Personal Trainer vs. Coach

As a coach, self-awareness and self-improvement is a big part of my life. However, besides the well-being of the soul and mind the well-being, level of fitness of the body is equally as important to me.

My client, Daniel Kerekes is a personal trainer, who – from the opposite side – shares my opinion. You can read below my interesting conversation with him.


What way led you Dani to become a personal trainer?

Everything started with me coping with some extra weight. I started to train myself at home, on my own, which filled up my days. As I was thinking about changing work anyways, my girlfriend at that time asked me why don’t I do this as a work. Practically from a hobby it became a profession.


During this process what did you learn about yourself?

Mainly, that you are better off not wanting things to happen quickly. In the beginning it happened that I tried to do many things to which I had not been fit enough at that time. Parallel to this, I also had to let go of my ego in this process. This is what I try to give over to my clients as well. Everyone needs to realise that today, on this day, I am capable of this much. Maybe tomorrow or another day, I will be able to do a bit more. It is the health that needs to be in the focus and not the fact to do a lot and get injuries.

The biggest learning for me was that everything has to be done in its own time and everything will round up well, if we are persistent and enthusiastic.

I also had to admit, that I will not be able to make up instantly for the many years when I didn’t do any physical activity. This can be hard to understand by many people that if you didn’t do anything in the past 15 years, you cannot have a beach body in a month-time.

What do you consider the most important professional approach during doing your personal trainings?

As it is a personal training, I deal with one person at a time. My aim is to have the most correct exercises possible. Before every occasion I ask from everyone how their day was, so that I can adjust my training plan accordingly. It is also important to check if they have any physical pain, any issues, when they ate, etc. I try to focus on working in a preventive way, maintain health and improve life quality. I do not care about someone having a 36 cm arm or losing half a kilogram, because all these do not matter.

I consider it a lot more important for everyone to feel ok in their own body.

In what other ways do you help your clients besides these?

I try to support their souls as well. In many cases I see on my clients already when they arrive how their day have gone so far. In these cases, I always ask them what happened. It can also happen that we don’t even have a training, we just talk. I listen, hoping that it can help as well.

I believe that if we would like to do a quality work, we need to be there in the brain as well.

If our thoughts disturb us, we will not be able to focus on what we are actually doing. We only do it as a machine, which is not good. On my own workouts it also happens that I start to train and notice that my thoughts are everywhere but there. In these cases, I stop the workout, because it makes no sense. It would only be a suffer, not an enjoyment, I would not be able to leave the gym at the end of it saying “it was good, I did something for my own health”. I will only feel that it was a pure suffering.

What do you consider the biggest achievement regarding your clients?

While they are there in that one hour, I give them all the best of my knowledge as per the exercises, eating healthy and any other ways I can. As I work with adult people, everyone owns their own success. I cannot be with them in 24 hours a day. If they decide that they will not pay attention to what they eat or drink, if they don’t do the recommended home exercises, like the stretching ones, I will not be able to be on their shoulders as their conscience saying “hey buddy, you should do it!”. Everyone decides this on their own. Due to this, I have clients, who have been coming to my personal trainings for half a year and have improved a lot more, than those for 2 years, who are only committed for that 1 hour, nothing else. Because at home they are not willing to say no to the wine, the pizza, whatever else. I believe that in general I attract those clients in my work who think about life in a similar way as I do. Therefore, if someone does not do everything for the improvement, they will know that it depended on them.

I have a client, who came to me last July, I recently posted the story on Facebook. She was a very reserved, shy lady, with a considerate overweight. The gym atmosphere was absolutely out of her comfort zone, it was very difficult to encourage her to even speak. She came to me until September, then she moved back to Pécs, during this time we could improve a lot of her self-confidence. She has lost a lot of weight and could execute a lot of exercises that she couldn’t do before. This January she came back to trainings with me and we did a new evaluation. I was shocked to see how well she was advancing. She has lost a lot of weight, not in kilograms, but in centimetres. And we are doing more advanced exercises, compared to the beginning. I am very proud of her. Now she comes to the trainings being comfortable, she does not think that she is not capable of doing certain exercises. We could also improve her self-confidence a lot.

The physical activities and someone seeing the positive changes on themselves can increase also their self-confidence in a way, that can be used in the everyday life as well. Maybe they can stand up more for themselves, can be more confident, which is a huge development.

I also have senior-aged clients, who consider it a huge success that if they climb up the stairs to the second floor, they are not short of breath or they do not have to wait 5 minutes after coming up from the metro to catch a breath.

For everyone, the positive result is what they have not experienced in themselves before.

For this person, it was a great result and I am very proud of it. Not because this is the result of my work, but because this person herself considers this a success. I think that everyone can reach a result at their own level. After this, it only depends on their attitude and mindset if they can see it as a success. I tell everyone, that the fact, that after working hours they come here for a workout is already a big thing. This is already a positive act, which is part of very few people’s lives.

You have already mentioned that if someone is not there in their mind during a workout session, they cannot do the exercises the way they should. Besides this, what is your opinion about the balance of the body and soul?

As they say, healthy soul in a healthy body. I experienced myself, that as my body improved due to the workouts, I didn’t have that reserved body posture any more, there were situations where I could step up for myself better than before. I believe that these two are functioning together. There are people who are stronger in their soul and less strong in their boy. In these cases, the body needs to be trained more. Those, who are less strong in their soul but their body is strong and it is getting better and better because of the workouts, it pulls with itself the soul as well up to a certain level. This is exactly the reason why I give positive feedback to my clients. If someone outsider – who is not biased – gives a feedback, that can fill your soul a lot more, than getting the same from a loved one.

I believe that if the body and soul improve parallel to each other, even if not at the same pace, one can pull the other with itself.

Why do you find it important to improve your self-awareness continuously besides the improvement of your body?

It is important to know who you are, where you are positioned in the world and what is your mission. If you don’t know these, you just live your life without any aims. It is important to know what your strengths are. For example, that I have a good sense of humour, I have a good body shape, but it is also important to know our weaknesses – and most people are afraid of this. Everyone has weaknesses, which can be improved. If I know for example, that my temper is one of these things, I can work on this. I can count to ten and not get that angry, as a technique. I have a client who gets very upset if she cannot deliver an exercise perfectly. She sees herself as lame and clumsy. I do not agree with it. We have to practice everything, the self-awareness included. It can be done differently by everyone. Maybe from books, going to a professional person, talking to friends or even by sitting down by themselves and thinking about it and trying to find the clean thoughts this way.

This requires, of course, a big energy from you, it is difficult to face ourselves. Most of us like to be biased about ourselves and see our weaknesses as being less serious than they are.

You have mentioned some options for raising your self-awareness. Which are the ones that you have chosen for yourself?

After a difficult life situation, I started by wandering everywhere alone. To the banks of the Danube, to a restaurant and I also felt sorry for myself that I am the unluckiest person in the world. During this time, I was also watching the people around myself and I realised that there are ones being a lot unluckier than me. After this I started to read the different self-awareness and psychological books. It was obvious to start with Csernus (a Hungarian well-known psychologist), just like many other people in Hungary, who would like to change themselves. Then I read more books, recommended by my friends. Now the latest thing was that I started to go to a professional person, which I do not find as a thing to hide, I dare to say it out.

There are problems that you can handle by yourself. But there are others, which have deeper roots or which you have for a longer time and you consider them as a program running in the background. If you can find the roots of these and handle them, you can change a lot all at once.

In what areas have these methods helped you so far?

For me, for example, it was difficult to accept that I am not a typical man-type. I have a lot of female energy, I feel myself a lot more sensitive to many things, compared to other men around me. It comes from the fact that I didn’t really have a masculine pattern, I had a lot more feminine example. Many times, I find it difficult to find the common ground with the guys, therefore I have always had a lot of female friends. It was very hard for me to realise that I need to build on other things, not on the typical macho style. Besides this, I think that I still have a lot to work on to believe that I am worth more than I think. In the today’s world, this can be true to 9 out of 10 people. If someone works with an autocrat boss, that can have a very negative effect on their self-confidence. What I also need to work on, is to find my place. I am that kind of person, who observes and saves the tiny details, to be able to build on that in the future. I think that my role is to listen actively to people and be able to help them with this.

What do you consider the biggest thing you realised about yourself?

I had the role of being the centre of the attention, the clown, the goof for a long time. This side of my personality still surfaces from time to time and I do not regret at all. It is still good to make people happy, no matter how basic this might sound. It makes me happy if someone, who is important to me, can have a better mood when they feel sad. However, I realised that I need to take off this mask and not to wear it all the time. At the age of 30, I can allow myself to behave in a more serious way sometimes.

What would you recommend to those people, who are starting to improve their body and soul now?

Be persistent! It happened to me many times while reading a book, I threw it to the corner, saying that this writer can go to… Because it is very difficult to accept when you realise that this problem is about you. You must not always blame others for what happened to you. Sometimes unfortunately we need to face the fact that I am/was also part of this, just like other people around me. Let it be a relationship, a workplace thing or family matters. I recommend these people to be brave and experimental. It happens to me as well that after reading a book, I start to speak differently, start to use other words or change my approach towards people. Then, I can always change it again, if I feel the need for it.

It takes courage for everyone to face themselves. This is the biggest task of all.

For a while now, I prefer not to please anyone, but myself. I had a lot of conflicts for example with my mother, since I started to change myself. She told me that I am talking with her from above and I do not take her things seriously. Let it be an annoying neighbour or colleague. You cannot change those people. If you are angry about it every day, it will not be bad for them, you will only ruin yourself. There are things that we need to let go.

In my opinion, these days everyone needs a professional, who stands behind them. It is not because they are fools or they are worth less than others. It is because these days we get too many impulses and it is difficult to cope with them all alone.

Either at home or in the workplace the whole life is about frustration, which is really difficult to manage. It is difficult to understand why these things happen, why I am in a positive or negative chapter of my life, what is the reason due to which all these things are happening to me. Any people will be able to manage these things if they improve their self-awareness.¤

You can follow Dani on Instagram (@functionaldani) and on Facebook as well.

We wish a very good body- and soul-training to everyone!

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