The popular thing these days is to boast and brag about “keeping it 100!” But today I want to talk about how I keep it 75, and how dropping 25 off the realness scale can be a good thing. In fact, whoever keeps it 100, 100% of the time, has no friends, spouse, or job. I’m just saying. There are many faces of the fitness trainer…

alter ego_tanishaI named her T. T is my fitness instructor alter ego. I’d find her waiting for me at the doors of the gyms where I taught. I’d put on her personality like a well-worn Live Strong t-shirt and walk right into the class with none the wiser. She was a welcome diversion, permission to leave behind troubles of any caliber and immerse and wallow in the world of fitness. Many of us know and appreciate that a good workout elevates mood, and for a lot of people it can be the only “me time” available in a hectic day. For an instructor, it cannot be “me time” because others are looking to the instructor to provide that for them.

That’s T’s job. Like anyone else, an instructor can have an off day. We are human. Humans with a job to do, however. Retreating into ourselves to enjoy a good workout is not an option. Having that auto-personality fully developed and waiting has saved me a few times, and a strange thing happened after I walked in wearing T’s smile, glow, and having her attentiveness to a full classroom’s workout. T would start to gain points on the realness scale. From 75, or honestly sometimes 60, she’s suddenly edging up toward 90. That’s the magic. What started out as a clutch performance became my reality.

T stayed the same whether it was a Spinning class or a boot camp class, whether it was my regular class or if I was subbing, whether it was 8am New Year’s Day (and it was once), or a regular Monday 5:45am class. T has a lot of me in her. She’s who I usually am when I’m wonderfully on-point.

I think that sharing our gift for motivation can be fulfilling. I know it makes me proud and happy to be of service to others. Clients come to see us because we make them proud and happy to be working toward a goal and achieving results. It’s a reason for me to feel thankful, and, if I can’t quite grasp that at the door, T has my back until I remember.

alter egoHere’s what I’m driving at: cut yourself some emotional slack. It’s okay to retreat into Fitness Dude or whatever you want to call your alter ego. He or she will only be there for a short while until the magic of the workout comes for you. But if your alter ego has to stay for the entire duration, that’s alright, too.

Who’s your alter ego? Does your alter have a name? Do you find yourself bouncing back and around from one face to another depending on your client?


Tanisha Rule

Tanisha Rule has a BA in English and is a former Mad Dogg-certified Spinning instructor. She taught indoor cycle and boot camp and has now combined her passions as a full-time writer for the health and fitness industries, check out her site at If she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found happily training for an endurance event, likely after having said, “This is my last one for a while,” because there is no finish line; there is only progress.