What I Learned From My First Personal Training Session EVER

I recently moved back to DC so one of the first things I did was join a gym. Actually, I did it the very day I moved because, well, exercise is important to me. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing a workout aftermoving a shit ton of boxes and furniture. The workout just won’t be optimal but, it’s also better than not working out at all.

Anyway, part of the sign-up “perks”was having a one-on-one coaching session with a trainer. I hate gyms, by the way. I’d much rather workout on a dirty, dusty, filthy basement floor where it’s okay to sweat. “Nice” gyms are just the opposite — they look at sweating as something to clean up afterrather than a part of the workout process. My motto:

If it’s good enough for Rocky, it’s good enough for me

(that’s part joke, part truth).

I don’t like going to gyms and I don’t like working out with people. Exercise, for me, is a solo activity. It’s where all my “genius” strikes (yes, that’s a joke) and it’s a way to get away from work and do another type of work. I work on me, to build we.

However, this day was different.

It was different because it reminded me of just how important it is to get an outside perspective; to get somebody to look at what you’re doing and give you feedback to let you know:

A) What you’re doing right

B) What you’re doing wrong

You don’t get any better — at anything — without feedback, without questioning the status quo or challenging the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset with the “we’ve always done it this way, so let’s try something different” alternative.

Nor can you guide your own ship. You need a crew; you need other people to let you know when they “see land,” when they see a big fucking whale on the horizon or some other “thing” that you can’t see because you’re too focused on navigating.

My this day was similar. The trainer corrected my form on a number of different exercises that I thought I was good at because, well, I had always been including those exercises without injury. So I must be doing something right, right?


And that’s the thing.

If you don’t have somebody else to question the status quo — your status quo — then you just become a self-licking ice cream cone where you only taste your own flavor.

If you had to choose one area of your life — at home or at work — to improve upon, what would it be? How would somebody else challenging you to thinkmore, be more and do more make your ideal world even better? Because that’s what life’s really about — getting better — and you don’t get any better without questioning “what is.”

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Jeff is an author, weekly contributor to Forbes and Entrepreneur, leadership coach, host of The Chaos Cast podcast, and former 13 year Navy SEAL.