Now that you know why I do what I do, lets get on with it. With my girl by my side I felt like I could take on the world even more than before. I wasn’t settling for second best from myself anymore. I found what was best for me and was going to make sure I never changed my plan; let her see what she got herself in for. “I’m hard work, just so you know!” I had a plan in my head and god knows I was not going to waver from it. During this time I took up my work experience, thanks to a little help from my cousin, in a hotel gym. It was very much a private gym and I wanted to make an impression.
The rain was appropriate to the trials of my first morning. Getting up to get the bus to the next town was a little harder that day; no one wants to get out of bed on a miserable day. It had to be done though, nothing was going to stop me, a little rain never hurt nobody, and wallowing in self pity was not going to get me where I wanted to be. Listening to my motivational speeches from the greats I rocked up to reception. Not knowing what to expect was the worst part. Would I be expected to teach a class? Would I have to show how fit I was? Would my knowledge be tested? No… I cleaned. That would be first on the agenda; every single day. This is one of the most important aspects of being an instructor. Make sure everything is hygienic, devoid of sweat and residue build up. Check the swimming pools chlorine levels and work out myself.
Looking at the body building trophies in the reception area I was a little inspired. How was it possible to have so many trophies in such a small private gym. I was also a little anxious because these achievements were obtained by a twenty six year old. When I eventually met him he was a monster of a man compared to me. Picking his brain I found that he was even more obsessed than I was. Hold on a second… obsessed is the wrong word. Dedicated better describes what this ‘monster’ was. Six foot odd and pure muscle, I was dwarfed by his presence. “Remember, I’m five foot five on a good day.”
As I talked to him more and more my knowledge grew. Every evening on the bus home I would go over what he told me in his head. Work on your weaknesses until they become your strengths; and you know what… that’s what I was forced to do. “I hated spin classes!”; I stupidly said out loud. Each day after that, I was made to do spin to become more proficient at it. Now in training we were encouraged to talk to each other while we were on the bikes but this was different. It was constant and I grew to think of it as another class I could do at a drop of a hat. The professional who done spin seemed to lost his passion for being an instructor. This worried me too; “was this my eventual fate?”, I thought to myself? I couldn’t let this happen to me. I was only new to the game and my aspirations were high.
“Thinking like this would end me before I started.”, I contemplated. Although this did not discourage me as I was to find out I was not the only one who got discouraged. The ‘monster’ thought me one more valuable lesson. Having a conversation one day he was telling me that he met his idol at an expo one time. He sat down beside him and felt tiny. “How??”, I queried. “Well I sat down beside him and his hamstring just went oomph.”, as his signaled his hand half way between the chair and the floor. “I felt like giving up at that moment. No way would I ever get my legs that big.”, he said. This made me think a lot. Here was this mammoth of a man who had all these trophies, telling him he was the best in his class and he wanted to give up?! Dedication and drive kept him going; as I realised, even the best feel like giving up. There will always be someone who challenges your ability. What sets these people apart is being better versions of themselves. Not wanting to be better than the next person but knowing they were on their own personal journey.
The next couple of months were filled with little tricks and tips to help me achieve a better physique for myself. To be better than the person I was the previous day. To be more confident in my spin and class ability. To strengthen my core even more; I thought I had a great core until I tried Pilates. To not compare myself to others; but to also lead from the front. These were all very valuable lessons that I retained into my later training. Now I knew why experience was so important; it thought you a lot more than just how to instruct. Teaching you how to watch multiple people at once. What your responsibility to people was and what it was not. For example; we have a responsibility to teach people how to safely do exercises. It was not our responsibility to put their weights back or tidy up after them. Your duty of care to a person can only go so far before it wavers your responsibility if they get hurt. A prime example was a client who enjoyed to do his own sort of exercises; even though they were completely wrong, despite multiple efforts to correct his form. Dropping weights repeatedly was not an expression of masculinity that was acceptable in a gym. (Note: failing is different.) These little lessons, I learned, is what makes a massive difference to an instructor.
Saying goodbye on my last day was perhaps one of the most difficult things I had to endure. Not only because I was losing a part of myself and finishing a chapter; but also because I had to go out into the big bad fitness world soon. No longer would I be under instruction if I messed up. “Em… not that I messed up often mind you.” But it was something that would be as scary as it would be exciting. You know what though.. those twenty kg weights didn’t seem that heavy anymore.
To be continued…