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Hard Truths from a Personal Trainer

On a daily basis we’re inundated with wellness advice and tips: how to eat healthy, lose weight, exercise the “right way,” keep the weight off, and more. But the (hard) truth is that much of that advice does not work and won’t help you achieve your wellness goals. As a fitness professional who has seen and heard it all over two decades, I’m here to hit you with some facts that may be hard to hear, but could mean finally reaching your goals.

YOU get out what YOU put in

In a culture of instant gratification, we often look for the quick and easy route. But the truth is, like most things, you have to work at your wellness goals. There is no magic diet pill or miracle exercise that will get you to your goals overnight. Only you can do it, and often, you’re in your own way. This could be due to a lack of skill or knowledge around health and fitness or a lack of resolve or structure. That’s when a professional coach can help. They may be able to help you gain some knowledge and create a structure that works for you.

It’s also important to talk about motivation. I have found this to be a popular concept in the fitness world, but it’s a myth. The idea that we, as human beings, will always feel good or motivated to do what’s healthy, is unrealistic. But we do have a myriad of options to get healthy that can make it easier to stick with a program – you can go to the gym, you can go on a walk, you can lift weights at home. The options are endless. But you have to get out of your own way and put in the work. If you’re waiting for the stars to align to find the right time to get healthy, it will never happen. 

Food is not our emotions

Almost every human holiday or event has something to do with the abundance or the absence of food, whether it’s a religious occasion or a social event. Food is undeniably connected to our emotions and culture, but the problem comes in when we use food to medicate or escape. In wealthy countries where food is abundant, it can be all too easy to turn to food for a dopamine hit when we’re feeling down, or to heighten our mood when we’re feeling good. When we have a tough day at work, we comfort ourselves with ice cream or Grandma’s mac and cheese. When we have a great day at work, we reward ourselves with that same ice cream and mac and cheese. 

While unraveling the connection between food and emotion is not an easy task, it is important to recognize the proclivity to equate food with comfort and seek out that dopamine hit elsewhere. Because the truth is, that is not a sustainable way to feel good. We often feel guilty or even physically sick after indulging in unhealthy food and we’re right back where we started. But healthier alternatives, like exercise, can give us that same reward in a more sustainable way.

A coach is not a crutch

Since I’m a coach myself, and run a business built around nutrition and fitness coaching, I obviously think coaches are awesome. A professional coach can be an extraordinary tool in jumpstarting your wellness journey. However, I have seen firsthand what can happen when someone misunderstands the role a coach should play in their life. If you’re not ready to do the work, a coach is not going to be the magical solution. You will not suddenly have the will or drive to execute on your goals unless it’s coming from you. Your coach can’t come to your house, drag you to the gym, and put you on the treadmill. 

So what exactly is a coach’s role? 

  • To design a structure based on their professional expertise related to your intended outcome. 
  • To provide positive reinforcement and constructive criticism to behaviors, both positive and negative.
  • To track, measure, and validate the quality of the program that they’re producing for you. 
  • To provide support, expertise, structure and a line of communication.

It’s your role to execute the plan.

The work works

What I’m offering here may not be the most popular advice, or what most people want to hear. But it’s the truth, and it’s what will help you achieve your wellness goals. There are very few shortcuts in life when it comes to achieving our goals and we have to keep working to maintain them. You don’t reach the summit and stop. You admire the view and go back down. And then it’s on to the next mountain.


If you’re looking for a coach to kickstart your wellness journey, reach out to the team at Forge. We offer immersive custom fitness and nutrition coaching to individuals all over the world. Our trainers and dietitian are all certified and ready to help you on your journey.