20 Oct Philosophy Is Now Part Of Fitness


By Duncan Peak


Personal trainers all over the world are adept at inspiring their cliental to go that extra mile, to lose a few extra calories, to look sharp, be sharp and now to think sharp! That’s right think sharp? Are personal trainers now psychoanalysts as well?


True fitness has always been not just about looking great but also feeling great – it is about a holistic lifestyle that brings health into the dark corners of your life! A trainer that only works on the physical side of things will soon become a lonely trainer. Popularity of shows like the Biggest Loser or the ever increasing yoga movement or even the growing lifestyle consultant and coach popularity are all indicators that people need to be happy to be healthy and that long term self esteem is not found in the size of your biceps or the how fast you run a marathon but rather in how balanced a life you live and how well you understand and accept yourself.


In an article recently published by a leading men’s magazine, it described how some men who are addicted to exercise, are in reality, suffering some kind of mild depression and the anger that is generated from their depression gets channelled into a good thing like exercise. Unfortunately, this obsession with exercise doesn’t deal with the real problem itself… self esteem.


So does a fitness trainer have a role to play in the mental health of a client? I hear many personal trainers say “no, of course not” but if you ask them “do you already play a role in the mental health your clients?” I believe the answer would be yes – and many of them are already doing a great job at it! However, like so many counsellors and psychoanalysts in the world, in the attempts to help others, many trainers can’t seem to find the happiness in their own lives. True health and fitness includes happiness and happiness is found in the ability to accept ourselves with out wanting more and more.


In yogic texts and the ancient philosophical teachings of many religions, happiness is found in serving others and having non-attachment to things in life. Does that mean I can’t work hard and buy the BMW? Of course not, nor does it mean I can’t build the successful business that I’ve always wanted. These goals and ambitions are fine but it is your relationship to them that is the concern. Non-attachment in’t about ridding yourself of possessions but rather not drawing your sense of self from what you have. It is paramount to see others as equals or as I like to put it, to see the unity in all life rather than the differences.


So how does this apply to fitness trainers? Nowadays, so many people are combining their fitness training skills with basic psychoanalytical education skills. To put it simply, they are learning how to teach people to be happy! As an oriental doctor will tell you, the cure should be for the cause not for the effect. Making a client run 20km a week won’t have much sustainable effect if they continue to binge eat at the bakery every lunch time.


So what steps can trainers follow to ensure that their clients are receiving the best and keep up with a growing lifestyle fitness market? Here’s five steps to get you started and watch your clients get more out of life:


  1. Be an example not a warning. Work on the dark areas of your own life so you have that experience to share.
  2. Understand a clients motivation for training and then identify the cause of their inspiration. Check if this is a healthy motive or one driven out of fear and advise accordingly.
  3. Educate your clients about total fitness – body, mind and spirit. Be gentle with your introduction of philosophy so they can receive it over time.
  4. As you train your clients, bring some inspiring messages into the training, staying away from the “no pain no gain” mentality. Advise your clients that true health is a healthy approach to training not a dependence for self-survival.
  5. Teach you clients to be present when they work out, not lost in negative repetitive thinking patterns that condition us! Just be present that all they will need to do to kick-start more joy in life and send your business soaring!


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