather this process is 100% about you.
First, your coach is completely in your corner. She wants you to succeed and that can only happen if you continue to show up. When you’re feeling unsuccessful, this support might feel like pressure. Pause for a moment to reframe her desire for your success as being there to help you through every human bump on your journey.
Second, trainers are people too. They have families, schedules, life hassles, and sometimes they even have other jobs! They live with the same constraints of managing daily life and the toughness of getting everything done during a week. From their personal experience, they will not be shocked that you had a difficult week. Plus, unless you are their very first client ever, their professional experience entails other clients who’ve had the same struggles.
Third, trainers are weird and they know they’re weird! They love exercise! When workouts are skipped they get grumpy, don’t sleep well, feel less energetic and they hate it. They are are also keenly aware that most people don’t feel as strongly about exercise as they do. In fact, more people than you might think actually hate everything about exercise. The entire reason trainers work in fitness is because they enjoy it. They will always hope that you’ll learn to love it too, but they aren’t shocked when it’s not love at first sweat.
Fourth, your trainer only knows what you tell her. If there is something about your workout that you don’t like, that hurts, that feels too hard, and that makes you feel conspicuous or in other ways makes it tempting to skip your workouts – speak up! She wants to know! There are many paths (behaviours) that lead to your goal (outcome) and your trainer is completely capable of designing a new road with scenery that is more appealing to you.
Fifth, you’re the boss. When it comes right down to it, you have paid for these workouts with your hard-earned cash and cancelling last minute is money down the drain. Your trainer is your coach, hired by you, working for you. A good trainer will help you figure out a strategy to turn your exercise journey into another part of your weekly habits. Tap into her coaching skills by showing up and being transparent about your struggles. She can’t help you if you’re not there.
Try reframing your embarrassment, disillusionment or despair into a recognition that setbacks are a normal part of forming new habits. People rarely succeed on their first attempt to instill life-long exercise habits. In fact, you can look at it this way: every time you teach yourself to shake off low fitness weeks and get back into the gym groove, you are that much closer to staying consistent. So get out there and go see your trainer – she’s waiting for you!