Happy New Year — You’re On Your Own

Alright, so December happened. In my last post I wore y’all out about Thanksgiving etiquette and how to not be a gym-bro douchebag during the holidays and then apparently took a hiatus from content. But lo and behold, here I am, blogging on January 1.

Classic personal trainer move, no? Perking up at the opportunity to make a buck. Salivating at the very thought of “New Year, New Me” people crashing through the doors of the gym looking to cut the fat and build the muscle and gain the confidence and shed the shame et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam, ad infinitum, ad mortem.


But what if I told you that’s not what I’m here to do? I mean, don’t get me wrong — I L-O-V-E making money as a personal trainer. I’m blown away by this strange reality where I get paid to help people become better versions of themselves and the extra income has gone from well, this is nice to OMG I’m actually paying off debt!

But at the core, it’s not the financial incentives that drive me to do what I do for my clients and Club members. I love helping people find their path, I love being a coach, I love watching people’s transformations and I love the accountability it forces on me. The financial aspect is merely gravy.

In fact, I started this blog as a way of sharing some of my freaky coach knowledge with y’all, sans-gravy (that means free).

With that said, allow me to go into coach mode for a moment.

At the end of every class at TITLE Boxing Club Knoxville, we do a hands-in breakout that’s exactly what it sounds like — members bring their hands in, the trainer says a few words and then we do a cheesy 1-2-3 breakout.

When we first started doing these, I was WAY into it. I took that opportunity to uncontrollably spew the most hype and inspirational message I could muster after an hour-long class. I’m serious when I say I’d partially black out and just start talking — these speeches weren’t rehearsed and they came straight from the heart.

It sucks to admit but after a while, that fire in me died down and my hands-in experience was about as exciting as getting a root canal. Good job, y’all did great, let’s get outta here. BORESVILLE.

With the holiday season in full swing, there also comes a lot of family and travel and vacations and busier-than-usual schedules. This can wreak havoc on a gym whose primary function is group classes and, if you’re new to the training game, these empty classes can also wreak havoc on the confidence of a trainer.

Do my classes suck?

Do they hate me?

Would this have happened if another trainer had been scheduled?

I should probably quit; I’m not cut out for this.

I’ve been there. It happens.

This situation hit me last week. The last week of December, it was cold out, people were still on altered schedules, it was raining — quite literally the perfect storm for a low-attendance class. Not surprisingly, attendance was sparse.

It’s hard to keep the energy up in a class so small, but somehow inspiration struck. At the end of class I brought in the few people that showed up on that rainy evening and told them that at one point such a small class would’ve really bruised my ego but I would no longer let it. And I told them why.

Want to hear it here it goes.

When I started my weight-loss/fitness journey, I had a lot of erroneous fantasies dancing in my head that consisted of me being cheered on for doing what I was doing — that I would assemble a group of Avengers-level friends (or at least a Robin-like sidekick) to do it all with me — that once I started doing it, other people would understand it and be inspired to take part.

But 95% of that didn’t happen. In fact, one of the most influential moments of my journey was when I realized — and admitted to myself — that I was alone on this journey.

Sure, I had friends that would say “good job!” or tell me what an inspiration I was to them, but ultimately there was no one there to go on runs with, no one that would get up at 4am with me, no one that wanted to take a boxing class with me and no one that gave a shit when I told them I couldn’t go out for lunch or drinks that day/night because I was watching my macros or had an early morning workout planned.

Much like Lady Galadriel said to Frodo Baggins, I was in a way a Ring-bearer, and to bear Ring of Power is to be alone.

Once I accepted that burden, though, things started to happen. Once I shook the idea of having a team to go with or someone other than myself to be accountable to, that’s when I started making my progress. There were no more excuses. The burden was solely on me. And if this metaphoric Ring of Power would ever make it to the fires of Mordor, I would have to take it myself.

The Lord Of The Rings GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

When my small class brought their hands in that night, I gave them a shortened version of this story and told them that by them braving the elements to come work out that night — choosing to not go home despite the tiny class — choosing to put their effort into a potentially low-energy class — choosing to put in twice the work to make it worth their while — they, too, were taking that burden and accepting that it was theirs to carry.

And they’re going to experience true results and true progress as a result.

In this new year, I don’t want to fill you with false hope — that the “new you” is right around the corner and that I have the magic medicine to help you be that person. I’m not going to sell you a gym membership or a personal training package using smoke and mirrors that show you a fantastic, unattainable version of yourself.

No, in this new year, I want to encourage each and every one of you to look in the mirror and accept that it’s just you. You can have a support system (or, to keep the metaphor consistent, a Fellowship of the Ring) in place, and I really hope you have one … but know that ultimately YOU are the only one that can put in the work. YOU are the only one that can find the motivation for yourself. YOU are the only one that can achieve the results you want and that your weight-loss / fitness journey is YOUR burden to bear — no one else’s.

Taking responsibility for yourself isn’t easy but I can promise you that once you do, the rest will fall into place.

Alright, 2019 — let’s make it look good!

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