Canvas’ in Converse…


I fashion myself as an artist more than a fitness trainer, though as it applies to my work I am both. I choose to express through the tools and knowledge of my profession, and rely exclusively on those willing to allow this process to occur.

No different than a musician, a sculptor, or painter, I try to create within my work, and seek improvement in my art with each successive effort. Unlike the painter however, the canvas on which I compose is that of human flesh, and of the spirit contained within — no easy task. A painter’s canvas will sit still to receive each stroke of the brush — the canvas has no choice. The painter may produce something beautiful which will be valued by one or by many. He may just as easily create a work of abstract schlock, or another Elvis on black velvet. In either case, the canvas has no say in the result, it just receives the paint as prescribed by the artist.

 

Canvas's John and Connie climbed the hill behind them -- with no hands!!! Canvas’s John and Connie climbed the hill behind them — with no hands!!!

Clay will exist to be formed. It will bend, give, be spun, be carved, and be molded into it’s limitless potential. But if the end product looks more like a clap of mud fallen from the back of a tractor’s tire, don’t blame the clay, it was the artist who failed.

 

Canvas Mike Z lost over 100 pounds last year... Canvas Mike Z lost over 100 pounds last year…

My art has two accountable parties, the trainer, and the athlete. A good fitness trainer is educator, communicator, and cheerleader. But a great fitness trainer must also be an artist; to have a vision for the malleable flesh and spirit he seeks to change. Fitness trainer, by the way, is the appropriate term. Would you use the terms personal dentist, personal lawyer, or personal carpenter? I don’t like the term client either, as it applies to fitness training. Trainee is simple and more appropriate, but I prefer to think of my trainees as people who entrust me with their fitness goals.

Those people, the ones who entrust me with their fitness goals, are also my canvas. Though they have not always received my brush strokes the way that a good canvas might. There have been times through the years when a canvas or two has tried to dodge each and every stroke of my brush. I’ve had a canvas or two lie to me and tell me they were eating well and doing all the peripheral things which need be done to succeed when, like Gepetto, I knew the truth lay elsewhere by the size of their nose. I even had one canvas push me in the chest once when I got in her face, though she is still a canvas, and a good one at that.

 

Nobody, NOBODY works harder in my studio than Canvas Laura and Canvas Linda... Nobody, NOBODY works harder in my studio than Canvas Laura and Canvas Linda…

Today though I was thinking about the twenty eight people who regularly, or semi-regularly entrust me with their fitness goals here in Fallbrook. As I considered all their faces for a few moments, I realized how lucky I am here. Of those twenty eight persons, (some have been with me for a half-dozen years now) they all make a great canvas. Oh, some may bitch, and some may moan, and every so often one might try to dodge a brush stroke or two, but everyone of those twenty eight people who entrust me with their fitness goals will walk through my gym doors each day and will do anything I ask — without conflict, without lies, and most important, with absolute trust in me. There are even a few who, if I gave them a book of matches and a can of gasoline, would set themselves on fire if it were part of the workout, though I rarely ask this anymore.

 Canvas Louise completely remade herself... Canvas Louise completely remade herself…

Considering this trust, relative to my profession, tonight I feel fortunate, blessed and want to thank all of those canvases who have allowed me to forge them into better, firmer, shapelier, more flexible, and healthier bodies. When I think of how I earn my living, I am truly the luckiest man alive….. and a fair artist, I hope.  Be well.

2 responses

  1. Roy!

    Your work makes me think of the martial arts and “eastern” philosophical thinking, or not thinking actually.

    As my martial arts experience grew as both the teacher and continual student, I saw a difference between “western and eastern” way of thinking. “Western” students are defined by the koan where a student asks the master how long will it take, and the teacher answers 10 years. To which the student replies, but how long if I work really hard? 20 years is the master’s reply!

    The “eastern” students, as you have groomed yours so well, know how to let the master teach them, and thereby reach a fuller potential.

  2. Lovely.

    I know they all thank you immensely as well.

    I always liked the title: Personal Trainer, just because it’s personal when one gets down to it, even if some clients will never understand the true depth of training ever being personal. I presume the ones who trust in their trainer and are receptive with their bodies/mind/spirit is where the total magic happens. An energy flow/bond between two.

    Sweet sweet entry. 😀

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