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Fitness Inc. Body Challenge Results and Trainer thoughts…

This past week was a super exciting one for me, as most of my 2015 Body Challenge finished their 14 week challenge. We celebrated with a dinner out and everyone shared their experiences. It was one of the proudest days of my life!

At the outset of the “challenge” I told each of my participants – especially those new to fitness, that in the fitness world, it takes six months to a full year to form their “new normal” lifestyle changes of adopting a regular fitness schedule and exercise. There are no 21 day habit formations, at least in my opinion. It takes a lot of hard work, practice and dedication to stay on track. Once this happens for those months on a consistent basis, then people will see that they indeed have a “new normal” and they will be much less likely to revert back to old habits.

This is where the help of a trainer comes in. Most people find that they need someone to hold them accountable, someone to keep them motivated. That is what is so great about having a “challenge” that lasted 3 and a half months! It helped keep people on track for those weeks. And while some of my clients feel like they can go it on their own now – others have decided to stay on with me once a week to once every two weeks – so I can continue to keep them accountable.

I also had the privilege of speaking on the local radio station this week (thanks to Jo and Jeff at The Drive 102.9 – for PARTICIPATING in the challenge and for having me on air to speak!). I was asked what I got out of the “challenge” as a trainer and my response was this (although I’m going to elaborate more here):

“As a trainer, I learned mostly about the emotional side of the journey of weight loss and gaining health. I did have clients who did not need to lose weight but needed to gain muscle and get fit – improve their cardiovascular function and muscular endurance. But the experience for both situations was the same, the majority of these people have very low self-esteem and no belief in themselves – AND… very limited knowledge of fitness and nutrition.”

For these people, all it took was for someone (and I am so honoured to have had the “job” of doing this) – to believe in them and to teach them.

Admittedly, there were definitely times when I felt emotional myself. Wanting all of my clients to succeed – and being hit with many obstacles and wondering if I was doing my very best to help them and keep them motivated. There were tears – I spent times in the office with tears, I received late night text messages with tears and frustrations… sometimes just not knowing what to say. Thank goodness for me that I could turn to other fitness professionals for advice on certain situations.

All of my challenge clients lost at least 10 pounds during the 12 weeks. Three clients really stood out from the rest with their weight-loss however. One losing 20.5% body-weight (67.5 pounds), one losing 20.14% body-weight (43 pounds) and one losing 17.3% (36.5 pounds)!!!

While I feel that EVERY SINGLE one of my challenge clients were successful, when things wrapped up and the results came in, some of the clients were left feeling sad and “down” asking what could they have done or where did they go wrong…

At this point – I stopped to remind them of all of their successes. As humans, we often forget to look back at all of the little things such as – when I eat out now – am I making better choices? Am I prepping my food each week? Am I keeping a food log? Am I able to pack my groceries in without getting winded? Am I practiceable to play with my kid and grand-kids without running out of energy? YES, YES, YES!!! They are all now CONSCIOUS of their choices – to me that is HUGE. I always reiterate to each of them – that this takes practice! Learning how to ski or play golf or a new language or any activity cannot possibly be perfect right away – so why should your exercise and nutrition by 100% spot on without a whole lot of practice? Of course, this isn’t an excuse to keep falling off the wagon – but its a way of re-framing your mind from that “all-or-nothing” attitude that so many people fall back on -especially with diet.

Now, I will say that there IS a big difference with what my three “most” successful clients did in their approach. First, they took all of my advice. If something wasn’t working – we quickly tried something else – every single suggestion was followed with no resistance at all. Second, they kept every single appointment – we call this “compliance”. I only had three clients who finished the challenge “on schedule”. Yes, life happens, injuries happen, etc. etc. But these people always found a work around. One even broke her thumb and it didn’t hold her back for even one second – we found other ways to grip things – other exercises and workouts… it was not a reason to quit. Of course, I also had one with a severe injury – but even she was able to keep a tight diet and was able to maintain her loss for SEVEN full weeks until we could get her moving again!! The last – and MOST important thing was finding self-motivation. This is the hardest part. Without this, your trainer can only get you so far. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink!

I take this quote from a friend and fellow trainer (who teaches at Fitness Inc.):

“Self Motivation”  The power it has over us to move us forward into greater self discovery and growth or to simply hold us still in fear.
Ultimately every goal is set with intention, excitement, determination and motivation. Inevitably when the path to that goal becomes hard, because it will, the excitement will get lost, the motivation, drive and determination will be somewhere in the air seemingly impossible to reach. Ultimately it lies upon ourselves, our own powerful belief that we can do what we have set out to do. Our own will and drive. As although we may have a wealth of support surrounding us, this does us no good when it comes to the grit and work that it takes to accomplish our goal. It is us alone with our “whispers” that are there to teach us IF we choose to listen. Lessons that can be forever empowering! ~ Lisa Neukomm – Personal Trainer

As I said on the radio and what I will say now – is that all of these clients gave WAY too much credit to their trainers – and perhaps the ones who felt that they were not successful – relied too much on their trainers. The number one piece of feedback we received about what was the “best” thing about the challenge always came back as “my trainer”… and while this makes my heart gush and swells my head to no-end, it also makes me a bit sad… why? Because again… all of these amazing people are still not giving THEMSELVES enough credit!!! I can give you all the suggestions, nutrition advice, workout plans, motivation, etc. – but it is THEY who have to put in all the hard work!!! To that – they deserve the most credit – THEY followed it – THEY worked for it – THEY deserve the praise!

I’ve had a lot of inquiries since we posted the results on our Fitness Inc. FB page as well as my own Facebook Page. New clients are signing up wanting to get the amazing results that they’ve seen with the 20 people that worked so hard these past 14 weeks. I am so honoured to take on new clients and begin new journeys with each of them – however, I now know that when I sit down with them for their initial consultations – I will be telling them exactly what it took for those people to be successful. I will be there every step of the way – but only they themselves can do the work. If they are ready for that – then nothing will stop them!

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Ryan lost a total of 67.5 pounds during the challenge – but his journey started two months before. Ryan has now lost a total of 96 pounds due to his hard work and dedication!

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RhiannonFrontFinish

Rhiannon lost a total of 37 pounds in just 12 weeks! She worked through a broken toe AND a broken thumb (in two spots)!

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Journey of lessons…

 

 

 

 

February already! Although, January was fast and slow all at the same time for me! I’m so blessed to have such a busy clientele at Fitness Inc. and I continue to learn so much from each and every one of them. I often think to myself how I wish I would have come into this profession many years ago… However, one path leads to another and what matters is I am where I am meant to be in this moment. I am on a continuing path of learning through working with so many different people. Each and every person has taught me through experience and has challenged me to learn a lot about myself!

We are one month in to our 2015 Body Challenge! My clients have lost a total of 98.5 pounds and 142 inches in four weeks! Isn’t that incredible? I’m so excited to see where we are all at by the end of April. They have all come so far, but it hasn’t been without many challenges and we all know there are more to come.

My own challenge has been learning how to approach each client individually and learning what will help them be most successful. I used to watch Biggest Loser for years and I still watch Extreme Weight Loss with Chris and Heidi Powell. I always got so freakin’ annoyed at the emotional parts – all the crying and feeling sorry for yourself, wha wha wha…

But then… I found myself WITH these people and I could SEE the emotion in them as soon as I sat down with them to chat. I knew that I would have to slowly gain their trust so that they would know that their time with me was their time and completely confidential. It didn’t take long for each of them to open up to me. I’ve shared lots of laughs, tears, hugs, conversations, frustrations and celebration.

After one short month, I was trying to think of the top few reasons that hold people back from success. I’ve come up with what I think are the six biggest factors:

Knowledge: My mistake was assuming that everyone is as obsessed with fitness and nutrition as I am! Every book I download,knowledge every article I read, every book I buy – fitness and nutrition. How presumptuous to think that everyone else also pays subscriptions to weekly fitness and nutrition research articles, stays up reading fitness blogs late and night, etc. etc. etc. Apparently not everybody wants to spend their free time that way. So my job is to give as much knowledge as I can to each and every one of them – as it pertains to THEIR life! Its my job to find out what my clients know, or do not know – and help them understand the what and why’s! When I relate it to their life their interest grows and they devour it and use it!

Fear: There are many fears involved when embarking on any new journey – especially one involving bettering ones health and fitness. Again, so many assumptions were made on my part! One of my clients actually shared this on her first blog here. Basically, I trotted her into the centre of the gym floor on her first session with me and started instructing her to move in all sorts of weird and new

fearways that she had never done before. For not ONE second, did it ever enter my mind, that she might be feeling a little nervous about being in the middle of a bunch of iron-pumping regulars! I realized that what I did to her was no different than pushing someone off of a cliff who is afraid of heights! This was a huge learning experience for me. People have fear – a lot of it. They have insecurities and don’t want to be judged. Anything new can be intimidating and we can feel very vulnerable. My job is to help you get over that fear – but as I learned – maybe with a not-so-all or nothing approach!

The second part to fear is a little more difficult to explain. I will call it a fear of feeling “uncomfortable”. I think this applies to anyone who has been fairly sedentary for a long amount of time or someone who perhaps starting back again. Perhaps, maybe this is just who this kind of person is! Once, again, I can’t assume that everyone likes to push their bodies to the limit each and every workout. However, there are people out there, who literally HATE the feeling of sweat. Of course, safe and appropriate activity applies first and foremost but if you aren’t willing to feel even a wee bit uncomfortable your body just won’t be challenged and you won’t see improvement. I have to help clients realize that their mind is holding them back more than their body and that they have the power over that. This is something that takes time for sure. I’ve seen my Challenge clients overcome some incredible fear in these first four weeks. Its absolutely incredible and I get so excited and the best reward of all is after they’ve finished a workout that they told me they didn’t think they could finish. They are beaming from ear to ear and so happy with THEMSELVES – I can’t even describe how proud they make me!

Obstacles: This one is forever and applies to all of us – trainers and fitness experts included! There are some obstaclethings you can’t predict. One Challenger got sick her very first week and felt as though she was a week behind. Another pulled a muscle doing a sport she loves and was worried to tears about a setback. The thing that I am trying to teach is that life is FULL of obstacles. We get sick, injured, work keeps us late, a trip is planned – the list goes on. There will always be obstacles. What we need to learn is how to work around them. You can’t just use it as an excuse to quit – there is always a way to adapt and continue. As their trainer and coach, at first, I brainstorm with them on ways to help them get their workouts in or to just encourage them to rest and not fret. After a while, I simply ask them to give me ideas for ways in which they can adapt to whatever the situation is. My hope is that each of them learns that they have the power to adapt and overcome obstacles all on their own.

Planning: This one relates to obstacles as well. Fitness and nutrition take planning. I’m not a huge fan of food prep and I’m certainly not a master at it. But I definitely have an arsenal of tools that I’ve learned to use so that I can get through my days successfully. This is something that takes some practice. Buying good foods that fit with whatever your day brings. For myself, I find that sometimes I’m training clients back to back with maybe a class thrown in the middle and although I add a time buffer to each of my appointments – sometimes things happen and I often don’t have time to sit to eat a meal at all! So I prepare a lot of foods that I can gplanningrab super quick and that will keep me going for the entire day. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work and what I need to buy at the store each week so that I have everything on hand.

In terms of exercise – again – I have to build that into my schedule! One client asked me if I ever got a chance to exercise! Sometimes I will even split my workouts in half – but I have the benefit of being at the gym all day – it might not be optimal but I make sure it gets done and that its efficient and effective. One of my clients is busy planning her wedding! However, she had one week when she didn’t make it to the gym because she was trying to accomplish a bunch of to-do’s. I explained to her the importance of making time for HERSELF. One thing I can say without a stitch of doubt is that from here on in, things just get more complicated women are the worst for putting themselves last and feeling a whole lot of guilt for making time for themselves. I’ve taught my clients that in order to maintain fitness it has to be something that can fit into their lives. Can they picture themselves with this routine a year from now? If not, we need to change it and make it work. You don’t need to spend hours at any activity to be fit – it just needs to be those two things – effective and efficient. If need be – you have to physically put it into your calendar just like any other appointment. Its your health and its just as important as that doctors appointment.

Honesty: I need my clients to be honest with me and with themselves. I’ve learned in a fairly short period ofhonesty time what works and what doesn’t work. I also know through my own experience that you have to be honest with yourself. Are you ready to be committed and dedicated to bettering your health and fitness? If you put in the work – and its definitely work – you’ll be successful. If you don’t, then you won’t get results. There is always exceptions of course, perhaps a medical issue – I wrote an entire post on that here.

 

Patience: This is perhaps the biggest one of all. People are always looking for a quick fix or an easier way. Forpatience long term success, people need to stop looking at weight-loss and fitness as a short term fix or a diet. If you are ready to commit and be dedicated, then it becomes your life forever. It shouldn’t be a form of punishment seen as a means to an end. You need to develop new habits that fit with your lifestyle and that are going to be something you can maintain from this point forward. There is no end date. As soon as you say to yourself, “well, I only have to stick to this diet for a few months and then I will be free”, you are on a diet and not a journey – you can’t maintain a diet – but you can continue to practice, make small changes, learn what works and what doesn’t work for you when you make it a journey.

With things so busy at the start of this amazing 2015 I haven’t made posting a big enough priority. So once again, this has been a pretty long post. I am grateful for all of you who take the time to read them and who give me your continued support. I will end off by saying once again – thank-you universe for the BEST job ever!

xo~Olivia

Reflections and Happy New Year!

Wow… its hard for me to figure out where to even begin. For myself, 2014 was amazing. It was jam-packed with a lot of joy, personal growth and emotion. I don’t say this without some guilt however, as I know for many, some near and dear to my heart, 2014 has been one of the worst years ever.

Its amazing really how much happens in twelve short months, especially if you have children. The daysNY5, weeks, months… go by so fast. Sometimes, you wish you could freeze time for just a little while to hold on to moments that are so very precious.

Its also incredible how much ones health can change in twelve short months. Whether it be from finally making the commitment to dedicate yourself to a healthier life to the opposite spectrum such as a setback due to an injury or even more devastating, an unexpected illness. What I have learned in these past few months is that the human mind is completely in control of our outcomes. The way you choose to approach any situation largely determines how successful you will be, how healthy you will be and how strong you will become.

My year started off with a brand new position as Client Coordinator at Genex Marketing. I was so excited as this position fit me to a “T”. Requirements were: Type A and OCD personality! (haha – JK – not really!). The learning curve was so steep and I loved the challenge and I soaked up everything I learned. Chris Botterill and Lance Smith are the two greatest mentors, teachers and pure technological and design geniuses I know. Well, just take a look at my amazing website! If you are in the market for digital marketing – they are your people.

While I was working away at my new job, running my kids all over the place, working on the school board, teaching group classes at the gym and volunteering for the skating club, all my spare minutes went into soaking up fitness. I enrolled with Canfit Pro to do my Personal Training Certification through home study. I would still have to write the exam and do the practical – but I thought it best to study on my own. Summer came and I wasn’t making progress, I wasn’t making studying a priority. So I enrolled in the course toNY4 give myself a push. Who knew how one small decision like that would lead to the most amazing people and opportunities.

The summer months brought complete chaos. I’m not sure how much stress one can endure in a short period of time, but I suppose I’m here to tell the tale. My work on the school board became a complete train wreck to say the least. I am someone who wears my heart on my sleeve and while I definitely developed a thick skin, a stiff upper lip and found my voice, my heart was essentially broken by politics. A three year investment… you think you can change the world, but sometimes you just can’t. I don’t fail – ever – EV-ER. So much red tape, so many conflicting views and no progress. I feel as though I failed. I failed the children, friends who are teachers, parents, my own kids… I have told many that I absolutely do not regret my time as a trustee at all. It made me stronger, braver and able to publicly speak in front of large crowds! But it also pulled me away from my children. The conflict of interest pulled me away from volunteering at school and being with my children toward a losing battle trying to advocate for everyone else. So my decision to not run again was very easy. I credit any person who puts themselves in the political arena. I’m pretty sure those three years created more age on my face and scalp than all of my prior years combined.

At the end of June, one of my best friends was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Everything I knew was turned upside down. Cancer is all around you – but until its right beside you – right inside of your flipping heart – you have no idea how it actually feels. She and her husband are who I credit to and speak of in my beginning paragraphs. From these two amazing people I have learned what strength, belief and perseverance truly are. Watching the way this woman approached each and every step of this horrible battle has kept me in complete awe. People have said, if it were me, I would be the same. But I am not so sure. For the past six months I have asked myself each day, how someone could have such incredible strength and positivity. She had it all scheduled out – how long it would take after each treatment until she could go run like a crazy woman with her four beautiful daughters. I mean, she didn’t let this hold her back at all… she would have chemo and then be off to a conference 8 hours away, she would have another and be helping her kids submit their projects for the fall fair, another and she was off to Christmas shop in the states. I don’t have that kind of stamina on a normal day!

If you want a real life fairy tale romance you need not look any further than this couple. If you haven’t seen this story – read it here and here.

With the way my journey unfolded this year, I often think that I wasn’t there enough for her. But we shared some very intimate moments, which I am so grateful for. When we shaved her head, I had to swallow the tears back so hard I almost puked – and she just finally got ‘firm’ and told us to move our asses and get it over with after stalling for an hour. She smiled each time I sent her a hokey-pokey article I found… or when I brought her crazy natural concoctions to sample. She always laughs at her crazy friend as we sat to learn how to draw on eyebrows and I totally stole her thunder and wanted to pluck and shape and pencil mine to make them pretty like hers! Here is a shout out to Christine from Dot Mobile Boutique – amazing nails, make-up AND eyebrows!!!

September I began training new clients. Had I known for one second that this job would bring me so much joy, I would have done it years ago. But, I also believe that everything happens for a reason… One path leads to another… and stars align just the way they are meant to. The people who have come into my life through this job, what I have learned from my clients is truly a gift. Each of these people have a story, a story that they’ve chosen to share with me. For that, I am blessed. I don’t see myself as someone who is just there to helpNY3 my clients get fit or to get into shape. For that one hour I am with them each session, I want them to have that hour to be all about them and what they need and what they are striving for to become a stronger, healthier person not only physically but I think, even more so mentally. My hope is that my clients feel a trust with me, that they can open up to me and share what is possibly holding them back. I’ve had very personal moments shared. I’ve shared tears, I’ve shared excitement, joy, victories and celebration. When someone entrusts me with this job, its an honour and I want nothing more but to see them successful.

So although this post has very little to do with fitness and personal training, my hope is that you have been able to read between the lines to capture what I’m saying. Each new year brings new beginnings, new goals and also many new challenges along the way. Often we play the “I’ll do it tomorrow” card, or “Poor me” card. But, if we stop for just a few minutes to reflect – ask yourself whatNY2 you would do if just one day you accidentally came upon a lump in your breast and your world was turned upside down, if you lost a child or a loved one, if you had an injury that made you physically incapable of having the option to active… how would you handle it? I know that after the year I’ve had, I would approach it a lot differently than I would have even five years ago. I’ve learned from someone special that each day is precious and that you can’t wait for tomorrow and you must be positive despite dark days. We have one short life to live and as each new year slips by waiting for tomorrow we lose precious opportunity to be our most amazing selves.

Go out and be amazing this 2015! Whatever dreams you have be them big or small – stop waiting for tomorrow!

Happiest New Year my friends!

xo

~Olivia

Has our world shrunk?

This past weekend, I attended the Canfit Pro conference in Calgary. I attended two, full-day courses, one on functional training and the other on MMA Kickboxing! Super-fun, super exhausting and now I have to write two exams! Yikes! Saturday was a full day of various workshops. The workshops and presenters all talked about changing lives through fitness and healthy lifestyles but two presenters used the same phrase that kind of struck a cord with me. “We are shrinking!”. At first, I was thinking… well that is a GOOD thing because we keep hearing the statistics rattled off in the news almost daily that as a society we have become alarmingly obese and what is worse is that our kids are becoming that way too! However, this wasn’t the shrinking that they were talking about…

So many things today have been made to make lives easier. Tools so we don’t have to work so hard or do so much manual labour. Think: remote controls, cordless phones, dishwashers, swiffer sweepers, robotic vacuums! One presenter threw out a statistic that on average people are burning 750 calories less PER DAY than we were three decades ago! If you think about that – its quite astonishing! If one pound of fat is 3500 calories – it would only take about four days or so of eating at an excess of that to gain a pound! Over a year – wow!

If that isn’t bad enough… think of it in this context: When we don’t exercise, we don’t create energy. We feel slumpy and lazy and our cells don’t regenerate and carry the oxygen that they can if we exercise daily. This translates into not wanting to play with our kids, take our dogs for a walk or even go outside to enjoy some fresh air. If you are overweight or obese, you probably don’t feel like walking around Disneyland or a water park! You might not want to get on a bike and go for a ride, or hike up a great trail to see the world from up high.shrinking2

THIS is how obesity and being unfit shrinks our lives – it shrinks our experiences and our kids’ experiences. How sad is that? Instead of having the energy to play outside – we are in front of our computers or TVs or smart phones and we are teaching our kids to do the same.

I had the amazing opportunity to do a 90 minute workshop with Peter Twist from Twist conditioning. He is SUCH a spiritual, peaceful yet energetic man. I can’t even explain the aura that he omits – his energy is absolutely incredible. He had us team up and we did all sorts of relays using agility drills. The theme was teaching beginners through advanced how to safely use plyometric exercises.  We had SO much fun! A huge room full of adults running races (not to mention we are all trained fitness professionals – can you say COMPETITIVE???). Everyone was laughing and cheering – OH AND OUR HEART RATES WERE THROUGH THE ROOF! Exercise and FUN!! Now that is the best of both worlds. He reiterated, “Safety, not Circus” and “Work so you can Play”. His mantra throughout all of his facilities, and training: “Body Ready – Mind Sharp – Attitude Positive!” – how awesome is that? We had to repeat that throughout the whole workshoptscc-ceo-peter-twist-1.

Sunday when I got home, I was beat – physically tired, mentally exhausted and just plain done. But I had picked up a few new training tools as well as some MMA gloves and pads. So I got my girls up to show them some of the new stuff I learned. I had them punching and kicking and using battle ropes in our living room! We were laughing and they were breathing super hard – they said, “Whoa Mom, this is hard work!” – I replied with, “Yes, but you’re smiling and laughing, which must mean its fun too!” and we all had a good laugh!

So this is something to think on for all of us. What is standing in the way of the experiences you want to have? If it has anything to do with your weight or fitness levels its something that is completely changeable. I didn’t say “easy”, but its something that each and every one of us can work towards to improve. There is almost no injury or illness that can’t be modified for. Each small step is a one step forward to EXPANDING your world and those of your loved ones!

~Oliviashrinking3

Oh Cardio… how I hate thee…

How much do you love cardio?

There are some crazy people out there who love running for hours on end. I liked it myself for a while once too. The thing with me is once I get an idea in my head, I kind of go all bat-shit crazy. It’s go big or go home. So first comes all the reading and research – did I mention type A? I buy books, I read them all, I like every running page on Facebook, I pin running tips on Pinterest, learn the lingo, buy the fancy Nike watch and the shoe thingy, download the apps, make the playlists AND sign up for a 1/2 marathon. Oh right, now I have to run. If you’ve met me, you’ll see right away that I do not have the body of a runner. Have you seen my butt? Let’s just say, I’ve got an “athletic” lower half. Not conducive to winning races. That’s the other trouble – no no no… I’m not in it to finish the marathon – I must win it and have a world record. To make a long story short, as much as I tried to be a runner – it just wasn’t me – at least the long distance stuff. Anything more than a 10K and I felt like this…

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So, at least I was intelligent enough to not do it for long because I knew that doing so would result in some long term injury and if anything scared me it was the thought of not being able to be active.

I still run – but I don’t run for anymore than 30 minutes. I’m also a fair weather runner – which usually means I do it on the treadmill. My Mom once said to me, “I’m surprised to see you running outside – you’re not really an outside, exercising kind of girl.” I felt kind of insulted – but its a true story.

The thing with cardio is that its a necessary part of fitness. We do it for cardiovascular health. It decreases our resting heart rate over the long term, it decreases our blood pressure, makes everyday activities easier and it can and should be enjoyable. We need to find what is sustainable. That is the key word. When you embark on a new activity, you have to ask yourself if its something you can see yourself doing well into the future. You also must ask yourself if its what is right for YOUR body. If you look at the Olympic athletes who do the marathons – or any marathoner for that matter, they tend to be long and lean. Its like they are built to run. Although, the book, “Born to Run”, convinces us that we are all just that, “Born to Run”. I was convinced. But my body told me otherwise.

Find what you like – LOVE to do. If its hiking, swimming, dancing, or running and it works for you – you’ve struck gold! I am also a firm believer that we must constantly keep our bodies guessing. Our bodies adapt at an amazingly fast rate. We have to continuously challenge ourselves (progressively overload) our bodies so that we don’t hit that dreaded plateau. Ways in which I do this are to add one session of interval training (not recommended for beginners please) per week – I pick the treadmill, the bike, the rower, or the elliptical and I do 10 intervals of hard, all out work with active recovery. Then on other days I will run at a moderate pace for 30 minutes, or do the elliptical. On the weekend if I’m at the lake I’ll go for a hike up to the lighthouse, which is a steep incline and always amazes me how winded I get. Another thing I love to do is set up a “cardio-circuit”. This might be one-minute of skipping, one minute of run-ups on the step, 20 squat jumps, and 25 kettle bell swings – do that circuit five times. Wowzers – that gets you sweating.

So cardio doesn’t have to be that dreaded day in the gym. My take-aways for you are this:

1. Is it SUSTAINABLE – can I see myself do this long-term?

2. Does my body feel GOOD after I’m done, or does it hurt?

3. Am I CHALLENGED? Mix it up – don’t let your body adapt.

4. Do I ENJOY it? It shouldn’t feel like a chore – you should feel great about accomplishing it.

Where do we start?

If you’re contemplating working with a trainer and perhaps feeling a little concerned about what they might “do to you”, you should be informed, that a knowledgeable trainer will start with the basics, even if you are at an advanced fitness level.

Most of us have seen it –  the season premier of the Biggest Loser – yes, I watch – I’m a sucker for these shows, mostly so I can pick apart everything that is going wrong. Those first episodes where the trainers are pushing morbidly obese human beings who have literally not walked around the block in years and then they make them do the most obscene workouts on their first day. I  wonder how many releases they have to sign stating that the network is free from negligence if they kill them? We see many lose consciousness and throw up – it blows me away that no one has suffered a heart attack! We know its all for ratings, but these are still real live human beings! Be rest assured you will not have to do THIS after your sessions with me (or any for that matter):

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You will NOT have to sit in an ice bath!

What I CAN promise you, whether you are a beginner starting out for the first time or someone who has worked out for years in the gym, I will be working on your posture first. If its taken you 350 times to teach yourself the incorrect form on a lat-pull down, its going to take me 3500 times to re-teach you proper form. No matter what we do for exercise – a walk, a hike, resistance training, Olympic training, everything must start with obtaining a neutral spine. So if you come to me and I can see that you have a sway back or a slouch, I’m going to start right off the bat with some exercises to strengthen your core to correct posture. Until I see that you have the strength in your core to maintain a good posture, I won’t progress until its mastered.

You may think that that sounds easy or boring but trust me – its hard work and it will make you sweat! I myself am still working on strengthening my lower core muscles so that I can perform certain exercises correctly without injury. Until then, I won’t take the chance – once the damage is done, it will require ten times more patience to repair than if I had worked hard on the BASICS.

There is nothing that makes a trainer cringe more than seeing THIS at the gym: (short video clip).

Bicep Fail – worst form EVER!

So do not be afraid, I won’t scream and yell at you, I won’t make you run 18 miles on your first day, you will still be able to sit on the toilet and walk down stairs the next day. Its all about starting at the basics and going from there.

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