As fitness professionals I find that it’s very easy to neglect our own body, spirit and emotions. Everything from feeling drained at the end of the day, to feeling like you’re giving more energy to your clients than to yourself and to your friends and family, to straight up, burning out. And I find this is why most personal trainers don’t last very long in the industry.
It’s kinda ironic because here we are supposed to be icons of health and meant to inspire, yet we often put our clients ahead of ourselves.
We as fitness professional have take care and protect ourselves in order to provide better service for our clients.
What it boils down to is that if you don’t have the energy to give to yourself, how can you expect to give it to other people?
As the saying goes with mothers, if the mom isn’t happy the family isn’t’ happy; if the trainer isn’t happy and healthy then the client’s aren’t going to be happy and healthy.
So, it really is important that as fitness professionals we take care of ourselves first and foremost.
Having been in the industry for almost a decade, I’ve been through the ups and downs of giving too much away and then having to completely shut down just to recover. And I feel if fitness professionals had some tools as to how to prevent those times of burnout and prevent those days where you just don’t want to set foot in the gym, then I think we can give our clients better service and last longer professionally.
What good are we doing people if we’re too tired and we can’t train and help others?
I hope that through this post I can provide you some ideas and tools that I’ve used in my own practice and things I’ve developed through my own experiences not only as a fitness professional but alos as a Reiki practitioner.
The concepts I want to talk about are considered under the umbrella of energy healing, which is a really broad term that encompasses things like reiki, meditation, qi qong, tai chi, and accupuncture.
We Are All Emitting Energy
I’m sure you’ve experienced a time that you’ve been in the vicinity of someone that made you feel really really good. And I’m also sure there are times that you have been around someone that made you feel really shitty, you know, those Debbie Downers.
We have those clients that we love to see and that make us feel good and on the flip side, we have those clients that we feel totatlly drained from and dread to train.
What is that? What causes that? What is it about those interactions that causes those feelings?
You may have heard the term energy vampires or people that suck our energy dry. We are all emitting energy, and as trainers, because we work with so many people day in and day out, it’s very easy to allow ourselves to be drained by the very people we want to help.
So what can we do to prevent those things? What can we do to prevent feeling drained? What can we do to prevnt burn out?
There are a few concepts from my energy healing practices that I want to share with you that we can use as fitness professionals to prevent burn out, to get better results, and to increase client retention.
How To Prevent Burnout
Think of the concept of having an outlet on the wall, and imagine that we all have our own outlets in our energy field. Each client we work with would be the equivalent of plugging their own cord into our energy supply, into one of our outlets. Whether we realize it or not, it happens. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, until we become completely drained.
The concept of shielding allows us to protect ourselves from those energy drains.
A good way to practice shielding is first thing in the morning right in the shower. This is a metaphorical way to shield yourself before working with clients. What you would do is imagine that the water is covering you with a clear, invisible protective layer that prevents those electrical chords from tapping into you.
To increase the effectiveness with this theory is to use a meditation or mantra with this. One that I like to use is this:
Other people’s stuff is not my stuff.
Meaning, I can still be empathetic and compassionate, but not allow other people’s “stuff” to affect me. This way I can still be a support system but not allow it to physically, mentally, or emotionally drain me.
The meaning of the word intent, is the reasoning behind your actions. Why you do the things that you do, and the emotions and the feelings behind your actions.
This concept works great if you work with long distance clients and when you are making long distant client programs. Since you aren’t actually with the person, and you can’t actually see the person, it can be very difficult to establish a mutually positive energy exchange.
So when you’re making the programs one thing that I’ve found to be very effective, is to look at picture of your client, and visualize if you were actually sitting down with the person in front of you.
If you work with clients online, you may ask that your clients send you before and after pictures, or these clients may actually be your friend on Facebook. Keeping a visual in front of you whether it’s though FB or progress pictures, will actually help you connect with that person.
Another tip that works to increase intent is to atually take notes on your clients while you make their program. For instance, I’ll sit down with my notebook and my computer screen up, and I might have Word or Excel open, and then I’ll have FB or their picture up on another screen.
And while I’m going through my client assessment form, I’ll take notes and write down key words that theperson may have mentioned, or areas of the body the person wants to work on. Something about the connection of reading what they said online and putting it on paper I have found to be very effective.
There is something about that connection of having it go through you physically and viscerally. Since you don’t have that connection with the person one on one since they are not physically with you, the act of bringing it to a physical medium, and having you transfer it from something non-tangible online, and making it physical makes it more ‘real’.
Look at the picture of the person, imagine what the would look like doing a squat, or doing a push up or what their life would actually look like if you gave them a meal plan.
That is the purpose behing intent. It’s putting that laser focus into that person’s program. Blocking out the time to make the persons program and giving that time your undivided attention.
Just as if you were training the client one on one, you wouldn’t be texing, you should bring that same focus to making your distant programs. The energy and intent that you are putting into every keystroke will come through in the end. And the more the client feels that you put the effort and energy into the program the more they will adhere to it and the better results they will get.
3. Therapeutic Touch
Touch therapy is used in hospitals and hospices to help patients recover from surgery or traumas. It’s the whole reason why hugs make us feel better and how petting a dog elevates our moods. There is an energy transference there.
One way to incorporate this in your training is to use these ideas of therapeutic touch, like a high five, a pat on the back, a hand on the shoulder, a fist bump to boost your client’s mood. You can also use light touch to intensify a verbal command.
If you’re client is doing something really well, encourage them with a very light touch along with a positive statement. The combination of verbal and kinesthetic cues helps reinforce whatever it is you are trying to communicate. In the world of NLP this is considered anchoring and is a very powerful tool to gaining trust and influenching people.
Use your discretion with this. Your’e going to have to make a judgement for yourself based on your relationship with your client. Is it even appropriate to put your hand on your clients shoulder? It may not be the best technique for certain clients.
Regardless of how much shielding you do, you’re gonna get some enery drains, and something I call “stickiness”, we might just get negative thoughts and ideas stuck to ourselves.
It’s as if you walked through the woods and had those prickly things attached to your pants, or if you had a bunch of lint on your black Lululemons. Cleansing would be like using a lint brush to clear off all the lint you’ve accumulated throughout the day. Cleansing would be the equivalent of clearing your aura of negative energy and thought patterns.
Again, a great way to do this is right in the shower. And this is why sometimes taking a shower just feels so fucking good. It’s because you’re literally washing away physical dirt, and metaphorically washing away emotional dirt.
Just like you would with shielding, you can use an intent with your shower. Close your eyes and literally Imagine the water from the shower washing away any leftovers from the day. I like to imagine that the water is covers my entire body, and gives me a new coat. In the shower, I usually combine this visual with the mantra:
The day is done.
Sometimes I’ll stay in the shower for a good 30 mintues of just clearing myself of the negative erngy and thought patterns. Cleansing goes hand in hand with shielding.
In energy healing, I take this right from my experiences with Reiki. Whenever you start exploring yourself energetically, or start to get into your higher self and chakras, you tend to put yourself in a space that is outside of your body. This can be particualary ungrounding.
What’s happening when you get into energy helaing is that you tap into your higher chakras, your higher self, your 6th and 7th chakra, and those chakras are associated with the heavens and the universe and things outside of ourselves.
And when we get into those spaces, we tend to get out of our bodies to an extent emotionally. If you are a coach and work with people more on an emotional level like myself, you can tend to get stuck in those emotions, which although is helpful at times, can be impractical and lead us to being stuck in our own heads.
Typically at the end of any energy healing session, you would close with some sort of grounding technique. And the sole purpose is to bring you back down to earth and get you back into your body. Grounding is associated with our 1st and 2nd chakra, and more specifically our feet.
So what you can do is at the end of training session or at the end of the day, is to simply ask yourself, how do I feel? How does my body feel?
By asking yourself this, you bring yourself back to the space of physicality, back in your body, and out of your head or emotions.
If the weather or your location permits for it, walking outside barefoot so that your feet make contact with the ground helps bring you back in tune with the physical earth. This is called grounding has actually been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
If you are working with your clients, you can use this concept after training or coaching sessions, by asking your client, “how do you feel?”. The operative word here is feel. Get your client to feel how their body is feeling and to describe any senestations they may hve noticed.
And so they don’t think you’re crazy, you can get them to ground by having them stretch with their shoes off.
You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have
At the end of the day if you are not taking care of yourself, and if you aren’t on your game and happy and rested, and feeling good, it’s almost impossible to give that to someone else.
You can’t give what you don’t have.
Take the time to give yourself the space to come down at the end of the day, and to shield yourself before you go in. Not only will it prevent burnout, but your clients will feel the boost and they will get better results and better retention.
I’d love to hear what you think. Am I nuts? Let me know below.