Sunday, January 25, 2015

Work not working?

I’ve noticed a trend at Basic Orange:  every year around January and October I have clients going off the rails because they have “too much work, and therefore can’t find time to exercise anymore”.  The sad reality is that they are also often the people who need exercise the most.

For those people I have a message.  Basic Orange is fortunate to have clients who are very successful business people.  They are people who work super long hours to grow their business, turn over millions a year while juggling a family and travelling.  Yet they find time to exercise.  Because they realise that no exercise equals sickness, weak muscles and slow brain cells.  And that is something they simply can’t afford.  They reckon that a week contains 168 hours, and they make sure some of those hours are spent on their own health. They would not have been this successful without it.

I have a client who is a single mother.  She works three jobs to make sure her child can go to university one day.  Time is very precious to her but she too finds exercise time to make sure she stays sharp, and uses her “me” time as stress relief so that her child has a healthy mother that can look after him.  She sees a personal trainer once a week to learn more about health and fitness, and swims and walks the other days.

When people are faced with extra work loads exercise is often the first activity that goes out the window.  I’ve always found that strange.  If you can’t even spend time on yourself you will burn out, guaranteed.  And once you’re burned out you are no damn good to your job anyway.

If you tell me you cannot find time to exercise I tell you rubbish, that is just another excuse because you are too lazy.  You have time to eat.  If you didn’t you wouldn’t be overweight.  You have time to watch tv and read this rant, and I bet you spend a fair bit of time on Facebook or PInterest.

If you wrote down all the things you do in one day I am very sure there is more than one hour where you are not doing anything that will benefit your work.  Because you don’t exercise you feel tired halfway through the day.  You get up and spend time making coffee.  Or staring into space.  Or cat napping.  Or chatting to other people because you can no longer concentrate.  Things that would not happen in the first place if you exercised.

So let’s look at your choices, and what it will do for you:

1. You don’t have time to exercise.  So you don’t.  You will find your productivity at work drops, you’re irritable, small tasks look like mountains.  You spend ages fixing mistakes or apologising for your cranky behaviour.  Boom, that is exercise time wasted already.  That scratchy throat you’re feeling?  That is a cold coming on so prepare to get even less work done.

2. You exercise in spite of your busy schedule.  You get a lot done at work because you are fit.  And fit people don’t get tired in the middle of their day.  That irritating customer no longer seems so irritating now because your workout de-stressed you.  Your day is automatically better, you got so much done today that you can now spend a bit more time with your family.

If you don’t have time to exercise, prepare to make time for sickness.  Period.  So open your diary right now and book an appointment with yourself, you need it!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fat shaming. Don't do it

Today’s rant is not about you.  Or your spouse.  Or the rest of your family.  No, today I would like to put the spotlight on the general public.  Meaning everyone out there except you.

What does everyone else do that is so terrible.  I’m talking about everyone else because I am sure you would never do such a dastardly deed:  it is called fat shaming.  Discrimination against overweight people. You don’t get away with discrimination against skin colour, so why is it that people get away with discrimination against bodies?

As I discussed in a previous post, I know what obese feels like.  And I noticed a couple of things while I dragged my large body around this world:  people spoke to me as if I was dumb.  They would try their best not to look at my large stomach and complimentary big boobs.  The lady at the checkout asked me once how many more months before the baby is due.  And when applying for a new job I realised I could not compete with the slim and trim: studies have shown that employers give preference to the applicant who appears fitter and trimmer.

Strange, considering that in some cultures a full figure is a must if you want to find yourself married.  To those cultures a full figure symbolises wealth.  Thin people are regarded with suspicion, surely they must be ill?

When you see an overweight person, what do you think?  Do you think you poor person, glad it’s not me.  Or do you think that is disgusting, do something about it.  Or do you think hell, hope that never happens to me?  Whatever your thoughts, know this:  that overweight person might have a serious medical condition that prevents them losing weight.  (“It’s in my genes” doesn’t count because that is bullshit, that will be a rant for another day.)

That overweight person you are judging may recently have taken that first step to see a personal trainer.  It took a lot of tears and courage for them to get that far, but they are doing it.  It just doesn’t show yet, losing weight takes time.

That overweight person you are judging may recently have gone through a very traumatic experience, and is still in the process of dealing with it.  Comfort eating is still a big part of their life, but very soon they will learn to cope and kick your butt in the gym.

We are shamed for being fat, skinny, short, ugly, boobs that are too small, too big.  You name it, and someone will find a way to shame you.  Did you know there are fat shaming apps out there you can download on your phone?  Yeah no kidding!  Just to remind you that you have a few cuddly bits in case you forget.  So does all this fat shaming help?  Obviously not, from where I’m sitting it is making the whole world a worse place.  It is not enough that we have wars, famine and disease.  Now we have fat shaming as well, oh joy.  It prevents people from going out, causes depression and turns perfectly good people into introverts. Fat shaming causes more misery than it’s worth.

So don’t let the ignorant masses fat shame you.  There is no need to be ashamed, you are what you are, it is what it is.  And if you are not happy with who you are, here’s a hint: exercise.  A little action goes a long way!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Your excuse is invalid

I HATE excuses!

In the health and fitness industry we hear lots of excuses on a daily basis, if we want to progress in this obesity epidemic that is one thing that has to stop.

Wikipedia describes excuses as “a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation.”  And it is every trainer’s pet peeve.  Excuses drive me wild and is one of the reasons I’m offloading professional stress in this blog.

I signed up a new client to Basic Orange.  She was due to start on a Tuesday evening but never turned up.  So I contacted her to see if she got lost somewhere between her home and the studio.  Oh, she said, she is so sorry but broke her arm.  Therefore she could not contact me and she can’t exercise. So sorry, will contact you when I’m better she said.

One week later I bumped into this woman at the grocery store.  Here she was, 10 bags of groceries on each arm, looking perfectly whole and healthy.  Wow, I thought.  That arm fixed itself really quickly, aliens DO exist after all.

I’m sick with the flu, the text said.  Hope you get better soon I replied.  That evening I bumped into this sick person in a bar in town, enjoying beers with a few friends.  He put a lot of effort into drowning his flu that night, I admire his noble effort.  What was I doing in a bar in down town Lower Hutt I hear you ask?  Never mind, that is not the point I’m trying to make here.

Folks, why do you feel the need to make up excuses?  If you don’t want to exercise then that is fine.  It is your life, your health, your body.  Personal trainers can guide you but we can’t make you do something you don’t want to do.  

So if you suddenly find you can’t afford your training sessions anymore, or you got bored, or you got lazy than let your trainer know.  Often a trainer can help you make a better decision:  can’t afford your training sessions anymore?  Consider changing to a half hour session, or fewer sessions.  Or see your trainer every fortnight for a catchup while you do your own workouts in between.  That way you still get the knowledge and motivation of a qualified trainer without the financial strain.  

Got bored?  Let your trainer know so they can change your training or team you up with another trainer.  There are lots of ways to get the exercise spark back into your life.  

Got lazy?  If you want to look and feel good than unlazy yourself.  Don’t complain you are overweight or uncomfortable or unfit if you are not prepared to make a few small changes.

So the next time you think of an excuse, why not use all that energy to motivate yourself instead?  Excuse me while I go for a run…

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Introducing your ranting trainer

After years of pressure from well meaning friends and colleagues I have finally given in, and created a blog.  Not because I couldn’t handle the pressure anymore, oh no.  More a case of:  very few people listen to sound advice, I’m talking myself hoarse on a daily basis, let’s find a place where I can rant and rave.  A place where I can share my knowledge and experience in the confusing world of health and fitness, perhaps if I give my advice in writing it will stick.  Or not.  Either way it will make me feel better knowing I got all that good stuff off my ample chest.

Of course, if I was a doctor or a professor or a renowned psychologist people would swoon, fall at my feet and lap up any advice I give them, good or bad.  But I’m neither, I’m just one person who has experienced first hand the long walk from fat to fabulous.  Then went out and earned her National Certificate of Fitness so she can share this real world experience with people just like her.

Hell, even my bank was sceptical about my plans:  you mean you want our money to start a private fitness studio?  Are you serious, they said.  No way, that is the most ridiculous idea we’ve heard this year, please leave this office, you are wasting our time.  

I left the bank’s office with a $10 bill in my back pocket.  And used that $10 as a deposit on a boxing bag to start a 100% private fitness studio called Basic Orange.  You’re probably thinking why did I call it Basic Orange.  Simple:  I wanted a name that is easy to remember.  Something that doesn’t have the word “fitness” in it because everyone else already rode that horse.  “Basic” because exercise does not have be complicated to be effective, all you need are the “basics”.  And orange because I happen to like that colour. 

Why did I start a private fitness studio?  Well, during my fat to fabulous journey I felt intimidated by larger commercial gyms.  I felt everyone was looking at me (I have since learned everyone WAS looking at me).  I was surrounded by beautiful bodies and great muscles, and spent most of my time feeling depressed and inferior.  I went looking for a private gym, a place where it was just my big body and a trainer.  But couldn’t find one that private, no matter where I went there were always people wandering in and out, and in my mind they were all gawking and sniggering.

So I started a fitness studio that is SO private, some people think it’s closed.  A place where everyone is welcome and the doors are locked so nobody can wander in to gawk and snigger.  A place where you don’t get judged, and receive the advice you need to make that change you’re looking for.

And the bank, that sceptical institution I mentioned earlier?  4 years later they lend me the money to open a second private fitness studio.  No questions asked…. 

Stay tuned for a weekly blog in which I will try my best to give you the very best real word advice that I can think of.  Of course, if there is a particular subject you want more information on don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards
Your ranting trainer