Can personal training improve our mental health?

Personal training is a career that so many people can enjoy and benefit from. It can be a very rewarding career, something which I’m sure we all seek to find in our professional lives.

When it comes to being or finding a personal trainer, it’s important to look at the body as a whole. That means looking at both physical and mental health.

Personal training not only has the ability to motivate clients to improve their physical health but also their mental health. While the mind is often overlooked in personal training, it’s a key part of being a good personal trainer. Exercise goes hand in hand with how we feel overall. After all, you can’t feel good mentally if your body isn’t coping physically. When it comes to being or finding a personal trainer, it’s important to look at the body as a whole. That means looking at both physical and mental health.

Personal training is a career that so many people can enjoy and benefit from. It can be a very rewarding career, something which I’m sure we all seek to find in our professional lives. Sadly, not many can say they achieve this in their everyday job. But, by becoming a personal trainer you have the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better.

Image from Pixabay.

3 Ways Personal Training can benefit our mental health.

They help clients build their self-esteem.

I spoke with my friend, J, who’s been a personal trainer for over four years now. J has worked with people from all walks of life and for a variety of different reasons. Not everyone who goes to a personal trainer is there solely to lose weight. And, in fact, she’s one of the few personal trainers I’ve met who doesn’t put a huge spotlight on the ‘ideal‘ body weight or shape.

“It’s hard to hear your clients put themselves down or talk about themselves critically. I find it heartbreaking to hear them talk about themselves and their bodies so negatively. Not surprisingly, I hear it more from young women and new mothers than from anyone else.”

It’s something J works hard to break from day one. Low self-esteem can negatively impact every other part of a client’s life, and can even be infectious to others within a group setting.

“It’s important to remember that being a personal trainer doesn’t stop with the body. If your client has a low opinion of themselves, they’ll carry that through life no matter what size or weight they are. I strongly believe that we need to focus on boosting how a client sees themselves as whole being. They are strong ass-people, and the size of their bum or waist isn’t their defining feature.”

They Encourage body-mind harmony.

When working out with J, she always made an effort to ask me how I was feeling. Could I push through, or was it time to take a break?

“You have to communicate with your clients and encourage them to listen to themselves. Your session starts from the moment they walk in, so it’s important to read their body language. I do my best to use encouraging language to help them break through ‘the wall,‘ but I also have to be aware when enough is enough.”

Through personal training, we’re taught to listen to the body and mind when it comes to how much we can withstand. The same approach can also be applied to our personal lives. While strength in perseverance is admired, so is strength in the ability to step back.

They Engage their listening skills.

No matter which industry you’re in, good listening skills are essential. And sadly it’s so often a soft skill that so many fall short on. It’s not just about hearing what they say, but actively listening to their words and the emotion behind them. That means minimizing interruptions, using body language such as eye contact, and asking relevant questions. All of these foster trust, rapport and show that you’re interested in what they have to say.

“Just because I can hear what a client is saying, doesn’t mean I’m listening. Quite often if a client has something they wish to discuss that’s of a more sensitive nature, I’ll take them aside into a quiet place. While I may not know exactly what they need or be able to help them, being engaged in what they have to say is help in and of itself. If I can help one client feel like they are being seen and heard, then I’ve done my job.”


Do you have what it takes to be a personal trainer?

Before settling on personal training as a career, you’ll need to make sure that you have what it takes. Let’s take a look at some of the qualities that you’ll need to have for this kind of role.

Are you health-minded?

You’re probably going to be someone who has a particularly good idea of what is healthy and what isn’t. It’s not something that comes easily to most of us, but it’s nonetheless the kind of thing that you’ll need to help others to become healthier. Think about whether you’re particularly health-minded yourself. And if you’re not, you might want to consider how you might be able to change that before you pursue this career.

Personal training was something I always stayed away from because I believed that they were only concerned about clients losing weight. However, when I met J, I was shown that a good personal trainer will listen to the client’s wants and needs. If losing weight isn’t something you want, then they’ll work purely on strength, toning, and overall wellness. In fact, working with a personal trainer to exercise after an eating disorder can be safer than going it alone, and can actually reduce the likelihood of relapse.

Image from ThisIsEngineering

Are you willing to Learn?

There’s plenty to learn when you want to be a personal trainer, and you’re going to need to be prepared for that. Generally, it’s going to be necessary to check out websites such as www.americansportandfitness.com to see whether you can get some accreditation or certification. This will require going through some training and is something that will help boost your career greatly. While certificates and degrees aren’t everything, quite often they help portray a level of trust between you and potential clients.

How are your people skills?

You’re going to be doing a lot of one-on-one work as a personal trainer, so you’ll have to develop some people skills. There are a lot of ways to do this, but mostly it comes down to making sure that you’re spending time with people in a professional setting. This is one of those things where you learn by doing. Start by offering your personal training as soon as you can, and build up your skills with people that way.

Do you have some level of confidence?

Although you don’t have to have a huge amount of bravado, a little healthy confidence is going to go a long way. By having confidence in yourself, you’re better able to instill confidence in your clients. So, if you think you need to work on your confidence, start working on it as soon as possible.


Have you found personal training has helped your mental health? Are you a personal trainer who works hard to improve your client’s mental health?

13 comments

  1. YES! I always feel the best after I’ve gotten back into a workout routine! It’s always a bit of a struggle for me to get going, but I love it once I’m committed!

  2. Staying active absolutely improves my mental wellbeing and clarity! Having a trainer or accountability partner is crucial to keep going some days. Thanks for the thoughts!

  3. I couldn’t agree more. I feel Personal trainers do a fantastic job to help support us get out bodies back and transform into what we want our bodies to look like.

  4. Great things, I’m looking to do personal training to improve my mental health. So, this is would be perfect timing. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I do have my personal trainer as well and I just started last August 12 it helps me concentrate more and be active.

  6. I have found that focusing on your health improves not just mental health but overall wellness. I have been doing yoga and taking Zumba classes with my Instructor and I am reaping the good benefits of it. I can say I have a health mind but I do not have all that it takes to be a personal trainer.

  7. I love this. A healthy body helps promote a healthy mind, and personal trainers can make that process so much more effective.

  8. I have found that being more active helps me to feel more clear headed as well as releasing the endorphins to make me feel better. These are some really important points you have shared. Thank you for discussing this topic.

    Lauren x

  9. Love this! I’ve been working with a personal trainer and it’s been so helpful for my mental health and wellness. It’s definitely an investment, but it’s been such a game changer for me.

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