I was at a party recently and everyone was having fun, drinking champers, eating little things on crackers, dancing to old Eighties music, getting about as wild as people too old to remember their age can do. One of the guests, an old rock and roll drummer, came up to chat as I took a breather from doing the Bus Stop.
"Yeah," I said, swallowing another little green thing on a biscuit and washing it down with a mouthful of bubbles. He dragged on his cigarette. "I'm a drummer in a rock band!" he yelled over I Will Survive. "I know!" I yelled back. "I love your band!" "What do you do?" he asked. "I'm a personal trainer!" I hollered back.
And then there was silence. It was like Gloria Gaynor had stopped singing mid-sentence. The guests were frozen in time, mid hip-thrust. My drummer friend let the cigger fall from his lips, the canape toppled to the floor.
Then he went to find someone else to talk to. That's how it felt to me, at least. Being a personal trainer at a party can sometimes feel like being a vegan at an outback beef 'n'barbecue spit roast. I can be anywhere outside of a gym environment and when I mention what I do for a living I can guarantee one of two responses. Either the person looks guilty, caught red-handed with a party platter of fat, sugar and alcohol before running off like he's about to be mugged, or he or she feels compelled to defend their physical condition or explain why they've put on a bit of weight. It's often really awkward.
Listen. None of us is always in peak condition, not even personal trainers and fitness leaders, certainly not athletes. Look at the struggle elite sports people face when they are no longer competing. Their battles are the same as ours, just bigger.
Don't stop having fun at parties, enjoying a drink or indulging in the occasional glorious banquet. The important thing to remember is not to do it all the time and not to waste your health on the rubbish that passes for food on the ordinary days. We do far more damage eating chemicals in packets on a daily basis than we do letting ourselves go every now and then.
Personal trainers are not monks and nuns in Nikes. Most of us struggle for balance too, but if I can help you feel happy in your own skin, be a happier wife or husband, mum or dad, then I've done my job.
And next time you meet a personal trainer at a party, don't run a mile. Ask her to dance and then book your training session. Happy days! heartsandbones.com.au