When I look back on my own health and fitness journey, there has always been a mentor, someone who has been willing to give of their time and knowledge to help me on my journey, and this has been such an important factor in my own success.
The first gym I joined was a hardcore little hot box in Yeoville Johannesburg, with nothing but free weights, giant men with tattoos and the smell of sweat. I was a skinny teenager who lacked self-confidence. A few of the more experienced weight lifters and body builders there – the kind of guys you didn’t want to make eye contact with for fear of having the crap knocked out of you, took me under their wing, showed me the ropes, encouraged me and built my confidence. It was as if they believed in me, for some unknown reason, when I didn’t even believe in myself!
At different points in my journey, I have always encountered these sometimes unlikely heroes, and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude, because without them, I don’t think I would have followed the immensely rewarding path that I am on today. Why would you give of your time and energy to mentor someone? The only reason I can think of is that at some point in every one of my mentors’ lives, they were the skinny kid, or overweight kid, or kid who was going through a tough time, somebody helped them, and they wanted to pay it forward, as I do now.
The moral of the story? I think there are a few lessons to be learnt:
  1. The fitness industry is full of angels that come in different shapes and sizes willing to help others for no reward other than to pay it forward – to see you succeed as a fellow member of a larger fitness family. Don’t judge people or stereotype them as “dumb jocks”, “all brawn and no brain,” “arrogant posers “and the like. Everyone has their own story to tell, and more often than not you will find those stereotypes are very wrong!
  2. Pay it forward! If somebody has helped you, help someone else, not for any reward or even a thank you, but for the joy of seeing somebody who may have been in the same boat as you, turn their life around.
  3. If you want help, ask for it, and then keep showing up! If you stop asking, and you stop showing up, it is assumed you don’t want or need help and people will stop helping. Enthusiasm and a willingness to learn brings out the best in people.
GFIT offers mentorship to all our clients – either onsite, one on one, or via Skype, if you are not able to come to our Norwood gym. No one who trains with us is alone on their journey, whether online or onsite, we’re always there for you!