You are your client | why trainers need trainers too

Recently, I’ve been re-watching a favourite television show of mine from the early 2000’s; Being Erica.

It’s the story of a 30-something, Toronto-dwelling woman named Erica and her relationship with a non-traditional psychotherapist, Dr. Tom.

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Dr. Tom has the power of time-travel (if I were to have a super-power, this would be it). Erica’s ‘sessions’ consist of re-visiting pivotal moments in her past, seeing them through a different lens and applying the lesson learned to current-day challenges.

In one of my favourite episodes, Dr. Tom attempts to teach Erica about compassion for others.

He quotes the line ‘you are your patient’ and illustrates how, in order to truly help a patient, the therapist must recognize that they share the same challenges, obstacles, hurts and regrets as their patient does.

And letting the patient see how they’ve dealt with these hurdles in a non-pedagogical way is not a sign of weakness, but rather instrumental in their patient’s healing.

While re-watching this episode, I was struck by the similarities between the therapy-patient relationship and the relationships I share with my fitness coaching clients. And reminded of the importance of sharing my own struggles with them, and by extension, with readers of my blog.

Trainers need trainers too

Like many of my clients, when they first come to me, I am currently struggling with motivation.

Since the recent death of my daughter, I can’t seem to find my ‘why’.

While I know that regular exercise and good nutrition will give me the energy I so often lack, my usual strategies just aren’t working.

I head to the gym, quasi-regularly. But instead of mindfully executing a pre-planned program, I hop on the treadmill for a while, head on over to a weight bench and half-heartedly perform several sets of three or four random exercises.

I spend too much time chatting with friends and colleagues (often recounting the story of my daughter’s death to those who don’t know or are seeing me for the first time since that day) and leave feeling deflated and sad.

What I need is exactly what my clients need from me.

  • Someone to plan a program for them.
  • Someone to cheer them on and keep them accountable.
  • Someone to give a little ‘tough love’ when need be.
  • Someone to suggest solutions to obstacles and help them move forward.
I am my clients and I need a coach too.

That’s why I’ve signed up for a 6-week Kickstarter Strength and Conditioning program at a fitness facility other than the one I work at.

A place where nobody knows me and there’ll be no distractions from the task at hand. A place where I can get back to a regular and consistent routine of strength training at a intensity level that makes me feel confident, strong and capable of handling the challenges that life has thrown at me. A place where I’m expected to show up, cheer members of my group on and get the job done.

Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing updates on my progress. And would love to hear updates on yours.

What are you doing to make 2016 your happiest, healthiest, strongest and most capable year yet?






  1. This sounds like a great idea. For all of us, it can be fun to show up and let someone else to the “heavy lifting” of planning, motivating, and keeping the energy going. Enjoy the ride. You are doing so much to help yourself move in the direction of wellness. Way.To.Go! As for me, I headed out in the driving rain today to workout. Very unlike me . . . but I did it!
    Meg Root recently posted…Monday Minute: A Wellness RiddleMy Profile

  2. I wish you success in your quest. I have gone through this time and again. One method I used in the mid-2000s was to schedule, and pay myself. An easy dodge since if I failed, I would not lose any money right…? Ah, so I paid my fee to a local autism charity I was already involved instead. Since I told them what I was doing, and since they new me on a regular basis, this meant they would be looking for the changes I was paying them for. It worked with fair, but not great results.

    I bow down though, I still can’t get good with hiring a trainer. My ego knows no bounds…

    • I have checked my ego at the door. Nobody to impress. Nobody to compare myself to. Nobody to ‘best’ on a lift. Just humbling trying to return to regular movement in my day 🙂

  3. I think whatever you need to do for you is what is right Tamara. I know it sounds trite right now so I hesitate to write but I will & hope it does not feel that way to you.. I have lost many – not a daughter which is totally different but for me, I always tried to think of what that person gone would want – for me to be healthy, live life & not forget them but honor them in living life & not surrendering to it. HARD, I know & definitely a process!

    I have thought a lot about your comment on how hard it is to move on – how it felt like you were leaving your daughter behind…I have wanted to write this to you but again hesitated – I have felt like this with every loss. With my mom, I still have tons of stuff I kept. I have tried to “declutter” thru the years.. I really don’t need a lot of it but each time I felt like I was disrespecting her. I am at it again with the decluttering & still struggling with it even after 9 years. I know she is always with me but it is hard. I just wanted you to know you are not alone with those thoughts & to feel them is real & OK!

    HUGE HUGS!!!
    Jody – Fit at 58 recently posted…Rookie Fitness Mistakes!My Profile

    • Oh Jody, the sorting through and removing of objects has got to be the hardest thing (next to the actual loss of Clara). For me, though, it’s almost worse seeing her room preserved as if she were coming home after school. I’ve started the sorting process, but can’t bear to do more than one task before I break down and cry. Little by little and when the time is right, right? xo

  4. This sounds like a great idea, for so many reasons, the least of which being that it probably will make you an even better trainer. As for you “wasting” your time at your own gym talking to friends, that’s probably time well spent too.
    Coco recently posted…Renew Your Vows In The New YearMy Profile

    • I hadn’t thought about the improvement in my trainer skills aspect. You’re probably right. I don’t really view the time I spent chatting with friends and acquaintances as “wasted” per se, just not what I need to be doing with the limited positive energy I have in a day. I’m finding that it’s really important to be “selfish” right now. With my time, my energy and my willingness to engage in small talk. xo

  5. Good for you! Get outside yourself and let someone else take care of you for a change.

  6. Cosign 100%.
    And yaaaay!!