As a Personal Trainer, our successes are hinged on wide ranging criteria, some self-proclaimed, other times declared so by the media. Sometimes that success is based on the names and the profiles of the people that we work with, or hopefully more frequently and quietly announced in the form of the subtle changes in their bodies or minds. The latter feels best.

Late one evening earlier in the week, I received an email from a client that kept me smiling through the first pass, and laughing at passages on the second. I immediately responded to her message, pleading with her to permit me to publish it in its entirety. That did not take much convincing, but did take her a few days to agree. Here it is, unchanged:

The planets and stars might have been aligned for the month, or maybe a planet or two was in retrograde. Whatever, something unusual was recently afoot.

First incident: a car stopped to let me cross as I stepped off the curb. Midway into the street I heard, and yes ladies and gentlemen there is such a thing, a respectful wolf whistle. Low and discreet, but a distinct whistle nonetheless. I smiled for about 30 minutes.

Next, several days later on an overcast day, as walking briskly to the subway and roughly fifty paces past Holt Renfrew, I noticed a nattily dressed middle 40-ish man coming from the opposite direction. Fall was in the air and clearly on his mind. He was wearing a golden brown tweed jacket, complementary colored pants, coordinating shirt and tie, with a fashionable brimmed hat topping off the look. He slowed just a beat as approaching, his eyes met mine, he nodded his head, and then with a certain elegance, respectfully tipped his hat. How could I resist an appreciative smile. To me the message was “I gave considerable thought today about presenting myself to the world, and in my opinion so did you”. What could be better than that?! I smiled for more than 30 minutes.

Thirdly, days later, came the most recent and controversial incident. Once again, I was walking purposefully along Bloor, when an ordinary man coming from the opposite direction suddenly veered into my path, looked me square in the eye, and clearly said “What you need is a spanking!”. Neither of us broke pace and it was several steps later before I could process it. First thought – he disapproved heartily of how I was dressed! Second thought – the man was a pervert who obviously spends his days on porn websites.

Then I realized the interesting part – I was dressed precisely the same in incidents 2 and 3!

Perhaps an additionally interesting part is that this attention was garnered by a woman now in her 70ʼs. Which leads to the pondering of perception – perception of self and perception by others. How does one resolve the disparity if disparity exists? What goes into presentation of self that elicits a certain response from others?

Questions that go far beyond the physical, but are inextricably bound to the physical. Presentation, however it manifests, has to come from oneʼs inner perception of self. If that inner perception is inconsistent or shaky, what can be done to strengthen it? We spoke of that the other day; how it can often be useful to externally receive the positive, and then use it as an internal building block to help move toward a more solid, positive self image. Of course, actual application is ultimately the responsibility of the individual

How does building a stronger self image connect with physical and mental fitness? Answer: commitment to that application. Degree of fitness achieved will equal degree of commitment put forth – nothing new for you there. This is something I especially like about Foundation Training. Just making the commitment to mindfully begin with the basic Founder results pretty quickly in noticeable physical improvement. Physical improvement will result in strength improvement – strength to gradually reconfigure oneʼs inner perception of self. It has to.

Obviously I havenʼt “arrived” yet, but I am encouraged by the path. One of my goals along the path would be to accept things like any future Adventures on Bloor with a solid sense of self perception, enjoy the positive experiences for no more and no less than they are, and just keep moving forward.

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