It’s natural to think of 6-pack abs and massive weight loss results that personal training can do you for – we don’t blame you… those messages are all over the marketing content directed right at you! (Talk about managing expectations?)
Without diving too deep into the psychology of WHY some enjoy long-lasting results and why some don’t, let’s address some key factors that start one off from a good and healthy place – how personal training can help improve our mental health.
But, what does mental health have to do with personal training?
To create any positive changes in our life, it typically starts with our lifestyles.
What makes a lifestyle healthy or harmful? – it comes down to habits.
What makes habits sustainable and enjoyable? – intention and purpose.
How do we practice awareness on intention and purpose? – mental wellness and emotional intelligence.
How do we acquire them? – practice and physical fitness.
(in a nutshell)
Working with a personal trainer provides powerful accountability and motivation.
Depending on the hard and soft skills they are trained in, good personal trainers have the ability to coach you beyond your 60 minutes of training sessions in the gym. What else does a personal trainer coach you on other than the right exercises and programs tailored to your needs and abilities?
- body awareness – i.e. can you feel the muscles you’re trying to work? can you make the connection of muscles firing in different sequences? can you tell the difference between movement control and moving a limb from A to B?
- ego awareness – i.e are you pushing that weight because you can’t bear the thought of not “progressing your numbers”? (rather than addressing movement mechanics and recovery-ability to channel progressing strength and physical fitness?).
- ability awareness – i.e. are you forcing yourself into a position of flexibility that the nervous system is not yet primed for rather than conditioning the interconnected web of connective tissues, fascia, nervous system, neuroplasticity…and who knows what else researches will continue to learn about our amazing bodies?
These may be systems of pre-established beliefs (most of the time, limiting), and it takes two (client and coach) working together to reset things. Overcoming obstacles and replacing harmful habits with healthier ones may not be easy but they are worth the effort.
Social support and shared hardship.
Research has shown that it is more difficult for adults to make new friends for numerous reasons, ranging between low trust and lack of social opportunities to being at different life stages.
It’s well known that making a decision to change our health is hardly an easy one. Sticking to the plan and trying to enjoy the process might be the hardest part for many.
Shared hardship bonds people, both from the experience point of view and from the perspective of shared values. When someone else also invested in hiring a personal trainer, chances are that you are at a similar economic status, schedule and mental space – all contributing factors that enables social exercises and peer support.
Social acceptance and social health is an evolution of growing with our inner and outer circles.