Caroline | From Advertising to Fitness and Nutrition Coach
By Eleni Meraki
I grew up in a small town in the North East of France, and studied at Sciences-Po Paris, a very selective French University. After graduating I started working in Advertising. Looking back, I think I never truly had a vision of what I wanted to do, never made choices out of passion. I just went with the flow, for options that I considered valued by society. Advertising was a sort of achievement in that sense, because it represented working in a cool environment, with successful young people. And that's where the pitfall was: when I started working I felt so hyped up that I lived and breathed for my job. I never truly developed any hobbies outside my work. My life went on like this for a few years, until I started to feel something was off.
5 THINGS ABOUT
Cat person | Strength Enthusiast | Persist and Resist | My spirit animal is a bread | One day I'll do a back flip even if I'm terrified by it.
LEAP OF FAITH
I got a job offer in Amsterdam and after a year I started realising that what I thought was my dream job, was actually not fulfilling me. I kept pushing till a point of no return. I burned out, I was injured mentally and physically. My inner self, the small voice I never listened to, decided to speak out and yelled at me to stop. It's during my recovery that my relationship with fitness changed. It went from something I did to be in shape to something that was vital to me. It energized me, helped me reconnect with my body and soul. I discovered that through fitness and nutrition you can do good to yourself. This mental transformation was so powerful that I felt the need to share it with others, and decided to get a Personal Trainer certification.
CAROLINE MELODY FITNESS
I am now a fitness and nutrition coach based in Amsterdam. I train people with different backgrounds and goals. My main purpose is to help people be their strongest and happiest self. My style is rather personal, I prioritize one on one training because I love to put all my attention into one person. I want to truly connect, teach the individual how to train mindfully and get past their personal insecurities.
I combine different fitness disciplines; strength training, calisthenics, mobility and flexibility. As I very well know how busy our lives can be I try to be as flexible as possible with my clients; in terms of scheduling but also in terms of locations. I train most of my clients at their own home or in outdoor spaces close to their home. Additionally, I organise fitness workshops in Dubai together with my best friend. We organize three-week training programs helping people getting their training regime to the next level.
After my burnout, I decided to quit my job to try to understand better what I wanted to do, away from the pressure of a work environment. I took advantage of that time to do my Personal Trainer and Nutrition coach accreditations. I opted for the NASM certification, an international diploma that provides a deep scientific knowledge on how the body works. Additionally I got the so called Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification, that focuses on behavioral change to help people transform their relationship with food in the long term. With my diplomas in the pocket, I started training people, and little by little got more confident. I started understanding my style and how I wanted to shape my business.
My burnout forced me to stop all my activities for a couple of months. It was not an easy thing to do, as I knew I would not have any income in that time. Honestly, this wouldn't have been possible without the financial support of my partner David, who took over the household expenses for a few months. My new studies were around 3000 euros in total. It was quite tough in the beginning, but going back was never an option. Quite to my surprise, I realised money is not really a thing, and scaling down my lifestyle was not dramatic. Because at the end of the day, I just wanted to do what I love and feel true to myself.
THE TOUGH TIMES
With time I realised that I needed to accept my journey. I wouldn’t be able to compete with people that were in this field from a young age. At first, I felt insecure and not worthy but with time I came to understand that my journey could be working fór me instead of against me. I can relate to my clients busy lives and build my business upon that.
Starting is not easy. I used to think I needed to have everything figured out to do something. But I realised that life is not an advertising campaign with a set schedule. It doesn’t and can’t be perfect. The path to your end goal can't be all clear ahead of you. So, all what matters is to start and give my best at what I do.
Advertising taught me to work as a team. To some extend to hide behind what others do and think. With personal training, it's just you and a person. In the beginning, you feel naked and vulnerable, and it's quite tough mentally. Getting the right confidence and trust in myself took some time.
5 INSIDER TIPS
1. Never stop learning. A degree and certification will give you the basic knowledge, but any industry is in constant movement. You have to keep up with the industry. I do that by reading books and articles or listen to podcasts.
2. Things don't need to be perfect, what matters is just to start. No need for a big plan or a perfect roadmap to your end goal. No one will hold you accountable for not being perfect, what matters is hard work and action!
3. Don't seek other peoples’ approval, just listen to your heart, and do what you love.
4. Trust the process and enjoy every step of your journey. Sometimes we tend to only see our end goal, and just neglect the step we currently are in. What I learnt is that change takes time, so I'd rather be happy along the way. Even if I'm not where I'd wish I'd be right now, I practice enjoying every moment.
5. Understanding how the fitness industry works, especially in a foreign country, was quite tough in the beginning. There's so many certifications and paths you can opt for, that it can be very confusing. Taking time to do some research, comparing the options you have and identify what really feels right for you is important.
written By Eleni Meraki
Eleni is the founder of Guts & Tales. She is a hypnotherapist, mind-trainer, coach and creator of the women’s coaching program Be Your Own Muse. She helps women become clear, confident and courageous to be and live true to themselves.