No Longer Just About Fat Loss | Personal Trainers Rapidly Becoming a Path to Optimal Mental Health

For the past two years we’ve watched a pandemic decimate our lifestyles. A wide array of restrictive policies that were put into place to curtail the spread of the virus, including social distancing, meant that staying in our homes for months on end was almost compulsory for everyone from London to Las Vegas. The governmental responses to the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly be debated for years to come, but now we’re left to search for answers largely on our own in terms of how we’re to deal with the mental toll that’s been afflicted on us by extended durations of self-isolation.

Society in America had already been reeling from its own mental health crisis by the time COVID-19 crashed into our lives, and it isn’t just adults who are suffering. There are plenty of reports to suggest that teens, and even our children, are combating their own mental health crisis. Now we’re entering the third year of a pandemic, and while the restrictions on our lives may have lighted significantly, people are still hurting emotionally, and that’s leading to higher rates of anxiety and depression. One consequence is that people who are depressed are more likely to be obese, and people with obesity are at higher risk of depression – a dangerous cycle.

Making matters even more challenging is the fact that from the Canary Wharf in London to the Canary Islands in Spain, there are just too few mental health professionals available to help with this crisis.

That’s not to say it’s preventing people from finding help. Even in the unlikeliest of places; their local fitness studios, health clubs, and gyms.

Personal Trainers Guiding Clients to Weight Loss, and Emotional Well-Being

Personal trainers have historically been perceived as resources for people who wanted coaching to achieve a specific fitness goal, whether it be as simple as weight loss or training for a serious sporting event. That’s beginning to change.

There is a trend in our society of people increasingly turning to fitness studios and personal trainers as means of achieving a higher state of emotional well-being, and the results have been remarkable.

For real? Yes.

For the longest time, physical and mental health were segregated into two different classes. That too is beginning to change as people are embracing their mental health and emotional well-being on a larger scale, including viewing conditions like depression as less of a stigma and as something that can be treatable, to an extent, outside the confines of a therapist’s office. With the wide array of resources available to the public, ranging from software apps to online support forums, one method that is yielding remarkable success in the improvement of one’s mental health is by building a relationship with a personal fitness trainer.

Mental health is not unlike physical health, and society needs to be looking after them both. Personal trainers are helping us do this in greater numbers as society begins to realize how refreshing it can be to work with these fitness professionals in pursuit of our emotional well-being. In fact, more than half of the personal trainers you talk to will say they have more new clients approaching them for advice on how weight loss strategies and fitness routines can create a path to better mental health.

The Role of Personal Trainers

We experienced firsthand how detrimental and stressful it can be when our ability to go to the gym or work with a personal trainer is taken away from us. The stress that we experience in our lifestyles is the determining factor in our mental makeup, and, as a society, we largely rely on physical pursuits like exercising to deal with that stress. Now that gyms have re-opened, and with mental health receiving so much attention, it is essential that we adopt the right stress management methods.

Personal trainers are playing a greater role in helping people find those stress management methods by applying their skills and certifications to design workout routines tailored to the unique stress levels of their clients before they evolve into a serious mental health issue.

As drugs and antidepressants continue to lose their allure with society, exercises that were once recognized strictly as means of achieving weight loss are being adopted by clients as a lifestyle therapy to combat depression. With a personal trainer, people know they are working with someone who can give them that mental boost to keep going. The fact is that personal trainers bring a wide array of skills to the table; they can guide us through exercise and play a key role in helping us develop a healthier mindset in the process, along with the all-too-common goals of weight loss.

In one study, almost 80% of the people interviewed said that emotional well-being, not fat loss, was one of the primary reasons that they make time for exercise. A personal trainer can provide an environment where one can feel safe and supported in pursuit of that feeling of physical and mental well-being.

People are also pleasantly surprised to find that personal trainers often have excellent listening skills too. In fact, some certifying organizations require personal trainers to have what are called “active listening” skills. They have the training to listen to you and create a program that’s uniquely effective and sustainable for you, and your unique levels of stress.

Finally, the best personal trainers and fitness professionals understand that they’re only to operate within their own profession. Personal trainers know what they’re allowed to do and say based on their credentials and they won’t try to take the place of a therapist.

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