The five things I’ve learnt about myself while training women
WF’s resident personal trainer, Libby Babet, has been training women for the better part of a decade. While she’s definitely taught a large number of women a thing or two about fitness, holistic health and has imparted a lot of positivity, the women she trains (and trains with) have taught her some valuable life lessons. She spoke to us about the things she has learnt from working beside tough, motivated women and the way her mindset has been changed by a whole lot of girl power.
1. The parts of my body I don’t love are beautiful to almost everyone else
So often I hear women say, “I don’t like my butt”, or “I just want my thighs to shrink”, or “I hate my boobs!” and most of the time, I am so shocked as I think every bit of them is just gorgeous! We tend to look at our own bodies and pick them apart, because they’re so familiar to us and we look at them every day, so it’s easy to become hyper-critical, but it’s important to remember that to someone else our bodies are foreign and so so beautiful! I’ve definitely learnt to love my curvy bits a lot more thanks to training so many other women, of all shapes and sizes and looks. It really is true, we are all beautiful in our own unique ways.
2. Always remember what you mean to people, and act accordingly
People are very vulnerable when they walk into a training session, particularly women who go through so much fluctuation in terms of hormones, life stage, body shape and emotional state. I learnt very early on that I could no longer say whatever I felt like saying, or bring my own personal feelings along with me to a session. Everything I said or expressed had a bigger impact on the person in my care than it would in normal life. That responsibility made me think about every action, statement, or passing comment I made. It helped me grow up, pay attention to my actions and recognise what it is I stand for. I stand for women, from all walks of life. I’m proud that I’m now a safe haven for every girl or woman that walks into a session with me, or finds a place on my team.
3. Sometimes less is more
I’ve always been a million-miles-a-minute kinda gal, but this past year I’ve been working a lot on getting my fertility back – my periods stopped years ago after a virus that caused severe hypertension (high blood pressure) in my mid-20s. Through training other women, I realised there are a lot of us who are or have been in the same boat, and those who’ve healed themselves have often done so by reducing stress across many parts of their lives. Less intense workouts, a few hundred extra calories each day, less stress and less coffee, more sleep, lots of long walks in the sunshine and perhaps, a little more time spent cuddled up to the man you love! Funnily enough, it was doing all of the above that finally saw the return of my monthly cycle after many years without it. So balance, it seems, is sometimes about doing less and loving more.
4. Confidence and humour are so much sexier than… anything at all!
When I have the pleasure of training a woman who’s truly confident in herself, despite her body shape or position in life, it’s so darn attractive! Women that roll with the punches, laugh often and are open about it when they’re feeling down but always looking for solutions, rather than wallowing in negative feelings? Boy is that ever so sexy! Meeting these kind of women and hearing about the way they manage their businesses or jobs and balance work with their personal lives is inspiring. They’re never worrying about the things that trip them up too much instead they choose to roll with the punches and aren’t afraid to fail… that is the best thing ever! I’ve realised, it’s within my power to be that person too.
5. Growth comes most often at the point of maximum resistance
Over the years, I’ve seen it so many times, just when someone is totally fed up with something and ready to throw in the towel, that’s exactly the moment of truth. That split second is the hinge that can swing a door open and completely change a person’s life. I’ve seen it in training, I’ve heard about it in the countless stories women tell me throughout the months or years I coach them and in the end, I’ve been able to apply this principle to adopt a growth mentality in my own life. In business, training, health and personal relationships, I focus on effort, learning and progression, not results. This is part of the reason my brand will never post ‘before and after’ photos. It’s so shallow and suggests there’s an end to the journey, or a sense of failure if you don’t maintain that ‘after’ look – there’s nothing wrong with a little ebb and flow, it’s all in your attitude and ability to get back on the wagon! Disappointment and working through tough patches is part of the path to greatness and this has been an incredible lesson to learn.