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Liquid Calories Add Up Fast

Liquid Calories Add Up Fast

When people are filling in food journals I always remind them to add all liquids ....not just water but juices ( we recently discussed that  fruit juices could do without being in the fridge) , pop ( same as fruit juices) , alcohol, tea, coffee, yes calories are lurking every where especially fat and sugary ones...

Do I Live Each Day Close To My Values?

Do I Live Each Day Close To My Values?

After an amazing weekend at the Precision Nutrition (PN) course with like minded people from all across North America, I have many topics that I could  focus on. The weekend oooooozed information! I have pages of notes, tons of ideas and masses of perspectives that I am going to disseminate and write about.

Top 5 Health Excuses and some Simple Solutions

Top 5 Health Excuses and some Simple Solutions

I always like a quote, especially one that I can turn into a blog. Recently I saw this one that I liked. "If it's important, you will find a way. If it's not, you will find every excuse not to." Here are 5 excuses I often hear from people and some simply solutions to address them...

Confronting the Truth: It's Tough

Confronting the Truth: It's Tough

As a trainer I am often giving advice. I generally have an opinion on most things fitness related…are they valid?  I hope so!   One of my guiding lights is Dr John Beradini, who runs a company called Precision Nutrition based in Toronto ( He was recently chosen as one of the top 20 most influential trainers in North America by Livestrong. He has a lot of awesome stuff to say…

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...

My Journey ( so far) in 2013...

Its only late  April and I already feel that I have accomplished a lot and I am pleased about that... I am going to share with you some stuff that I am proud of... The Alcohol Factor

In previous blogs I mentioned that I abstain from alcohol from the 1st of Jan for as long as possible..I have done this without blemish for 30 years ( the longest was until the 27th April some 2 years ago) this year I hit Friday 22 March...its like the only New Years resolution that I have " started" i.e. I only have one habit to work on....It takes some resolve to achieve and one way of spurring me on is to tell my clients, this means that they check in on me and push me along. Anyway I don't really do it for direct health reasons but more I guess as a willpower test...if you knew how much I liked the occasional beer you would be proud. During this time my weight didn't change if you were wondering despite keeping up a pretty regular regime of spin biking and weights and a bit of running, more about the latter later.Just as an observation about 3 -4 hours exercise per week.

Running Factor

The running started mid to late February in preparation for a 10k in early May, its become a bit of an annual thing and as my body doesn't like to run that much I have to train early and smart. This year I decided to go out earlier despite the cold weather..and I found that I was comfortable running around 20 mins straight off and felt ok, usually the first run is a killer to my body but I seemed stronger from the off.I soon began to build up my times and within 6 weeks had hit 10 k, for a non runner this was a good feeling, maybe I even started to enjoy it but don't tell my clients as I like to have something to moan about from time to time..

Interestingly when the running started even though I felt my calorie consumption was increasing the weight started dropping a month between 4 and 6 pounds stayed off after an xmas period weight gain. I also noticed how less stressed I became and little things stopped annoying me.

Trainer Gets a Trainer

Yes actually I went and got myself a trainer... Having been a trainer for around ten years this was a MASSIVE step for me...this was also around Xmas time. Why did I do this? This had been on my mind for a long time, as a trainer its easy to stop taking care of yourself as you spend so much time taking care of others...your days are often long and tiring... you can get fatigued quite quickly and it becomes easy tho skip workouts. There is always " tomorrow" , however as I am always telling my clients " tomorrow never comes the the fitness industry, so it was time to bite the bullet. It was becoming hard to stay true to my values and principals I also felt I needed a bit of " looking after"....someone to feedback to, someone to bounce ideas off of...someone indeed to monitor and put value on my achievements...The benefits it seemed spurred me on , someone else was worrying about my weight ( I am not heavy by the way just fancied losing a few pounds and set myself a target....and NO, I am not telling you, but so far so good)... I was actually being held accountable. Very strange and at times frustrating..however it... made me look at how I relate to clients a bit.. dare I say differently..

So we stuck to 2 x a week which was/ isn't always easy , but its been working. In one discussion we actually decided that the all round consistency was the key...if you wondering I got my first " goal" number and have managed to maintain that figure for over a was also interesting, and maybe a bit personal.. discussing " my nutrition" with someone else. It appeared that my calorie balance dipped but not straight away.. in other words it took me a month of increased cardio to start seeing real change. In addition I started to see real strength gains in the gym.

Did a 10 k but not the planned one!!

So all good on the training, running fine with a few niggling issues ...and then I realized I might be away for the planned race date..(15th May) , I had made a promise to a client to run with them in this race...Dilema. The running was going fine and I had hit the distance twice already in training, so 3 weeks ahead of schedule we entered another 10k on exactly the same course...It was bloody freezing as we headed out yesterday morning. Normally I get nervous before something like this but not this time...the race went fine, a nice fast downhill course...and a strong finish, slightly slower than last year but with 3 weeks less running I was happy, and was within my predicted time! . Happy Days!!! The only soreness was light and in the thighs, I was however exhausted but proud.


So far so good , 3 more weeks to the target race which is actually on the same course so thats going to be interesting ...we have stayed relatievly injury free, stayed within my weight boundaries..kept the cardio and resistance training going, only problem on the horizon is an upcoming vacation so we are going to have to plan to get round the issues that that presents.  Updates coming soon.

Change One Habit? Eat More Vegatables...

You hear this all the time, so sorry , but its important.. EAT MORE VEGETABLES.. I feel that especially over the last 30 years people are on average eating less vegetables and increased amounts of everything else.....

How has this happened? Enviroment? Lifestyle ? Change in tastes? Availability? Lack of education? Poor or lack of availability in restaurants? All of the above? I don't think I have the answer on this at all, its hard to think why people wouldn't do something so obviously good for them. I have heard some amazing excuses over my trainer career... everything from texture, taste , availability to " can't be bothered" is complex though as not many people can tell you they don't get the benefits. In simple terms people who are " healthy" eat more vegetables.From a trainers point of view I have seen first hand the results of people making changes in the intake of vegetables!!!


Simply put veggies are a nutritional powerhouse.They contain essential vitamins ,minerals ,phytochemicals and antioxidants..( think kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, red peppers etc) and can help reduce health risks such as cardiovascular disease, colon , prostrate, cervical,thyroid and breast cancer...can help reduce blood pressure,cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, stoke and osteoporosis... quite the list ...

Whats also good about eating more veggies is that they fill you up quickly and leave less room for something less nutritious! Making you feel " fuller" means you are probably going to eat less, feel better, have more the same time increasing vegetables has an even bigger benefit as they are low in calories.So we can feel fuller, leave less room for other less nutrient dense foods, we can eat more overall , feel seems like a win win situation all round.

Many people don't eat enough ( don't forget you can also drink your vegetables from a powered source....maybe something like Greens Plus or you can smuggle them in to soothes or into recipies ) so to increase to the recommended daily amount ( often touted as 5 servings a day) you can start adding them into the days nutrition. Yes you can even have vegetables for breakfast....indeed I put spinach in a shake frequently and chew on some carrots too...yes.... just for breakfast...and then it becomes easier to hit my target as I am already ahead of the game..

TOP TEN ( or more)

I can find many different top 10s but one chart that I think had a great take on the " healthiest " used scores based on car0tenoids, vitamin c, Folacin, Potassium , Calcium, Iron and Fibre...based on that here is my " best"....

1.Collard Greens.2.Spinach.3.Kale.4. Sweet Potato.5.Swiss Chard.6.Raw Red Pepper .7. Pumpkin 8. Carrots 9. Broccoli .10.Okra 11.Cos or Romaine Lettuce. 12.Brussel Sprouts.13.Green Pepper raw.14. Asapargus....

These are all relatively easy to find nowadays...go forage or better still grow your own...


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.


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 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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Eat slow, lose weight, it could be that simple..

Western society has become one of rush rush rush, busy is seen to be sort of status symbol. I hear it every day, "I am too busy to exercise", I once heard a fanatic quote surrounding this topic.In reply to " I am too busy"  a thought provoking reply was "tell me how you do too busy". Its a bit provocative but many people over busy their day and their lives , not only are they too busy to exercise but too busy to even look after themselves, too busy to even eat better, almost out of control.Food or nutrition is not a priority, in fact neither is looking after themselves. Even during the busy day everything is done at a rushed pace, driving is stressfully, the journey to work is fraught and stressful, breakfast is eaten a hurry ... its go.. go ...go... it ends up being a day of mindlessness from start to finish. Everyone needs 25 hours in a 24 hour day it seems.... we all know the end result .... stress, poor sleep, poor nutrition, increased good pressure, the negative list is endless, the positive list is less long. SLOW DOWN THE FOOD

It appears that this is the easiest way to lose some weight. Experiments have shown that eating quickly without putting the fork down can make a difference in a total amount of calories consumed by an amazing amount.Eating quickly showed a possibly 646 calories in 9 minutes but only 579 in 29 mins by eating slowly. A study showed that by not putting the fork down people could eat 67 calories more in 9 mins by eating fast than they could by eating slowly in 29! On top of that the fast eaters reported being hungrier after eating quickly even though they consumed more calories. A double whammy there. Where is rushing taking you?

The body breaks down enzymes slowly takes over 20 minutes to get the brain to tell you that you are full...most meals are over in half that time. Its looking like a triple whammy! Our stomachs are full but we still keep eating ..if we slow down we only eat what we really need.We are treating our food disrespectfully, its all part of go go go... we eat in the car, we eat in front of the TV , we eat lunch of the phone,we eat standing up, it becomes stressful as we worry about our next task, our next job in our over stuffed day as we over stuff ourselves, and we don't really even know why we are doing this to ourselves.

I get up extra early for breakfast, I see it as essential, why would I rush the most important meal of the day...I like to be conscious of what my body is doing, its more enjoyable to taste what I am eating or drinking!!

Its simple when we eat fast we eat more than we need, its crap for our digestion, it increases weight gain, we feel over chewers out there savour every morsel, slow down your day, make time for food, proper time, just slowing down your food is a great way to start to get healthier, start now, yes, tonight!

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 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 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.

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 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?

We all need to drink more water... seriously

Easy to say but hard to do... as with other habit changes you would not believe how often this simple behavioural change is " resisted". When a new client first comes in we measure body water % , almost exclusively they measure below the " norms", interestingly as body fat % increases water % appears to decrease. We have been collecting that data for 3 years . Being " dehydrated " is not always noticeable to the individual and signs can range from tiredness to headaches, even dizziness .most people ( without exercise ) need 2 litres of water a day( 8 cups to you and me).


Here are some tips I found that I liked. Fill a 2L bottle and keep it with you all day this way you can see how much you have drunk and how much there is left to go . Adjusting intake upwards takes some time to get use to the changes in demands on the bladder , just a heads up there, don't drink it all at 9 pm and go to bed at 10 pm.

Secondly have a large glass of water with each meal, including having one first thing in the morning !

Thirdly carry a small canteen style bottle with you ( in the gym, on the bus, in the car)

Fourthly as already suggested , start making small increments , use green tea ( or herbal teas) to help towards you total.

As you increase water it may be helpful to reduce coffee , carbonated and fruit style drinks

Last thought for today, and I have a client who mentions this issue to me often.Drinking water can help people lose fat. My client has often commented that she feels hunger , but what she is really feeling is thirst.She has the symptoms of de hydration but is craving water.. along comes some food ( often inappropriate) come along.Apparently drinking before a meal can reduce average calorie consumption by 75 per meal !!

We will return to this topic for tips on exercise hydration in the future.

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) 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.

Client Objections : How to overcome them....

We have all been there...some one tells us we need to change something in our lives,but whats the common reaction...generally its some form of  resistance.Who likes change .... even people in desperate need begging for help offer resistance . There are always " objections " despite or regardless of the advice... " I can't do that X because of X , Y and Z" ( there are often multiple reasons boosting the credibility of the can't do reasons) Many of the objections are on paper illogical and are often a knee jerk reaction on just being asked to change or there are deeper anxieties over a bigger picture. So how do you manage these objections? How easy is it to change a mindset from one thats closed and negative to one thats open and positive to change.I find often clients are focused on what " they can't do" rather than what they can.... Once a client has made up their mind that their case is impossible the brian shuts down and accepts the failure. The solution may seem easy on the outside ( set a timer on your phone to buzz every hour to remind yourself to drink some water) but sometimes they can't see how to solve their own problem. Hence the coach may need to reframe the situation.

There are 3 compenents  to re framing. 1. Acknowledge the client concerns without being dismissive. To the client the concerns are real even if they might not seem so to the practioner. 2 Move away from negative obstacles towards what the client can do, build up the current good ! 3. Get client participation to solve perceived problems.

It may help to reframe objections by asking what sort of conditions would have to be in place to over come the obstacle that the client is presenting.Moving from acknowledging  of the situation but at the same time looking for solutions . A list of " what if " scenarios can help open up a clients mind to possibilities.If you start to think you can then maybe you can.

Having recognized responses to change objections can all so be helpful.Many of the objections have a common theme and are heard by a coach multiple times, you can re assure them that they are not alone in their quest  and can put the client at ease with a simple quick solution ...if some one has time issues its easy to work on providing solutions, if they have reluctance to give up a foodstuff ( and its funny how many people tell me " I am not giving up X before it has even come up in conversation) let them know that they don't have to and their actually not even being asked to.

Ref :Berardi / Adams " Essentials of Sport Nutrition"

Heard a great quote the other day...

I was watching one of those reality TV shows the other day and the presenter was discussing  changing some stuff around in a struggling bar.The owner of the establishment had invited the TV cameras in for what could be described as " bar makeover" and the presenter was giving out advice... no one it appears like change or indeed being told what they are doing wrong... However on receiving what appeared to be pretty sound advice the owner was putting up all sorts of reasons why he couldn't/wouldnt/ didn't want to make changes to help his business. He was showing all the characteristics of resistance you might expect...these have been identified in a behaviour coding system (Chamberlin, Patterson, Reid,Kavanagh and Forgatch ) He started by arguing and contesting the expertise and the integrity  of the presenter, he continued by interrupting, negating ( unwilling to accept blame, recognize problems, cooperate, take advice..makes excuses, minimizing the issue...unwillingness to change.. etc) 

Eventually the presenter had had enough and came out with the immortal line directed at the bar owner " if you were sitting in a sea of credibility then I might listen to you " ( or words to that effect.

That set me thinking  do people resist advice from a car mechanic and keep driving a broken car, do you ignore financial advice form a qualified advisor or indeed in an about turn has any one ever heard a trainer/nutritionist/ yoga instructor telling the person behind the counter in the bank how to do their job...




Why I was resisting keeping a food journal and what I did?

Until recently I had not allowed myself the benefit of having a " trainer" . Obviously having been a trainer for ten years I have often asked , indeed even given out deluxe food journals for people to keep. From a casual observation it does appear the people who are more likely to fill in a journal are also more likely to get results! So when i told my trainer that I wanted to lose weight I was told to fill out a food journal, a not unreasonable request especially when the trainer knows I also ask the same of my clients. This would be easy I thought (I had never kept one previously despite once previously being asked, I wriggled out of it) , indeed I had wondered many times before  why people didn't, fill them despite the obvious benefits. The diary can show behavioural and organizational issues that a client may have, I sometimes ask people to add in emotional feelings associated with meals..." how does it feel when you eat that"? This can show patterns of non diet behaviours and highlight alternative choices that might be helpful in eliminating negative emotions or reducing calorie intake.

Making people log the times of the food can show for example how hunger has a role in disorganized eating.. we can see for example common patterns arising that contribute to poor eating patterns.

Most commonly ( and also from my observations) the following issues shown by the food journal that don't help " organized eating" :

Not eating within 30 mins of waking ( so many people resist this simple great start to a a good days nutrition)

Going longer than 3 hours between meals and snacks

The journal can also highlight simple issues ( too few calories per meal ), not including protein in all meals and snacks...

But like my clients I found myself resisting keeping a journal, was this going to be used to judge me, show that I could improve my own nutrition..was it going to take up too much of my time, so I had a decision to make. What to do?

However I considered the was going to provide me with calorie level feedback ( after all slight weight loss was my goal)  and as such decision making, it would help me show patterns that may be compromising my efforts, ( I can track my hunger back to questions like " why did I get hungry"?) and it was going to help me create new habits ( it was even making me think..." if I eat this I have to write it down... do I want it that much?)

So I did it and guess what.... I kept it going, after all we are all creatures of habit, initially what was daunting became my new habit, in addition raising my level of food consciousness started to bring results, so far I am proud of my efforts, in future I will work on strategies to help my clients become more compliant in keeping their own journals.

I like the term " best weight"...

Recently I joined the Canadian Obesity Network, something that I stumbled on during my quest for more information on all subjects health related, they produce a neat little read entitled " Best Weight " ( Freedhoff and Sharma). I want to pick out some of the best bits that I think are helpful to those looking to loose weight...

I always like to see if my client has realistic expectations and a plan, more often that not I find that they don't have either. Further questioning may be needed to learn about motives and objectives.Aesthetic reasons can often be a prime motivator and these could be short term ( my daughter is getting married and i want to get into a specific suit) or long term goal like improve self esteem or finding a grew partner...However successful weight loss for aesthetic reasons may be harder to achieve than doing the same for health reasons. If weight loss is driven by self esteem or concerns over  body image then these issues need to be addressed first. To assist in that sometimes I refer clients out to a life coach...

If the goal is health related weight loss its nice to share with the clients what to expect, maybe increased energy or less knee pain....I try to define objective quality of life goals that can be obtained in a reasonable time..success should be measured by achievement of these goals rather than actual weight lost.Maybe we should take away that the goal of weight loss is not about numbers on a scale but to reduce health risks and improve quality of life. Even a 5 % weight loss can produce measurable medical results!

In goal terms its probably best that they are as least daunting and obtainable as possible...rapid weight loss cannot be sustained, it can be achieved short term , but has a negative affect on lean tissue in the body. Sustaining weight loss is more important than achieving massive numbers..its better to lose 50% less than too regain it all and sometimes more back...

This leads me to the concept of " best weight". I do like this concept, its refreshing and I am surprised that I have never come across it before. Its so simple.The book describes " best weight " as a non statistical goal that is easy to set. Clients can take their weight down to any weight they put their minds too, but to maintain that weight they need to enjoy the lifestyle that got them there.

The term " best weight" is the weight achieved whilst living the healthiest lifestyle that they can truly enjoy. They maintain that there is a point when you can no longer eat less or exercise more and still like their life. The weight achieved whilst still liking their life is the " best weight " achieved without further intervention...and that is the lowest weight currently possible.For sustained weight loss the client should consume the smallest number of calories that allows them to enjoy each day.With exercise clients should do as much as possible, but there is a maximum above which the person will not do, chances are they will come to hate exercise, then they quit.

Eating less and exercising more in a situation that the patient doesn't enjoy is the definition if a diet which is why 95% of them fail as the client returns back to previous lifestyle choices. A healthy lifestyle is the smallest number of calories and the greatest amount of exercise that a person can enjoy.

Ref: Best Weight . A practical Guide to obesity management ( Yoni Freedhoff and Ayra Sharma . ) Published by The Canadian Obesity Network