We are already aware of the problem: Too many people are unhealthy—some obese, some with diabetes or hypertension, some who just don’t exercise. And the tricky thing is that it’s not necessarily that people don’t want to become healthy. Often they do, and will try different food plans or exercise strategies. The problem is that these solutions don’t stick and people end up feeling frustrated and alone.
When someone asks you what you do for a living, how do you respond? Perhaps you say you’re “a group fitness instructor,” “a yoga instructor” or “a Zumba® instructor.” The correct response is, “I’m a leader.” You do more than simply host amazing classes that help people get fit. It’s time to think bigger about who you are and what you do, if you truly want to Inspire the World to Fitness®.
In 1988, Joan Darragh tipped the scales at 288 pounds. During a trip to Japan, she had a defining moment. “I was in a bar, and I sat on a stool built for the slighter Asian frame,” says the New York City resident. “Suddenly, the bolts on my metal stool started to pop.” She tried to pretend it wasn’t her stool making that noise, but she still kept one foot on the floor.
More trainers are integrating life coaching with fitness training to improve clients’ results. Given the increasing popularity of life coaching, investigators from Lillebaelt Hospital and from IRS University of Southern Denmark in Kabbeltoft decided to evaluate its effectiveness in improv- ing health.
Kara A. Witzke, PhD, leads the exercise and sport science program at Oregon State University-Cascades. Her work in the health and fitness industry spans more than 20 years and has included positions in personal training, cardiac rehabilitation, workplace wellness, fit- ness certification, weight management, education and research. Most recently, her research has focused on the effects of exercise on musculoskeletal and metabolic systems through funding from the National Institutes of Health.
When I was growing up, I was proud of my body. No one had shorter shorts than I had. I didn’t think twice about how my clothes fit or what I was eating. After I started college, I grew a few sizes pretty quickly and began thinking about my body image. I heard a few comments here and there about my body, and my clothes no longer fit. I knew I needed to change.
You know your next client, Doug, really well. He’s been working with you for 2 years, he’s committed to his fitness program, and while his body is already well-conditioned, he is determined to keep improving. His session will focus mainly on intense weightlifting, and Doug is used to “psyching himself up” before each set—he finds it helps—but you’ve both observed that it’s getting harder for him to make real gains. How can you help?
Think of a recent time you felt stressed. Maybe it was during an argument with your spouse, or a meltdown with your kids. Maybe you were stuck in traffic and late for an important meeting. Or maybe you were lying in bed, worrying about work. Whatever the cause of your stress, your body and brain were almost certainly experiencing the same thing: boiling blood pressure, a churning stomach, tight muscles and a racing mind.
I encourage my clients to breathe when they are working out, as in life. Jokingly, I say, “Breathing is the first thing you learned in life, so please do not forget to do it over the next hour that we are exercising.”