What do I actually do for a living?

I feel great as I’m writing these first words. I’m sat in the garden at my girlfriend’s house recently returned from a week in the sun, I’ve announced that I will be closing the gym I’ve owned for the last seven years, I launched my new website yesterday and everything at the moment makes me feel good to be alive. I’ve still got to properly furnish, decorate and build a new personal training studio but aside from that, I’m happy right now. And that….is what I do! I try to make myself happy and I try to make others happy too!

Happy man with kids on a picnic lying down in park beside a picnic basket. Children lying on the back of their father.

I thought you were a personal trainer Paul? Is trying to make people happy even a job?

When people initially come to see me, I begin proceedings by asking them what they want. Nine times out of ten the answer has something to do with wanting to lose weight to look better. There are other reasons, and it’s usually those that give me the most hope for success like preparing for a sporting competition or a desire to live longer but in the main the first words are “I want to lose weight and get in shape.” That’s the standard answer and that is what me and the people in my industry are generally associated with. If you want to lose weight, go on a restrictive unappealing diet and be put through the misery of physical exercise by a PT. That’s why I don’t like “Personal Trainer”.

The next question I ask is where I see a shift in position and a folding of the arms when I say “Why?” “Why do you want to lose weight?” I ask this because it is your “why” that determines the amount of effort you will put in. I sit with baited breath and wait for what’s coming….

“I’m going on holiday and want to be beach ready in 12 weeks.”

My reply to this? “Well I can do it. I can deliver what you want (within reason) but if I were you I’d probably go and see somebody else who can do it a lot cheaper.” I must say here that again, what Personal Trainers do is often unfairly stereotyped as somebody who gets you to move more and eat less and the reason you might see one is because you want some creativity with the movement side and for someone to hold you accountable to eat less.

If that’s what you’re looking for then it’s not that difficult to find a trainer to help you at any price and all you have to do is, choose one you get on with or like the look of. With a little bit of will power it is quite easy to stick to a calorie deficit regime for a short period of time e.g. 12 weeks and when your holiday arrives – boom there you go! You are presented to the world via Facebook and Instagram and we all praise your efforts and the skill of your trainer. I’ve got loads of these success stories, they’re easy.

Three Generation Family On Holiday Walking Along Beach

Note here that I never put these short-term successes on social media because a success story to me is where that person is in 5 years’ time.

But what happens as soon as you arrive on holiday after your 12 weeks of restriction? I’ll tell you what happens – you’ll regain the lot and usually more. Sound familiar? And this is because we haven’t addressed your “why”. Why have you put on weight in the first place? Yes, because you’ve eaten more than you’ve burned off and that is the answer but “why” did you do it? That is what needs to be addressed and if we crack it then you have a chance of KEEPING the weight off, otherwise you should say to your trainer at consultation stage…

“I’m going on holiday and want to be beach ready in 12 weeks, but the day I get there I want to begin regaining the lot.”

If however, the answer to my follow up question is “I’m going on holiday and want to be beach ready in 12 weeks but then I really want to STAY in shape and progress even further after that.” If that is the answer, then I think I might be able to help you a little more than others and that’s because I focus on the “why” and on “happiness”.

When I was a younger trainer I would notice this weight regain with clients and other people I would see around the gym and when I talked to them about it I could see the feeling of shame, disappointment and often worthlessness because they didn’t have the will power to eat less and move more. I didn’t know as much as I do now, and I used to empathise – “Yes if only you had more will power to do the right thing. Let’s try again only this time we’ll beast you even harder and get you to eat more salad.”

Cropped portrait of a male athlete standing in the parkhttp://

I don’t do that anymore and when somebody asks me about getting in shape quickly I tell them that unless they are a movie star or a sportsperson wanting to make weight for a competition then what’s the rush?

It took you 15 years to get like this so what makes you think you can return to where you were in 12 weeks?

Now it could be a billion reasons what got you there and now isn’t the time to explore all of them, but rest assured they need addressing. As I’ve written about before, I’ve never been overweight or out of condition, but I have been unhappy; dreadfully unhappy and once I addressed the reasons by seeing a counsellor I began to look a lot better and have STAYED better. Happiness rocks!

What I do, what I do for a living, what I try to get you to do if you come to seek my help is focus on the long game.

Focus on getting your life in order from top to bottom. Focus on your work, your relationships, your home, your lifestyle. Focus on your sleep. Focus on the QUALITY of your food not so much the calories. Focus on your stress management. Focus on goals other than what number flashes up on the scales. Focus on your own. Focus with your partner. Focus with your family. Focus on all of these things slowly and steadily, every day of your life and you will become very happy indeed.

And when you’re very happy indeed, the weight will fall off and STAY off.

Two relaxed mature couples laughing and enjoy glasses of red wine at sunset. Group of happy friends celebrating outdoor and toasting with glassess. Happy man and smiling women having fun at vineyard.