Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Just Put Forth the Effort-

Today I want to share with you a few things that all play off one another.  

My original goal for today’s post was to share an awesome testimonial from one of my clients, which i’ll do first.  The remaining part of the post fell into place because I came home from training clients this afternoon and checked out the latest “Minute of Strength” from Anthony DiLuglio.  He shared some really great stuff, and I realized that what he said really ties in with my feelings about today’s post!  I will share that video with you as well, and then to wrap up the post, I have my thoughts.

So, without further ado, here is “Part I,” Ruth’s story!

Ruth has been training with me since the beginning of April 2006.  She found me online and contacted me via email to get the ball rolling.  Her main reason for being placed on an exercise program was to improve and maximizer her overall health.  Although weight loss was one of her goals as well, it wasn’t her main focus, which was refreshing because so many people are fixated on their weight!  Ever since our first session, she’s been nothing but dedicated despite numerous “bumps in the road” that have come along.  I’m sure my other clients get sick of my bragging about her all the time!

Here’s her story:

Sarah thinks that I am a very special client of hers but she does not seem to realize that I have made it to this point because of the type of Trainer that she is and that she cares so much about her clients.  She has given me the encouragement and the tools to help me in my quest.
I always had the desire to eat well and take care of myself but I became so busy with kids, activities, home and work; exercise fell to the bottom of the list.  I was diagnosed with Lupus twenty years ago (my mother and sister also have).  I remember telling the doctor during one of my denial phases that, “I had the disease but that it would never have me.”  I have kept to that word and yes I have come up on a lot of speed bumps over time but with Sarah’s help, I have managed to ride over them.
My Mom was very ill the last few years of her life and I did not want to suffer the way she did.  I want to be able to enjoy my later years along with my husband.  That alone is the incentive I need.  The aging process is hard enough and I want to be somewhat flexible and be able to maintain my balance.

My Dad always told me that I could accomplish whatever I wanted to, you just have to have the desire.  Exercise has become like a drug for me now.  It has to be done; I need to do it but I also know that if I do take time off due to medical issues, I get right back in there because it makes me feel good.  I am not a fanatic about working out and I do take the weekend off somewhat.  

I am down 25 lbs since we first began.  I was at my highest weight when we started.  It is not so much the weight loss as is the shape of my body – my clothes fit totally different now but I still would like to lose an additional 10 – 15 more lbs, and I am sure I will.

Now, what if I told you that Ruth is a unique client because I only see her (at the most) ONCE a month.  In fact, looking back through her folder, we’ve only trained together 15 times since April 3, 2006!  That works out to roughly once every two months!  lol!  Crazy how our original plan to meet once a month hasn’t really panned out!  That’s perfectly fine, though, because she stays on track.
Think about this.  Could you meet with a trainer once every two months and continue to make progress and stay on track?  How about once every month?  If your answer is “no,” don’t worry.  Most people can’t make progress with this little guidance.  Ruth has managed to made TREMENDOUS progress over the course of our training relationship, and she never ceases to amaze me!  She CONTINUES to make progress!  She “gets” it.  She is dedicated, listens to what I say, and “just does it.”  Never once has she made an excuse or questioned my instruction.  She’s just flat-out AWESOME! 🙂  I worked with her this morning and we had yet another great session…I just got her turned-on to kettlebell training!
More progress to come!  
We also got to talking about something that’s been on my mind for a while, and that is the realization that EXERCISE COSTS YOU NOTHING while POOR HEALTH COSTS YOU EVERYTHING.  

Think about that for a second.  It costs you absolutely NOTHING to exercise – I mean, you can do bodyweight movements and walk/jog.  That’s FREE, people!  Now, if you don’t get up and move your body, you’re setting yourself up for horrendous stuff like diabetes, coronary artery disease, degenerative joint disease of both weight bearing and non-weight bearing joints, diseases of the digestive tract (gallstones, reflux esophagitis), thromboembolic disorders, heart failure (both systolic and diastolic), respiratory impairment, and skin disorders.  

Hmm…which would you rather have?
Now, click on the link below and take a few minutes to view the video, courtesy of Art of Strength.   Anthony’s message is so amazing! (video will open in separate window)
When I listened to what Anthony had to say, it made me think of several things.  First and foremost, his message is SO true.  When all is said and done, the only factor that determines your success is YOU.  From my perspective, if a client’s main goal is weight loss and they aren’t getting there, I know it’s not my fault.  Their weight loss isn’t my responsibility.  Yes, i’m responsible for putting together a program that facilitates weight loss, and training them three hours a week.  The other 165 hours of the week, however, are up to chance.  I have ZERO control over what goes on.  They know they are supposed to be doing additional exercise and eating healthy in order to reach their goal.  If they’re not doing that, they can’t blame me for a lack of progress.  When I was a younger trainer, I used to take a lot of this responsibility upon myself.  I would feel guilty if it was time to re-assess a client and we took the measurements and realized nothing much had happened.  
I vividly remember one particular client I worked with for roughly three months.  She was morbidly obese.  She had zero experience with exercise and was extremely self-conscious.  At the time, I trained out of a gym in Lubbock, TX that was close to Texas Tech University (my alma mater!), and therefore had quite a large “college age” crowd.  I knew she didn’t like having to work out while teeny-tiny sorority girls and “frat-guy buff” types were all around her.  By the way, I just came up with that term, “frat guy” buff.  Basically, if you picture a guy with huge arms and a pumped-up chest atop chicken legs, that’s what i’m talkin’ about. 🙂  Anyhow, back to my story.  We started off on the right foot.  She met me several times a week to train, and did cardio on her own.  She was consistent with it.  I remember feeling proud of her and excited to be a part of what could be an awesome life change.  I performed a re-assessment after four weeks, and she was losing weight, bodyfat, and inches.  It was all working.  She was happy and motivated.  We continued for another month and same thing happened – more progress!  Awesome!  
Then it happened.  At the end of month three, another re-assessment.  
What happened?  Her numbers went UP.  She started crying and I felt horrible.  I tried my best to console her by talking to her. I asked her questions, and you know what happened?  When I asked her “what did you eat today?” her response was “a burrito and a Coke.”  WTF?  She was freaking out and looking at me like it was MY fault!  The fact that she couldn’t kick her burrito and Coke habit was HER fault, not mine.  She needed to take responsibility for herself.  Know what happened after that?  She started training with another trainer in that same gym!  
At first my ego was a little bruised, but then I realized something.  Until she was able to take responsibility, she was always going to keep repeating the same mistakes.  I told myself then and there that it is not within my power to “change” people for the better…they have to make that change themselves.  I can encourage them and provide nothing but the best service all day long, but it’s up to them to “make it happen.”  I can write up the best workouts but they aren’t going to work if someone doesn’t put forth the effort.
This is why at this point in my career, I am extremely picky about the clients I choose to train.  Yes, I have the option of choosing to train someone.  If I feel someone just doesn’t “get it,” meaning they don’t seem to realize just how important their health really is, I can choose not to pursue them as a client.  If I feel someone is going to waste my time (and theirs), you’d better believe i’m not going to jump on that bandwagon.  Been there, done that.  As a Fitness Professional, I am in a position of power.  If someone doesn’t respect this and/or questions my authority, that’s a red flag.  If someone tries to make me feel their lack of progress is my fault, that’s another red flag.  It’s simply not worth the stress for me to work with individuals who can’t accept responsibility for themselves.
When all is said and done at the end of the day, you should be able to go to sleep knowing you did your best.

7 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing such useful information. Thanks for these tips. Looking forward to your next post.

    alexis scott

    December 17, 2008 at 7:25 am

    • You’re very welcome! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog!

      December 17, 2008 at 1:09 pm

  2. Hey! Yes, sorry…just me. Ha. You continue to inspire me, ya know it!? All I need is personal training in person bc if you’re THIS GOOD over the phone/internet I just can’t imagine. And too bad the burrito girl didn’t take advantage of a wonderful things for the entirety of your Lubbock training…

    Um, is there ‘snow’ falling on this page? …or am I seeing things?

    December 17, 2008 at 10:32 am

    • You’re good for my ego, Holly! 🙂 Really, though, thank you. You have done really well with the workouts i’ve sent you! I’m happy you’ve stuck with me this long…since May! You rock!

      December 17, 2008 at 1:07 pm

  3. Remember me from ehow? Thought I would drop you a line on your blog. Nice testimonial. Have you ever thought about putting your testimonials in video? Very powerful. I’ll be doing that myself this coming year.

    Happy holidays


    December 17, 2008 at 11:27 am

    • Hi Kevin!
      Thanks a bunch! Yes, I plan on incorporating more video in general this coming year. I would like to show my awesome clients working hard as well as giving their perspective on training/fitness/etc. Hope things are goin’ awesome for you and Happy Holidays!

      December 17, 2008 at 1:06 pm

  4. Hey, great concept. These tips are very easy to follow and can be added in our daily routine with that we dont feel any problem and can keep ourself fit and healthy.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:28 am

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