Online Personal Training: Resilience for Self-development

By Susan Lee, PhD, CPTN-CPT

By Susan Lee, PhD, CPTN-CPT

(Part 2 of 5.)

Personal trainers and fitness professionals need to innovate and diversify their businesses to thrive. Learn the G.R.I.T. framework for success: Growth mindset, Resilience strategies, Inspired possibilities, and Taking actions. You can steer your personal training and fitness business to reach more clients by applying these results-oriented strategies. This 5-part series will focus on 1) Resilience for self-care, 2) Resilience for personal development, 3) Resilience strategies for your online fitness business, 4) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) in Your Personal Development, and 5) DEIB for Your Business. These excerpts are from the new book and ebook, Online Personal Training: Taking Control of Your Personal Training & Fitness Business. Online Personal Training: Taking Control of Your Personal Training & Fitness Business The virtual book launch will be on Thurs. Jan. 27th at 5pm (EST).

When there is a challenge or a change, it may be a suitable to take some time to reflect before you take the next action. Journaling can be one way to activate mindfulness, and it has many benefits. Journaling can turn your focus inwards, it can increase positive thoughts, decrease your negative thoughts, sharpen your focus, is low cost, can be performed anywhere, and can be completed at any age.35 Three forms of journaling can be used as a resilience strategy for self-development: gratitude journaling, reflective journaling or expressive writing journaling.


1. Gratitude Journaling

You may want to think about the 5 things that you are most grateful for. Think about 5 things that made you smile today. Think about 5 things that you learned today. Think about 5 things that made you feel productive today.


Gratitude statements are generally written in the first person. Start with a journal, writing utensil, a comfortable spot, and set aside some time for writing.  Here are five additional prompts that focus on gratitude to start your gratitude journaling:18

  • I think of the people who are important to me. These people are my family and/or my friends. I reflect on how they affect my life and how I feel when I spend time with them. With these thoughts in mind, I am grateful for…
  • I think of the work that I perform in my career. I reflect on how it affects my life, including my physical and emotional wellbeing. With these thoughts in mind, I feel grateful for…
  • I am aware of my strengths and skills, which have helped me to where I am today. I feel grateful for…
  • I am aware of my interests and passions, which provide me with stimulation and inspire me. I feel grateful for…
  • I am mindful of the challenges I have faced on my journey to where I am now. Without these challenges, I would not be who I am today. I feel grateful for…


2. Reflective Journaling

A pause in your work week can also remind you to reflect on the characteristics of a personal trainer and fitness entrepreneur. You need to have desire, determination and discipline. With desire, start dreaming again. Dream big. Where would you like to be in 1, 3, 5 years? What are you most looking forward to? What might the challenges be? What can you do to address those challenges? What is going to keep you motivated in the short term and long term? What action will you need to take every day to work towards your goals?


For determination, you need to take setbacks in stride. Ask yourself reflective questions and write down your responses.  What did I learn from my setback? What was positive and what was negative about the experience? How can take better action next time? Who can I collaborate with? What are my priorities? What actions do I take next? What actions can I take today?


For discipline, you need to persevere and do the necessary and difficult activities.


Who might you network with to promote your business? How will you balance your many responsibilities such as work, life, and relationships? What have I learned from my past? How will I move forward with my lessons learned? How will I celebrate my successes?


3. Expressive Journaling

Expressive journaling allows your brain to be free whether it’s doodling or writing creative prose or poetry. What are your prompts for doodling or writing? Consider finding a new place to sit and observe. Perhaps, it’s a local park or a nearby coffee shop, where you can sit to doodle or write about your surroundings. Give yourself 15-20 minutes to observe and translate your observations to your journal. Be present. Express yourself with thoughts and feelings.


For personal trainers or fitness professionals, you may choose your expressive journaling to create unique exercises, develop exercise programs for different demographics, or create new educational webinars for potential clients. How many exercises can I do with a particular piece of portable equipment? What are the many cues I can express to teach a particular exercise? How many exercises can I create for a particular muscle group? What current fitness topics can I develop into an educational webinar?


Continuous Learning

Through your journaling, you may discover new possibilities or re-ignite your interests that you can explore to build your knowledge and skills through educational courses. During the pandemic period, many trainers were taking online courses. Various courses of interest for this group included wellbeing, nutrition, exercise techniques, and psychotherapy. Rather than an ad hoc approach to professional development, this may be a time to also take a long-term approach to determine areas that you would like to strengthen by enhancing your knowledge, building your skills, or discovering new interests. How might you want to continue your learning?


Continuous learning can come through formal and informal avenues. Are there courses or certifications that you would like to complete to enhance your current services? Colleges, universities, and organizations offer formal learning through synchronous (live) and asynchronous (online) formats.  Informal learning can be helpful to you through reading journals and books, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, and talking to peers and industry leaders.


For your professional development for your business, it may be taking time to reflect on what you may want to start, stop or continue. What have you thought of starting and what skills would you need? Identify areas of your business that are less appealing and what could you stop doing or find assistance, if these functions are necessary for your business. What do you enjoy doing the most and want to continue? By taking time for self-reflection, you will have clarity on what you would like to start, stop or continue for your professional and business development.

SUSAN LEE, PhD, CPTN-CPT is the president of the Certified Professional Trainers Network (CPTN) Inc. and Synergetics Wellness. She recently launched her new book and ebook Online Personal Training: Taking Control of Your Personal Training & Fitness Business and an initiative for individuals 50+ who are interested in wellness, inclusion, creativity and connections, Wisdom Circle 50+, to support the UN’s Declaration for the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030). She lectures at the college and university levels on leadership, business and social justice; presents at international conferences; and publishes in peer-reviewed journals and educational platforms to share her research, practices and passions.

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