Updated: Mar 24
Research shows 75% of people who try getting in shape without any support fail, more people these days are seeking the support of Personal Trainers to get fit and reach their goals. Over 55% of Personal Trainers are seeing more and more clients approach them with mental health concerns and worries. Sharing and talking out problems really helps with mental health and when you exercise, serotonin, dopamine and endorphins are released into the body, these are natural, mood boosting chemicals. The harmful, stress related chemicals reduce so it’s no wonder my clients always leave feeling better than they did when they arrived.
When a client arrives at one of my session their energy is the first thing I notice. I’m always hoping for enthusiasm, focus, drive and determination which usually makes for a more constructive session but often clients arrive feeling flat, frustrated, or with something on their mind. As the trainer it’s my responsibility to switch them to the “positive mindset” and get the best out of them. There is no “one size fits all” approach. I myself have not always been motivated to manage my physical and mental health but it is a top priority for me these days. In this blog I will open up too. Life experiences and their ramifications keep me accountable and returning to a regular routine each week, finding my solace in fitness and striving to keep my mind, body and soul healthy.
I was out for dinner the other week in Bristol, with some friends and friends of friends my husband and I were meeting for the first time. While I was away from the table, they started discussing the new series of SAS: Who Dares Wins, quite the hot topic with its gruelling tasks and compelling story lines. Everyone was animated and trying to decipher whether they could make it through the process.
When I arrived back at the table, I remained relatively quiet as I wasn’t in the mood to relay the story of how I auditioned last year but my husband had already very proudly shared that I had auditioned last year for the show. He had helped train me and, although in the end I didn’t make it through to the show, I was very happy that I had given it my best shot.
(Some photo from 2019 preparing for the physical test audition stage of SAS: Who Dares Wins. Strength training using weighted bags (totalling 40Kg) until I eventually bought a pair of jerry cans after the audition stage. Sit ups, press ups, bleep test practising and bottom right a selfie showing the results of all my hard work.)
I applied because last year I was all for SAS: Who Dares Wins, it was the ultimate mental challenge, full of adventure, the unknown, the high level of physical training required was enticing and I have huge respect for the SAS their mindset, skills and courage. I usually have a goal for the year, and it was a big one. I am not open to talking to random people about deeply personal experiences, so I felt no need to respond to the comment made at the table after I’d spoken of the rigorous physical tests: “Your story was obviously not tragic enough for the show.”
I, perhaps more than most, have always really disliked when people make assumptions of such a personal nature. I was slightly reeling after the dinner, despite my husband assuring me that they must see me as someone who is very well balanced. Applicants to the show have often been through some fairly monumental life events; these include such variances as incarceration from a mis-spent youth to emotional or physical trauma. I am sure many people auditioning had to talk about things that made them uncomfortable. The earliest stage of application for SAS: Who Dares Wins is to complete a lengthy application form (this took me 3 weeks) if you are called for the physical test you need to pass to reach the interview stage. This stage is in front of a video camera, they homed in on the grittiest experiences of my application form, each question designed to reach your deepest truths. I had a lovely interviewer and was directed towards talking about how child sexual abuse and being raped in my early teens had made me strong and shaped me into the person I am today. Despite being really nervous as I had never done anything which involved such vulnerability, I spoke and wrote about how I’ve used physical training as part in an ongoing series of tools, to allow me to process and move beyond having my experiences be a defining characteristic of my personality. I’ve always thoroughly disliked the victim mentality; I will speak of my experiences if by doing so I can give someone the strength to keep a positive outlook rather than feel damaged. As the show’s Ant Middleton put it: “our main tool in our armour is our mindset.”
Without realising it, by making their comments at the dinner table about my story not being tragic enough, it had made me feel as if they had negated the life experiences, I had spoken about during the interview phase of my SAS audition. After a busy year in 2019, where I got married and purchased a flat with my husband, I’ve chosen not to apply in 2020, but what a powerful experience it was just doing those stages it has helped me open up more.
Physical training can be used as tool to help process difficult situations and experiences and help people move on. Each session my clients and I bond, we talk about life and I get to know more about them which means I can help them better reach their goals. If you think this sort of training would help you all you need to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me a bit about yourself and I will book you in for a taster session.