Friday, September 17, 2010

Stopping and Smelling the Roses by Janelle Gallo


I recently just picked up a client that has functional down's syndrome. I won't use her name but she definitely isn't mentally incapacitated. She holds a volunteering job but cannot drive due to her eyesight. Also, her motor coordination is a little off. Some trainers wouldn't want to spend the time training her. You have to have a lot of patience with clients like these. Some would say "Good luck training that one, she will be a tough client to progress" or "I am not wasting my time with this client". But as a trainer, I always like challenges. So, first meeting with, Dee ( I will call her, but not her real name), we go over her fitness goals. Dee is determined to get a bikini body. She is not obese but a little overweight. I have to laugh a little when she tells me what she eats. "Well last night I had movie popcorn and then some chocolate cake", says Dee. I explain to her that she must eat a healthy, clean diet to lose weight and along with cardio and weight training to tone her body. She replies "I love working out. I really enjoy it, and I want to continue to come to the gym and work with you. You are my trainer and also my friend, aren't you?". I look at her with a smile and say "Of course Dee I am your trainer and friend". Now, I know trainers are supposed to keep a professional relationship with their clients but I felt that Dee was special. We train once a month because of her finances (her mom pays for the training). Over the course of months working with Dee, I have decided to extend my relationship with her by going out to lunch or dinner and even going to the movies. However, I have not just taught Dee about a healthy fitness lifestyle, I believe that she has taught me something.
As I spent more time with Dee, we talked about a lot of things. She really wants to meet someone and have a boyfriend. She has asked me for advice and I have given it to her. But it was one day when we were out to dinner that Dee has asked me some questions that have really stopped me in my tracks. My lifestyle is one of a physique competitor, which is a lot of training, dieting, competing, etc. Dee has asked me some of life's questions that normally we don't stop and think about. Such as, "How do you know when you are in love", and "When should I have sex with the person I am dating", or "When do you decide it is time to get married and have kids", or "Why did you chose the profession you are in?". As I talked with Dee I realized that I always go through my everyday routine and I am so busy that I don't stop and "smell the roses" so to speak. I had to stop that night when we were out eating and put my fork down and think about the first time I was in love with my boyfriend and how I felt. I explained to her that when that person enters the room you become excited and get butterflies in your stomache, and to make the decision to have sex with someone is when you feel that person is the right one for you and to wait it out when you are first dating to see if they really are into you for the person you are, not for just to "jump in the sack" so to speak. All of life's questions. Amazing! Dee made me realize that I get so caught up with being so busy with work, training, family,etc that I really don't stop and think about the meaning behind things. It really was an uplifting and eye-opening experience that I learned from her. I need to stop sometimes and smell the roses and appreciate life a little bit. Dee definitely showed me that. I think we don't realize and appreciate the things we have in life and sometimes it takes someone like Dee to come into our lives to understand where we are going in life and what the meaning behind it is. Also, she has taught me that little things, like first falling in love, or getting a new job, really do make a difference.
I am so pleased to have Dee as a client but I am also appreciative that I have gained a friend. Just because people have a disability doesn't mean that they have no mind. Dee picks up things in life that most people don't even realize because they are too busy with their everyday routines. She really does have a gift. I hope my experience with Dee has helped others stop and think a little bit and appreciate the things they have and that life can be beautiful. So the next time you are feeling down and complaining about things in your life, maybe you should stop to smell the roses. I now know that I need to do more of this. Have a great week!

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