He's moving on to a new adventure, taking that big risky step towards a dream, and will be independently coaching clients from his friend's new studio. It's strange: even though I will follow him to M.A.T. Fitness, (Motivation Activation Transformation) and continue training with him at Infinity, it still feels a little bit like an ending. Today we worked out at the Y. On Monday it will be at the studio. Big change. Or, at the least, things will never be quite the same again.
Really, the changes that are happening around me are not happening TO me. The impact for me is minimal, compared to what Mat's other clients may feel, and what his Y friends and co-workers will experience. I am not losing a coach, or a friend. Training at the studio is going to be great in a lot of ways. Fewer people around means feeling less self conscious. Not competing with all the other members will mean having access to the equipment he plans for me to use, when he wants to use it. When I crack an inappropriate joke we can laugh our butts off without worrying who might be in earshot. I'm not giving up my YMCA membership, so I'll still go to classes, use the pool, and have the social connections that come with being part of a community. It's only the personal training location that is changing, and yet it's still pretty different from what we've been doing for the past two years.
We will all be readjusting in the next few weeks and months.
Change is not purely a good or bad thing, but any change can be hard. Unsettling. Mildly uncomfortable. I need the shake-up, and am ready for it. Mat has definitely been energized by it. Change is something we all need, every now and then. It's why vacations are important, to get away and have a change of scenery. It's why people move, or redecorate their homes. Whether it's a workout routine, the place you live, your job duties, or your workout - we all need some kind of shake-up in our lives at some point or we stagnate. I'm hoping that the new routine will be rejuvenating enough to kickstart my waning motivation. Still, all the change happening around me is making me a tad wistful and nostalgic. Because you can't move on to a new scene without stopping to look back and appreciate what you're saying goodbye to.
When I look back on the last two years at the Y, Mat is always in the picture. Despite having taken his class a few times, my first interaction with him was after having witnessed him break up a fight between two members, which happened right outside the spin studio window. I was impressed enough with how he handled that to tell him so. And then he ran Biggest Loser, and I got to see how he was with clients. He introduced me to strength training and the word "bad ass" entered my vocabulary. I think of all the people I met through both Biggest Loser challenges, through two summers of Outdoor Fitness Challenge, and as his assistant in Fitness Academy. I think about how much I have changed as a person, grown in ways beyond the physical strength and balance that I thought I was paying him for. I know that he touched and changed all of their lives, too. I see the members who never had him as a personal trainer but who connected with him as he wandered the floor of the conditioning centre and weight room, members who started to talk to me because I was his client and they watched what he made me do.
They have been changed, because they knew him.
There's a song from the musical Wicked, which makes me think of Mat every time I hear it. I have had many positive influences in my life, and this song could apply to several people, but it captures that unique relationship between coach and client so perfectly that I've tucked it away in my back pocket for that day when I finally quit personal training. The thing is, I don't know when that day will come. And now that I've worked with Mat for so long, it's impossible to conceive that "it may be that we will never meet again" even when it does. So, with this transition, it seemed like the right time to pull out the song and say thank you. On behalf of all the people whose lives he's touched, I think I can safely say "because I knew you, I have been changed for good."
I've heard it said