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Behaviours and Stress Eating

Behaviours and Stress Eating

If we look at client lifestyles, which I consider to be a major component of weight management, we can identify behaviours that may help assist in advising clients on changes in their eating. Certain behaviours can be defined as eating disorders and others identified as maladaptive...

What Does The Indicator Light On My Dashboard Tell Me?

What Does The Indicator Light On My Dashboard Tell Me?

Indicator lights on the dashboard of your car telling you something is wrong are just annoying, right? But they are there for a reason (apart from squeezing money from you for some expensive service)! They blink away in front of you...

A Client's Journey Part 2: "Getting Going"

A Client's Journey Part 2: "Getting Going"

This is going to be a monthly feature probably. We are still following one particular client, this journey started many moons ago and still brings something new to the table each time we visit it. Imagine how you could be inspired by reading the words of someone who actually went on a real weight loss journey, after all the words are the words of a real life person like you or me...

How to Facilitate Change in Diet and Exercise Patterns

How to Facilitate Change in Diet and Exercise Patterns

For most people, modification rather than elimination is all that is needed when it comes to changing ones diet or physical activity levels. Unlike stopping smoking, for example, there is no "quit day" when it comes to behavioural change linked to exercise and nutrition. There may of course be targets...

A Client's Journey Part 1: "Rose Tinted Glasses"

A Client's Journey Part 1: "Rose Tinted Glasses"

Finding out what inspires is a difficult process...when it works , BANG ... we are "in" and it's all good. This is a story of one of my clients stretching over 4 years. The words belong to them, it's a wonderful story of highs and lows, of plateaus and tears, of marathons and heartache, of pain and frustration...

Don't Eat Till You are Full : 80% is Full Enough

Don't Eat Till You are Full : 80% is Full Enough

Recently we were discussing the speed of eating and highlighting how few people take the time to eat slowly and find enjoyment in their nutrition...the premise was simple eating fast encourages over eating which in turn assists weight gain. This is a sort of part 3 to our 2 previous discussions related to this area...

Eat Slowly Lose Weight (Part 2)

Eat Slowly Lose Weight (Part 2)

"Fast Food", indeed lots out our nutritional intake has become "fast" , everything has to be eaten/ available/ done in the quickest possible time...we previously discussed that speed eating (maybe like speed dating?) is just not good for you on many levels. Most of our meals never reach twenty minutes...

Has the Fitness Industry had enough of deal sites?

Two years ago the deal site craze hit the fitness business and like many others we went along for the ride. There are many horror stories out there and I am sure there are equal success ` s too. When we first opened up we ran a very successful promotion for our  personal training, we had a a huge response, but in essence we were giving a fantastic deal, not only did we sell a lot but our website traffic went up tenfold for about a week. So we got business and a lot of advertising. So how did it pan out? DEAL TIME

In a way the  sales "success " is related to how much you want to " lose " per client initially and how much you think you can then flip into full paying customers is how you return on your investment. However you don't always attract by discounting what is right for your business long term.... I think some people would be shocked to hear we had clients asking " why can't I come at 6 pm?" and not understanding that someone was already in that particular slot and wasn't going to be moved just for them. Some people saw the deal  as a quick health fix on the cheap.. trust me this doesn't happen, devaluing  your health is always a strange way to look at life,they  could not understand that we were part of a lifestyle change process, or it didn't appear so.I don't think some people " got it" , failing to turn up on time or at all, not seeing anything other than " cheap" , pressuring for times that were not available , wanting workout plans  ... almost looking at our business as " cheap", maybe you get what you ask for?

Other people however just wanted to check us out, find their place and are still with us now( 18 months later), a remarkable conversion rate meant we kept and retained  a high % of our new found guests.So our first deal venture went well , produced long term clients and got us a lot of publicity.We were probably too generous and at the time deals were selling in abundance..I guess we would call it a success...One thing we were determined to do was to treat our deal clients the same as any other full paying client. I had read many stories about second rate service, failing to deliver on the deal promise, we didn't want to do that, it didn't seem right.

DEAL PART TWO

Roll on one year and we did the whole thing again , different deal company , this time we only offered bootcamps, it appeared that the appetite for a deal was undiminished and we sold hundreds of coupons, the phone rang for what felt like a week...most of the questions were .. well,, what can I say... less than smart. We were giving 20 classes for $49 dollars ( we get 50% of that) .. less than a dollar a class to the business....or $2.50 per class for the client .. for a fully equipped bootcamp you couldn't beat it, deal on.

We had to add extra classes and as such staff to help appease everyone... it just ended up being a headache. Never would you have thought so many issues could have surrounded such simple piece of business.....you would have thought that we were stealing from these people ( ordinary price was advertised at $189)...the amount of abuse we had to endure... people became oblivious to the goal , which we thought was to get healthier , and kinda made it feel like ..well... just about the deal and not much else... I could go on but I was almost ashamed to be part of the whole thing so the less said the better.Just as an example " Deal Expires 10th August" in our advert, people still calling us to " start " on the day before and get irritated that we tell them that it expires tomorrow, like its our fault, phew.However we got through and everyone was catered for.

As the deal came to the end we emailed all (250) the new clients to see who wanted to continue, offering them yet another deal ( basically half  our full advertised price... this gave people bootcamps by the hour for around $8 bucks, by far the cheapest in the city) . Amazingly only one person took us up on the promotion, it was still a great deal, but it came from us ( and not a deal site) and it didn't have the same impact on the psyche of the buyer. We had managed to capture only one customer from 250. The only thing that changed is the price...sadly the value placed by the customer  on  health was lower than $8 an hour, we were absolutely gobsmacked.

I wondered what these people were doing now? Moved on to the next deal? This was a year ago and its interesting to see ( I don't look often) how many fewer fitness deals are now being offered.

In summary we weren't unhappy with our returns , our first training deal was amazing and paid big returns, our second summed up our general feelings on " deals"  that the audience you are trying to attract long term may not be attracted by short term economic means.

Our bootcamps are full and thriving right now....

" I Hurry Through My Day But I Don't Know Why"

Recently we posted about eating slowly , something that I have to remind myself of all the time. As a trainer I work irregular  long hours and sometimes the gaps between feeding get way too big, this means I have to extra careful with my  meal planning, especially in the evening .Some days there can be a four hour gap between eating, if I am lucky I may grab a quick snack , usually an apple or a handful of walnuts in greek yogurt, other times I come home feeling like I have eaten for days. I walk into the house famished , I smell something cooking, its too late to eat big amounts so I have to be careful not to do so. My two favourite strategies are 1)to put the fork down between each mouthful or 2) to push the bowl completely away from me temporarilly and do something to distract myself from the food, I may even get up from the table .I also try to take a smaller portion in the first place.

Often my day is hurried ...and some times I have to ask myself " why"  . Why am I hurrying my day and why am I hurrying my food? I mean hunger isn't an emergency and being 5 mins late for a client isn't going to be the end of the world. ( just as a FYI if I am travelling between 2 places I leave a time cushion gap as there are too many factors out of my control , a short time gap just makes life stressful), maybe I suffer from some level of " martyr complex" where I feel I have to work hard or long hours.

Many of my clients also have busy lives and schedules, some even want to hurry their workouts , I have probably said " slow down your repetition speed" to clients  in excess of 100, 000 times and I probably am not joking.Not only is it stressful to keep rushing but the outcome response from doing the exercise will be diminished. Time under tension is key to getting results! Sometimes I think there is almost a game called " too busy'" and they are all part of it, thats for another blog I guess. The " fast " life people are often the ones who are most stressed and also getting less than optimal results. Now if we can just get you to slow down that eating you might enjoy it more, it may also stop you racing through the rest of everything you do!

I am suggesting that if we can start slowing down our food, make or set aside specific times for eating ( and stick to them ) then we can slow down the rest of our lives, many people want to make each day 25 hours long ...when this starts to happen health starts to become less important ... even during the workouts or exercise thats  are being achieved the person is planning in their heads to rush off to the next thing on the agenda. Stressful indeed.

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10 Signs Your Personal Trainer is a Keeper !!

From the outside looking personal training  is a strange business, it probably has the largest mismatch between ( under ) education and income than any other occupation out there.Its  an easy business to enter but its hard to sustain a full time income unless you become good at what you do. There probably is no other occupation where such ( under) education can return so much income..no other industry  where anyone can call themselves a " personal trainer"...but know one can define what that really means. Its an industry littered with the most bizarre array of skills, abilities, certificates, courses, awarding bodies, and without regulation even a top grade qualification is no indication of the ability of a trainer.

So here are some thoughts based on observation, experience, and generally working with clients for the last ten years. In no order;

10 Signs You Should keep Your Trainer

1.The trainer has more than one certificate and has undertaken some relevant course in the last 12 months, stuff changes all the time...so should your trainers skill set.

2. If  No1 appears not to be happening does your trainer keep abreast of trends in the industry or maintains knowledge intake in other ways...this doesn't include reading the old copies of Mens Health in the Doctors waiting room. I read  a new habit, nutrition or health related book each month.

3.They listen to what you say and tailor your workouts accordingly, they have more than one way of altering  the exercise and can do that seemlessly . They explain the change and don't blind you with bullshit.

4.They turn up on time, return calls and emails , are presentable , are not on the phone ( really as a trainer how many times do you need to check your phone in one hour?) texting away. My dentist doesn't use a mobile phone whilst drilling in my mouth.

5.Gets the balance right between listening,understanding, pushing, advice , encouragement.. you feel comfortable with this person.

6. Your trainer has some personal goals and visions for their own health and fitness, they are proud of their achievements to date and are always trying to " grow"

7.Your trainer takes notes, records data and offers advice based on the information from  that  data ..

8. Your trainer inspires and encourages you, picks you up when you are down without negative judgement , you want to leave the session feeling positive...right?

9. Always knows when to refer out...I am not a doctor, a marriage counsellor, a specialist in migraines, a lifestyle coach ( I do refer out to for clients who need this type of coaching, it helps me along the way )

10. Doesn't let you get away too easily,we all have a list of excuses , yes me included, but hey we are here to change things  , sometimes tough stuff is needed!!

Thoughts and comments always welcome.

Comfort Food Thoughts..

I stole this wholesale from a trainer in Toronto who had this on their website, her name is Lynsy so if your out there you deserve the credit, I loved this sentiment... read on..
COMFORT FOOD
It is time to change our definition of COMFORT FOOD.
We all use this term on a very regular basis, and usually when we're describing foods that we know are not good for us. These foods are usually behind our emotional eating, weight gain, low self esteem and confidence, poor digestive habits, stomach aches and an overall 'crappy' feeling once the food has been ingested. Typically this comforting feeling we get from these types of foods last for a few minutes, and then the guilt sets in, along with all those fun things I just mentioned.
HOW CAN IT BE COMFORT FOOD IF IT ACTUALLY MAKES US FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE BOTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY IN OUR OWN BODY?!?! How can it be comforting if it contributes to unhappiness and poor health? We need to change the meaning of this word now, and forever....
Fat and Sugar are not comfort foods. They are an addiction, and in fact this has been proved over and over again in many different scientific studies. These studies are done on the brain responses to food and desire for food and of course in terms of actual weight in adults and children.
YOU ARE ADDICTED. The only way to break this addiction is by practicing healthy habits one meal at a time. This is something that is extremely difficult, otherwise it wouldn't be the epidemic around the world that it is today. You need to take responsibility, you are and adult and capable of taking control over your eating habits. Don't let food control you, it is seemingly ridiculous to think that a donut from Tim Horton's will win an afternoon snack battle, or McDonald's runs your fast paced lifestyle. "Well body, instead of of feeding you fuel I'm going to treat you like a garbage can, because hey I just can't say no to those french fries!!" Sounds pretty insane when you think of it that way... but that is exactly what is happening!
It is time to start making the decision to make better choices, you'll be shocked at how quickly you feel empowered, confident, strong and physically lighter. Your body won't be weighed down by the actual food or more importantly the guilt every time you make a poor choice. YOU DESERVE better treatment, if you don't treat yourself well why should anyone else? These healthy habits (or unhealthy habits) run full circle in terms of your career and relationships as well, so ultimately if you take care of yourself physically you're also taking care of yourself in life. So start today, make healthy decisions one at a time so it doesn't seem like such a huge change, that is the only way to make it work. Beat your addiction, make it a priority, take control.... or stop complaining. In fact, stop complaining.
I hope this comes across well, sometimes the truth may seem like tough love, but that is exactly what it is, tough love. You'll get through the tough part and learn to love yourself and the world around you on a whole different level. Don't believe me? Prove me wrong, or better yet, prove me right.

Are the fit getting " fitter " while the rest stay still..???

This has been on my mind for a few years and its something I see all the time. By now most of the New Years Resolution people have " failed " in the gym and put the kit bag in the back of the cupboard... at least they have tried , right. Sadly its probably this group of people who the big box gyms court so heavily emotionally at the start of each year  who need the help the most.

Go into a busy spin class mid January , there they are at the back of the room getting physically crushed and probably emotionally crushed by whats surrounding them. Desperately trying to burn calories in a 60 min power class , the instructor doesn't care about the outcome , nor does the gym. I have never heard an instructor yet say, "hey you are   new, is this your first class..???  ..feel free to stop and leave when you want, cool down for 5 before you do that..work at your own pace, its not a competition... etc etc. "

Its a really intimidating environment mentally and physically. ( it would be nice if gyms offered taster classes , 30 mins max, show them the bike set up, give an idea on intensities, make them feel welcome .. ) . These people are usually in  a spin class based on loose info from the membership sales team that " spin can burn up to 800 calories per class"... The usual outcome is something like this... person gets frustrated at lack of progress....motivation drops...attendance suffers...and so the journey towards leaving the gym quickens...

Meanwhile at the front of the class the instructor is sharing the latest private gym based joke about the "new joiners". It takes a lot of courage to go down to the front of a new class, you fear the watchful eye and critique of the instructor and the critical eye of the fit ties.... Also down the front in the fitties section is the professional spin groupie, colour co ordinated water bottle in hand , matching headband and pro cycle shorts and shoes...

This happens in other classes, the person who can't get that stretch in the yoga class may even find the instructor pushing them into position, its sort of humiliating, and I have seen it with my own eyes.Its hardly encouraging for the struggling newbie. In the end we tend to just have classes full of clones ...if you don't fit it.. well you know the outcome..

I find there is little encouragement in gyms for beginners, newbies, people with issues , however there are " 100`s of classes per week " for the ultra fit. Any encouraging programmes I see are " sold " as a package .. not a bad idea unless the person has been emotionally blackmailed into buying to maintain someones sales quota. ( and yes I have seen evidence of this in the chain store gyms, sad but true..)

It would be revolutionary but why don't we change our approach to minorities in the gym , after all we want them to join  the majority... don't we?

Another Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer....

Occasionally we are going to do a snap shot of a day in the life, today is the second in a series , its hard hitting and nothing in here is untrue or spiced up to sensationalize . Read on. Its Friday , for most the last day of the week, for me its day 5 of 7 this week....trainers can get worn out too!! The day starts early, 5.30 am , I eat before I leave, this never changes even if I am running late, its cold as I hop on the bike, probably about minus 5 degrees but its only a short trek to the studio. First up its bootcamp ( BC for short) now it our third year and still full up 3 x a week. It takes a lot of effort to attend at that time of the day and we are still rolling with a full house, today is a station circuit , 50 seconds per station, 10 second rest, 3 sets per station , ( we do a working set, an isometric set and a working set back to back depending on the exercise) we work hard , we still have a laugh . Three bootcamp members (later) today are starting a journey to become personal trainers , which is awesome , I am going to be more than happy to help them grow and develop as they work towards their goals. I am proud of them...

One hour later we are done and off people go to work ,get the kids ready for school,and the next client comes in. We will call the client DP We have been working together for over 4 years and have a fantastic relationship, always smiling and sharing a similar sense of humour  aids to the session flying by. DP missed the first session this week so we pull back a little on the resistance levels paying close attention to a couple of injuries , we always do something new, I like to challenge each client mentally and physically. The client is having with breaking or changing some food habits and we agree to have a sit down hour in the coming week to go over some issues and hopefully we can find some agreed solutions.

Next up come a couple who are relatively new to Inspira. Last week the gentleman came on his own and felt the after affects of solo attention for a few days. From a training perspective its not nice to get feedback that points to me overloading the client and we agree to lighten up today. I regularly check in during the session to see if we are aggrivating any part of his body that was bothering him last week.We regularly rest as required. The session goes real fast and we swap  coaching ideas ( he is a lifestyle coach...always full of pearls of wisdom that I rebound back on to my clients)...we always do an educational component to each session , usually about movement patterns, what does what and why  in the body. I encourage them to get at least one session done before we meet next..

Back on the bike for a 20 min cycle south, its still colder than I would like, I guess its good for the complexion...and it burns a crap load of calories.I have pre written the next clients programme but H has just come back from an injury so we have to see how it goes, for example one row motion hurts the elbow, a quick switch doesn't help so we search for an alternative exercise. Ok thats better and the client can continue without pain... H is another long term client who always makes time to ask how I am and we swap a few stories health related along the way. Its all good at the end, I must remember to follow up on that elbow situation in a few days.

Moving again to another long term client, I arrive and SC seems bit down and quiet , it takes me at least ten minutes to ask and I find that she has been diagnosed with arthritis in her big toe,( she has been in a lot of pain probably from running and has other foot issues) this is a big problem as she is running a 30 k at the weekend and worse is leading a team of Running Room entrants ( and doesn't want to let them down at the last minute) . In short we are going to have to modify many exercises ( those that use the big toe to push off , bend , generally use...did not realize that even eccentric part of the squat was also a problem) ..so we have to think quickly, do some mental reassurance and show some quick " foot box" exercises for the ankle to try and take the pressure away from the painful area...( I found out 2 days later that the race was run and the soreness in the toe probably changed the gait pattern and caused some grumbles in the hip musculature..but hey we got there...)  We did discuss the possibility of not running especially as the " pain" and other potentially related injuries seem to be increasing with time and usage.

A quick 20 minute cycle back uphill and into the wind ( cold, cold, cold..) to the last client of the day,,,we have been training frequently just recently , working at increasing strength and at the same time introducing new and different exercises. We have been training over a year and progressing nicely . K was a complete gym and weights virgin a year ago , now she can do many many things that make me proud...her skill set has gone through the roof and she is probably only one of a very select few who has never sworn at me during a session. Soon..maybe soon.

Its bloody cold but I go home, exhausted, change clothing and pop out for crushing 30 min run in the cold, hard but enjoyable, have to keep in shape, have a 10 k coming in May so have to start training earlier if I want to beat last years time....,I am tired ,its early to sleep tonight.