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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...

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 off..in 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 month...it 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.

SUMMARY

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.

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.

So if the Fitness Industry is a mess what should we do?

What do I see in the future of the fitness industry? I recently devoted a blog to my thoughts on why its such a mess and out of control, it is after all a relatively new industry ,commercial gyms probably only came into being in the 1970`s, Personal Training, as we know it sometime in the late 80s... My point in short was that it has become a sort of cash cow preying on fear and emotion...( for example big box gyms like to exploit this ...my most recent work experience within such an environment had me hawking my services around at about a minimum investment of 5k, selling a minimum package of 50 sessions, this was somewhat painful if, in my professional opinion the client only needed 20 sessions , and after all its the " professional " you are paying for, as such I had to attempt to sell something that the person didn't really need, or indeed want )...yes folks it was all about the money, never about the client.

Needless to say client results ( those who had paid for a trainer), in my opinion were low and trainer turnover was high....it was like a semi successful business model , one side made a load of cash , the other side of the equation ... well, you know what I am saying.

My first observation I guess then across the whole industry is lets see clients as people not as a waking ATM machine, I once heard a training pressuring a client to come back and train again on the same day, yes, really.

Secondly lets put some regulations out there that mean something, anyone can own a franchise small box gym, a training studio, don't get me wrong it gets more opportunity  to people out there in places that weren't previously served , but hey can you imagine running a yoga studio and not having a clue about the discipline , not able to offer basic gym user advice is surely a recipe for disaster.

Yes its about business but really its not is it? Its about health.

It appears that anyone can open up a chain of weight loss clinics and franchise them to anyone who has the cash...there are many of these chains out there, are they any good at taking your cash and giving results...well they are good at one side of that equation too. Can you imagine giving cookie cutter weight loss advice too someone who is desperate ...would you feel guilty if you were selling like this...

Thirdly, I am bored with fad diets and the people who peddle them...book after book, do you know how many times in the last ten years of my career that some one has said to me " what do you think of Atkins, South Beach, Cabbage soup, hi fat , low fat, low carb ...latest book on Oprhey  etc etc" its crazy.. publishers wanting to cash in , fashions are fads eating healthy shouldn't be.

It drives people crazy as they jump on board the next train to " ten less pounds" to fall off at the first station. Ever notice how many people want to lose " ten pounds".... .The whole media , Tv , press, advertising should consider that pumping out health advice for profit isn't really helping.There are some great exceptions ( I like Dr Oz ..but even then he recommended something last year that was sweeping the nation so to speak , I even saw handwitten cards in a local supplement shop proclaiming basically you were going to lose 20lbs and live to a ripe old age if you took his product, emails swept around the net... and then.. nothing).

Everybody wants the scoop , then the next scoop...it fills up TV space. I saw a programme yesterday morning selling a treadmill with a desk built in so you could use your laptop and still use the treadmill, apart from the fact that its dangerous , stupid and  totally unnecessary the show just went right along recommending it, ITS WRONG GUYS. You have a responsibility to the nation to give good, impartial ( not product placed ) advice.

Fourthly, lets start thinking for ourselves, do we need reality TV shows to tell us our nutrition is crap, do we need another diet book to tell us what we are eating is wrong, do we need anymore people telling us to exercise more,eat more vegetables, get more sleep , guys we can do this for ourselves , we don't even need gyms... lets not be dictated to by some early morning chat show host who knows nothing about anything really let alone fitness , lets be mindful on what we are doing.

Just think where did your grandma go for advice on nutrition, she didn't she worked it out for herself.

Whats Wrong with the Fitness Industry and why is it not working?

Been holding off on this topic for a long time but its time to share some thoughts on whats going wrong. Lets see ... more gyms than ever, more trainers than ever, more health fitness and diet books, TV shows offering advice .. more companies trying to sell you your dreams, endless lose weight franchises.. I could go on... do you see where I am going with this ...health in general is getting no better despite advice and facility availability  reaching an all time high...Nautropaths, holistic nutritionists, dieticians.... ten a dollar , personal trainers " qualifying " by the bus load, gyms open 24 hours at the end of the street dragging you , sometimes literally in the door...so how come the health of the nation at every level is getting worse.

Where do I point the finger?

1. Government... a client recently told me he was meeting with a senior ( very senior ) government minister to discuss " health programmes " , I can't go into further details but lets say it was a good job I wasn't meeting the guy ....what does the Government do now, when you think about it it scrapes by with the bare minimum of input . A couple of years ago they even raised HST on for example " personal training" , hardly encouraging and a pain for gyms and their owners. But what could Governments do ... lets see... what about taking fast food adverts of TV that are directly aimed at children.... what about more funding for schemes such as " Right to Play" , what about banning sponsorship by fast food companies of sporting events ...its been down with cigarettes, why not with junk food. Mind you some sports would fall apart without MacDonalds and Coca Cola`s funding...at Government level the list of educational and financial input could be endless... why not use some of that extra revenue raised through HST and put it back into health, what about subsidizing obese peoples gym memberships and allowing Personal Training to be available to these people through health care schemes..

2. Big Gyms: Always advertising on the radio and TV promoting themselves, but what do they give you? Ever walked around a big box gym ( lets say in May) and check out a class, 90 % plus of the people in the class don't really need to be there ...then 10 % who do need to be are not even really getting results . Are the wrong people going to the gym, do the people who really need to go ever sustain attending more than a couple of months ( they end up paying for the next 8 months as they either can't cancel membership or feel too guilty about giving up)...gyms can be intimidating to the people who need them the most...do you ever see a gym advert showing overweight people ..? Do they specifically try to help minority special populations...not really.

3. Personal Trainers; Possibly the worlds most unregulated " profession" , countless certification providers, no continuity , poorly educated , ( its not there fault by the way) and allowed to work in a industry whose standards should be questioned and thoroughly scrutinized . Did you know that a 3 day training course and a 2 hour exam is all it takes to become certified in this country , then you are licensed to " kill" so to speak. When you compare time spent " qualifying " as a trainer relative to other professions its laughable , would you let a doctor tell you what to do, diagnose you, offer you a health opinion if they had  40 hours max education. I think not. Things seriously have to change and I speak from very close personal experience as we take on board coop placement students from local colleges for work experience, what they lack to be considered " safe"  , even after 2 years of college ,is shocking and sad to see. There is no one out there providing uniform standards or qualification, no one governing body and no sight of one on the horizon. Did you know that anyone can call them selves a " personal trainer " regardless of qualification, would you trust your body and maybe even your life to someone who is $30 an hour on Craigslist who is actually showing you a photo of themselves shirtless and showing off their abs..is this what it has come down to...you are better than this people..

 

4. Magic Formula Weight loss centres: Hand over your credit card now, but before you do ask them for their success ratios ... I know of one that keeps it statistics looking good by throwing people off the programme if they are not losing weight...no wonder " results are guaranteed".. these places play on your emotions, sell you some product and then sell you some more. There is no magic formula, its all down to you...I approached one of these places recently offering training services for their clients....apparently "their clients don't need a trainer", flabbergasted I left...

The fitness has been turned into a cash cow as business see an opportunity to make some bucks, I won't point fingers but the list of bad boys out there is big and growing , be careful where you spend your hard earned..

Better Nutritional Habits ( Part 2)

So its 2013 and everyone is working on looking better, or so they tell you, its hard to make changes to your lifestyle ,  I have been training people for a long time, getting results is harder than you think, getting people to change even one small habit can be a struggle. In Precision Nutrition ( J Berardi) 10 habits are highlighted as a way of taking charge of your body and hence results...lets look now at those 10 in detail:

Habits

1. Eat every 2-3 hours...this stimulates your metabolism, balances blood sugar and helps maintain lean mass, remember every time you eat you have the opportunity to make your body better or worse.

2.Eat complete lean protein with every meal ( for women 20- 30 grams of protein per meal, 1 palm sized portion , for men 40-60 grams of protein , 2 palm size portions) Sources ground beef, chicken, turkey, bison, venison,tofu, egg white, salmon, tuna, cod,cottage cheese,string cheese, milk protein supllements

3. Eat vegetables with each meal ( 2-3 servings )

4.Eat carbs such as rice, bread , pasta, sugary food only after exercise,( 1-2 ) hours after,this applies to anyone looking for fat loss.No exercise ... no carbs..

5. Eat healthy fats daily.30% of daily total calories from fats split into 1/3rd saturated,(animal fats..eggs, dairy, butter, cheese) 1/3 monosaturated, (olive oil, nuts, nut butters, acvacado),1/3rd polyunsaturated (flax seed, fish oil, vegetable oils)

6.Remove beverages with calories in them...fruit juice, soft drinks, coffee,othe sugary drinks...gatorade etc..if possible stick with water and aim for 8 glasses a day

7.Eat whole foods instead of supplements... eat bars, take shakes ,  and use  supplements  sparingly, nothing beats the real thing. If you plan to use supplements use the best, check out www.mytruehealth.com

8.Plan ahead and prepare food in advance.. this could include preparing meals at the weekend for the forthcoming week.

9.Eat a wide variety of foods as possible.

10. Plan to break rules 1-9 10% of the time.

 

There  you have it, its not ultra complicated, it takes some thought, planning  if you need help and advice feel free to contact us...

Good Nutrition : How to achieve optimal results! (Part 1)

Nobody knows how many diet books are in circulation, its in the thousands , people buy them clinging to the hope that some where between the covers all the answers to " weight loss " or indeed " gain" can be found . Its a huge industry , each author tells you to follow this plan, this advice, but if they all held the answer then we would in theory only need one book, they come and go in trends ( just one feature on the Ophray Winfrey Show was enough to sell thousands of copies)....low carb, high fat, south beach, atkins ... but successful body transformation is not as easy as people are lead to believe.As John Berardi put it nicely in his Precision Nutrition manual " how often does merely reading a book cause someone to change the habits of a lifetime' . When you think about it these cooker cutter books obviously cannot work for every ready, its way more personal than that.

He continues to suggest people need action based strategies and that book reading is intact just that, " passive", this is based on the premise that to change body composition is as much about re wiring the brain as it is changing your diet. 

Indeed in her new book " The Weight Loss Prescription " Dr Ali Zentner suggests " lets face it , diets don't work... they are only for a fixed period of time...they offer a beginning a middle and an end" In contrast " lifestyle changes offer a completely different mindset and a way of doing things"

Indeed all diets restrict calories, its a way of making results ( and book sales) possible.

Even if you find the knowledge you want in a book and you know exactly what to do you will not achieve them unless you turn what you know into action. Not doing anything is the biggest hurdle to change! People it appears are good at seeking knowledge but poor at applying it.

 

Dr Berardi suggests 10 tips towards achieving success, at the moment I am being coached through the same system and its pretty powerful. I like these and see this with nearly everybody who is in a body change situation.

Tips

1. "Maybe You don't know"

I like this one the most. Imagine the conversation between a doctor and a patient : " you need to lose weight and exercise more" In reply the patent nods their head "I know I know" The patient has probably heard it may times, but even though they think they know maybe they just don't and use the " I know" as a standard reply as a mental shortcut to shut off the brains. Do you really know something unless you have actually done it ?

 

2. Match behaviour and goals.

Stuff doesn't happen just because we want it too, it only comes to us when we engage in the right behaviours, if the goal is big the behaviour should match the goal.

3. During the course of any change programme there will be peaks and valleys

Stuff comes along that throws you off the path you want to travel on, it happens to everyone, you can't be full on all the time.

4.Start small and slow.

Too much change too quickly can be overwhelming and self defeating, however as with tip 2, if the goals are big small change will result in small not big results

5.Start basic, then individualize to suit your needs

6.If you have specific goals measure them..

This can be done in many ways but at least you know where you are at and how its all going!

7.Measurement and Expectations

Progress can be hard to see on a regular basis, plateau`s can happen frequently, stagnation can occur...if you stick to it change will happen sooner or later , don't be discouraged

8.Dont live and die by numbers.

Dont relate happiness to a number( good or bad ) on the scale..this isn't just about numbers but about health, longevity, energy levels, sleep quality etc..

9. Reasonable progress

Understand reasonable progress, celebrate small daily " wins' and don't get impatient if you aren't loosing 3% body far each month..

10.Maintain your rate of progress

Quick progress cannot be maintained indefinitely ,as you get leaner for example you body will fight to retain fat, around this time you may have to start tweaking what you are doing to get the body to change its response to stimulus.

 

Part 2 where we look at habits will be coming shortly...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to our new blog,have a positive day!

Having been in the fitness industry over 10 years it felt like the right time to spread the experience and knowledge to a wider base. Have never been really keen on Facebook, Twitter and social media , but as it happens they can be good mediums for sharing information. So we stumbled into this on the basis of simply wanting to" help" more people. After about 5 years of personal  training the reality of "getting results" or not as the case may be was hitting home hard, clients were working hard in the gym, too much so in some cases but nothing was happening to those measurements in either direction.What to do? I kept hearing expressions like " good abs are made in the kitchen" ..." you can't out train a poor diet" . Time to change the outlook as a trainer. Do people really need to get better at squatting? Do they really need to bench more weight? Or do they need help and advice in other areas? In 5 to 10 years time the title "Personal Trainer" will cease to exist in my opinion its already dead and buried,most of what I see in gyms right now is inappropriate for the needs of the client and is centred to much on historical methodology or the trainers own private workout pattern. I have turned away from tradition towards a much more client centred counselling approach, you could call it Lifestyle Coaching, we look at change and how it can be facilitated, after all the person is already coming to the gym but it is outside  of the four workout walls where results are obtained, we encourage small achievable changes that can be easily met, set too high a target and the client will fail and feel like crap.

So today chose to do one positive health thing, and again tomorrow, set yourself a weekly behavioural target , " i will exercise 4 times for 30 mins in the next 7 days"...and maybe one for the month...see how you do , watch out for further posts

In Health