3 PEOPLE EVERY FITNESS PROFESSIONAL WILL ENCOUNTER AT A PARTY
Social gatherings and parties are weird sometimes. Everything starts out smoothly with small talk about the weather, the event we’re attending, or casual observations about the world. And then the inevitable exchange of “what do you do?” comes up.
Before I continue, please know that I love working in the health and fitness industry. I could gab about what I do and why I love it, if you let me. Unfortunately there are some social situations that I dread because I encounter one or more of the following 3 types of people:
These people feel the strangest need to confess all of their indulgences and reasons for not working out. Although I appreciate getting such an immediate level of trust, I’m not judging you. It’s not my place to tell you to give up your nightly glass of wine or morning donut. I’m not going to relieve you of your health sins, tell you how to fix all that ails you and/or some how validate your lifestyle. I’m not fitness Jesus.
The verbal rationalizing and projecting is internal “you” stuff that you have to work on. I can’t make you feel better about things you obviously don’t feel good about. If you don’t feel good about them, then you should be asking yourself why you are doing them.
After I tell a judger that I’m a personal trainer and mindbody instructor who specializes in biopsychological movement, I will usually get an eyebrow raise and a side eye scan. This look is distinct and a wave of negativity washes over me when it happens. It’s not a good feeling.
These conversation will sometimes put me in a position to defend what I do, how I do it, and why I do it. To judgers I may not look the part, eat the “right” diet or promote a methodology they believe in. Judgers will try to force what they think is the “right way” to eat and the “most effective” exercise routine. They try to make me feel that my approach is all wrong and that their way is the “only way.”
To be clear I don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” approach to health and fitness. Everybody’s body and personal preferences are different, so one person’s way of eating and exercising will not work for everyone. I believe there is a right way, a right method, for each individual person. If you believe in Crossfit and Paleo, pilates and green juice or HIIT and low carb — that’s awesome! As long as you feel good, you do you darling. How your “way” makes you feel is what matters.
I’m torn about how I feel about the headhunters. These folks make me feel like they don’t believe what I do is a real job. I’m still not sure if headhunters are just helpful good hearted people or egomaniacs.
Conversations will headhunters usually go like this:
HH: What do you do?
Me: I’m a personal trainer and mindbody fitness instructor who specializes in biopsychological movement.
HH: Oh cool, do you work in a gym?
Me: No, I work for myself.
HH: Oh, you know there is a gym in my neighborhood that I think is looking for trainers and I think you’d be great there and I know the manager. I could connect you, if you like?
Me: No thank you. I like working for myself.
HH: Of course. You know my company gym could really use someone like you. I think there is an opening for a receptionist, if you are interested.
Me: … huh? No, That’s sweet, but I’m all good.
Just stop headhunters. I appreciate that you want to help, but really I’m doing just fine. Don’t get me wrong, people who understand what I do and want to set me up with potential clients who could benefit from working with me, I’m all about. I think some Headhunters can’t wrap their heads around what I do so they have to place me somewhere, in a box or category, in order for me to make sense. Other headhunters may feel that if I work for myself, that somehow means I must have trouble finding a place to work — which is not the case.
I made a promise to myself a long time ago to only work for people/companies I like, doing the things I enjoy. I live to learn, grow, and do work that makes me happy. There is no shame in my game.
These situations are by no means unique to me. I can’t begin to imagine some of the encounters others have to endure. The types of people I described above are probably good people at heart and may not realize they are being rude. It’s hard to say and I will always do my best to be polite because the positive energy I put out is what I hope comes full circle…eventually.