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The Personal Training Path: Fitness to Self-Actualization

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

As you start personal training, it is likely that your goal is fitness. Maybe it is weight loss or weight gain. Maybe you have a particular physical body problem to fix. Maybe it is simply overall good health.

If you continue your practice and it becomes a regular part of your life, you become better acquainted with its potential. You realize other goals that may be achieved. You are feeling good, looking good, and gaining confidence.

You are stronger longer and more flexible than you were. You begin to feel a sense of pride in the way you are taking care of yourself. You are happy to talk about your personal training experiences with friends.

What is Next?

Did you study Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs in school? The idea is that our first need is the basic need of food, shelter, warmth, rest.

The second need is to feel safe and secure. Once we’ve achieved those two physiological needs, we can embrace psychological needs: Interpersonally, we need friends, we need intimate relationships.

Amidst the outside world, we need to feel pride in what we do; we need to see achievements.

At the top of the pyramid of human needs, we find self-actualization. What is that? We need to achieve our full potential. That means different things for different people.

At this highest stage of human development, we want to express ourselves. We want to be who we are meant to be, whatever that means for you. It is past the purely physical domain. It is spiritual.

Where is Personal Training in the Hierarchy of Needs?

Does it go across three of the levels? Surely physical fitness is one of our basic needs, at the second level in the hierarchy. Personal training is at the fourth level, too, as part of our psychological needs. We gain self-esteem when we are fit when we are proud of how we look and feel. We have accomplishments.

Fitness to Self-Actualization

That leaves the fifth and highest level of self-actualization. Many people never reach this apex of the hierarchy. Maslow himself put the figure at two percent of the population. Can we be in that two percent?

Now your body is fit and your ego is satisfied. Now you can respond to an inner drive that we all have to be a better person. To be self-actualized means to be confident, to know yourself, to be strong holistically. You see your life as a journey to be the best you can be, for others as well as for yourself.

Can personal training contribute? It is a platform from which to reach the highest level of human development. Can it also be a pathway to self-actualization? Ask yourself questions while you train: Why am I doing this? Is it more than weight loss or gain? Is it more than strength, flexibility, and balance? Is it more than self-interest? How does personal training affect the way I live my life?

Bench Gym Personal Training offers the best personal trainer in DC that will help you achieve your fitness goals no matter what your hierarchy of needs” is- whether it is safety or self-fulfillment needs.

Stanley Nollen, Ph.D., University of Chicago- Blog Contributor/Fitness Enthusiast

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