You might not have known this, but before he was Mr.Universe, Mr. Olympia, the biggest action star in the world, and the Governator, Arnold was a Personal Trainer!
Yeah he started out just like us, turning his passion into money –
But what’s real funny is he HATED it!!!
He describes the experience in this quote I found from his book. What you get is a really candid and ironic take on the job. Here’s the quote:
“Managing a health club was an entirely new experience. I was supposed to be a trainer, to show people how to exercise, to devise programs which would make them lose fat and rebuild their bodies.
“At first, confronted with these people who’d come to me for guidance, I felt helpless. I thought I still needed someone giving me advice on my workouts. But I realized I had to do it in order to survive.
“I had to live a split life, acting as an instructor to the health club clients on the one hand, and trying to train myself for the Mr. Universe title on the other. It was frustrating. People who would never benefit from what I told them kept taking my time. They paid and came to the gym. But it was a disgusting, superficial effort on their part. They merely went through the motions, doing sissy workouts, pampering themselves. And there was so much I wanted to do with those wasted hours.”
Holy sh*t! How’s that for a negative view of the job?
But to tell you the truth, I’ve had the same feelings at times. I’m sure in some ways many of us can relate to it.
Sometimes I just don’t understand the people we train. I don’t understand their problems and where they’re coming from. I don’t understand the level of neglect that has led them to the point where they are now, and the apathy that keeps them there.
And if you take your own fitness very seriously, it’s hard not to feel a lack of understanding, and sometimes like Arnold talks about, even contempt for people that don’t have the will take care of themselves.
For me it’s just a fleeting feeling, but I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t there.
This leaves you with a couple of options as a trainer:
You can chose to only work with people that are very serious and committed to getting in shape. Although these people take more knowledge and time to train they are the most rewarding clients to have. I drop any client that isn’t completely committed to achieve big results and train very hard. Or else I would lose interest and start hating my work, which I won’t accept.
Secondly, just like Arnold you need to realize that training can be a valuable step in your fitness career. Once you’ve outgrown a situation, there’s nothing forcing you to stay there to the point where resentment starts to develop. Just like a girlfriend or boyfriend you might outgrow as your priorities change, the same thing can happen in your work-life. We’re always growing as trainers – some of us maybe even going into other fields from here and there’s nothing wrong with that. Training is a necessary step for us to grow, learn, and master some critical success skills in the process.
But I agree with Arnold in the sense that you should NOT be looking to cope with a bad situation. Instead, work to make it better!
If it’s your work environment bringing you down, change it. If it’s your clients, raise your standards and be picky in who you accept, or develop a specialty that allows you to focus your attention on the work that interests you.
Behind it all yeah, you might feel a little negativity towards the very same people that are paying you to help them. But realize this is true for anyone trying to coach someone in what comes easy to them naturally. That’s why you very rarely find superstars in any sport turn out to be good coaches.
And while these factors might at times lead to boredom and borderline resentment, they are also one of the amazing positives of being a personal trainer. They are what makes this job so easy for the fitness enthusiast. That makes it the absolute best and easiest way to earn a living that I can think of.
I guess there’s something about human beings that no matter how good a work situation is, we always want more. You could say Personal Training is the perfect job, but there’s a part of us that always wants more.
That’s actually very positive – rather than allowing it to lead to resentment, we all need to channel it. That’s exactly what you see in Arnold’s case. He took that hunger for more and better out of life and channeled it. Worked well for him didn’t it?!?!
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