How far can I push you?

How do you build positive relations at work? And how can these relations help others to push closer to their limits. I sat down with my personal trainer and asked him about his personal and professional reflections of building relations – often through sweat and tears.

Relations matter

Humans are born into a society where relations matter. Who you relate to, often defines who you are. Unless you want to live alone in the wilderness, you have to relate to other people. And nowhere can relations create more enthusiasm or frustration as at the working place.

Now think the following: You have to build a positive relationship with new people every day. You can not choose who they are, and you can not say no. Not only do you have to be nice and polite, you also have to motivate them to do something they probably haven’t done in a while. You do this, not because you have to, but because you want to. It’s your job. That is how a personal trainers day looks like. I sat down with my personal trainer, Christian Carli, and asked him about his personal and professional reflections of building relations, often through sweat and tears.

Inspirations and Expectations

Christian is 22 years old, and has been working as a personal trainer for one and a half year. As a young man he could have chosen between many professions, so why did he become a personal trainer?

“I think it was influenced by my extreme interest in training and knowing that it’s a profession where you can get to help a lot of people with your own knowledge and expertise”.

“I think it was influenced by my extreme interest in training and knowing that it’s a profession where you can get to help a lot of people with your own knowledge and expertise”.

I know that Christian is committed to his personal workout, and that he also likes to help other people achieving their goals. Few people can combine their personal hobbies and work. In this respect Christian is very lucky. It makes me wonder if there are some bad sides to being a personal trainer, as well as the good ones.

There are several good things about being a personal trainer and it’s very hard to think about bad sides. The best thing is getting to know and help so many good people. You become an integral part of other people’s life. The hardest thing is that being a personal trainer is a 100 % job – almost a 24 hour commitment. You continuously think about how to help people in a better way. You read online, try to catch up on the latest research and training methods which can be time consuming.”

Connecting with people

“This really depends on the client,” Christian replies when asked if he finds it difficult to connect with clients. “I had some clients in the past, who I haven’t been able to connect with, but that’s rare.”

At this point I am wondering what he does to motivate his clients and how he customizes his pep talks.

“Some persons like to be shouted at, others do not. Basically, you have to access the person you are talking to in order to get the best possible results. You have to really care about how they are feeling and what’s going on in their lives. You can’t give a motivational speech to a lady in her fifties on how to appear on the stage for a competition,” he says.

You have to really care about how they are feeling and what’s going on in their lives.

Boundaries

It is no surprise to me that as a personal trainer you have to get personally involved with your clients. The clients come to you because they need help, and for some people it might have been a difficult journey realising that they in fact need help to change their lives. But Christian is very clear on the boundary between him and the client and the level of personal involvement.

It is most of the time very self-explanatory. As long as you are being respectful and doing stuff with good intentions and is on the same page as of the client, it’s very easy to tell if you are stepping on their boundaries or they are stepping on yours. You should always be very professional,”.

I ask him if he ever felt that he has invaded the privacy of someone, either physically or mentally. Christian pauses for a while and thinks. “Intentionally I have never done that,” he says and again takes a break, before he continues “but unintentionally it might have happened in some way or another. I have never experienced that somebody has given negative feedback. A successful personal trainer has to be able to read between the lines.”

A personal journey

In the end Christian reflects over the journey he has had in the past two years.

“Being a personal trainer has basically been a journey with a steep learning curve. To be able to help others, you have develop and mature as a human being yourself. I have become more aware of my surroundings and what kind of influence I have on others. Coming in contact with so many great people and being privileged enough to help them, you learn that life is so much more.”

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