On Being Disillusioned

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts while I run lately and my new favorite is The Angriest Trainer podcast. While I totally love it and the content, it’s also got me thinking about how I don’t think I can ever go back to being a personal trainer or doing sports nutrition consults ever again. Why? Because when they cover listener questions, it’s always, always the same thing that I faced when trying to get people to change the way they freaking eat. And it always will be. 95% of the people you coach/train won’t accept that there are no tips/tricks/hacks/shortcuts to success with weight loss.

Food and what we eat is such a powerful issue that most people can never permanently re-frame how they interact with food. Our culture makes it impossible to be normal AND healthy and thin, and the 95% continually battle between a desire to lose weight and a desire to be healthy. A sense of entitlement and the “I deserve a treat” mentality is always battling “I want better for myself”. Future vs. present, will-power vs. rationality.

When I new to teaching my Boot Camp class, I remember reading something along the lines of this: “bad personal trainers make their workouts too easy for their clients”. I found myself doing that over time with my Boot Camp class as it was a small class and everyone had gotten to know each other so well. It’s so hard to push someone to do a decent pushup or squat when they have been coming to your class for a year and just.don’t.give.a.shit how good their squat or pushup is.

I will tell you – it was SO hard for me to accept that I was no more effective than the next guy because all my clients were just like most of the population – feeling the health benefits of exercise and being a bit stronger but not looking any different because the dietary changes weren’t there (or weren’t there consistently enough). And that failure was very dejecting. I wanted my clients to be successful but in the end MY definition of success was not theirs. They just wanted to hang out with their friends and work out. That’s fine, but it wasn’t what I envisioned for myself and for my desire to change people’s lives.

My position now is that how I feel about food and fueling sports is very, very rarely mentioned in public or in my job as a coach. I would rather keep my thoughts to myself than tell a client what they need to do to lose weight and have them ignore it because it requires real and lasting change. I hope some day that will change and I can be more vocal but that will have to wait until I work through this disillusionment in some way.