Personal training isn’t a career path typically fraught with danger. But the possibility of an errant piece of fitness tubing ricocheting across the room, a dropped dumbbell or verbal abuse from a client who decides you’d make a good sounding board can all do damage.
As an in-home trainer, however, you can add another factor into the mix: PETS.
First of all, let it be clear I love all animals big and small. But just as my cats love me and are suspicious of strangers, other peoples’ pets can see me as a threat as well.
I’ve been in homes with all kinds of dogs and cats without incident. In the dozen or so years I’ve entered many different abodes, only two make my “terrified” list.
I dreaded one of these appointments so much my stomach would be in knots before I left my house.
I am not generally afraid of any breed but have a healthy respect for big dogs such as Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds and other dogs tall enough to stand with me eye-to-eye.
She (we’ll call her “Sue) knew her pit bull was protective of her and was aware of my apprehension. So I had that going for me.
And while I understand pit bulls can be great pets, this one never seemed happy to share her turf with me.
Surprisingly, dealing with any animal species was not something they teach you as part of a personal training certification exam.
So each time I’d go to Sue’s house to work out with her, we’d go through the same ritual: I’d walk up to the front of her house and ring the doorbell.
That was Sue’s cue to scoot the dog out into the backyard for the hour. I could hear her talking to and wrestling the pooch out the back door.
The remainder of the training session consisted of me working with Sue in the living room while her pup stared at me through the glass door, waiting for his moment to show me who was really in charge.
Thankfully, that day never came.
Sue was also highly unmotivated to exercise and often asked if I could come in “for tea” and skip the workout altogether. I figured it wouldn’t be long before she just kept Fido out in the living room to let me decide for myself just how much I wanted to keep her as a client.
This brings me to today’s topic: FEAR. Fear of getting started when you have a lot of weight to lose or haven’t worked out since the 70s.
I get this question from readers quite often: “I don’t know what to do! What can I do to get started? I have a lot of weight to lose and have never worked out consistently for very long.”
Great question! The very fact that you asked it means you’ve already made a change. So congrats!
Here are the best ways to get started when you have a substantial journey ahead of you to reach your goals…
Avoid looking too far ahead or you’ll become overwhelmed and quit. Commit to make one change this week. One. Good examples include:
– Walk 10 minutes this week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday
–Next week add 5 minutes to each walk — or add another small change, such as drinking one more glass of water a week
It’s a matter of mindset. Do NOT say to yourself, “I’ll try this and see if it works.” Giving yourself a way out means you’re not really ready to make a change.
Keep it small, as I said in #1, and incorporate these other following steps.
Set goals that you can control, such as walking X minutes a day versus “losing X pounds,” which can vary depending on many factors.
Give yourself a gold star or other little sticker on a calendar set aside for exactly this purpose. It sounds childish, but you’ll be surprised at how seeing a row of gold stars motivates you to keep up the good work.
Place reminders around your house and in your environment to keep your head in the game. Sticky notes on your mirror with motivational sayings, or reminders to bring your walking shoes to work, etc., create an environment that keeps your goals top of mind.
Get your diet in order. Most of any weight loss you experience will be due to cutting calories, if you’re striving to manage your weight. Exercise ensures you keep the muscle and lose the fat, but it’s far easier to cut out a donut than it is to walk for two hours to burn it all off.
Add dietary changes to your daily mini change list. In addition to drinking more water, make goals such as “only tea after x o’clock,” an hour or two before bedtime; add a salad to every dinner meal, etc.
The quickest way to add a new habit to your lifestyle is to link it to something you do currently so you connect the two. For example, I put out my workout clothes the night before and put them in my bathroom. So in the morning when I brush my teeth they’re sitting right there. I avoid any decision making first thing in the morning.
You can also put your walking shoes next to the door, for example, or keep a couple of resistance tubing bands next to the couch so you get in a few biceps curls while watching TV.
Surround yourself with supportive people and turn a deaf ear to the naysayers. When you make a decision to get fitter, it brings out the guilty conscience in others who know they should follow suit. Ignore them or they’ll pull you down with them.
A great way to surround yourself with like-minded women is by joining my monthly membership, the Ageless Army. We all support each other and exchange ideas — plus you are privy to a boatload of helpful info and a weekly Facebook live Q&A. Check it out HERE.
Which of these tips will YOU try this week? Let me know in the comments section below… I’d love to hear from you!
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P.S. I dedicate this “pet post” to my kitty, Smudge, who passed away last week at the age of 19.
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.