Dealing with anxiety is very challenging and can hold people back in many ways even if they feel that they’d like to experience something new – coming to that time, makes them feel very overwhelmed, uncertain, doubtful and they refrain and withdraw from trying it.
When I have dealt with clients suffering anxiety it takes so much effort for them to get to training, it’s a black hole for many of them and it’s not as simple as just waking up and getting here on the time we’ve scheduled.
I’ve had many cancel at the last minute with many reasons why they cannot make it, and the anxiousness in their voices to cancel is very real, many send a message as they cannot handle the conversation and then become very fearful of the judgement made.
Working with people who are anxious or have mental health concerns is very common, and this is an area that needs to be tapped into more.
I savor working with people with anxiety because I know that proven through science, exercise and healthy eating helps their condition.
If they show up it’s a great step and to have someone leave the gym or a health session with me feeling better than they arrived, is a win for them because they have gotten through their challenge and for me by learning more about my client and ways to help them ongoing.
One client I currently work with is a young girl in secondary school, let’s call her Penny.
Before Penny started working with me she didn’t enjoy exercising and would avoid it.
She was struggling with school and life felt hard.
She knew she was unfit but didn’t know how to tackle it in a way that worked for her (the withdrawing phase).
Once I started working with Penny, I worked through some of her triggers and her concerns, and we broke them down bit by bit, through a process that Penny felt comfortable with.
Penny now feels energised, alive and invigorated, she feels more positive about being able to achieve something that seems unachievable (the doubt factor).
The great thing is Penny noted that she felt stronger, not only physically but emotionally, and for someone with anxiety this is a major win.
Penny enjoys training for a few reasons such as she knows I will not push her beyond what she is comfortable with within a challenging way for her – (working with anxious clients, the goal is not to smash them in a session, it’s to work with them in a safe way, in their mind, a reasonable challenge at the time. Pain, physical pain could turn them away very easily as they do not like the feeling of what pain brings).
Understanding Penny’s abilities and limits as an individual also was a factor as to why she enjoyed training with me, even when she had her low times.
Changing up exercises, providing a huge variety helped and giving her a big picture to look at also helped Penny to try different exercises.
This was done more through me working to the way she thought about things, adapting to her lifestyle, giving her some ideas and suggestions with healthy eating, that inspired her to live a healthier life.
I am pleased that Penny found it easy to talk and share things with me, this is how personal training helps the client move forward not only in strength or cardio fitness, but in this case emotionally.
Penny valued the encouragement given and no judgement when it came to training and forward planning.
Penny: “I feel good that I am taking steps to be healthier and fitter. I feel stronger and more able to tackle more challenging trials. I have more self belief and know that if I put in the work, I will feel and notice the benefits.”
And lastly “Even if I’ve had a bad day at school, coming to PT gives me a boost”.
I have had a huge win with Penny, and I look forward to our sessions because I know deep down it’s helping her become a stronger person physically and mentally…
May we help the level of mental health, anxiety and depression through safe physical exercise – on the highs of our endorphins…
If you feel trapped and anxious, and would like to work with me in helping your self belief through exercise and health, then I welcome you to contact me to find out more and help you through your difficult time.