How I Became A Successful Trainer (Without My Body Being My Business Card!)

Ahhhhh the self-love, self acceptance, self-worth vibe is so on trend these days that I’m almost cringing to write about this. But it’s a pretty important thing to talk about, so here we go.

First up, selfies and projecting your beauty (whether you see it or not) is not the only way to build your business and notoriety as a confident fitness leader.

On socials, I don’t like putting myself ‘out there’ in a way that invites comments on my appearance, modelling style shots or whatever. Sure, sometimes I do the professional style photos and it’s always nice when people are kind in their comments.

I’m not really sure how to explain the difference between taking photos of you that make people gush, and taking photos of you that don’t but there is a difference. Let me know if you know what it is, I haven’t put my finger on it yet.

I’ve done the modelling stuff before in my career and it served a chapter of my life well. But these days, going through the threads saying thanks, thanks, oh gosh thanks, xo to you as well is a nice boost – but by no means something that validates me or is necessary to maintain my body positive vibe.

Heres Why

Bottom line: I like to be known for how I help others feel healthier and more peaceful in their relationship with food and exercise.

I’ve got a ton of knowledge, but hey, so has the internet. That isn’t my unique selling point.

What I believe is my special skill is being intuitive and mindful of what my clients need in their training environment – beyond the workouts. Then being dedicated to putting these needs into action. Clients usually don’t know that they ‘need’ something until you give it to them, and they’re like oooooohhhh

Every monkey can run a client through a workout. It takes a genuinely dedicated personal trainer to take it to the next level.

This my friends, is the next level.

Creating A Body Positive Workspace

With all the hype about body positive, it’s logical to set your intentions to have happy training sessions with your clients. There’s lots of stories on the internet about CLIENTS feeling body shamed by their trainers. Yet what about the clients that shame themselves?

How does this affect us as personal trainers in the long term?

And is this really the most positive work environment that we could have?

Read: Yes, Trainers Should Look Like Fitness Leaders

Why My Body Isn’t My Business Card

Personal Trainers are in the business of PERSONAL service to our customers. This means perfecting the skill of being able to get personal with your clients in a professional way.

When working as a celebrity trainer in Vancouver, I had shredded abs and worked in my sports bra. That chapter was the most insecure of all my career and at 125lbs, I still doubted myself.

I had in my mind that if my clients were the same weight at me, pinching places on their body in disgust while breaking down into tears that they weren’t 120lbs – maybe I’m missing something too? I never felt like I looked the part.

With each chapter of our lives and careers comes a little more wisdom, peace and understanding. We get burnt and find ways to avoid getting burnt again. There are lessons learnt from messing up (or finding ourselves in situations that we don’t want to be in). Use these lessons to create new policies for future customers, and a body positive work space for yourself.

You Can’t Help Others Feel Good, If You Feel Bad

In a recent post, I talked about one of my most asked questions:

“Where Did You Get Your Body Confidence From?”

Personal trainers often forget in their hustle to keep clients happy, that their happiness matters just as much (if not more). 

Your personal training client is a good person. They WANT you to be happy at work –  trust me.

Click here for a post that you can share with your clients to set (both you and them) up for body positive sessions.  

Read: Is Training With Mirrors Killing Your Workout?

Cat Smiley

Cat Smiley has been named Canada’s top trainer 3 times by the International Sports Science Association. She is a certified Master Trainer of Fitness Sciences (ISSA), Life Coach, Nutritionist, Executive Business Coach and the owner of Whistler Fitness Vacations. Prior to that, she spent 10 years building her personal training and boot camp company - while also working as a professional athlete and nationally syndicated health columnist. She inevitably hit burnout and learnt a ton of lessons along the way. is a mash-up of all the things she did to keep her passion for fitness training alive, almost 20 years later. - Find my site helpful? Please mention Whistler Fitness Vacations to your personal training clients if they ask you about fitness retreats! It really helps (and I really appreciate it!)