First Published, 10th September, 2014
I had no intention of teaching again when I was asked to become a GMB trainer. I was quite happy being the student with my own coach. All I had to do was focus on my own training which meant less to think about and doing it simply out of enjoyment.
After a lot of thought I decided it was too big an opportunity to say no to. I was already a member of the GMB Alpha Posse, following their blog, listening to their podcasts, and developing a strong relationship with Ryan, my coach. I love what they are about so in the end it just made sense. Even though I wasn’t teaching at the time I knew deep down it was something that I loved doing. This seemed like the right platform for me to use to begin teaching again.
And it has been a life changing experience for me. But it definitely hasn’t been an easy path to follow. The GMB Trainer Course isn’t a weekend certification. You don’t pay for a couple of lectures and some practical training and then get sent off to teach the material, regardless of your understanding of what you’ve learnt. It’s far more complex and detailed than that. And so I became part of a wonderful group of people who have all spent the past five months working through the process, and becoming part of a great company, designed to teach and encourage movement.
When I started I completely underestimated the magnitude of the trainer course. I remember thinking this looks simple enough, I will just throw it on top of my handstand work no problem. I really wasn’t prepared for how much commitment and time it was going to require.
It went in waves of feeling like I was making progress to feeling like I wasn’t even close to being physically capable to train and complete the programme. It started to raise a lot of issues for me like doubting myself, feeling like I was undeserving of training for something so important and just generally feeling insecure. I was spending time on the trainer forum, reading the other trainer candidates stories and watching their training videos. I couldn’t help but compare myself to them. They were and still are all amazing movers, so strong and so skilled. It seemed like there was no reason why I should be part of a group of such talented people.
Training for GMB was so different to training for myself because I felt pressure that I HAD to do well and I HAD to prove myself to everyone. I was no longer doing it just for myself, but there was now a desired result I was working towards that wasn’t only about me. And of course I wanted to do as well as I could. I wanted to show that I was strong enough and committed enough to being part of GMB. Self doubt is something that doesn’t easily go away and so I was working through some unwelcome feelings as well.
Before I started the course I had been doing nothing but handstands for pretty much five months and I now had to work movements and areas of strength that had been neglected for nearly a year. While I had a good freestanding handstand I had created some major imbalances, particularly with my bent arm strength. It felt good to have a rest from handstands and start working on weaker areas. As I started making progress with new movements my confidence grew because I realised it was simply a case of working hard to achieve what I wanted. Working on weaker areas is something that psychologically can be a challenge because everyone wants to feel good about their training. But facing up to weaknesses makes you a hell of a lot stronger in the long run.
The course isn’t only about what you can do physically, there are other things to focus on too. It’s great if you can bang out twenty muscle ups in a row but if you don’t understand the movement or how to break it down, and you can’t teach it then that’s not very helpful. This is why the course takes months to complete. We have been learning about GMB and the importance of understanding their method. Getting to know the programmes in detail has been part of this. We’ve learnt about what to teach and how to teach it. We’ve been learning the importance of how to communicate with clients, because really they are the reason for us becoming trainers.
It’s been challenging because there were so many of us starting the programme at once, which meant a lot of work for our Coaches. We’ve had to develop new ways to communicate and work more as a team. Parts of the programme were changed in order for us to get more out of what we were learning. This helped to get a feel of what GMB is really about and why they teach what they do.
It was also challenging not knowing the other trainer candidates very well, especially at the beginning. Slowly, gradually it became easier for everyone to interact with one another and we have become a very close unit. I am so fortunate to have each of them as part of my life.
The GMB seminar in August at Wolf Fitness Systems in Salinas was a chance to meet everyone, including the GMB coaches. We were able to watch Ryan teach. There was clarity when he communicated the movements to the students. He was energetic, encouraging and patient. The way he broke the movements down and the progressions that he taught were simple and easy to follow. It helped me understand more of what they teach and why.
I’ve learnt that teaching is sharing and communicating information, and when this comes from a place of passion it gives people more desire and excitement to learn. Working with the right group of people and having a strong support system within this is crucial to reach your full potential as a trainer. Although you are the teacher it is so important to listen to your students in order to meet their needs and to continue your own learning. It’s important to show others what you can do so they can see that they can achieve it too. I hope to be able to apply these ideas to the way I coach or advise people.
The trainer course has been an amazing experience, and as I already said it has changed my life in so many ways. It’s taken a long time to get towards the end. There were plenty of times that it was so exhausting I thought what’s the point? Why am I doing this? I guess my desire to achieve something I really wanted was stronger than my fear of failing and falling apart.
So I am now a qualified Gold Medal Bodies Trainer. What does that mean to me? It means I am part of an amazing community of trainers, who support and encourage one another. It means I can teach others, and hopefully inspire them to work hard and to be the best version of themselves. But mostly it means that I can do something that I love and create the life I want for myself. I think that is something that’s worth going through every ounce of insecurity, self doubt and fear. If you can see beyond those feelings then you can pretty much achieve anything you want to. I walked down what was for me a difficult path, and now I’ve reached the end, I’ve found I am right at the beginning of a new journey.
I have to say thank you to my GMB Coaches, the Trainer Candidates and the GMB community for all of your support, kindness and encouragement. I couldn’t have done this without you.