I went rock climbing in Reno for the first time since 2016 and it felt amazing to be back.
It made me wonder why I quit in the first place. And then I remembered…
I quit because I got fired from my job, I lost most of my community/clients, had a headache every single day, had problems with my vision, a yeast infection that lasted months, fell into a deep depression, felt extremely fatigued, and had my anxiety at an all-time high that I was almost certain Xanax was the only way out.
So I quit rock climbing.
2016 was a rough year and my physical and mental health was breaking down.
I had also just finished a 14-month long Massage Therapy School where I went to class from 6-10pm. Even though I never worked on my quality of my sleep, I had always been one to go to bed early and wake up with the sun. Through massage school I was sitting under florescent lights until 10pm and didn’t go to sleep until 12-1am.
(if you’re a little confused on why I’m telling you about my sleep schedule through massage school, keep reading, it’ll make sense at the end)
Looking back made me really realize how far I’ve made it since 2016. Day by day I still feel like an emotional wreck with anxiety to travel. But compared to the actual wreck I was back then, I’ve come a long way.
I hadn’t realized how much of my mental health had improved.
I don’t cry every day. The people I care about can go on trips without me feeling like I’m never going to see them again. I’m able to get in the car and take myself to the airport. I’m not having nightmares every night that are making it hard to go to sleep.
I’m also no longer a victim. The anxiety that I have I know is under my control. If I would just sit down and fucking meditate every day and organize my life, I know I would be a much calmer person.
That’s a world of difference than how I felt when I thought medication would be the only way I’d stop feeling the way I was feeling.
Looking back also makes me wonder if I would have handled everything I went through differently if I hadn’t attended massage school and my sleep hadn’t taken a huge hit.
Our bodies are meant to endure stress and be resilient to it, and mine was breaking the fuck down. Was my health going down hill because of my stressful situation or was I not able to handle a stressful situation because of the quality of my sleep?
The more depressed I got, the less time I spent outside. There were days that I’d sit on the couch all day with the curtains shut because my eyes were so sensitive to light. I wasn’t training due to being so fatigue, and every time I’d stand up from a sitting position the room would go black. All my energy was going to train my clients (which was the only thing keeping me sane).
With my health deteriorating, and wanting what was best for our clients, we signed up for a Functional Medicine Retreat in Costa Rica, hosted by Dr. Ben House. Before the retreat, we were required to take multiple tests and watch videos on topics like, sleep, blood sugar, autoimmunity, blood chemistry…etc
At one point he said something along the lines of “I don’t even want to see someone if they don’t have some of these things in order” Which were things like a regulated circadian rhythm, eating the right amount of veggies, and having their blood sugar under control.
Which meant if they didn’t have a few of these things in check, he wasn’t going to waste his and their time trying to run a bunch of test when their problem could possibly be fixed if they worked on things like regulating their sleep.
So I started eating more vegetables and respecting my sleep. I started blocking light at night, getting sun in the morning, and within two months my periods started being lighter, I was getting less cramps, and my breast were no longer swelling a week before my cycle.
My body got leaner without much training. I was able eat more carbs on my off days without it affecting the amount of body fat I carried, which was something I was never able to do before. In the past, I’d quickly notice if I overdid it on carbs on the days I didn’t train.
My mind was blown. Had I just created a hormonal change without expensive spit tests, 50 different supplements, and $300 functional med visits? Was my body actually not that fragile? Could it endure huge amounts of stress without negatively affecting my health?
That’s when I realized, giving your body good quality sleep is extremely downplayed.
I can’t help but wonder if some clients are a “regulated circadian rhythm” away from reaching results they can sustain for a lifetime. A lot of them say they’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, but they’re not willing to work on their sleep
So for the last year or so, Dave and I tried to figure out how we can get our clients to care about their circadian rhythm. How could we convince them that it might be more important to get sunlight in the morning and wear glasses at night, than trying to follow another whole30 at the beginning of the year.
We’ve failed miserably. No one believed us, and no one wants to work on their sleep.
Which is not their fault, it’s our society’s fault. Our society doesn’t respect sleep and it’s time for that to stop. Not getting good quality sleep could be the answer to someone’s health problems but it’s one of the hardest sales. Getting a client to appreciate sleep is actually much harder than getting them to buy into all the breathing.
After failing many times, we are finally making some progress and I’m here to share that with you today.
First it starts with educating yourself. You need to know the what, why, and how. You need to be able to answer questions from the skeptical clients. You need to be able to take on their hesitations and share information with them they can trust.
After you educate yourself, you need to start educating your clients.
We started out with a sleep seminar. Where I gifted free semi-private sessions if they attended. That was my way of forcing them to come. But you don’t have to do that.
Before the workshop I heard a lot of comments on how they weren’t willing to change much but they decided to attend anyways. After the seminar, multiple clients reached out and told me they were getting blue blocking glasses and changing the lighting around their house, so that was a pretty big win for us at Enhancing Life.
But that was only some of our clients. We were missing everyone else who didn’t attend. On top of that, people need to constantly hear the information because the more education they get, the easier it is to make changes.
That’s when we bought books and started a library.
A few clients checked out Why We Sleep and Sleep Smarter, but who has times to read books? Especially super busy parents and professionals.
A couple months later we had a chalk board painted on the wall where we would highlight client’s successes. Not just highlighting people’s personal records but also their lifestyle changes like getting better sleep, eating more veggies, and meditating. If clients saw other clients working on all the lifestyle components, they’d be more willing to give it a try.
This week we started something new and it’s only Wednesday and I think we’re onto something!
We started a weekly challenge that we would encourage all clients to do and once they completed it, they’d go on the board. This week’s challenge was to listen to Joe Rogan interviewing Mathew Walker, the author of Why We sleep.
By Tuesday we already had multiple clients come in talking about it. Everyone was so willing to do the challenge. By the end of this week, I have a feeling we will have more clients convinced they need to work on sleep which will be a HUGE WIN for Enhancing life.
Next week the challenge will also have to do with sleep, and the goal will be to get enough people interested that we can finally start making some changes as a community 🙂
So how do you educate your clients on sleep? I would LOVE to hear what you do at your gym.
Have you not dug into any sleep information as a personal trainer? If not, I’ll attach a few things below to help you get started because if your trying to help people be healthy, you can’t ignore someone’s sleep quality.
Until next time 🙂