By Kim Simons
“The obesity epidemic could be solved in one year. Have you thought of that?” Jerzy paused and leaned back in his chair to let me digest. “In one year obesity could be removed from the planet.”
“Think about that,” he said, “most people are less than 50 lbs overweight. We know with a system like The Happy Body people can easily lose 50 lbs in one year….
It’s possible to solve this ‘epidemic,’ and very quickly. So why are we not?”
This was one of those moments for me, that Jerzy tends to induce, where the veil of illusion drops and Truth is standing behind it with its arms outstretched saying “So obvious, right!?”
10 years as a personal trainer taught me one thing about exercise and eating: Our industry’s approach is beyond broken. We simply have to look at the state of the planet and the weight of its population to know the system we’ve built isn’t working.
THE PERCENTAGE OF OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE CITIZENS IN THE UNITED STATES COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD, ACCORDING TO A NEW LANCET STUDY. CREDIT: LESLEY MARKER
What we call the “fitness industry” may better be viewed as a subtle system of repression that sets people up to fail and profits in them doing so.
How to build a subtle system of repression:
- Give people near impossible standards (fitness models & Hollywood bodies)
- Tell them it’s easy (20-second abs, 3 simple hacks, Rocky’s quick round of training)
- Give them a lousy strategy (Just do it!)
- Shame them for failing (Come on! It’s easy, right? You saw the magazine!)
- Sell them “the” something that was missing so they will surely succeed next time
- Repeat 4-5 until your industry reaches 100+ billion dollars
Despite all the staggering evidence of its ineffectiveness, this lucrative industry chugs along unchecked.
“So why are we not fixing it?” That question had been rattling in my head for years before I found The Happy Body Progam and gratefully made the transformation from personal trainer to Happy Body Mentor.
You see, a year ago, I was ready to pull the plug. Despite running a thriving play-based fitness business I was seriously contemplating giving up.
I sat down with my business coach and said, “Susan, the industry is so far off base. I can’t take it anymore. Nobody is really changing, everybody has so many aches and pains and injuries they can’t even enjoy their life. Now that I’m over 40 I can’t sustain the intensity I’m supposed to be dishing out to other people. This isn’t working. I have to create an entirely new way to do fitness… or I have to find a new career.”
I started working in the industry in my 20’s when I was pursuing a commercial pilot’s license and struggling with addiction and a very unhealthy lifestyle. Fitness helped me clean up my act. I obsessed about understanding the science behind results. And a few certifications later, I started personal training part-time while I was a new and underemployed pilot.
TAKING OFF FOR MY FIRST SOLO LONG CROSS COUNTRY. CAMPING GEAR, A FEW BAGS OF FOOD AND A LOT OF NERVES!
A few years later, my system crashed.
My health spiraled out of control and within a year I was 95 pounds, disabled in a hospital bed, and unable to work or fly. Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and charged with a new obsession: My interest moved beyond fitness to understanding health.
Fast forward 6 years. I had finally regained my health, amassed many certifications and a deep relationship with health. I had returned to the fitness industry full time. I began to see how our approach to fitness had nothing to do with health. In most cases the two were divergent.
Fitness seemed to just be a game, chasing the capitalist Dragon of More: disembodied people running around with no direction, looking to either be entertained or saved by a miracle quick fix.
From inside the industry, I could see:
- Very few people ever became an independent exerciser with the help of a personal trainer.
- Almost nobody got the results they were promised.
- Every trainer I knew got injured. Often.
- Most trainers I met were exhausted by their workouts, still trying to “look the part.”
ME, TIRED AND LOOKING THE PART.
I tried many modalities. I introduced more play and meditation into my training sessions, more community. I used sport and games to challenge people’s brains and coordination.
This softer play-based approach seemed better but it was not enough. People still struggled with pain and old injuries; they lacked flexibility and willpower. They didn’t lose weight because their approach to food never changed. I referred them to outside help, but chiropractors and physiotherapists did little good in the long run. Dietitians and nutritionists failed to help people change their eating habits.
I kept looking for answers in books about willpower, spirituality, success and brain science.
And then one day synchronicity dropped The Happy Body program into my lap. I inhaled the book in a few days—I was blown away.
The Happy Body was a whole new story! A whole new way of being! It stepped away from the story of MORE, the mantra of capitalism and the fitness industry, to the awakened new ground of Enough. I could hear the angels sing. It wasn’t long before I was on the phone with Jerzy and Aniela to find out how I could become one of their first certified Happy Body Mentors.
Working with Jerzy through the mentorship program helped me see that one big difference between coaching and training was a detailed, responsible, long-term plan that works. Without a long-term plan (something the quick fix fitness industry is lacking) we have nothing to coach too. With a plan, all the skills and insights I had gained on my journey became useful, valuable, and life-changing for people.
In my first 6 months as a Happy Body Program Mentor I helped more people shift into self-reliance, into being their own guide and coach, than I ever was able to in all my prior years as a trainer.
Now that my clients are on the Happy Body Program:
- They are steadily and sustainably losing weight. As promised.
- People are taking charge—they are confident, inspired and empowered.
- Back, knee and shoulder pain have all but evaporated.
- Husbands and wives are reconnecting to each other and to their health.
- People who carried the burden of never thinking they could change are rewriting their stories.
Personally, I’ve never felt more embodied. I’m stronger in the ways that matter most to me. I feel like a decade-long search ended in answers more beautiful, more awakened and with more poetry (literally) than I ever could have imagined.
I love my job now more than ever and I hope someday soon every personal trainer has the insight to become a Happy Body Mentor. Our industry and our entire planet need a new story.