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I see it every day, ladies hitting the gym 5 times a week, sweating it up, wearing the latest Lululemons and loving life. They are ready to SERIOUSLY hit some goals because summer is coming! The treadmill does not know what is about to hit it!

Then I see the same ladies 6 weeks later, looking less eager, tired, uninspired. They tell me, I haven’t seen ANY results.

And then I start with a few simple questions, 

What have you been doing in the gym?

Why have you been doing that type of program/diet?

How is that working out for you?

“I have been doing 5 HIIT classes a week, plus two runs on the treadmill and a 5-day juice detox”

“ I lost 2kgs in the first week but then it came back. I feel like death. I’m so hungry I could eat my hand”

I get it, every magazine you pick up says eat less, move more. We have been conditioned from a young age to believe cardio is King, it seems these old school fitness myths just don’t die.

So I am here to help you ladies and break down these myths and get some real results.

Myth 1: Cardio is the secret to fat loss 

Cardi-NO! The majority of females prioritize vast amounts of cardio and conditioning while starving

themselves to see fat loss results or get ‘toned’

Cardio-focused training can lead to skinny fat, where a person can be quite lean looking but still carry a few trouble spots and have little muscle tone.

To change body composition focus your attention on getting stronger, a consistent strength program and consuming optimal macronutrients including adequate protein to support muscle growth.

Proper amounts of cardio and conditioning work are healthy and fine to do. However, resistance training is King when it comes to improving body composition. 

Seriously, you are not going to get a booty or shoulder boulders on the treadmill.

Myth 2: 1200 calories

Double day training, 1200 calories. Celebrating the fact you ate the same amount as a toddler. I have no idea where the 1200 calories came from but it is I tiny amount of food to eat for active women and yet it seems stuck in our psyche. Drastic calorie reduction teamed with excessive cardio will lead to weight loss. However, to continue seeing results means more hours counting down the timer on the treadmill and more lettuce leaf sandwiches. 

There becomes a point where there is nothing left to reduce and progress stalls. This is also known as hitting the wall you cannot eat any less, or train any more and you have nowhere left to go on your fat loss journey. 

What happens next is rebound from the crash diet and burn out from the excessive cardio is a hardcore weight regain.

Myth 3: More is always better 

Ladies, I know you are all overachievers, but what if instead of spending 8 hours in the gym each week, you spent 4 and got the same results! That’s an extra 4 hours of your time back to call your bestie, catch up on MAFS or go for brunch.

Double the time does not mean double the results. Overtraining consistently will completely screw up your hormones your body and your relationship with yourself and lead to a higher chance of injury.

There is a sweet spot in your training which is between enough exertion and effort and enough rest and recovery. Too little exertion and you may not get the results you are after, too much training and you are more likely to burnout, get injured and have diminishing returns. Additional hours in the gym past the ideal level of exertion are going to have limited results.

For most of us we don’t need to be doing 7 days a week, double sessions or 4 hours in the gym. Having a consistent program of 2-3 resistance sessions per week with adequate sleep & nutrition is enough for most women to achieve and maintain their goals. 

Overtraining consistently will completely screw up your hormones your body and your relationship with food and exercise.

Myth 4: PB’s every week

This used to be me. Every week in the gym was a new PB, because every week I did a whole bunch of new exercises. On Instagram the highlight reels only show the heavy days, the PB’s and the celebration. To get to your strongest lift key principles like progressive overload and smart programming need to be followed. No, you don’t need to max out every session, having a mix between intensity, load and rep range will help you to keep progressing as well as allowing your body to recover sufficiently.  

Myth 5: Food is bad. I am bad for eating it. 

This is by far my least favourite and also the hardest to break. We have been programmed all our lives that eating high sugar high-fat food is bad and if we are the ones eating it we are then bad people. We have little willpower and we allow ourselves to be overcome with temptations. Food is not bad, and neither is food just fuel. Food is part of our socializing, our culture, it gives us pleasure and is good for our soul. The factors that contribute to us choosing to eat high fat and high carb food are wide-ranging and complex. When we are making food choices the biggest challenge is to detach from the internal monologue and guilt and make choices that align with our goals

So to recap how to avoid being a gym Bro and instead be a Gym Queen:

Train smart and consistently. Program for rest and recovery. Eat your food and get off the treadmill. 

Have you downloaded my Free DIY resistance training program? 12 weeks of progressive training you can do from your living room.


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Your success will depend almost entirely on how well you can motivate yourself.

Consider: a self-motivated but otherwise average person always outperforms a genius who can’t get going.

When it comes to achieving any goal, having a propelling reason behind why you want to accomplish it is the number 1 key to of success. However, if your motivation is purely for external rewards to buy big things, validation, and recognition and success, no matter how hard you try you will never find happiness.

You will be forever running away from feelings of not good enough, unworthiness and not-enoughness rather than running towards the very best version of you.

External Motivation

External motivation is the desire to gain a reward or avoid an adverse outcome and it is driven by an outside/ external demand obligation or reward.

Here are a couple of examples of external motivation.

>You complete a 10km fun run solely because you want to beat your friends time and show you are better than him.

>You decide to start your health and fitness journey because the doctor told you should lose weight or you will have to take diabetes medication.

>You work overtime on a project with a strict deadline because your boss has told you there is a cash bonus if it’s completed on time.

So what do you think happens to the runner who beats his friend’s race time, the guy who needs to lose weight because his dr told him so or the hard worker driven by financial reward.

They succeed in their challenge, collect their prize and forget about it. Do they learn anything?

Maybe?

Do they continue with the hard work, training and push through when things are tough.

Unlikely.

Are any of these familiar?

The young woman who feels alone and desperately wants a boyfriend. Struggles with her self-esteem and feeling worthy because she believes she is fat. Spends hours on social media comparing herself to others and eventually decides to compete in a bikini competition because she sees the other girls looking amazing on the but also just how many likes and comments they get online.

Or the guy who is depressed and struggles with his self-image so he starts his own business. He thrives on getting the positive feedback and validation from others, the success and recognition. But deep down he feels empty inside because he never really believed in himself.

Using motivation to kick start 

The majority of us start a health and fitness goal start by chasing an external reward.

I want to lose 5kg, I want to fit into my size ten clothes, I want to look great at the beach.

The translates to I want more attention from the opposite sex, I don’t want to buy a new wardrobe or I am seeking validation from friends and family.

It can also mean moving away from discomfort, eg not being teased, being able to sit comfortably on a plane.

All studies show that whilst moving away from pain, chasing validation and likes is a great way to get you started validation from others burns bright and fast, but extinguishes quick.

So what is the answer?

Doing something for you.

Striving toward being the best version of yourself.

Intrinsic Motivation AKA Self-Motivation

Intrinsic motivation aka self-motivation involves engaging in a behaviour because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.

Studies show intrinsic motivation is more likely to produce long-term behaviour change, and lead to more personal fulfilment.

Intrinsic motivation is also linked with your values and having a powerful why.

When your ‘why’ is great enough, your conscious and subconscious mind will help you to align your actions in accordance with achieving your goal.

Having a powerful why will give us the determination to overcome any setbacks.

Ask yourself why do did you work out today or yesterday or last week?

Skip past the I want to look good naked and dig a little deeper.

Is it to be a better role model for your kids?

Is it to lead a long happy healthy life because you have seen so many others struggle and suffer as they age?

Is it that being able to create some space and time for yourself makes you a better wife, mum and friend?

Is that that feeling confident in your skin means you feel more able to speak up at work?

Is it that you realize you’re not living up to your potential, your letting your standards for yourself slip in all different area of your life?

Is it that you know deep down you have so much more potential to give?

Take a moment now to ponder what is your why, why do you show up, even on the days you don’t want to.  Maybe it’s not in the gym, but at home or at work or in places where you need to motivate yourself?

The secret to limitless motivation

We all have an internal drive to be the best version of us. If you want to start the ball rolling and tap into that limitless motivation I encourage you to take some time and answer these questions?

If you could imagine yourself 6 months into the future living your healthiest life what would you be doing every day?

If your weight, size or bf % wasn’t an issue what would you be doing differently than you are now?

If you could take one step towards being the best version of you right now, what would that step be?

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Every day as a Personal Trainer I hear more or less the same questions just asked in different ways.  I have the same conversations about fat loss, getting stronger about sets and reps and of course getting abs.

Here are the three most common questions I get as a personal trainer:

Will I get bulky?

This question is 100% from females, so guys read on.

For female’s, it is very hard to grow muscle naturally through exercise and nutrition as we have different hormones to men. If you’re just starting out to strength training and are absolutely going all out it in your training the top end of muscle gain over 1 year would be 4-5 kgs.

Most of us would be looking at about 2kgs in the first year if you are training regularly and consistently.

With your training is likely to be some body composition changes as in losing fat, and so your weight may actually be the same but you will have more muscle and less fat.

Getting bulky muscles will take a matter of years and dedicated training The bodybuilders you see looking swole have put years of dedication into their training, nutrition and lifestyle to achieve that look. Certainly, some of us are genetically blessed to put on muscle more readily or to have a body shape where muscle mass can appear unevenly distributed. If this is the case then have a look at your programming and individualise it to suit your needs.

How much Cardio should I do?

The second part of this question, spoken or unspoken is How much cardio should I do to burn fat?

The majority of people prioritize vast amounts of cardio and conditioning while starving themselves to see fat loss results.

Whilst this may work in the short run, to continue seeing results more cardio is needed and calories are reduced further. There becomes a point where there is nowhere left to reduce and progress stalls and then often weight returns.

This training can often lead an undesirable physique., where a person can be quite lean looking but still carry fit in trouble spots and have little muscle tone.

Proper amounts of cardio and conditioning work are healthy and fine to do. But they do not build shape and tone as strength training does. The majority of us are in the gym to tone up, create shape and sculpt some muscle which is where the weights come in.

While cardio burns calories and fat when you’re performing it, strength training has what is known as high EPOC or This is a fancy term for saying how long your metabolism is elevated after exercise.

Lifting weights also burn calories during the workout, whilst maybe not at quite the same rate as cardio, however, weights also have the benefit of EPOC ( Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). Lifting weight burns calories after exercise due to muscle break down and repairing and EPOC. Lifting weights can burn calories for up to 38 hours after exercise due to muscle break down and repair.

Any movement will burn calories, walking, swimming, bike riding, however, some will burn at a higher rate than others.

What’s the best exercise to get abs

I am yet to meet someone in the gym who doesn’t list one of their goals to get abs. Unfortunately, most gym goers are not going to achieve this, due to misinformation and a lack of a clear goal as to how to get there. Getting abs is 99% nutrition,  what you are eating outside of the gym is going to have a far greater impact than the exercises you are doing on the gym floor.

To get abs you need to be visibly lean enough to see the abdominal muscles underneath. To get lean enough you need to be consistently in a calorie deficit for long enough for your body fat to drop to around 6 – 9% for guys and 12 – 15% for females. To get this result it is likely you will need to sacrifice some socializing, cut out alcohol and prep your food in advance to ensure you are getting the correct calorie intake. This requires dedication, commitment and proper planning.

When people tell me they are in the gym to do “ab day” or “core finisher” I always ask why? Core and structural abdominal exercises are great, they help with your posture, your balance and all sorts of daily life functions like walking, lifting and twisting.

Doing 100 crunches is probably going to hurt your back more than anything else.

If you have asked your trainer this question, googled it, or dreamt about it. Don’t worry you are not alone.

I have no doubt I will keep getting asked and keep answering these three questions for many years to come.

 

Have you downloaded my Free DIY resistance training program? 12 weeks of progressive training you can do from your living room.


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Learning to move your body in a regular, mindful and enjoyable way is fundamental to our physical and mental health.  Here are my top tips to fall in love with movement again.

 

  • Reset your mindset. We are surrounded by messages that fitness equals abs and it is very easy to start a fitness routine with an aesthetic goal. But exercise gives you many other benefits like reduced stress, reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduced likelihood of injury, increased heart and bone health. If you have only ever thought of exercise as a way to burn the calories or keep yourself, small start on working on shifting those thoughts to include all the health benefits.

 

  • Find a trainer, group or gym that is inclusive and supportive of everyone having access to exercise and health. You may have to look hard but being part of a group who have similar goals, to feel healthy without focusing on diets or restriction will give you the motivation to start and to keep going.

 

  • Learn to love your body for all the awesome things it can do! I highly recommend strength training as a way to see just how strong you can be, to feel empowered and to learn to love everything your body is capable. You may also fall in love with dancing, netball, soccer, running, bushwalking; the options are endless if you start experimenting.

 

  • Don’t do exercise because you feel like you have to. If you’re going for a run because you feel like you have to burn off what you ate you will end up hating exercise and food and the vicious cycle will never end. Instead seek out activities that you do enjoy and do more of them. Remember the things you did as a child that you enjoyed, or think about taking up a new hobby.

 

  • Be kind and compassionate to yourself. If you have had a chequered past with exercise it takes time to heal these wounds. Recognize where some of these thoughts may have come from in the past and notice when and where they come up for you again. Seek professional support or someone you can talk these feelings through with give yourself space for writing and processing. Understand that by letting go of some of these old thoughts you can make space for freedom both in movement and in your mind.

If you want to check out some other body positive personal trainers tips you can read the full article which was shared by Body matters here.

 

If you are searching for a trainer who can support you to love moving your body in a non-judgemental way, get in touch with me now.


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Integrating exercise or movement back into a routine when you’re recovering from an Eating Disorder can be challenging, here are my top tips to help you get started.

 

1. Start slow, and have a plan and stick to it. Work on integrating one movement session into your normal routine and feeling comfortable with that before building to the next one. Work out the time frame you want to exercise for – 45 mins to 1 hour and plan what you will do during this time.

Don’t start haphazardly as you’re more likely to overdo or under do it. After each session review and reflect on what feelings came up for you? If you have a support team share your feelings with them.

 

2. A lot of people have found Yoga to be very beneficial during Recovery. Yoga can help to quieten the mind whilst also bringing awareness to your body position, muscles and movements. It can be challenging to sit in silence but it gets easier with time and practice. If you can I would recommend adding yoga into your schedule once a week either in a class or there are many classes you can access online.

 

3. Don’t feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing, movement doesn’t have to be in a gym and it doesn’t have to be hot and sweaty. Think about movement as something that brings pleasure and fun and take the focus away from calories burnt.

Some activities that you might like to consider are trying a dance class, hip-hop, salsa, contemporary. If you can try something outdoors bushwalking, kayaking or SUP.

If you like sky high movement Ariel silks, acrobatics and even adult gymnastics are really fun options.

 

4. If you are thinking about going into a gym environment a group class can be a fun environment with music, choreography and a good social environment. They are time capped and classes usually go for 45 minutes or 1 hour.

It is important to be aware of your triggers, avoid classes that focus on calories burnt, heart rate monitors or competing against each other. Also be aware that some instructors will also use food or body shaming as ways to motivate clients, this is not okay, if this occurs I suggest you leave the class.

 

5. For resistance training, I highly recommend getting the support of a trainer who has an understanding of eating disorders. Resistance training is great for strengthening bones, muscles, ligaments and can help to make a mind-muscle connection which creates mindful movement.

Having a structured program can help you to track your progress and also keep you from feeling confused or overwhelmed by all the machines and weights. Growing in strength and feeling what your body can do over how it appears can be a wonderful part of recovery.

 

6. Ditch the fitness trackers and avoid spending too much time in the cardio area, the constant display of calories is not beneficial for anyone. The benefits of taking a walk outside in the fresh air include mental clarity, reduced stress and anxiety and improved focus. Set aside 30 minutes and see if you can focus on the smells, sights and sounds around you. There are also some mindfulness apps that focus on ‘mindful walking’.

For more tips from trainers all over Australia, you can read the full article here.

Have you downloaded my Free DIY resistance training program? 12 weeks of progressive training you can do from your living room.


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Clients often come to me and say they have read about this latest study in a fitness magazine, or another trainer has told them that they are not going to get the results they are seeking if they keep training the same way.

The article tells them they are making huge mistakes and they are unlikely to see much progress if they see any progress at all. This creates fear, confusion and anxiety for clients. Worrying that they are doing the wrong thing, that they are wasting their valuable time investing in the wrong training methodology. They get mad at themselves or mad at the trainer for clearly steering them in the wrong direction when there is certainly a better way.

These fitness myths lead to clients programming hopping, quitting something if they don’t see results fast enough and lots of confusion around exercise. This, in turn, makes it feel like exercise is hard work and needs a lot of energy and concentration and they are likely to quit as it feels too hard. As a trainer that is certainly frustrating and saddening to see clients quitting before they are able to start to see the rewards and benefits of exercise.

The gyms want to see you in there, paying money, chasing an elusive feeling of not good enough, working harder and harder until it becomes overwhelming and you quit.

Here are a couple of myths floating around that you may have heard one twice or too many times to count.

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1. That more time in the gym equates better results.

 

I’m sure you have seen the hashtags and messages implying that if you’re not smashing yourself 7 days a week at the gym your efforts are pitiful. People bragging about 3-hour sessions or double sessions on social media. More is certainly not better, double the time does not mean double the results.

There is a sweet spot in your training which is about enough exertion, effort and enough rest. The real magic of your training in the gym happens when you are resting and sleeping, that is the time when your muscles grow and recover stronger for the next day. Additional hours in the gym above that sweet spot are going to have very limited results.

Doing this consistently will lead to injuries, burn out, and completely screw up your relationship with fitness and yourself. Unless you are an athlete we don’t need to be doing 7 days a week, double sessions or 4 hours in the gym. A realistic aim is to work towards 2 -3 sessions of resistance exercise a week and increase activity outside of the gym.

 

2. Your results are solely coming from your workouts

Say you spend 1 hour a day at the gym, 4 days a week that is only 6.7% of the hours in your week. The time you spend in the gym may contribute to your results in the following ways.

  • Increased metabolism after working out
  • Boosted mood and endorphins
  • Muscle repair and recovery requiring more fuel throughout the day
  • Increased focus, motivation and alertness
  • More likely to make healthier food choices later in the day

Time spent in the gym can also have a negative effect if we don’t plan properly or tell ourselves the hard work is all done

  • Increased your appetite  cravings more likely to binge eat after a big cardio workout
  • Move less during the day as they are more tired or sore
  • More likely to overeat if they have told themselves they have done their workout for the day

Most of the physical results come from NEAT and nutrition. NEAT is Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, basically, any effort that comes from outside of the gym, running for the bus, moving boxes at work, or every time you go from sitting to standing. Increasing your daily activity by walking from the train, moving more at the office, investing in a standing desk, spending time outdoors on the weekends are easy ways to increase NEAT and get more movement outside of the gym,  and will have a bigger impact on your health and fitness than the 4 hours in the gym.

 

3. You must be smashed at the end of a workout for it to be beneficial

A workout does not need to leave you sweating, gasping and half dead to be beneficial. Unfortunately with the latest focus on HR monitors and calories burnt a workout is now a competition of who pushed themselves the hardest and with the most intensity. This also creates an intensity mindset which says working out is all or nothing.

Even if you know your body needs to rest and stretch you go to the gym and smash yourself because you don’t “burn or sweat” from a solid stretch session. This kind of thinking also takes the focus away from the numerous other benefits of exercise, including improved mood and reduced stress.(Read more here)

It also leads to more likelihood of injury, overtraining, and an unhealthy relationship with exercise. Anxiety can be created when a workout feels like it wasn’t hard enough and going back for a second session isn’t going to give you the best results, as mentioned above. An ideal training week looks like a mix of intensity’s, some cardio and some resistance training as well as planned rest and recovery session.

 

4. If your sweatier your burning more calories

The more you sweat, the harder you worked, the more calories you burn. You see this with the hot studios now, trying to trick you into thinking you burned a bucket load. It gives you the perception of working harder but has no overall effect on the energy used in your workout.

Instead, sweat is just your body trying to cool your skin and regulate your internal body temperature, and it depends on you, different people will sweat different amounts. So if you are using sweatiness as a guide to how much fat you burned, try to tune in to your internal cues instead.

 

EATING DISORDER COUNSELLOR

 

5. Fasted cardio is the cure for stubborn fat

The idea behind fasted cardio is that by burning energy first thing in the morning you can target specific body fat stores. Research does show this to may be true during your workout, however, it is the overall daily energy intake and usage which makes the most impact.

  • Are you are doing fasted cardio are you then going home and eating everything in the cupboard because you are starving?
  • Are your workouts sluggish and tired because you don’t have the energy?
  • Are you finding a massive afternoon crash when you run out of fuel?
  • And is this going to be something you can commit to long term?

For most of us, it is really going to make so little difference to your overall health that it is not worth worrying about. What is more helpful is to think about moving more in your daily life and focusing on eating nutritious whole foods.

6. You can spot target fat

I feel like this myth has come from the late night infomercials where the product promises to lose centimetres from your waist merely by hooking up some fancy electrodes that guarantee to lose 5cms in 5 mins per day. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

There is no such thing as targeting a certain area to whittle away the fat. If you are losing fat your body will take fat deposits from certain areas based on your genetics. 20 minutes on the elliptical bike will not slim my thighs, neither will a full day of tricep work tone your arms.

Working with resistance exercise may change the shape of your muscle which may, in turn, lead to more shape in your arms or legs.

 

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7. The only way to improve your fitness is to go to the gym

I understand that a lot of people hate and dread exercise, the mention they feel sore the next day, it feels uncomfortable when you first start and its just something they don’t enjoy. This makes it twice as hard to get motivated, to stick with it when life gets tough, and to maintain it as a priority for your own health and wellbeing.

If you hate going to the gym, just go there because you feel you have to, or feel it’s the only way to maintain your weight, you don’t have to. Instead, find something you do enjoy and do as much of it as you can.

Pick up an old hobby you practised as a child

Learn a new skill such as dancing or horse riding

Join a team sport and find a fun community

Spend more time outside and walking before and after work or join a walking group.

Start yoga, all the benefits of flexibility and body awareness plus will help to reduce your cortisol- (stress levels) which have a huge impact on your sleep, digestion and overall health.

Let go of the idea that exercise has to be in the gym and has to be a punish.

 

You may have fallen for one or all of these myths at some time in your fitness journey. Thats ok, me too! If you want to learn to let go of the confusion and overwhelm and just focus on being the best version of yourself, I can help.

Have you downloaded my Free DIY resistance training program? 12 weeks of progressive training you can do from your living room.


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My relationship with fitness and has changed and evolved over time. It has been positive and negative, there have been false starts and restarts. I am not an athlete or a competitor, I am just someone who loves movement, loves the positive and transformative effects exercise can have, and I have now made my love of fitness my career.

Where it all started

Nearly ten years ago fitness to me seemed like something others were doing, it was like some secret club that I would never have a chance to be a part of. I was an outsider looking in. I was never sporty growing up, I participated in trampolining for a number of years and enjoyed that, but I was gangly and uncoordinated and generally hated exercise, especially running. I remember being told a number of times how un-sporty and awful I was at exercise and those comments stuck.

When I first start trying to get healthy and fit I quit and joined the same gym 3 times in a year. At that time I was studying at Uni and worked in bars and nightclubs from late night to 6 am, leaving work as the sun was coming up. My diet was made up of Jagerbombs and cup of soup, I did not drink water, not even a single glass, instead, I drank coffee and coke all day long. I spent most of my weekends asleep or hungover.

Back then my lifestyle was making me miserable, depressed, unmotivated and lonely. I was in an unhealthy relationship, in a dead-end job, and felt isolated and alone and alcohol was no longer enough to push those feelings away. There was no sudden epiphany, I didn’t experience any trauma or loss, I just slowly started realizing that the only person who was responsible for making a change in my life was me.

Instead of blaming everyone around me, I started to shift my mindset to make my health a priority. It became something I valued, rather than something I ignored. I made myself a priority and stopped putting myself last. These shifts took time,  tiny steps day by day and many stumbles along the way.

The first steps

I quit my job and I started a new incredibly stressful job in Child Protection where I was bullied and overworked. Fitness became somewhere I could go to manage my stress, anxiety, and frustration from work, an outlet to clear my head and manage my emotions. I was being made to feel small at work and was still in a crappy relationship. The gym was the only place where I felt no longer small, but powerful.

During this time my relationship with fitness and my body changed, fitness became something that I was getting better at, my body became something which I could see changing and transforming. Seeing progress became addictive and as a beginner, I was seeing massive improvements from each session. I still remember how proud I was when I nailed my first push up and pull up.

Movement was my therapy

Shortly after this, I was involved in a fairly major trauma, which sent me to intensive care for a week and required major surgery. I left hospital completely losing all the muscle and strength I had gained from my hard work in the gym over the last few years. I was a tiny shell of myself both physically and mentally.

During this time fitness became a form of recovery from the trauma. I rehabbed my broken body and found strength in being able to move, being able to lift things, and noticing the function and strength return to my body. Lifting become my therapy. The voice in my head was there every day telling me I am good enough, I am stronger than yesterday and I am unbreakable.

 Somewhere I got lost

Along this journey that voiced changed, it planted seeds of doubt in my mind. The ex-partner who told me I needed to hit the gym because my butt jiggled, the trainer who told me I could get on stage if I was just a little leaner, the male co-workers who made comments about my body and my training. Those voices and these negative feelings and beliefs from my past that were usually only outside of the gym had now started to creep in.

The relationship I had with others and with myself had become unhappy and destructive. That same voice was there telling me I am not lean enough never good enough, never perfect enough. This is where my love of fitness and health had now become obsessive, restrictive and punishing. Where I was always pushing myself, never giving myself enough rest or recovery and struggling with feelings of inadequacy.

On the outside I was fine, I looked great and didn’t even recognize what was going on whilst I was living in that crazy obsessive bubble. The problem was I was surrounded by people who deep down felt exactly the same way, I was taking advice from others who also felt small inside and out of control.

So much of this was me and my own insecurities, however I was also surrounded by the brainwashing that comes from the fitness industry a focus on aesthetics, leanness,  perfection, and pressure to look and behave a certain way.  Food shaming, body shaming, and orthorexia are rife in the fitness industry, punishment and suffering are celebrated.  Only now I can reflect back on it and see just how much it screwed me up mentally.

Slowly things began to change

Things all really changed for me in January 2017. After an epic fail in a new job in my social work career I made an impulsive decision to go to Nepal, with the intention of going trekking. I had done little to no research and figured I would work it out when I get there.

I ended up spending 30 days worth of hiking through mountains at altitude, in the peak of the winter, with barely any other tourists in sight. I went in and around the Himalayan mountains, up to Everest base camp and some even higher and more picturesque spots. My favourite moment was at a peak at Kalar Pattar which is the highest part of the Himalayas that you can climb without special climbing equipment. I scrambled up there nearly whilst everyone else was knackered in the hut and just enjoyed the view, peace and achievement.

It was an amazing experience, and I started to reflect on all my body could do, not what my body looks like. All the hours in the gym were now paying off to let me achieve with ease these impressive and uncomfortably long days of hiking and climbing at altitude.

And slowly and surely that voice that was there many years ago came back,  telling me I am strong, I am powerful, I am unbreakable. I remembered the power and the strength of my mind which created feelings of power and resilience, rather than insecurity and doubt.

Where I am at now

While I was there in the freezing mountains I knew that I was not the only one going through this, but that everyone around me was. I was in the majority, not the minority.  I knew that this is the important stuff we should be talking about, sharing and being open with, not hiding behind and feeling suffocated by these thoughts and feelings.

I can look back now and recognize that there were a lot of things in fitness that I didn’t do very well and a lot of things I did that kind of ruined my body. I recognize there are also a lot of things that probably I pushed on to other people too, I have to own that.

I’m at the point now where the bubble has popped,  and once you see some of the BS that goes around,  you can never unsee it. I am here to point out BS when I see it if it helps someone from stopping going through experiences I did.

I have a very healthy relationship with my body, food, and exercise and the things I love in the gym. Feeling strong and powerful are also the things I now enjoy doing outside of the gym. I love exploring in nature going on adventures in the outdoors and I still push my body and challenge myself to be the best version of myself in a way that is kind and from a place of compassion.

If you can relate to any of these feelings, you are not alone.

I am lucky enough that I get to help others who may be stuck in those feelings of insecurity and never enough. I work with women and men to build a healthy relationship with their body, food and self.

 


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How to boost your mood with exercise

There is plenty of research existing now that reports exercise and movement as a natural mood booster.  But how long does it actually take to reap those rewards?

It only takes around 5 minutes of moderate exercise for your body to get this effect of the mood-enhancing affect. Moderate exercise can be anything that get your heart elevated, gets you slightly out of breathe and warms your body which is the blood pumping faster.

All that’s needed is a 5 minute brisk walk around the block for an instant gratification mood boost.

During these 5 minutes the body is releasing feel good chemicals– serotonin and endorphins which are the body’s mood boosters. Moderate exercise also reduces the stress hormones: cortisol, noradrenaline, and adrenaline. These are the stress hormones which cause headaches, migraines, insomnia and irritability, and in excess are linked with depression, anxiety.

Don’t skip exercise when you’re feeling down

Often we skip the workout at the very time it has the greatest payoff.

Avoiding exercise when you feel bad is like deliberately staying up late after you had a terrible night’s sleep the night before and struggled through the day.

That’s the time you get the payoff.

When we feel this way is helpful to remind ourselves just how much better you feel when you exercise.

Think outside the box

Something a lot of weekend warriors struggle with is the concept of doing a shortened session. We can be caught in the trap of all or nothing thinking that an exercise session is at the least 1hour and must be a hard slog which leaves us feeling sweaty. This can play into those doubting thoughts when we are deciding whether to show up or not when we are feeling average.

 

Here are a couple of suggestions for mood boosting exercise:

  1. Take ten minutes at lunch time and walk around the block. Even better if you can get amongst some nature or trees as studies show that a walk in nature over an urban environment can reduce rumination.
  2. If you’re a gym go-er, make a list of your favourite exercises, set the timer for ten minutes and take yourself through an EMOM workout. Don’t overthink it, just do it, and remember to reflect on how you felt afterwards and store that memory in your hard drive.
  3. Do some light stretching or foam rolling at home, get your body moving and concentrate on breathing and muscle contractions. If you are not sure what to do jump on YouTube and have a look for 10 mins stretch sequence or mood bosting yoga.
  4. Go for a dip in the ocean or pool. The hypnotic regularity of a swim stroke and guidance of the black line on the bottom of the pool can provide a perfect opportunity for giving your mind some space to re-set whilst adding to the mood boosting endorphins.
  5. Borrow you friends/neighbours/ sister’s kids and play with them all afternoon: Frisbee, tag, soccer. Kids seem to have unlimited energy and I guarantee you will tire before they do. They don’t care if you’re not very good and you will have big brownie points for getting them outside and away from the screens.
  6. If you have a bit longer on the weekend go for a road trip and find a bushwalk or scenic track to try out. Take your time and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.

Ongoing benefits of exercise on mental health

It is also important to recognize that continued and regular exercise also improves self-esteem and resilience, improves memory and cognition, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression long term, and reduces risk of Alzheimer in older adults

Have you downloaded my Free 12 week DIY program? 12 weeks of progressive overload you can do from your living room.


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When it comes to fitness it’s important to set realistic and time oriented goals, but what about when it comes to our health?Have a think about how you have treated your body the past few months; maybe some late nights, take-away lunches and excessive alcohol. When was the last time you went for a health check or donated blood?They all add up and contribute to our overall sense of health and well being.There is no one magic trick or silver bullet, nor is there one diet, bio hack or lifestyle that will make your body and mind instantly perform. Instead it’s all the little activities day in day out that add up.Have a peek below and see how many of these you are working towards or have a think about your own health and fitness goals.

  1. Have a regular pap smear
  2. Drink 2 litres of water every day
  3. Don’t forget to floss
  4. Drink no more than 2 cups of coffee a day
  5. Practice deep belly breathing for 5 minutes a day to relax and reduce tension and anxiety
  6. Learn how to squat with perfect form, keeping injury free is more important than the weight on the bar
  7. Run a mile
  8. Run 10 km
  9. Swim in the ocean out past the break
  10. Give blood once a year
  11. No phones, no laptops in bed
  12. Turn off email notifications on my phone
  13. Dry july or Octsober or booze free Feb
  14. 8 hours sleep. Solid, uninterrupted
  15. Eat three meals throughout the day of carbs, protein and fat to give me consistent energy
  16. Eat 5 serves of veg a day
  17. Learn and try out a new recipe every week
  18. Limit time spent on social media, 15 mins a day, no endless scrolling
  19. Get to the gym three times a week, every week
  20. Learn how to stand up paddle board
  21. Master the splits
  22. Hold a 10 second handstand
  23. Master the crow pose
  24. Eat less processed food and eat more organic food
  25. Learn how to meditate and practise daily
  26. Do one chin up
  27. Pistol squat, with photographic evidence!
  28. Chest to deck push up
  29. Practice self-care and gratitude every day, either through journaling or mindfullness
  30. Meat free Monday
  31. Eat more fibre
  32. Aim for 10000 steps
  33. Eat mindfully, no more lunches at my desk
  34. Set aside time to create my quarterly goals and check in on them
  35. Get outside at lunchtimes for a walk and sunshine for my mental health
  36. Pack and take my lunch to work every day
  37. Try out a new fitness class, anit-gravity yoga?
  38. Hold a plank for 2minutes
  39. Practice my kegel exercises at every red light
  40. Try out a new bushwalk trail
  41. Read a new book every month
  42. Eat breakfast every day
  43. Take self-defence classes
  44. 3 sessions of resistance training a week for my long term bone health
  45. Stretch, foam roller and massage once a week
  46. Prioritise rest and recovery over exercise
  47. Learn how to listen to my body
  48. Remind yourself constantly of your goals, create a vision board or one giant post-it
  49. Surround yourself with people who inspire you
  50. Practice positive self-talk

Remember health is not just about how physically fit you are, but also includes your mental and emotional health.  These things are often not measurable until everything starts falling apart.  Check-in with your mental health regularly and your physical health will follow!

Have you downloaded my Free DIY resistance training program? 12 weeks of progressive training you can do from your living room.