How Becoming a Trainer Solidified My Fitness Philosophy

I’ve gone through a lot of exercise phases.

I did gymnastics for fun when I was much younger, played team sports in high school, had some exercise issues after college, fell in LOVE with running, decided running and I would just be friends, and I finally feel like I’m in a good place of balance with my workouts.

Even though I had tried a lot of workouts and mainly did what I enjoyed, I would still spend time wondering if I was doing it RIGHT. Not the actual movements, but the entire philosophy. My fitness plan. Should I be doing one thing over the other? Should I be pushing myself to the max? Is my workout strategy less-than because my friend does it differently?

In addition to time and experience, one thing that solidified my own fitness philosophy was working with others.

Becoming a personal trainer caused me to realize how I wanted to approach fitness and how to stay consistent with those philosophies. See how!

I listened to my gut

Given my own struggles with getting healthy, my gut told me that a compassionate and understanding approach to fitness was the one that would work for me and my clients. I believe that while I’m able to train people who aren’t exactly aligned with my outlook on fitness, it becomes less enjoyable to do so. My gut is a huge factor in a lot of the decisions I make and something I have learned to listen to in many areas of my life.

It’s pretty easy for me to tell in the first session whether a client and I will be a good fit. When I first started training, I wanted to take any and all clients that came my way, including several who I felt questionable about. I’m no longer training those clients today and if I had listened to my gut to begin with, I would have known that we may not be the best match. I did need to make money during that time, so it wasn’t quite as flexible, but with more clients these days I can afford to listen more to my intuition.

I realized who I wanted to work with

All of my clients are women. I didn’t plan it that way, but it’s the way it has worked out. I believe women have the hardest time with body acceptance, self-love, and just being OK with themselves. I can empathize with all of that, so I immediately feel a connection with women who have undergone similar struggles.

Many of the women who came to me weren’t looking for 6 pack abs or fixated on one particular body part, but instead wanted to simply get healthier or lose a little weight. They weren’t hyper vigilant to their perceived flaws and were open to working as hard as they could in the time that we had. I only had one client whose expectations were unrealistic in the time frame she provided, and that relationship didn’t last particularly long.

Each woman that I train helps remind me that it’s not only about the external results. Confidence can come from being able to do more burpees than you did the last time, lift a heavier weight, or even just showing up for a workout!

I could turn clients down

I assumed when you became a trainer you had to work with everyone who came your way. I didn’t realize that if a client wasn’t a good fit you could refer them to someone who may be able to help them better. I have had a few clients whose philosophies didn’t line up with mine — either they wanted to train in a way I didn’t specialize in or I felt that their approach to fitness was one that I was trying to distance myself from. I’m not saying that any other way besides mine is bad, but that for me personally, it was a road I had been down and I didn’t like my own results.

Just like you can’t be friends with every single person you meet, there can be compatibility issues in fitness as well.

Erin Bahadur Erin's Inside Job Fitness

For me, fitness is fun. If you don’t find it fun, at least try and look for the little wins. Set small goals. Pay attention to what you can do this week that you couldn’t do last week. Think of it as something you get to do instead of something you have to do.

Training helped me realize that it’s not all about appearance and I love being able to help others achieve those goals. What are some of yours??


  • What’s your fitness philosophy?


  1. September 27, 2016 / 5:45 am

    Training helped me solidify “don’t judge a book by its cover.” I have a few clients that are the last possible person you would ever expect to have a trainer, and they are my most dedicated, they have seen incredible results, and they love to come back each week.
    I have plenty of people judge me because I “don’t look like a personal trainer.” Well, judge away, because I am, and I am very good at what I do. That said, I also know my strengths and weaknesses.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…My Greatest Running Challenge Right NowMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:47 am

      Preach girl

  2. September 27, 2016 / 5:55 am

    Great post Erin. I learned similar things when I was training. My overall philosophy for fitness now is to do what you enjoy. Sometimes that’s running, other times that’s lifting and others it’s just taking a walk each day. My main thing is to stay active and focus on my goals and health.
    Ivanna recently posted…What I Buy at Whole Foods MarketMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:47 am

      Love it. Fitness is so great when you just find what works and take all the pressure off!

  3. September 27, 2016 / 6:21 am

    Right now I don’t have a very broad fitness philosophy because all I have ever really known is gymnastics but I’m excited to venture out into different types of exercise once I’m finished this year. Hearing about your fitness mindset is helpful to me because I want to eventually become a Personal Trainer and I completely agree that you can’t work with everyone and you have to do what’s best for you as a trainer and for the client. Thank you for sharing <3
    Rachel @ athletic avocado recently posted…Glazed Oatmeal Chai Pumpkin Scones {Vegan & Gluten-free}My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:48 am

      Gymnastics for life! Let me know if you ever have any questions about being a trainer!

  4. September 27, 2016 / 6:52 am

    I am not a trainer, but I can say as a nutritionist who’s now working with dozens of clients, I’ve learned that there are some people who are just not a good fit for me. I think in some ways that is a difficult thing to come to terms with because you want to help so many people, yet you realize you may not be helping them in a way that’s good for them or you and it’s best to refer them out. That’s not an easy thing to do and I don’t forsee that ever getting easier.
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…15 Healthy Fall Dinners with Meal Prep TipsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:49 am

      Yeah I’m sure there are a lot of similarities. It would be great to help everyone, but just like you can’t be friends w everyone, there’s a good fit for each person.

  5. September 27, 2016 / 7:19 am

    Absolutely LOVE this. I’m thinking about becoming a trainer after graduation, and these are awesome things to know. My fitness philosophy is to move the way YOU want to move. If it feels good for your body, do it! You’re not in competition with anyone! It’s YOUR life 🙂
    Marina @ A Dancer’s Live-It recently posted…Pumpkin Spice Protein PancakesMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:49 am

      Thanks marina! Love that philosophy. Let me know if you ever have any training questions!!

  6. September 27, 2016 / 7:54 am

    For me I realized I get the most joy out of training those who are just starting out and have a lot to learn and a ways to go to get to their happy place, and helping them find a balance and learn to love exercise. I’m definitely all about the long term fitness relationships!
    Bri recently posted…Running to BQ and running for a good causeMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:50 am

      Oh yes that’s the best feeling! Since I’m around it all the time I’m still taken aback by those people who don’t have it as a big focus. It’s great to teach them and see them grow!

  7. September 27, 2016 / 9:08 am

    I LOVE this philosophy Erin; having that compassion for others while working out with them always teaches me to be more compassionate and not really hard and harsh on myself. I love that you are able to resonate with and help women who are struggling with body image; it’s such a gift to have a trainer that is really wanting to help them be truly healthy and happy.
    Emily recently posted…How to Not Quit on Your HealthMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:51 am

      I definitely don’t think I would have been good at it if I was doing it at any other point in my life. I had to get to this place of balance first!

  8. September 27, 2016 / 9:35 am

    Love this (and you). It’s really cool to learn more about our personalities when we work with other people! We all attract certain personalities, and vice versa. You are SO right in that we tend to stick with the peeps that we mesh with.
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Healthy Roasted Tomato Basil SoupMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:51 am

      And it’s so much easier and fun that way!

  9. September 27, 2016 / 9:55 am

    Also I love hearing more information about your experience as a trainer. I just started doing group fitness training at my gym, and i’m honestly obsessed with it (oo, just got a new idea for a post haha). Perhaps one day i’ll take the leap, be exactly like you and do it full time =D
    Beverley @ Born to Sweat recently posted…10 Minute Apple Walnut SaladMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:52 am

      Oh good! I was like MAKE ME LOOK LIKE THIS GIRL (you). Your approval is all I ask for 😉

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 27, 2016 / 10:52 am

      Great! Let me know if you have any questions!!

  10. September 27, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    Great post! Fitness to me is life. It means resting, working out, eating well, its all one thing. Fitness should be something we do and enjoy not something we loathe. If I’m loathing a workout I know that i either need a rest or to try another type of workout!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…10 Thoughts on MarriageMy Profile

  11. September 27, 2016 / 7:29 pm

    Great takeaways, Erin. My philosophy is that “one size DOESN’T fit all” and that you should enjoy what you’re doing… that can be running, cycling, swimming. A good balance is obviously always good (switch things up – that keeps it interesting too!), but being physically active in any way is good for body and soul.
    San recently posted…What I bought at Trader Joe’s (meatless edition) – Vol.3My Profile

  12. September 28, 2016 / 7:53 pm

    Growing up a gymnast but being much less active in my adult years, I still have trouble figuring out my own fitness philosophy. I think your last point about it being FUN is the most important thing. When it gets boring or feels forced, that’s when I know to change things up.
    Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine recently posted…Currently // September 2016My Profile

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