The Acupuncture Turning Point collaborates with Nicole and Len, owners of Breathe Fitness, to help our clients be at their best.
by Len Panchuk, MSc, PTS of Breathe Fitness
I am not sure what to call myself anymore. A personal trainer? Well that can sound elitist. An exercise therapist? That sounds too medical! How about an exercise trainer? Well, whatever you call me, I am in the business of helping people get past excuses when it comes to their health and well-being. So today, ironically, I want to complain a little bit, as I put the shoe on the other foot, so to speak. This may sound like placing blame, making excuses, or deflecting responsibility on to others, but it’s time to name names. It is sometimes difficult as an adult to try something new or to develop a skill set for a novel undertaking. I’m not talking about taking up golf, or changing careers, I’m referring to my “descent” into blogging.
Thanks to Gord Grant of the Acupuncture Turning Point, owner of the therapeutic business we collaborate with just down the street on Whyte, there is a deadline every second week for me to put in the elbow-grease to churn out a few words about – well, whatever comes to mind that is “real for me”, Gord says. Gord wants people to know me beyond the image of a personal trainer (or whatever you want to call me). My inaugural endeavour “Hidden Gems” appeared as part of the monthly ATP blog page in November 2013 and touched on how few people seem to utilize our extensive trail system here in Edmonton.
But seriously, I would like to thank Gord for the push, direction and on-going guidance he has provided throughout this creative process. The feeling of starting something from scratch with almost no prior experience was quite daunting. Yet Gord has helped it not be unnecessarily overwhelming due to his constructive commentary and enthusiasm. People often come to him after they have reached a limitation with the medical system. He focuses on helping others excel in the idea of defining health – especially in mindful exploration into the personal responsibility of health and mental well-being. When I think about it, he and I are in the same business.
With the initial accomplishment of releasing the first blog into cyberspace, I’m back at it again with a bit more confidence and a little less procrastination (I began working on my second installment almost an entire day prior to the deadline for its first draft). Undergoing the writing process once has most certainly not improved my abilities to transfer my thoughts on to the screen more easily, but with an ever-expanding and refined skill set, and growing confidence, there is a realization that improvement is not too far over the horizon. Change and self-knowledge is usually realized in increments, in facing our difficulties, and persevering until the obstacle in your path has been overcome – or temporarily sidestepped. Maybe with a fresh perspective the pathway has straightened and the horizon appears to be closer than formerly visualized?
Sometimes, more effort doesn’t necessarily lead to improved efficiency or better results. Having a mentor with a deep (dark and contagious?) wellspring of motivation, expertise and experience affords the “help” needed to chart, analyze and discuss, and guide your progress in developing independence and self-knowledge. Also, it can provide a kind of critical and objective support sometimes required to facilitate the bigger picture, putting in context the little step-wise improvements. Sort of like avoiding not being able to see the forest for the trees. Gord has provided me the structure I needed to go forward. I’m beginning to glimpse the “anatomy” of the process: First start with objective assessments and suggestions, and inspire (mentor)-aspire (student) to commit to an achievable beginning. This way I own it! Next, move methodically through gentle reminders to keep on track, and then, if needed, with an almost tangible absence of a separate stage, a strong push straight into an unflinching deadline, holding me accountable to what I have promised to do for myself.
And indeed, yes, I do realize that I have just described a universal learning process, where when teacher arrives, the student is ready. And on many occasions these are the thoughts that many of my personal training clients have had with their journeys in fitness.
So what have I discovered about why this challenge to try blogging is important? For me, it is a way to engage people beyond the separate, discontinuous pieces of health; each particular missive being a bit more vulnerable and a little less tangible. My insights and opinions about the relationship between fitness, exercise, and health are evolving and I think they are worthy of sharing. I realize that my personal and professional journey represents a rather arbitrary point in space and time. Since I gave Gord my first blog draft, ”Hidden Gems”, I lamented and pined and procrastinated over the content for many days. This was a combination of self-doubt, embarrassment for the inadequacy I feel about my writing skills, or perhaps that I would be judged by others for my thoughts, permanently exposed, even though, for me, they represent a dynamic process (so don’t hold me to all this!). But this time around, I find myself excited to deliver this rendition to the world. Stay tuned for my next one….