Life is just one big rollercoaster ride filled with climbs, drops, twists, turns, and moments of fear when you are hanging upside down and don’t know where the next turn is going to take you.  Sometimes it is an awesome rollercoaster where you can see everything that is ahead, and sometimes you are hanging out on the Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ RollerCoaster in Disney World, a pitch black indoor coaster where you go from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds, never knowing what is ahead.  Sometimes these roller coasters can be awesome experiences, other times they can leave you a little nauseous and just wanting the comfort of a warm bed.

No matter how great we are at masking them or imagining they’re not there, rollercoasters are part of life.  Many times we are told that it is how we take these challenges, embrace them, and push through to the next door that defines who we are.  In most cases, I truly believe this.

However, what if there are times when pushing through is actually making us weaker and not stronger?  Times when taking off or letting someone see your vulnerabilities would actually make you better?

A quick glimpse into my story

I say this because I am a master at masking pain, illness, or injuries.  I go to work sick, injured, and do my best to believe that I can work at my best no matter what.  Over time, though, I realize that this is not always the case.  My rollercoaster of a life has thrown lots of thrills at me over the past few years, culminating last year with me spending ten days in two different Urgent Care Centers, 24 hours in the ER/hospital, and scheduling two very different surgeries.

The shortened version of events is that I had to have a chondroplasty of the patella AND had a pool of blood and “gunk” (the technical term) hanging out in the middle of my sphenoid sinus, caused by a rare fungal infection that took up residency in the cool, damp places of my head.

The result – a gimp walking around on crutches awaiting knee surgery while spitting up blood and having complex migraines (which affected my vision, speech, and motor skills) until my head could be drained.  Yup, I would call that one crazy ride for sure!

But what caused it??

The million dollar question?  Was my knee really just an acute injury, or was it the culmination of my overtraining and the years of wear and tear on my body.  Sure I was teaching BODYATTACK® when I landed wrong and the knee popped…but there had to be something going on in my landing mechanics to ultimately cause that injury to take place.  At least that is what I believe…

The fungal infection, on the other hand, we know 100% was caused by years of untreated sinus infections…caused by taking too many antibiotics to treat something that was not a bacterial infection and too many times of trying to be tough and strong and teach classes when my head was about to explode.

No one, including a laundry list of doctors, really listened to my complaints over the years (check out my story on overtraining from last year, when that was the answer given).  Without a real definite reason as to why I just kept pushing on.

fitness professionalPushing through…the life of a fitness professional 

But isn’t pushing through the life of a fitness professional?  Isn’t that what we tell ourselves to do when we are tired, our body is run down, and we really don’t want to teach another class or train another client – “just push through, you can do it”?

Sometimes, though, we do this at the risk of our health and happiness, ultimately making us a martyr to this profession we love so much.

Be honest with yourself.  Have you gone from awesome fitness professional who respects your own body as well as the bodies of your participants/clients to one who is a martyr?  If you can answer YES to any of these questions and know you do it on a regular basis, then check in and see if you may be causing your rollercoaster to be filled with extra twists that could land you in the doctor’s office.

  • Have you ever taught more than 3 classes in a day?
  • Have you ever taught more than 20 classes in a week?
  • Have you ever taught a class with a head cold?
  • Have you ever taught a class with no voice?
  • Have you ever taught a class injured?
  • Have you ever taught a class injured and not let the participants know you were in pain through the entire class?
  • Have you ever taught a class when a doctor told you to stay home and rest?
  • Have you ever gone to work when you know you should just stay home and rest your body?
  • Have you worked out when your body hurt, your lungs burn, and your performance is pathetic?

“But it’s my job” 

If you find yourself answering YES to any (or all) of those points then you’re not alone.  It is common, as fitness professionals, to get so much joy and pleasure out of helping others in their fitness endeavors that we forget about our own health.

It becomes even more challenging when we look at full-time fitness professionals – those of us who don’t just do this on the side, but actually make our full career out of teaching and training clients.  Then it becomes challenging to pull back.  We feel like pulling back could cost us our jobs.  We get fearful that people won’t want to work with us, or that we will be replaced.

Well let me burst your little bubble:

  1. You are replaceable, BUT if your participants/clients really like what you do for them they will stick by you no matter what.
  2. If you do happen to loose a client or class, it’s not the end of the world. There are more where those came from.
  3. Sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise to pull back and change things up. Maybe you will discover something you haven’t been doing or find a new group of people to work with.

Yes, it can be super scary to say “I’ve got a problem…I need to cut back”, but I promise you, saying that will be MUCH easier than trying to explain to people how you managed to show up in the ER twice within 10 days, AND have 2 surgeries within 30-days of each other for two totally different issues.

I encourage you to take a good hard look at what you are doing as a fitness professional and consider if you are taking as good of care of your own body as you are your clients.

Have you experienced some of the same rollercoaster rides I have?  Have you had difficulties figuring out if you were a martyr to your job?  If so, I want to connect with you.  I LOVE chatting with other fit pros who have been in the same place as me…it makes me feel less alone!

Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram (@SummerSidesFitness), or shoot me an email anytime (

Happy Teaching!


Summer Sides

Summer Sides

Founder at GXunited
For over 15-years Summer has been inspiring people to reach their health and fitness goals through personalized training programs, group fitness classes, and fitness education. As a Fitness Educator, Summer is blessed to currently deliver and develop nationally recognized certification and continuing education courses for the National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA). Previously she has served as an Instructor Assessor for Les Mills BODYPUMP, CXWORX, and the GRIT SERIES, as the Certification Manager for IGNITE 360, and worked as a Regional Master Trainer for Train Dirty Fitness.

Summer created GXunited as the ultimate resource for GX instructors after she realized there was not one single place to go to get information about certifications, conferences, choreography ideas, or blogs specifically for GX instructors. She is excited to spread her love of GX with more people through this venture! Check it out at and follow us on social media @GXunited.

Summer holds both an MS and BS in Kinesiology from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, as well as a BA in Dance Studies. She has achieved many of the top industry certifications, including NSCA CSCS, ACSM EP-C, ACE & AFAA GFI-C, and holds many specialty certifications, including Balanced Body Pilates Reformer, YogaFit, Schwinn Indoor Cycling, and 7 Les Mills programs.

Currently, she is traveling the nation on a nomadic adventure with her hubby and 3 puppies, while discovering new and exciting exercise ventures. Join their journey on Instagram @ournomadicadventures.
Summer Sides


News collects all the stories you want to read