I have been a personal trainer since 2014 and while that may not seem like much time, the industry has still changed A LOT. In addition to that, my own philosophies have changed over the years, as well.
If you told me five years ago that one day I would own a business that mainly works with women who want to lose weight, I would have laughed in your face. Why? At the beginning of my career, I actually preferred to train men! They showed up for their sessions ready to work and never tried to make up excuses for why they weren’t seeing progress. I also enjoyed proving them wrong when they’d see little ole me for the first time and doubt that I could put them through a hard workout.
As my career has progressed, however, I have found that I connect better with weight loss clients – especially women. That is likely because I am also a woman, but my philosophy has changed as a whole due to the fact that I’ve stayed up to date with information in this industry and I am realizing that I can make a greater impact on people’s lives through educating them about healthy but balanced lifestyles.
A few years back, I wouldn’t really consider the lifestyle I was living as balanced. I looked good and lean, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t happy and I was missing out on a lot of my favorite foods.
My Old Beliefs
This industry is honestly always changing. Those of us who pay attention to it are the ones who have had numerous health and fitness philosophies over the years and we adapt as science changes and there is more information produced about health, fitness, and nutrition.
I’ve also learned that many trainers view their clients as little minions so they expect them to do exactly as they do. I was kind of like this, but I still gave my clients some slack since they didn’t do this for a living.
Back then, however, I was a meal prep queen and I counted every single calorie and macronutrient that went into my body. I had a scale at home and I weighed everything.
I also spent about 2-3 hours per day working out. I know the exercise sounds excessive, but keep in mind that I worked in a gym and the gym was too far away from my home for me to go home during the midday slump that trainer’s have. So I would just opt to stay at the gym and workout! It was my ME time. I really enjoyed it!
Naturally, during this time, I was a lean but very muscular woman. I did deal with people telling me that I was getting TOO muscular, which I would just roll my eyes at. I trained hard and I made sure to eat well to help my muscles recover. The thing that I look back on now and think, “Kayla, you got a little carried away,” was when I would panic over eating things like pizza, Mexican food (my fave), and anything else that people would consider “unhealthy.”
Once my entire life changed (aka we moved to Texas), I wouldn’t keep up with this type of healthy lifestyle. It was not realistic for me! During our time in Texas was when my views really started to change, not just because I no longer worked in a gym but because I was struggling with my mental health.
The Philosophical Transformation
While in Texas, I didn’t really work full time in a gym. I taught spin classes twice per week at a local studio and did some other things here and there online.
Another thing that happened while we were in Texas, at least for the first half of it, was I was really struggling with anxiety and depression. I barely went to the gym and I spent a lot of the days on the couch.
I think this was the turning point because I realized that it is unfair to expect my clients to set aside tons of time for the gym and counting their calories. I was lucky with the fact that I worked in a gym so I was able to just stay put to get my workout in. Most people have to schedule their workouts around their job, family time, and other commitments.
On top of this, I was realizing just how much time and effort it took to constantly track my calories and macros. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is still useful for people. I still have clients who prefer to track everything because they like the structure of it and that’s okay! But many people do not like to pull out a scale or measuring cup when they are trying to figure out what to eat and how much.
As time has progressed, my goals for myself have changed, too. I’ve gone from wanting to look good to just wanting to feel good no matter how I physically look. As I have developed this mindset, I’ve started to eat more mindfully and I’ve realized that it is totally unnecessary to spend hours upon hours in the gym. One hour is plenty if you use it right.
My philosophy can really be broken down into two parts now.
First: work smarter, not harder. Instead of spending hours in the gym doing one exercise after another, maybe it is time to switch it up and try some interval training so you don’t need to workout as long!
Second: if you need to restrict yourself in any way, then it is not the lifestyle for you. No more of these “good” and “bad” foods. If you want a slice of pizza, then eat it! It is not going to make you lose progress. As long as you’re not binge-eating pizza every single day, then you are golden. Moderation is key, my friends!
Applying My Philosophy Nowadays
It is hard to be a trainer in the gym and try to apply your personal philosophy to your client’s training. That is what I am loving about being a small business owner now with my own signature program.
I can educate and share my philosophy with women who want to spend less time focusing on workouts and diet, and more time with their kids, significant other, or even just… NOT focusing on those things.
That is why in my program, I don’t teach counting calories and all of my workouts are less than an hour long. Then there is a mindset component, too, so I can help set my clients up for success!
I am sure five years from now, my philosophy will change from this; maybe slightly or maybe significantly. Who knows what types of developments will come out in the fitness industry between now and then.
Bottom line: as evidence-based research becomes available, then I will always consider adjusting my philosophy because that is what life is all about! It is okay to change things based on new information.
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I wear a lot of hats: NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. A writer with a B.A. in English and Professional Writing. A fur mom and a wife. A mental health advocate and a septic shock survivor. An Airman and an athlete. I live in South Florida and am in love with the ocean. People can typically find me either in the gym or at home, writing or reading.