So it’s my birthday and something I got myself for it was a book called “The Soul of a Trainer” by Thomas Plummer. The book is brilliant but I don’t entirely agree with one of the claims on the cover which is that trainers were born “to change the world.”

Sometimes people ask me if I think our job changes people’s lives. I don’t. But kinda do.

Ultimately we could give people the top advice, motivation, workout programs, classes, etc. in the world, but if they don’t use it then it’s useless. All we can do is attempt to make CFC the best possible space for people to come into to make the necessary changes and be the absolute best we can be while they are in here. It’s up to them to decide to take the necessary action from there.

Reflecting on the past year, something I am really pleased with is the group of people that make up the community in CFC. Zero egos, willing to work hard, have the craic and welcoming to everyone who walks into the place. A brilliant aspect of running a place like CFC is the amount of diverse people who walk in the door – all with their own stories and experiences from their days/lives. We often get to hear about them, hence one client recently texting to say the only thing I don’t know about her at this stage is “the colour of her knickers!”

She texted me that because she had just sent me her (detailed) list of 50 reasons to get fit. Reading them it struck me how much getting into the physical shape she wants to would change her life. She was able to link physical fitness to every facet of it, connecting it all seamlessly.

Another client recently told me some great stories about conversations he has had with his kids while taking them out for hill walks. Sounds like the kids love that time and I’m fairly confident that they think very highly of their dad. Not because he drives an impressive car or has an “important job”. Because he has the energy and fitness to be present with them – helping to make it quality time instead of a time pass.

Obviously over a 12 month period it’s not all about happy hill walks and fun about colours of knickers. There have been stories of frightening health diagnoses and one where a business owner had to be there when one of their employees was informed of her brother’s suicide. For me these really hammer home the importance of deciding that the most vital thing for us to look after is our health – both physical and mental, they are definitely the most important things we have got.

Of course the people who train in CFC aren’t the only ones with stories – those of us working there have them as well. I remember having a chat with an ex-girlfriend a few years ago where the good and bad points of my personality came up. Two of the so called pluses were the fact that she thought I was courageous and funny. These were well outweighed by the minuses which started with not learning from my mistakes; hence she wasn’t my girlfriend a few weeks later!

To be fair to her if she had ever seen me around needles or very cold water she wouldn’t have thought that I was courageous, but she would have had a lot to laugh at. This year I’ve managed to curb my horrific fear of needles and actually enjoy jumping into the sea, merely by continuous exposure to both. The reason I share this is that a lot of people fear going to the gym or starting a health regime in case they fail, or look silly. Seriously gyms shouldn’t be a place to be feared but if you do feel uncomfortable, dip your toe in (see what I did there?) by joining something like a walking club and build from there. You definitely won’t regret it.

Also I find that when I’m stressed or needing to make certain decisions the harder I train at times seems to feed into my ability to be decisive – it’s like there is a correlation between pushing out of my comfort zone in the gym and trying to push out of my comfort zone in day to day life. I also agree with Geoff who said one day in Dun Laoghaire, working out and then jumping into the water really feels like living.

Speaking of personality characteristics I was encouraged to read a book by a business mentor this year – one which breaks down the personality types of people who run businesses like CFC. Seems like I am someone who loves dealing with people, a slight workaholic, am on the border of being unrealistically optimistic and have too much enthusiasm for my own good – but don’t have the organisational skills to match. Basically someone who thinks a gym like CFC can help people change their lives but will forget to let Marcin know all of the classes he has to take on certain weeks. Between Marcin’s patience with things like that and all of the help and advice I’ve had this year, I know I can’t do everything alone. Same with our fitness – don’t be afraid to ask for help and definitely don’t be afraid to give it if you think it’s going to help someone out.

Overall just because I am a year older I don’t think I have all the answers, my life is chaos at times. But you’ll never convince me that looking after our health, spending time with people who want us to do better, pushing outside our comfort zones and enjoying the process as much as we can isn’t a good start towards living.

In fact if I could wish for a super power on my birthday, I reckon it would be the ability to make everyone who ever comes into contact with CFC realise that the decision to look after themselves is the most important that they can make.

Because then;

1. We would be the busiest gym in the world!!

2. We would be able to claim to be really changing people’s lives.

But that isn’t possible so we just have to stick with being the best we can be to help encourage people to make that decision and take the necessary actions.

If only we could figure out how to show them how much the quality of their health and the quality of their life is all connected…

Ps. if you’re looking for the chance to bring your fitness up a level, click here to check out our Personal and Semi Private training options…

Shane is a Coach (and Owner) at the Christchurch Fitness Centre. An experienced fitness professional who has helped numerous people lose weight, tone up and develop their confidence, Shane has a strong interest in continuous education and is doing /has completed mentorships/courses with (among others), the Irish Strength Institute, Body Development, Training for Warriors (level 2), Precision Nutrition, Steve Maxwell, Sigma Nutrition, Zuu, Darby Training Systems and Mike Mahler, TRX, and the Advanced Coaching Academy.