By Colm O’Reilly
Owner, CrossFit Ireland; Certified Two-Brain Business Mentor; Founder, TheMentalHealthPlan.com
We’re in the health and fitness industry to help people. We don’t have to stop at reducing body fat and building muscle when we have the opportunity to impact their mental well-being directly as well.
A large percentage of clients are training with you to reduce stress and be healthier. They might work in cerebral white collar jobs and getting a good sweat in after work helps them mentally reset. It doesn’t take much to show them how the mindset they bring to their workouts can help them in their workday too.
Let me share the story of a client we worked with at my gym, where we try to integrate mental health as well as physical health in everything we do. [link to: ]
A few weeks into her training she became overwhelmed during a reasonably high intensity workout. We took a few minutes to first allow her to feel her emotions (it’s important that we help people normalise their feelings instead of trivialising them), then we spoke about strategies to reassure herself when they came up again.
A few months after that we had our next goal review. In our goal review we ask everyone to review their physical health, social health and emotional health. It was here she dropped the bomb on me that she’d gained the strength to leave a physically abusive relationship! I couldn’t have been more proud of her, and humbled that she’d credited the mental resilience through being amongst us to take that bold step!
People trust us with more than their bodies when they start working with us. Some of the greatest adaptation to physical training can happen between the ears. Why leave it to be just an incidental benefit of exercise when we have the opportunity to directly improve their self worth and self acceptance?