Expat Adventures

Life as a CPT: My Body is Public Property

This weekend I experienced a rude awakening. While out at a party (and while a bit tipsy), I was handed a cigarette… and without thinking… I took a couple of puffs. What can I say? I’m in Europe – smokers are everywhere – and while I’m not one of them, I was feeling free and bold and a little European. That is, until gasps, shocked scoffs and a loud “Ahhh you can’t smoke you’re a trainer!!!!” cut through the haze blanketing the air around me. That’s right folks, I’d barely started in on puff number two and I was officially busted… by people I’m barely acquainted with!

Let’s start with what I know for sure:
  • Cigarettes are a universally bad idea. None of us should smoke them. That’s a fact.
  • FOMO is a real thing – and sometimes trying something new (even something as stupid as a few puffs of a ciggy), can feel liberating and be an enjoyable social experience.
    • Yes I know, moms of the world, if everyone was jumping off a bridge would I do it too? No? No. Which brings me to item the third thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt:
    • I am not flawless.

To me, the few puffs of my first cigarette since college seemed – relatively – harmless. But what I hadn’t realized is that I’m not just “Vivian” anymore – I’m a CPT. Where I once was simply a fitness enthusiast who occasionally indulged in a few of life’s tamer temptations (the very far and few between puff of a ciggy, social consumption of alcohol, milkshakes… you get the picture), I am now a CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER. Translation: I am now a role model. Which means that my body and my habits are no longer private. Quite the opposite, in fact. My practices are now open for public observation, scrutiny and discourse… whether I like it or not!

Like many life decisions, becoming a CPT has had consequences. Most of them have been great: I’ve gained so much knowledge about nutrition, the human body and kinesiology (that’s how the body moves, in fancy talk!), plus I always have an extra incentive to hit the gym and stay strong. However, as in any profession, there are a few downsides. Getting eyed up and down the minute you tell someone you’re a trainer, for example. Or constantly being asked for fitness and nutrition advice… even at inconvenient times, like over dessert –why, people, why?!- and now this whole role model thing… Who knew?!

Luckily, I like to think I’m up the to the challenge. Besides, if being a role model and steering clear of a disgusting, life-threatening potential habit like smoking is all I have to complain about, then hey, life is pretty good! 🙂



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