Friday, March 27, 2015

Are you comfortable?

I have a large poster on the wall in my Queens Drive studio.  It is a photo of me getting whacked in the kickboxing ring during one of my training sessions.  The heading on this poster reads:  if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

Wise words.  If I was paid a dollar for every person in a large commercial gym that works out within their comfort zone I would be a rich girl.  You know who I’m talking about:  the people who read a book on the bike or treadmill, the people who hardly work up a sweat and hog machines while texting on their phone.

If you are one of those people who go to the gym every day and amble along comfortably you will probably know what I’m talking about.  Have you reached your goal yet.  It doesn’t matter if your goal is weight loss, or strength, or fitness.  My question is, have you reached it yet?  Chances are you have been going at it for a year or more, and you still don’t see the results you were hoping for.

You see, this is where personal trainers come in.  They are trained professionals who know how to get the best out of you.  They spent a lot of time learning how your body (and mind) works, and they want to put that knowledge to good use.

And I will admit something to you, just don’t tell anyone:  I have my own personal trainer as well!  Without him I will simply amble along within that comfort zone of mine.  Most of the time.  I might not even find the gym in the first place because without that initial appointment I can find a million other things to do.  I run a full-on business after all, there is always something else to do that sounds like more fun.

So imagine I gave in to that temptation.  The temptation of doing anything but exercise.  I can predict what will happen.  Within 4 weeks I will lose my overall fitness.  After 8 weeks my muscle tone.  After 12 weeks my almost half century old body will show its age, and my stomach will grow. Boom, and right there you have an unfit, fat trainer.  Naturally slim?  Me?  Don’t you believe it, I have to work on it the same way you do.

So go on, you look comfortable.  Reach outside your comfort zone, and join me in a quest to improve your health.  Don’t expect your body to change if you don’t…

Friday, March 13, 2015

The F Word

Today I would like to talk about the F word.  The F word is recognised worldwide, in every language, every culture, and needs no introduction.  It is such an emotional word that parents teach their children not to use it.  Whole wars have been created over that one little word.

You guessed right: the new dirty F word.  FOOD.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is for an overweight person to talk about their food habits?  Them telling you what they eat, how much they eat, how they eat, that stuff is personal.  Similar to stripping naked and parading in front of a large crowd.  A lot of my clients start sweating at the thought of a food talk.  So you know what?  Unless you want help with your food I will not talk about it.  It is THAT big.  When you are ready to talk about changing your food habits we will talk it through, but not before you are ready.

As most of you know, I have been overweight in the past.  And when someone asked me at the time what I ate I felt like running, punching them, pushing my head in the sand.  Anything but admit that I skipped breakfast.  Then ate the equivalent of a horse for lunch, a large chocolate muffin as a snack, a V drink to chase it down.  Have another large blueberry and chocolate muffin late afternoon, and made sure I had a large dinner.  After all, it is a very long time between dinner and breakfast, best be prepared.

My weight loss and change in body shape occurred only after I faced the truth:  I ate too much, I ate unhealthy, I was unhealthy.  And nobody likes to see that truth.  It is confronting, scary, out of your comfort zone.  But if you don’t change, nothing else will.  You will be left wishing for the rest of your life that you had a trim body, and you will continue hating those that are trim.

Do not hate the people that do have the body you are longing for.  Very few people are naturally trim and well built, there is a lot of hard work behind the scenes.  I always say people should not judge overweight people, you have no idea what their story is.  But trim people should not be judged either, you have no idea what they have gone through.  Trim people are simply people who completed their journey of healthy eating and exercising before you.  A very good reason for you to start now.

As a matter of fact, if you don’t start your journey now you will find your body quickly becomes your enemy.  There is no limit to the size of the human body.  Absolutely none.  If you continue eating too much and exercising too little you will grow.  And grow.  And grow.  Ever heard of people who had to be cut out of their own homes because they were too heavy to be moved? There is your proof right there.  Just in case you still have doubts.

Eat to live, don’t live to eat.  Sounds simple, but I know how hard it can be once you have fallen into bad habits.  My advice?  Change your habits one little step at a time.  Do not change them all at once, chances are you won’t make it.  But one small change every month, anyone can do that.  How about it?  Want to give it a go and see the rewards for yourself?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Relax in your slacks

Today my trainer said:  hey Claudia, did you write a blog this weekend?  If I didn’t know any better I’d think he actually enjoys reading them.  Or uses them as stalking material.  Either way I am happy to hear some people read my blogs, and give me a kick when I slow down a bit.  And before you ask:  what, the trainer has a personal trainer?  That’s right.  This trainer is the same as most human beings.  If I have a person waiting for me I’ll be there, raring to go to the best of my ability.  But if I don’t have anyone waiting for me I will always, always find something else to do.  That is why this world has personal trainers:  to keep you honest and motivated.

So I went home and looked at my cat.  “What should we write about”, I asked her.  She blinked, yawned and went back to sleep.  And that is when it hit me:  relaxation.  That little word everyone talks about it and very few achieve.

If we don’t relax we don’t sleep.  And if we don’t sleep we won’t get any work done, cause road accidents, develop ulcers and anxiety.  In short, if we don’t relax we are a mess.  Did you know that people who never relax actually gain weight due to the stress hormone cortisol?  As soon as your body is permanently stressed it starts piling on the pounds to ensure you have the energy to cope with this stressful situation.  You must remember that the body’s stress response was created for our greater good.  It was designed to protect you, to ensure we get enough of an adrenaline rush to get us out of trouble.

But our bodies were never designed to keep us out of trouble 24 x 7.  Adrenaline is constantly flooding our system now, and we are permanently in a fight or flight mode.  The manic pace of life and technology has ensured we never switch off, and the price we pay is anxiety, depression, illness and increased weight.

Yeah no kidding.  Increased weight.  When you are stressed you probably eat.  All.the.time.  So you rapidly gain weight.  And remember, your body does not have a weight gain limit.  It will keep growing for as long as you allow it to.  Unlimited.

Some of us don’t eat at all when we are stressed.  Now your body panics and decides to pile on weight.  After all, you are starving and it needs to protect you.  Right?  You can’t win, if you want to remain healthy and lose some weight in the process you better start managing that stress!

This is where we get to that other little word “exercise”.  You knew that was coming. Because everyone knows exercise releases stress.  A good sweat session is all you need to put you in a better mood, and any person suffering from depression will tell you exercise is a must in coping with their depression.

Then why do most people stop exercising when they are stressed or depressed?  Too hard, too much work, couldn’t be bothered they say.  I hear it daily, and I don’t understand it.  I know it can be hard to get out of bed, it can be hard to find your exercise mojo, we’ve all been there.  But if you KNOW exercise makes you feel better (and let’s face it, we all do know) why would you not do it?

Relax in your slacks.  Take a deep breath, get some sleep, and keep exercising.  When you exercise (and follow a decent diet) you can only move forward.  It is impossible to move backwards when you look after yourself, you can only continue to improve.  So why wouldn’t you huh??