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Training is about so much more than just “getting fit” or “losing weight” or at least it should be.

As a trainer, I see people struggle every day, with strength – especially woman with regard to their shoulders and wrists – with natural movements that came easily to us as children in the form of play, with breathing and heart rate, but not only that; I see people struggle with fear, courage, self-confidence and self-trust.

A client who does not trust their body to perform will struggle in the gym but that fear and lack of self-trust and belief will transfer through into everyday life.

I ask my clients to do things that I know they fear, not out of some sadistic need to make people feel silly or hurt themselves but because I know within them there is so much more potential than what they see in themselves. To give them the encouragement, belief and confidence they need to overcome those fears, get out of their comfort zone and gain a sense of achievement. All this can come from something as simple as a max rep deadlift with sustained form or landing a simple box jump where one has never been attempted before.

Even if my client should “fail” in the attempt to execute the move or the rep or lift the weight, I try to explain that this is a good thing, that failure (that’s the technical term by the way) teaches us something and that the body will respond to that stimulus by getting stronger, more resilient, more efficient, all the things we use to define “fitness” BUT only if the thing we failed at is attempted again. If you miss a box jump and never attempt another box jump – that may denote failure – not the missed attempt. The missed one was simply a lesson!

All the lessons we learn (and teach) in the gym are about overcoming fear, getting stronger and becoming more self-reliant, form good habits and be useful, not only for ourselves but for others as well.

Embrace the struggle, learn from the failures and keep improving!


Isla Staff