A Story About Me and My Journey Managing Stress and Anxiety in the Fitness Industry.

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

I want to start by saying this is very different for me to express myself through social media, but here I am. Those who know me might say that I’m an introverted, private person, which is one thousand percent true. I’m writing this now as a first step to change that. Ironically, what I do for a living is totally extroverted. I have been involved in the fitness industry as a personal trainer for about seven years and worked at a commercial gym before deciding to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship. During my time at the gym, I had many internal battles with myself on how to grow professionally while overcoming fears I faced, like initiating conversation with a random gym member, leading a group class, or possibly getting rejected during a sales pitch. The anxiety I felt from having to do those things sucked at the time, but I wouldn’t still be in this field if I didn’t have such a strong desire to make an impact and help people live a healthy lifestyle that they have complete control of.

Working at a gym for so long eventually led me to burn-out. I was exhausted and physically and mentally drained to the point where I felt like I wasn’t helping my clients to the best of my ability. I realized that before I could help others, I needed to get myself help first in managing my anxiety and stress level. Working with a wide range of people, I came to the conclusion that there was a lot more to living a healthy lifestyle than just exercise and eating right. It was also about mental health. Because of my strong belief in a holistic approach to improving health and wellness, I decided to give acupuncture a try. This was a game changer. Not only did I feel a weight lift off my shoulders with a decrease in stress, I also unexpectedly became more self aware of my thoughts and therefore, was able to transform my mindset overall. The effects of acupuncture were almost immediate, and I was able to begin the healing process.

I wanted to keep discovering ways to manage my stress and maintain a state of mental stillness. My acupuncturist at the time mentioned practicing yoga. At first, the thought of doing yoga in a class with other people made me anxious since it was brand new to me. However, I was so determined to try it that I convinced my wife to do a few private classes with me so I could learn what the hell I was getting myself into before joining larger group classes (and possibly making a fool of myself). I would have never guessed that I would end up loving yoga! This was the beginning of a lifestyle change that I am extremely grateful for as I now incorporate it into my weekly routine. I definitely had a love-hate relationship with the practice at first, but now I am able to say that it was well worth it and I’m glad I stuck with it. I’m hoping I can use what I’ve learned about yoga and its many benefits to inspire others to begin their own yoga practice.

Yoga eventually led me to meditation; something I had always overlooked as I’m not one to sit in stillness for long periods of time. Also, I had just assumed the racing thoughts in my mind and difficulty focusing were normal. Though many people do experience this, I no longer wanted the anxiety, stress, and emotional impacts of this “monkey mind” and knew something needed to change. So, I downloaded a meditation app and began meditating at home for a few minutes in the morning every day. Meditation not only increased my self-awareness, it decreased the worries and fears I was having, taught me how to deal with frustration and anger, and allowed me to feel more gratitude and love. Honestly, I never expected this kind of positive impact on my life through meditation. I encourage anyone to just try it for a few minutes, and then do it again for a few more. I promise it will improve your overall quality of life.

Through all of my experiences with yoga and meditation, I now feel like I am able to be the best version of myself for my clients and look forward to sharing the strategies I’ve learned with them. Using a bucket analogy, I think about health and fitness as being split into three buckets...physical fitness, nutrition, and mental wellness. Little by little, working into each bucket, we develop habits to incorporate into our lifestyle with the intention of improving our current lifestyle. Many people begin with an exercise routine, then focus on making healthier eating choices or vice versa, and then finally, their mental well-being. What’s great about this, and what most people don’t realize, is that all three are connected. Once you start to change one area of your life, the other areas are more likely to change as well. It starts by making one small adjustment, and then another, continually repeating what works and finding enjoyment in the journey. It really doesn’t matter what action you take first, just do what works for you. So, let’s do it together. If you are still reading this, I appreciate you and thank you for taking the time to listen to me blabber. My hope is that you now know a little more about me, and maybe can possibly relate to the struggles I faced with my mental well being. If I can help you or anyone you may know in training, nutrition or learning how to change your mindset as I did, please reach out to me!

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