Updated: Feb 21, 2019
I have been working for more than 7 years as a Personal Trainer and I can honestly say that one of the great things about my job is the opportunity it gives me for interaction with my clients.
Since starting as a Personal Trainer I have worked with more than 300 people (and still counting!) from all walks of life and in all kinds of physical conditions. Whilst in terms of age, my clients have ranged from being in their early 20s right up to those who have been 70+.
Of course, ever person is different, so the targets set by my clients have varied for a whole number of reasons, many of which have little relation to their physical age. I have also found that though it may seem obvious that someone in their early 20s will be potentially stronger than someone in their early fifties, this is far from the reality.
Also, from a motivational point of view, the reasons why individuals take up an exercise programme can be equally complicated and nuanced, and this is one of the reasons that my work is as interesting as it is. In my professional opinion the less direction that people need to reach their preferred level of fitness, the less challenging my job is, so working out with a client what their needs are in each instance (and attempting to meet those needs!) is part of the enjoyment I get from my work.
What I have also found over the years is that what links the people who have got the most out of the training I have provided (no matter their age or state of fitness when they start their exercise programme) is the level of motivation and the focus that they are willing to apply to make their workouts a success.
Those that have applied themselves and made a real conscious effort to succeed have usually done so, even if it takes time and effort to reach the goals set.
Recently I have read a number of articles from different writers about fitness, lifestyle, nutrition, sport etc. and I find it a little strange that in the fitness sector we tend to gravitate to the young at the expense of those aged 45 - 50 (to indeed older), who can remain perfectly active as they move forward and who want to keep feeling fit, regardless of their physical age.
In addition, most of the advertising I have seen over the past few months seems to be cross-fit orientated (obviously the hot gym discipline of the moment), or to speak to a ‘last man standing’ ethos. It’s a fashion, obviously, but one which does play very much into the youth-orientated culture that we currently live in.
In a near future I will be writing about an alternative ethos that can best be termed ‘You are done when you decide that you are done’, at the heart of which is the idea that physical and mental fitness is crucial to people of all ages, and especially to older people.
This is a topic that is more important today in the West, where the opportunities for a long and healthy life are greater than at any time in modern history. So for those moving through middle-age and into their senior years, physical and mental well-being is as important as financial security (indeed, if not more so!).
For those who work in the personal training sector, understanding this reality will also become ever more important as we move forward, as will the acquisition of the skills to work with such clients.
Developing those inter-personal skills and a sincere respect for the older members of our society will, I think, become increasingly important as medical science advances and public awareness around issues of health, diet and lifestyle improves.
Life is indeed a marathon (as the popular saying has it), though to succeed in this particular race we all need to find our own pace at which to run and the confidence to compete as best we can.