It's important to share our experiences, even if they're sometimes painful or even embarrassing, with others who need to hear them.
We all go through difficult things. Embarrassing even. We don't know what other people would say if they found out about our struggles and realized that not everything in our lives is as perfect as we let it show.
Am I going to be seen as fraud of we talk about our struggles openly?
Will they make fun of me? Am I going to make a fool out of myself?
Will I regret it later?
These questions and feelings are all normal and totally valid when you're going through something hard. At first, I had the exact same thoughts in my mind when I was trying to decide whether or not I should share that I have hypothalamic amenorrhea.
Eventually I did — here's the first post where I talked about it over a year ago.
“Coming Out of The Closet”
You may have seen other fitness people “come out of the closet” as well with very similar stories.
A marathon runner Tina Muir has shared her story from running a ton to losing her period to getting it back and having a baby. Tens and thousands of women were inspired.
Just recently, a fitness cover model Rita Catolino shared on Facebook that she didn't get her period for 9 years. Yet, she never talked about it until very recently, when she had finally overcame it. Also she is pregnant now.
I'm glad to see that there are people with large audiences talking about these issues, because they can spread their important message.
But YOU can do the same. In fact, we all have the responsibility to share our experiences, even if we don't have audiences of tens thousands of people. Helping even just one person makes a difference.
Here's Why Sharing Your Experience Matters:
You Can Help Someone Personally
Let's say that you have a friend who is looking up to you for your healthy habits, for your dedication to train hard and eat super clean. And she wants to be just like you. Never forget that there are always people who pay attention to what you do, even if you aren't an Instagram celebrity!
However, if you actually aren't as healthy as your friend who admires you, thinks you are, there's a problem…
Maybe maintaining your current bodyweight means intense dieting and working out hours a day.
Maybe you don't get your period.
Maybe your mind is occupied with food thoughts non stop.
Maybe taking a rest day causes a lot of anxiety and makes you feel guilty.
But those who admire you, have no idea that you are struggling. They want to be like you, because what you do seems so awesome.
If we're actually sick inside, we have to start putting our health first and we need to share our struggles. Doing so sends a healthy message to those who are having hard time and who think that they're alone, or even that there's something wrong with them if they don't meet the high standards our society has put on women.
You Can Help Educate Other (Male) Trainers
I recently heard about a male trainer who made her female clients train ridiculously hard. Their workouts were super intense, and No Excuses was his mantra, no exceptions. Those women were never allowed to say that they're tired, they had to keep pushing no matter what… to the point where all of them were completely burned out and had to stop training.
Guys, it doesn't work. You don't train women like this.
However, I'm pretty sure this wasn't his goal. As a coach, he just wanted to make these women super strong. But the problem is that he had no idea how to train women. He treated them like machines that are never supposed to stop.
When I started sharing my hypothalamic amenorrhea story on the blog and on Instagram, several men, including couple of male trainers, asked me about it.
What is this thing you're talking about?
What do you mean you train so much that you lose your period?
But why is that a problem?
Do you actually need a period?
We have to forgive them the last one though, considering that even too many health care professionals can tell you that periods are not necessary. That's BS, you HAVE to have your period. Your doctor may even prescribe you the Pill if you so desperately want your period. But know that Pill periods are not real periods, and the Pill never regulates your hormones.
I get it that it may be hard to share what you're going through, especially with men. But think how many trainers can learn about it. Actually, not only men but also women — there are plenty of female trainers who don't know something like this could happen.
We Can Together Help to Change the Fitness Culture
We also need to share our experience so that the fitness culture overall can change. Otherwise, the No Excuses and No Pain, No Gain mentalities aren't going to go anywhere.
If you're a fitness professional yourself, you might be spreading a totally wrong and misleading message if you tell your clients that they need to achieve a certain weight or body fat percentage no matter what. While we're friends with our clients, we're also authorities and professionals, and they take our word seriously.
As fitness professionals, we have to show that also trainers come in different shapes and sizes, by not forcing ourselves into these super lean bodies so we can “look the part”.
Not all trainers walk around shredded 365 days a week, and some of them are never super ripped and lean. That's because we're biologically different. We have naturally different bodies and our natural weight set points can vary greatly from one to another.
By realizing these things, and telling about them to others, we can start changing the fitness industry. It's not going to change overnight, but baby steps are still steps in the right direction. The goal of fitness should be making us healthier, not unhealthier. Other things, like weight loss and fat loss, and even physical strength, aren't as important as health. We have to speak up to get this message through.
Of course, in this post, I was mostly talking about hypothalamic amenorrhea, eating disorders and compulsive behaviors around fitness.
But we should share our knowledge in any other area as well. Think about it this way — by keeping your knowledge, you might be keeping someone from getting healthier or happier, or keeping them from finding a solution to any other problem that they might have.
Remember that there's always someone who you inspire. Do your best to share your knowledge and gift with those who need it.
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