The final day was something that will be forever etched in my mind. That final walk to the sports centre. The way the sun shone so brightly as if it was the first day again. It had the feel of a groundhog day, but this was different. I had my backpack equipped, sweats on, the compression top to help alleviate my muscle soreness (a very frequent thing these days) and my morning protein shake in hand. Stronger… more confident… able to take on the world. Looking at myself knowing I had a purpose. Finally looking at my life and seeing direction where there was only misdirection before. I never wanted to give up this feeling. Although this was not the only feeling I was to encounter from all of this.
Would it be easy to find a job? Would anyone want to take on someone like me? Could I live up to peoples expectations? Am I creating a person my son would be proud to call his father? Would my father have be proud of me? Proud of the man I’ve become?? All these thoughts going through my mind as I sat on the bus. It had taken me so long to become physically strong; that mentally strong meant a lot more to me now. It was a new challenge. These thoughts would race through my mind constantly. I was putting stress on myself and I didn’t even know it. Sure I was in a better place, yes I have had the most influential time in my life experienced so far, and yes it was an immense amount of fun. But… what now?
I had applied in every fitness facility I could find. I done the footwork, I wanted to show people I could be a great trainer. All the while my next move playing out in my mind. Personal training was the next step and there was a follow on course that I had my eye on. I wanted more experience though. At this time not a lot of places were taking on people. The influx of fitness professionals was abundant. They were also looking for someone with a little more experience. Not just a programmer who up-skilled into fitness instruction. The jobs seemed to be passed onto the young bucks of the fitness world. My motivation was decreasing, and at this stage I just wanted a job that would pay good. So I could keep up my fitness to a level that was acceptable in the fitness industry. You see you have to remember the industry can be very fickle. Interview after interview I could see my dreams fading more and more. Then it happened.
At this time I was going to a gym, not too frequently, in my girlfriends town. I was between gyms in my own town too. Basically wherever I had the money to train was the daily regimen. This gym was like no other though. I wasn’t just a run of the mill gym. It had character; and an atmosphere I only thought was in movies like Pain & Gain. It had graffiti on the walls, the people were all friendly, there was an air of community and determination. This is where I wanted to be! Some days, when I would stare into my own eyes in the mirror between sets, I would imagine myself working there. It would all be soon a reality; but a reality I was totally unaware of. I would give people a little advice here or there when I could see they would do more damage than good to themselves. This however wouldn’t go unnoticed. I watched the desk a few times when the coffee run was to be made and I tried to make an impression the best I could. “I believe you will regret one hundred percent of the chances you never take.” To my total surprise and excitement I got a call one evening that would challenge my belief.
“Decky, have you ever thought a class before?”, “I have.”, “Would you like to fill in for a class tonight?”, “I would indeed, that would be no bother at all.” When I finished that call ill tell you one thing… I never felt so much like I didn’t know what I was doing in all my life. I didn’t ask what the class was, stupidly, and this was my first regret. Did I call him back or just project confidence in any class I could? Did I want to look like I wasn’t confident? NOPE! That wasn’t me anymore. I was confident in my ability… or so I thought.
I walked into the gym that night. My head held high and a plan in my bag for every class he could throw at me. My instruction training was very comprehensive; with all day circuits, Pump ‘n’ Tone classes, Spin, TRX, Kettle-bells, Step aerobics and a brutal body attack class. “I was ready for anything”, I thought to myself. I quickly realised I wasn’t. Body conditioning would be my first class. Setting up my circuit, my mind would race from one thing to another. Should I just do a very basic circuit? Would it be too easy? Going over the timing in my head. All the while walking around, book in hand, looking like a complete noob. Now it was easy enough to instruct to my peers in class. They knew the exercises, if I messed up they just laughed and we would continue on. We would slag each other and make little jokes to help ease each others anxiety. But there is no fear like the the fear of 12 people looking on at you with baited breath who are not your peers. “Who’s the new guy?”, I would hear in the background.
I gingerly went through every exercise; adaptations and progressions, timing and introducing myself. This took fifteen minutes. I was taking my time and you could see their anticipation of the time constraint arising. “Hurry up ya big ejit”, I told myself. During the class I was trying to watch everyone, make sure I was addressing them right, keeping time and trying to motivate as much as I could. This was a little tricky but I got it done. I finally finished and was given criticism about the class. Criticism is something that is a constant thing in this game, as with everything I suppose. But this is the one job where the customer is usually wrong. Hence correcting form all the time and questioning why they thought that YouTube video would work for them. This is where a lot of criticism from clients is generated. However that’s a different conversation. I got generally good feedback from the boss; just the usual about speeding up a bit, having a bit more of a laugh with clients and being a little more vocal. It could have been a lot worse. I’ve heard some horror stories. People totally freezing up, showing different exercises than they had set out, saying something inappropriate (in an effort to connect to the clients) and one about the instructor passing out from the anxiety of it all. Thankfully none of these things happened.
This was me. This was the life I wanted to live. This is where I wanted to be and I knew what I had to do to build a life around it. The gym would give me the environment to grow as an instructor and towards my own goal to be a bodybuilder. Something that, when I told people, they would laugh at. But no other time was so right for me to peruse these dreams. I was making myself proud. I could see my vision clearer now than ever before. The next chapter had finally begun; and ill tell you what… it was exciting.
To be continued…