What Your Personal Trainer Wishes You Knew... (Part Two)

Personal Trainer

Hello gorgeous! I am so excited to let you in on What Your Personal Trainer Wishes You Knew: Part Two. And yes, unintentionally rhyming… but how good does it sound?? 

Has anyone felt the fear and done it anyway? Have you finally gone into the gym? Decided to feel the fear and go to the class you’ve been putting off? Joined that workout group you’ve been too nervous to go to by yourself? 

If you have… I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. 

And if you haven’t, that is completely fine too! If there is anything I want Thrive to be, it’s non-judgemental. We are all on our own paths, and whatever time that takes you, whatever direction that takes you: it is completely up to you! We are all as different as snowflakes, so why do we all need to do the same things at the same time…?! 

But here’s what I promise you: whatever your mind is telling you it’ll be like (scary/daunting/lonely/too hard/insert other feeling here), it won’t be anything like that.


I have absolutely no doubt as soon as you’ve taken the leap, you’ll be thinking: ‘Why was I so worried…?!’ 

So… to help give you the courage to get to that place, here’s a few more answers to those questions and concerns you want to know…


1. I’m going to get bulky and masculine so weight training is just not for me.

Hands up if you’ve heard this before… Yep! That would be A LOT OF PEOPLE.

There is this assumption that weight training = looking like the Hulk. Yes, this can happen given the right alignment of factors (nutrition/type of weight training/time, hormones etc), but as a woman…

THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU (Unless you really want it to…) 

Women aren’t built to put on huge amounts of muscle. Physiologically, we just don’t have the right hormones, and the right body composition to do so. So regardless of how much training you are doing and what training you are doing, it’s unlikely you’ll start looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

Without getting into confusing details, there are definitely different types of weight training that suit women better and some that suit men better, because of our physiological setup and because of what we physically want our bodies to look like (which, of course, differs person to person) - someone might want build lean muscle and keep a certain physique, whereas someone else might want to build muscle and have a visible ‘six pack’. 

But I promise, if you’re going into the gym to do an hour of weight training a few times a week, you have nothing to worry about. 


2. I just never have the energy or motivation to work out… 

Here’s the thing: you can be tired, or you can be tired from exercise. A doctor once said this to me about my Fibromyalgia, but I think it is applicable to the general population. So… what does that even mean?

We are all busy. We live in a world that is ‘Go, Go, GO!’, and sometimes, as much as we don’t want to be crazy busy, we don’t have much of a choice. From being a mum and balancing all that comes with it; to being a student balancing work, university/school study, social life; to working a 9-5 job and juggling all life’s other commitments. Yes, some people are busier than others — please don’t feel like I am discrediting how busy you are! 

But if you’re really struggling to fit moving your body in, it’s time to re-evaluate. Moving your body is one of the most important things we can do — and you can read about all of the benefits here. If we’re not fitting it in on a regular basis, it’s time to look at our schedules, and where we can change to better look after ourselves. 

And let’s be honest. Often, because we cannot be bothered, we make an excuse that we’re just too tired to work out. It’s just too much effort. 

So… how do you balance business, lack of energy, cannot be bothered-ness? 

You listen to your body and you move in a way that you enjoy. If you really are exhausted and just want to fall into bed — that is OKAY. We need to learn when we need to stop and take some time to relax and reenergise ourselves.

But if you realistically think, ‘Yes… I’m tired, but I could actually go and do [insert workout here]…’ then you need to listen to that. Chances are, you’ll feel refreshed, tired (in a good way!) and happy that you made the effort. 

And it doesn’t have to be a two hour high intensity workout!! If you’re exhausted, it might be a 20-minute Yin Yoga class on YouTube. If you feel like burning off the stress of the day, maybe it’s a 20-minute run around the block or a half an hour boxing class. If you really just want to smash it out, then go for a 45-minute high intensity circuit. If you want to just ground yourself, maybe it’s going for a walk in nature, or having a stretch at home. 

Don’t get caught up in what you ‘should’ be doing. Listen to your body. Know what you enjoy… and do that. I guarantee, if you’re moving in a way you love, you’re more likely to a) fit it in and b) have the energy for it. 


3. I feel like I’ve tried EVERYTHING and nothing works for me.

Can I just say — I feel for you. It’s frustrating when you feel like you’ve done everything possible and nothing ever changes! You don’t lose weight, your body doesn’t change, you don’t get any stronger… WHY ISN’T IT WORKING?!

More than anything, clients I’ve had in the past forget how holistic our health is. Your body composition, strength, how you feel about your body, energy, and so on is based on so much more than what we physically do while we work out. 

It’s dependent on so many different things: nutrition, sleep, hydration, hormones and stress levels, genetic composition, the training we are doing and everything that comes along with it (weights, repetitions, sets, rests and so on), as well as so many more things.

I would really suggest sitting down with a professional and talking over what you’ve been doing. Sometimes we just need an outsider perspective and suddenly we think Why didn’t I think of that?!’ 

Trust me — I’ve missed things in the past that have heavily impacted on my results. I couldn’t work out why nothing was changing! And then someone pointed out that my diet was extremely high energy. How did I not see the extreme number of energy balls I was eating?! 

Similarly, I did a nutrition analysis for a friend, who was so convinced she was eating a healthy diet but was confused why there was no difference. She thought eating more fruit was the best step forward… but didn’t realise the level of sugars she was consuming — 250grams per day (the recommended daily intake is 25grams). Now, don’t get me wrong… I am all about natural foods over processed foods, and I would eat more natural sugars than the every day person. But it’s all about balance. 

So, the moral of this? Go and talk to a professional. I have no doubt they’ll be able to help. 


4. I feel like I’m just going to look out of place and people will just think ‘What is she doing here…?’ 

I promise you. THEY WON’T. But just because I said that means you’ll instantly think ‘Oh that’s right, no one is looking at me…!’ You’ll probably still worry about it. 

So, how do you feel like you belong? 

Get some workout clothes you feel confident in! If loose and relaxed makes you feel comfortable and confident — wear that! If tight pants and a crop top makes you feel like a total warrior, wear that! 

If you have zero clue what you need to bring, you can always call the gym beforehand, or ask a class instructor before you go. It’s better to call and ask than worry yourself sick you’ve brought the wrong things or worn the wrong outfit! 

And if you are really worried about not knowing where to start… ask for help! No one will judge you, I promise. In fact, you’ll be appreciated for actually asking! And I guarantee, it’ll move you forward so much in your training. You’ll feel confident in what you should be doing, rather than fumbling around in the dark for a while.

At the end of the day, there will always be questions, concerns and excuses. Exercise is a tricky topic… it takes energy, dedication and prioritisation, and with everything else going on in our lives, it can easily fall to the wayside. 

But it’s so important we realise that it is incredibly important to our everyday lives. To our health, mindset, energy levels, ability to sleep, sex drive… you name it, exercise is bound to improve it. 

Take a leap of faith, and I guarantee you’ll look back and wonder why it took you so long.

And remember, there’s always something you can do. If you don’t want to leave the house, do a yoga session at home. If you don’t want men around, look for an all-female gym. If you don’t know what to do, ask for help! If you’re nervous about going by yourself, ask a friend to go with you. 

You’ve got this beautiful, I believe in you! 

Courtenay McCulloch


Founder of Thrive Collective, activewear-wearing, brunch-loving, dog-obsessed girl on a mission to help all women realise their real potential and start living a life where they thrive in every moment.