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Confessions of a Fitness Professional

By Jose Briceno.


Working in fitness is one of the dream jobs I never wished as a kid.


Have you ever heard a kid say: “I want to be a personal trainer when I grow up”? I guess you haven’t. Most children want to be firefighters, astronauts, even superheroes.


Me? At one point I wanted to be a “scientist”-- whatever that meant to my 6-year old self. I loved the process of observing, analyzing, experimenting and discovering new things and ideas.


Decades later, life brought me to the fitness industry, and I can truly say that this is one the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I don’t have to be stuck in front of a desk all day, and I get to help people change their lives.


A true honor.


As with most professions, society expects you to act according to your designated role. As a fitness professional, people expect you to look and behave a certain way, always being the perfect image of health and the inspiration to achieve feats of strength.


However, I’ve realized that I don’t really behave according to my role. So, here it is, let me confess who I really am beneath my fitness persona:


1. I often lose motivation.


Have you got so used to something, that you feel that you only go through the motions? Exercise can be like that. It’s great that fitness is now part of my lifestyle, but how I do it can become a little stale.


Like everybody else, I go on phases of boredom. I start losing interest in some exercises, and even start working out less. As painful as they are, I have found that these stages can ignite important rediscovery processes.


Every now and then, we have to reconnect with our true goals. When we forget that, is when we start losing motivation.


My true goal is to always perform at my best, mentally and physically, outside of the gym. Exercise helps me feel better, stronger, more flexible, and more confident in my day-to-day life.


A means to an end.


And I need to remind myself of my goal constantly, if not, I lose motivation.


2. I’m not obsessed with my body.


Not at all. That stereotype of the guy at the gym, flexing in front of the mirror to see what muscles are lacking, just doesn’t apply to me.


The fact that we don’t have mirrors at LUX serves to emphasize that notion.


And it's true, in fitness you have the pressure of looking a certain way.


However, I believe that we should focus more on how we feel than how we look. If you do everything you can to feel good, like eating right, exercising the proper way and challenging your body without beating it up, you will end up looking great.


Better yet, your results will last longer.


3. I eat the “bad stuff” too.


I love pizza, chocolate, pancakes, chips, and of course, wine and beer. I love the same things that you crave, those things that are forbidden in any crash diet book.


Do I have them every day? No. And not very often, really.


All those years that I tried to lose weight taught me a thing or two. The main lesson I learned is that everything you put in your mouth has a direct consequence on your physical and mental state.


Dairy wrecks my digestive system and triggers allergies. Refined flour and sugar makes me feel lethargic. I know there will be a price to pay if I have them.


So, if I’m in a situation that I have those foods in front of me, I assess the risks, make my decision, live with the consequence, and move on.


I know how to fix it, and that makes me feel in control of my choices.


4. I work out less than you think.


A few people have told me “Yeah, it’s so easy for you to stay in shape. Like, you work in a gym, right? It’s part of your job to work out.”


Yes, and no.


Yes, I have the fitness equipment handy, but I have a schedule as busy as anyone else’s. And as with any job, I got to get stuff done:


Training clients, programming the next sessions, meeting with my staff, networking with local businesses, working on marketing, writing this blog post, and planning the next big move for LUX (more on that later).


I’ve realized that 3 hours of strength training and 30 minutes of cardio per week works well for my schedule. Shockingly low, right? I have clients that work out more than that.


It also comes down to what phase I’m at now.


When I lost my 45 pounds 6 years ago, I was in full-steam-ahead mode, working out 5 hours per week or so, fueled by the determination of leaving my old fat body behind.


I don’t have that goal anymore. I have already transformed my body, and I want to maintain it and take care of it now.


5. I could use some of my own advice.


I preach self-maintenance to all my clients. What does that mean?


Stretching, rolling, mobilizing your troublesome joints every day for 10 minutes to prevent any future issues.


Everybody has 10 minutes a day, right? That’s what I like to tell myself.


Sometimes life gets busy for me, the same thing that happens to all of us. Then, suddenly, those 10 minutes are gone from my schedule.


I might skip my stretching and rolling one day because I barely have time to get my workout in. Then I skip my mobility again the next day. Next thing I know I skipped an entire week.


Then I suffer the consequences.


It can be my right knee bothering me, my lower back feeling tight again, or that insufferable knot I have in the right side of my neck acting up again.


Pain reminds me of what I have forgotten to do: take care of myself.


See? I also need a kick in my rear every now and then to get back on track.



I believe that all of us have the same human experience, regardless of our profession. We all have the same aspirations and limitations, fears and desires.


And that is what I love about my job.


The more I help others reach their goals, the better I understand how to reach mine. 


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