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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Loved your blog. But, being on the other side of the biz, being a client, when your first start out, it’s hard to get into the whole workout routine. You feel fat, sluggish, and to me, embarrassing as all that fat is jiggling around. We all have reasons why we didn’t have the fortitude to work out like you all do. But once we do, it gains momentum. It grows on you and then you get into the routine, feel better and more confident. Have some compassion for where we as clients come from. If it wasn’t for us, you wouldn’t have clients! ha!
Hey Gianna – whoa! I guess I didn’t count on any clients reading this!
The purpose of this post wasn’t meant to knock our clients – it was meant to identify the negative feeling in Arnold’s quote and cope with and channel it – even if you’re not into the new agey stuff, I’m sure you can agree that negative emotions are in general destructive – we need to make the positive, which is obviously something Arnold has been able to do through his results –
If you read my Whistleblower Report, you probably realize that most of the difficulties that I faced early on in my career where emotional – they were self-esteem issues – in general, I’ve identified emotions and self-esteem as one of the major things holding trainers back and that’s why the major thrust of this blog and the reports is toward elevating them –
How else do you explain a profession that’s based on all the right things, highly popular in the media, and very high paying all at the same time, but then the figures on earnings are so pathetic? It’s got to be something trainers are feeling on a core level – forget all of the marketing and training tactics, sometimes you need to look at the deeper issue.
Interesting. Didn’t know Arnold actually worked as a personal trainer. Sounds like he wasn’t qualified at all, he just had the look (self admitted chemical look, albeit). I can only imagine the routines he was trying to put average joe clients through.
I love this post KAISER!
Kaiser…A moment of insight is worth a lifetime of experience!
This message is louder then a space shuttle launch! I would assume is the loudest sound in the world. How many times must we say it…Hello!!! ” Dump-the-gym!!! But for reasons that only the subconscious knows, we fear uncharted territory. I believe the subconscious mind has a hard time distinguishing between what is REAL and what is well imagined. Still we live as Arnold did frustrated, and in a whirl wind of havoc. But look now what he has accomplished. He was proactive to step out of his comfort zone, and face his reality state. But those of you who are reading this who still hold on to “The thief of time” Mr. Procrastination ” beware”! You will never, did I say NEVER! reach the pinnacle repeating the same robotic routine day in day out.
Here it is…this is the way we live…and these statements should be your thought process…ENJOY AND PAY-ATTENTION!
Super-Trainer wants to give all of you the best advice
we said each day’s a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled
That first step you take is the longest stride
If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had FOR A CHANCE, if today was your last day?
What if today was your last day
Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the price is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’re never living twice
Don’t take the free ride in your own life
And would you find that one you’re dreaming of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you’d finally Dump the gym, AND BE PROUD if it was your last day?
You know it’s never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
‘Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life
Let nothing stand in your way
‘Cause the hands of time are never on your side
And would you find that nitch you’re dreaming of
Swear up and down to God above
That you’d finally find passion if today was your last day?
Remember…it’s not who you are that holds you back…it’s who you think your not!
Dave Parise CPT FPTA
Super-trainer Advisory Board
Haha, if Arnold was eligible to run for President, I’m almost certain he’d give it a shot.
Interesting what you said about always wanting more and how it can easily turn into resentment if you don’t find a way to channel it properly. I think I have felt/do feel what you’re talking about, so it’s good to hear it in actual words that can make some sense of it.
That was pretty cool Dave – really powerful – I’ve read it a couple of times and I’m still not sure if I got the full meaning!
Yeah Doug – and I think this is true moreso for trainers than the rest of the population – we generally are fit, articulate, and good looking people – we can get bored of a monotonous situation very quickly, and that can only lead to negativity –
This was a great post Kaiser. Let’s say Gianna was a great golfer(she probably has some other skill but this is an example) and she decided she would teach me to golf. Well Gianna would have those same feelings you described while she was trying to teach my pathetic self how to golf(i suck).
So it applies to every walk of life. Gianna and other people who fitness doesnt come naturally to shouldnt be offended. They should realize that we wouldnt be in this business at all if it wasnt a BIG part of our character to help others…but still, sometimes we get frustrated and we should only take clients we are certain we can give 100% to. Its a 50/50 situation, the client and the trainer should give 100% every session…or they shouldnt be together!
Yeah Jay – you’re last sentence completely summed it all up –