Whether you’re a class instructor, personal trainer or a little bit of both, working out isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life — and your income. As a fitness professional, you’re used to taking care of others, because simply put, that’s your job. But when your days are comprised of teaching others how to live a healthy lifestyle, instructing classes or training clients, it’s easy to lose sight of taking care of the only body that really matters when it comes to your career — your own.
Make sure you’re treating your body and mind right. We’ve put together a few of our favorite self-care tips for fitness professionals like you, so you can stay on top of your game as you’re helping others get on top of theirs.
Even if you’re in peak physical condition, teaching and training day after day can, and will, take a toll on your body — which is why regular massages are a must for fitness pros. Those aches and pains that you keep ignoring can not only affect your workout and job performance, but they can also turn into serious injuries if not taken care of.
Make room in your budget for at least one massage a month, or try trading your services with a massage therapist. Either way, this self-care act will simultaneously treat your muscles and your mind, without taking up too much of your time.
Ready, set, break
From meeting clients at the gym to showing up at 5 a.m. to teach class, being a fitness professional means your schedule is extremely rigid. As such, scheduling time off is essential. Whether it’s sourcing a sub or rescheduling a training session, giving yourself a break can go a long way.
Allowing yourself to have time to recharge and step away from your routine will only help you have the energy you need to motivate and inspire others.
Fitness for fun
Work hard, but remember that it’s okay to play hard too. Fitness doesn’t always have to be your job. Let go of your responsibilities as an instructor and take a class instead of teaching one, or set aside time to get in your own solo workout. Remembering that working out doesn’t always have to be about business is important if you want to succeed in this industry.
As an added bonus, other instructors’ classes can spark inspiration for your own. Everybody has their own way of teaching. Observing the way your peers instruct can be a great learning experience for you, too.
Eat. Sleep. Hydrate. Repeat.
Practice what you preach. Don’t become too inundated with helping others live healthy lifestyles that you let go of your own healthy habits.
For food, meal prep is key. When your days are booked solid with training and teaching, your only options are going out to eat or packing your own meals. Once you know your schedule, plan your meals for the week ahead, so you’re not stressing over finding food last-minute. And be sure to pack snacks for yourself in-between classes and sessions, so you can keep those energy levels up all day long.
Staying hydrated is one of the healthiest habits to adopt. As a fitness pro, this should be common sense, but it’s a good reminder nonetheless. Keep yourself hydrated during and after all of your sessions. Taking care of your body is vital to a successful career in the fitness industry.
And lastly, sleep. Running on four hours of sleep a night isn’t acceptable as a trainer. Get adequate rest — which may mean saying no to teaching a late class when you know you have an early morning session the next day. To give your clients your best work, you need to be rested both mentally and physically.
Take a breath in-between classes or sessions, even if it’s only a few minutes. Try to schedule your day so you have time to regroup and refocus before moving on to your next client. Cultivating even just a few moments to yourself can be the break you didn’t know you needed. Whether it’s a mindful meditation, deep belly breathing, or listening to your favorite fitness podcast, this pause will help you avoid feeling like you’re rushing into classes one right after the other.
Taking on each new class or session with a fresh perspective is not only beneficial for your mental well-being; your clients will notice — and appreciate — the focused attention.