This last week I had a TRULY eye opening moment. In the past, usually clients have been all too ready to share their successes. And then there are times when they hold back a little bit before they allow me to use their personal testimony to help them brag about their success (and a potential case study to help instill confidence in others about our training abilities). And while this is great for all parties, last Friday I was humbled. I asked if one of our gyms long time clients would be willing to use his before and after picture as a testimonial... In short, he said, “No.” I couldn't believe it. How could a
guy that has become one of the strongest members, physically, that I've ever coached not want to brag about his fitness path. Then it hit me hard upside my melon sized head that it wasn't my journey to talk about in the first place.
Client Fred (name changed to protect the innocent) didn't say “No” to be difficult. His explanation, though simple, seemed to have a much deeper meaning for me. Fred said, “That before picture you saw, isn't my real before picture. I'll bring that one in tomorrow.” And he did. The look on his face when he showed me said it all. There was no going back for Fred.
He said, “I don't care to see a before and after because I don't want to be reminded of 'that guy'. I know where I came from, I know how hard I've worked, and 'that guy' is long out of the picture.” And with that one statement, I realized that someone else’s fitness journey will always have a deeper meaning to them than I may ever know.
How many demons, vices or situations are people able to escape by simply building themselves up physically and mentally? What kind of past have they attempted to get away from only to have those old thoughts and memories creep back in to sabotage the hard work they have put in? And when they have become truly successful, how hard do they constantly have to work on the inside to keep that part of life at bay? Good heavens, I couldn't stop the questions that ran through my head last Friday. I had seen a picture of a man I didn't even recognize. How could I not have realized that most of these
journeys started long before they came to me. Long before they learned how to deadlift, eat clean or run a 5K?
It took one picture of one client to make me think of the journeys of just about every client that I've trained in the past. I had so many thoughts that I was almost exhausted by the time I stood up again. I couldn't believe it had taken 7 years for me to realize that not every journey is the same. There is no generic story line for every health and wellness journey. Every single person that walks through the door has fought and/or is still fighting their battles, usually multiple, that started before I ever met them. Some of those battles will be talked about. Some will be glorified for all to see. Others will be
left to fade away only to be thought of as some distant place in time. And I realized that it's ok. No matter how physically and mentally strong you become, it's ok to leave those things behind.