From Fat to Fit: Learning to "Fail" Through Personal Training

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This is a guest post from Christine, one of my personal training clients. Christine blogs weekly about her experience with personal training and weight loss. This post was originally published on October 10, 2013, but it's being republished here since my blog has moved.

As an overachiever and a perfectionist, I don’t handle failure very well. Usually I only take on challenges that I know I will succeed at. If I think I might fail at something, I will likely avoid it.

I think that’s why personal training is such a mental struggle for me sometimes. It goes against all of my natural inclinations. In personal training, you can’t make progress unless you push yourself to where you can no longer do an exercise—the point of “failure.”

Many times, as I’m doing a set of exercises, I have to take a few-second break to get my strength back. Some days, this happens during every exercise. I often find myself apologizing during those times, because I’m not doing everything perfectly, because I feel weak.

But the interesting thing is that I’m getting a lot stronger and more toned. Even though I feel like a failure some days, I’m actually a wild success! I’m learning that I need to have grace with myself and accept the fact that I struggle sometimes.

One of my favorite things about personal training is that what I learn with Andrea applies to my life outside of the gym in some really profound ways.

I’m a freelance travel copywriter by trade, and sometimes I procrastinate projects because I’m worried my writing isn’t going to be good enough, or I’m hard on myself when I don’t meet my productivity goals for the day.

However, training with Andrea has taught me that 1) I’m not going to die if I write one bad page of copy, 2) that’s its meeting my overall goals that matters most, and 3) that it’s okay to struggle.

Obviously, this is harder to put into action than it is to type out in a blog post, but it’s something that—like bicep curls and push ups—I’m improving at slowly but surely.

So now I’m curious to hear from you, dear reader. How has exercise shaped your life outside of the gym?