Exercise for YOUR lifestyle

I love working with people who think the fitness industry isn’t for them. Using my experience as someone who has been hugely unfit to help them, as opposed to being someone who has always been super active. Because of this all too often when a client finds their way to me, I discover that in previous interactions with the fitness industry they have been given a one size fits all sort of programme, one that didn’t take THEM into account.

For example, one lady in her late 50s had told the guy at the gym that she had weak shoulders, and that really she wanted to work on overall fitness and balance rather than anything specific to her arms and upper body. In her programme? Chin ups. Right.

Another lady in her 30s wanted to feel better in herself and find day to day tasks easier. Her programme? Mountain climbers and burpees. OK.

Someone else wanted to regain confidence after various knocks. Her plan? Focus on weight loss and feel a failure whenever the number wasn’t right.

Now, I am absolutely NOT slating my fellow fitness industry people. What I am saying is that we are taught throughout the qualifications to come at everything from the fitness world not from the real world. And for anyone who has inhabited the fitness world all their life (most PTs are life-long “sporty-types” in my experience) there isn’t necessarily a difference between the fitness world and  the real world. Whereas for anyone who is just dipping their toe into getting more active there can be a vast gaping chasm.

So for each of the people above? Client A we did a plan that focused on strengthening her legs (she was worried about her knees getting weaker) alongside general fitness in the form of walking and swimming.

Client B we looked at what tasks she actually wants to make easier. Once we had that list together, I was able to suggest exercises that specifically target the muscle groups that are required.

With client C we have removed scales and numbers from any conversations, we focus on confidence and how she feels.

The point of this post? Think about what YOU want from being more active. How will it make YOUR life better. What do YOU want to be able to do? And don’t worry about all the “sporty types” – they’re doing what they want to do and what makes their life better.

Come over to my Embracing Fitness Community on Facebook for more support.

Fun fun fun

“I hate exercise, it’s boring”

“How can anyone bear to go to the gym?”

“But it takes such a long time”

“I can’t stand being in a group exercise class”

“Exercise just isn’t for me”

I’ve heard all these. I’ve said quite a few myself! But *ta dah* exercise can be fun. It isn’t all treadmills and weights, group classes and lycra. It isn’t just the formal workouts included in magazines. It’s so many other fun things that as adults we find we’ve consigned to the “things I did when I was little” basket. How about resurrecting some of those? How about we redefine exercise as “moving your body while laughing out loud”? Or “getting healthier while getting happier”?

Mmmkay. What do you suggest Emily?

Well… I suggest thinking back to what you enjoyed as a child. Did you love doing cartwheels? Go and try again now. Did you love wheelbarrow races? Find a buddy to wheelbarrow with. Were you always climbing trees? Have a look around your local park for something suitable to clamber up.

Don’t want to try childhood things? OK. I defy you to play air guitar to your favourite rock track without a) getting a sweat on and b) cheering up immensely.

Yes, these are all ways to have FUN while you exercise. No gyms, no lycra.

Come over to my Embracing Fitness Community on Facebook for more fun ideas.

Habits

As with so many things, exercising regularly can seem a big ask when it’s not a habit. However, it can be quite straightforward to make some little changes to incorporate more moving into life.

When I start working with new clients, we tend to look at what their average week looks like and what chores and fun stuff they do when. Once we’ve looked at that, we can find ways to incorporate getting more active.

Some examples would be:

Use a basket rather than a trolley in the supermarket (unless you’re doing a big weekly shop, obviously)

Take the stairs rather than the lift at work or out and about

Do short bursts of exercise while the kettle boils

Start to see day to day items as exercise equipment (cans of beans as weights, for example)

Sit down more slowly onto your chair – those leg muscles will tell you about it if you go slowly enough

During an advert break, do 10 star jumps

 

None of this needs specialist stuff. None of this needs a gym. None of this is big and unachievable. All of this, once it becomes a habit, is moving you further away from being inactive.

Small changes lead to big results.

Come over to my Embracing Fitness Community on Facebook for more tips and hints

The right activity at the right time

This week I am doing a course. It’s the GP referral course which will allow me to work with people with various medical conditions, and is also the gateway to several further courses that I want to do. It’s 4 days of pretty full on learning, and so far seems really useful.

However, it’s got me thinking about exercise guidelines vs personal capability. Over the last couple of years, for whatever reasons, my body has spent a lot too much time in the fight or flight mode, and as such I’ve been “stressed” (intentionally in inverted commas – I haven’t felt stressed, not in the way you do when there’s a deadline to meet, or a million things vying for your attention) for much of that time. Funnily enough existing like this takes its toll eventually, and right now I find myself in a sort of chronic fatigue type situation. If I plan ahead, I can find energy for what I need to do, but that’s all. This week, for example, I am finding the energy for this course but it will be at the expense of next weekend, when I will likely collapse; I spent much of last week gearing myself up for it, too.

Enough of the pity party, Emily, what’s the point?

OK, sorry! The point is on this course we are told the guideline amounts of exercise for people with various different conditions. Many of these conditions are attributed to sedentary lifestyles, among other things, so it makes very good sense that moving more will help. However, the guidelines seem to state that for each one ideally the person should be doing some sort of cardio exercise 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes (there are variations on this theme – I’m not for a second suggesting the guidelines are exactly the same for every condition).

Now, from my new position of understanding what it is too need to eek out your energy, and from having been told that cardio exercise is one of the big stressors for my body, I am finding this all very interesting. Yes, I absolutely agree that we all should be moving more. Yes, I 100% on board that my role is to encourage people to get more active.

What I am taking from these guidelines each time we get to that slide for a new condition is that getting active is the key here. It isn’t going and training for a 5k, a half marathon, a triathlon, whatever; it is moving more. For anyone with any of the conditions we are studying being more active WILL HELP. For me currently, being active HELPS, it’s just a different level of active to previously.

I’m really excited to learn more and to see how I can couple this learning with my experience to better support people who are inactive to take those first steps, to find their “thing”. We all have a thing. At the moment mine is walking. I walk with the dogs, I take in the sights and sounds of nature. I used to run to achieve the same, but not for now.

If you’re reading this wondering if maybe just maybe there’s an activity you could try that you just might enjoy, let me help you find it.

Right, I’m off for a snooze before today’s learning…

New year – new you? NO!

This time of year there’s all this “new year, new you” stuff being bandied about, as though the old you was a bit rubbish and the only way to survive the new year is to change your entire self. And how long will it take for you to “fail” at that? I’ll give it a couple of days, maybe a week. Who you are is who you are, you don’t need to become a new you!

However, there may be some changes you want to make, and the start of a new year can feel like a good time to address old habits and start creating some new ones. Gym memberships always go sky high in January, but I’m not sure how many of those people actually continue going. Slimming clubs make a small fortune in January from people buying into the idea that by watching their syns or their points they will somehow ditch all their old habits and become some new slinky creature, who is no longer affected by past troubles.

My issue with the gyms and the slimming clubs is that neither addresses why the person hasn’t made the changes before. Why they want to make a change. What success looks like. What has got in the way before. What are the current barriers. I mean, with all the will in the world, someone who works full time and has small children can pay a gym membership until they are blue in the face, but they still won’t have more time in the day, so ultimately they’ll stop going. Someone who comfort eats when life is stressful or work is tough won’t stop doing that just because their points are adding up.

In both instances we need to look at what is behind the habit that the person wants to change. Look at what little switches they can make to alter old habits – for good. Not put a one size fits all solution onto them, but actually…. LISTEN. Yep, I know, imagine that. A conversation about what is holding someone back, and working out what will encourage them forwards.

This is how I like to work. I like to be my clients’ biggest supporter, their confidante, the person who accepts that life happens and setbacks come along, but who is still there throughout and indeed after. I am by no means a counsellor or life coach, but as someone with plenty of experience of being unfit and overweight, I have probably felt how many of  my clients feel. I get it.

So, if in 2018 you want to address some habits that have been holding you back or that are getting you down, I would love to support you through that. If you think that just because it’s a new year suddenly everything will change, in a flash of glitter, then I can’t promise anything!

Give me a shout. Let’s Skype and see how I can help…