Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Surviving The Holidays

I can’t believe it’s almost December. Seriously where did this year go? I LOVE Christmas! It means time off to relax and recover, time with my family (yep, I like spending time with my relatives, they’re all just as nuts as me!), time for catch ups with friends and the chance to sleep in past 5am (though in saying that my body clock doesn’t always follow that plan). The entire period keeps a smile on my face and me acting like a five year old for the entire month.

Unfortunately this is also the time period where everyone’s Health and Fitness can go out the window and by the time the New Year hits, they have taken five steps backwards. Christmas day itself is not the problem. One day of indulgence isn’t going to cause you to gain 5kgs and lose all of your strength. Everything in the lead up to Christmas is the issue, there’s work Christmas functions: for your work and then your partner’s work, then maybe even a friend’s work! There’s the dinners with every circle of friends you have, the Christmas dinners for the family that you won’t actually see on Christmas Day, there’s the Boxing Day BBQ which can lead into more BBQs and before you know it’s New Years Eve and well that’s just one giant party.

But do not fear, here’s some tips to help you survive the holidays and come through with your Health and Fitness Goals still intact:

1) Don’t use this time as an excuse to just not train. Keeping up with your exercise regime is VERY important. Make time for the gym. If you know you have dinners on, then get yourself out of bed earlier and train in the morning. Drag a friend along if you want company for motivation. If you know for sure that some sessions will be missed, ensure that every time you can get to the gym, you train HARD! Don’t use the holidays as a time to relax on training.

2) We tend to eat out more often as we catch up with family and friends. Make smarter choices with your food. You don’t have to have bread at the start. Do you really need that entrée? If you do, can you share it with someone? Choose a main that is protein and vegetable based. Avoid creamier sauces, go for tomato based sauces instead. Skip dessert, or again share if you really want to have one. I’m not saying you can’t have a few treats, but spread them out and you will enjoy them more. If you know that you are going to have the creamy pasta or dessert that evening, then make sure your nutrition for that day and the day before is spot on, that way you can somewhat counter balance the calories. Have a treat meal, not a cheat day!

2b) Function finger food can be loaded with crap that is not good for you. You tend to pick off every plate that comes around and you lose track of how much you have actually eaten. Try to have a meal before you go out so you don’t need to pick. Then if you do have a little bit of the finger food, choose the healthier ones that have protein and aren’t deep fried.

3) Alcohol. To be perfectly blunt, you should just skip it entirely. I’m only allowing myself a drink on Boxing Day this year as there is a wedding on. I have a figure comp that I’m aiming for in March and I’m determined to get there. Alcohol just isn’t going to help me so I’m saying no. But I know that every person is different. Remember you don’t have to drink at every function. You can say no (yes you can!). When you choose to have a drink then make smarter choices like red wine or white spirits with soda water. Avoid soft drinks like the plague! If you do drink, you don’t have to right yourself off completely. A hangover just encourages you to skip training and eat junk food the next day.

4) Water, water, water! Keep that intake up to keep the toxins flushing out.

They’re my tips to you. Do you have any others I can add that may help other people out? I’d be happy to have them added!

Remember to enjoy Christmas Day, have that piece of pudding/cake/in my case, Mum’s pavlova and ENJOY it! Depriving yourself is not fun, a little bit of indulgence is!

D

What motivates you?

I’ll admit that one of the hardest parts of my job can be keeping my clients on track with their Health and Fitness goals. I can give someone a great program and great nutritional advice but if they lose motivation the best plan can be completely derailed. I’m constantly told that the first few weeks are great and then they just lose the motivation to keep going. I look at this as my responsibility. People pay me their hard earned dollars to help them and I take that responsibility very seriously, I will do my utmost to keep them on track, bring them back if they fall off and get them to their end result. I will call, text, email, talk face to face, harass on Facebook, just about anything to help someone get back on track. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t-that’s something I want to change,

This post is to look at what motivates a person and perhaps give you some ideas to help you with yours.

So firstly, what motivates me personally to train and get the correct nutrition? Well it’s a combination of things. The first one (and probably the biggest) is vanity, I want to look good, I want people to comment that I look good and I’m not afraid to admit that. When I have that little bit of my ego stroked, it keeps me coming back for more.

There is also an expectation in my job that I need to look good. I’m ok with that expectation. This second reason is close to the first. Seriously would you hire a trainer that didn’t look healthy? How can I be expected to have clients take me seriously if I don’t lead by example? So for me this is business-if I want to succeed then I need to exercise, eat well and look the part.

Third is for health reasons. In my family diabetes and heart disease are common and I have no desire to get either one of them. Cancer also scares the beejesus out of me, if I ever have to fight that disease I want to have the healthiest body possible for that fight. I want to get to the age of 90 and be one of those older people who get around by themselves, who still train (there are women in my gym who are almost 90-they are freaking awesome!!!) and lead active lives. I have a MASSIVE fear of ending up in a home, incapable of doing anything for myself.

And finally, it’s just a part of my life, a second nature. I cannot imagine not exercising or eating well. Don’t get me wrong, I still fall of the bandwagon every now and then (I’m human remember???) but I always get back on. For the above reasons.

They are my reasons. Are they perfect no? Are they in the order they should be? Maybe not. But they are mine and that’s what keeps me going.

What I also did was open this question up to my Facebook friends to see what they had to say. Here’s their responses-none have been edited.

“The fear of not looking good. As a PT/Coach need to look the part.”

“I feel crappy when I don’t eat well and I feel good when I exercise. Simple as that.”

“Vanity, health, state of mind, and knowing that its much harder for me to be motivated if I’ve gained any weight!”

“I think you could sum it up as a fear of becoming complacent with my current life and not constantly pushing the boundaries of what you can achieve. When you’re driven to physically perform then your much more driven to succeed in other aspects of life too.”

“Seeing how far I can push my strength, taking on the best in the country to see who is strongest and this time next year taking on people from all around the world.”

“Hm, there’s a few
– to look good
– to feel good (physically and mentally)
– to be strong (again both physically and mentally)
– to be a better father (when that eventually happens)
– to better enjoy my sunset years (when they eventually happen)
– to just generally kick ass?”

“I wanna look good naked!”

“As a nurse I see people’s bodies fail them all the time, often prematurely because they didn’t look after themselves (diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases etc). This obviously motivates me to look after myself… and bonus you look good too :)”

“Ok so seriously I turn on the music channel and look at all the girls on the videos and that makes me want to exercise harder cause I want to look like that!”

“…. The ladies…”

“For once in my life I want to have a bikini body for summer so my husband is like dammmmm that’s my wife ;)”

“Being competitive and seeing that everyone else is talking online and offline about their exercise/gym session/routine and feeling crap if I have nothing to share!”

“To stay alive and feel alive. And what Rod said….” (Side note: what Rob said was for the ladies)

“Probably sounds stupid but I find myself motivated by the ones that love me! Feeling loved pushes me through that negative phase. Makes me want to eat well and have more energy for everyone that surrounds me! My state of mind only works from my surroundings of good well adjusted people. Weird I know but the more I surround myself with healthy happy people, I want to be glowing just like them from in and out:) so that works for me maybe not others! Good music always helps too..”

“I eat well because it shows in my hair & skin etc. and because I feel full but ‘light’. I train because I like the physical release & feeling strong. On a purely vanity level, I like the gratification of seeing the numbers on the scales go down the day after a clean day or a big session.”

“As a personal trainer, I train for many different reasons.
1. Mental health.. Shit gets ugly if I don’t release the daily stresses
2. Physical health.. Longevity and quality of life
3. Role modelling to my children, friends and clients that it’s not a 6 week 12 week 1 year challenge it’s a way of life for life.
4. Vanity… 100% y wouldn’t u want to look and feel ur absolute best?? My partner is 7 years younger so I want to appear younger vibrant and energised and I love that my teenage sons friends think I’m MILF..
5. Avoids becoming complacent .. I love the mental, physical and psychological challenges wit a new programme new exercise or new group fitness regimes, they never end.. And conquering them never stops feeling good :)”

“I train because I find that it helps me deal with the day to day stresses. If I don’t train I notice that my tolerance level is not as high. I also enjoy exercising (I have been involved in sports since I was very young) and it has just become a part of my life. Whilst my exercising is good I still need to work on my diet, but I am slowly getting there :)”

Every single response is that persons intrinsic reasons as to why they exercise. You may agree with them, you may not. Does it matter? Not to you. What you need to know or figure out is what motivates you. Find that reason (or reasons) to get you exercising and eating properly. Keep a hold of that reason. Write it down or take a photo or record it. Whatever works for you. Copy some of the above reasons if you want-I know some of them have even given me another reason!

Hopefully what has been written above will give you some inspiration, maybe there was something you hadn’t realised yet and this will get you started towards your Health and Fitness goals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way either.

If you want to connect with me (and my awesome friends!) here’s the link to my Facebook profile. Come say hi!

To everyone who responded to my question-thanks so much for helping out!

I”ll look forward to hearing about your journey.

D

Gym Contracts

One thing that really irks me about the fitness industry is the reputation we have of being con artists. Don’t get me wrong-there are dodgy as gyms and trainers out there, and if you have been the victim of one of these, then I’m genuinely sorry for your experience. We are not all like that. There are also plenty of us who are doing our best to restore a reputation that I think we deserve.

This post is to give you a heads up about gym contracts. One of the main things that I have dealt with is members wanting to cancel their membership, not being aware of their responsibilities or the fact that they have signed a legal contract and then them having a bad experience with a gym. I’m going to outline some tips that should help you when you are looking at signing a contract, and things you need to be aware of legally. For the record I don’t blame anyone for making mistakes and I don’t want to point fingers, I’m just trying to help everyone understand it all.

Remember when you walk in, you are not obliged to sign anything on that day, take your time and decide if that club is right for you. Have questions ready. Be prepared for the sales person to try and sell to you-that is their job remember? Also don’t fall for the ‘you need to sign now to get this deal’. 99% of the time if you go away for a day, you will get the same offer the next day. (I say 99% as some offers do genuinely have an expiry date).

Direct Debit Contracts:

What is this? It’s when you agree to have a certain amount debited from your nominated bank account or credit card for the services. There are generally two kinds, lock in and non lock in. Lock in contracts will have a minimum term required for you to complete, this can be anything from three months to 36 months. Non lock in generally won’t have a minimum term or if they do, it’s only three months or so.

  • First of all for either contract to be considered complete it must have your credit card or bank details on it and your signature. Without one of these it is not a legal document. Don’t sign anything or give out your credit or bank details until you are 100% sure this is the club for you!!! Read every single term and condition and ask questions if you are not sure.
  • Side note: DO NOT SIGN A BLANK CONTRACT AND LET THE SALES PERSON FILL IT IN LATER FOR YOU! Yes I’ve heard of this happening before and it amazes me
  • Both have a 48 hour cooling off period-this in enforced by the Health and Fitness Act. BUT it must be handed to the club in writing, you cannot call up over the phone to give it in. If the club is closed, find a contact email address and send it in that way.
  • Once that 48 hours is over, the contract is in place, and this is a binding contract! This is regardless of when your payments start. So even if you have one month free before payments start, once this 48 hours is over, the contract is in place. Should you default on payments you may be liable for excess fees and yes these can go to debt collectors and affect your credit rating.
  • Cancellations within the minimum term are generally where we run into most problems. Most gym contracts will ask you to pay a cancellation fee and it is up to them how much they charge and the conditions on that fee. Keep in mind your reasons for cancelling won’t have an affect on the fee and some gyms will only let you cancel in the minimum term if you are moving away-and that has to be proven-and once that is proven you will still be required to pay the fee! Again with the fee it needs to be done in writing-and get a receipt for your own records.
  • Cancellations after the minimum term is completed are a little easier. First of all, unless you specify otherwise when you sign the contract, your membership will generally continue after the minimum term is completed. The payments won’t just stop. If you only want to commit for the minimum requirement-then get it on the contract in writing! If you do not do this, then once the minimum term is completed, the cancellation notice required is 30 days. This is also part of the Health and Fitness Act, so it is a legal requirement. Again it needs to be in writing, you cannot call up over the phone and give it.
  • If your payments default for any reason, then keep in mind you will be liable for extra fees from the gym. These fees should be written on the contract-if not ask about them! These fees will be on top of any personal bank fees you incur.
  • When you sign a contract, the gym is legally required to give you an exact copy of that contract, make sure you get it!

Paid in Full (PIF) Memberships:

These are a little easier (well a lot actually). You pay upfront for a certain length of time at a gym. It can be anything from a week to 12 months.

  • The 48 hour cooling off period still applies to PIF. So if you change your mind in that time you need to put it in writing and you will receive a refund.
  • If you get half way through a 12 month PIF membership and decide you do not want it anymore, the gym are not obliged to refund you any time unused. Some may have transfer options available, so ask before you pay!
  • Legally gyms are not allowed to sell PIF for any longer than 12 months. This is to protect you should the club close down. If someone offers you five years at a great rate-run away!!!!!!

I hope this has given you a little insight into your legal responsibilities but also your rights when it comes to gym contracts. If you have any questions please ask and I will do my best to answer them for you. Also if you have any tips then put them down as well!

BTW any laws I have referred to apply to Australia (that I know of) only, if you are any where else then please research your individual laws before you sign.

D

A Change Is As Good As A Holiday…..

And I’m back!!! For all of you who were wondering yes the trip was AMAZING! I’m already planning the next one. Before I left I had several friends tell me that I would come back different, that holidays had a way of doing that to people. I didn’t believe them, how wrong was I???

Change Number One:

My Job!

I had been unsettled for a few months in my role, I didn’t have a much fun as I used to, I wanted to become more involved with training people and I wasn’t doing that. So I thought about it more while cavorting through Europe. Three days after getting back, I handed in my resignation for my current gym. I want to delve more into PT, I want a name in Health and Fitness (a good name at that) of someone who gets results and of who people speak of in the industry. My work paid out my final four weeks so it’s left me time to job hunt. I’ve been amazed at the response and help I’ve had from others while doing this. My previous gym owner emailed me with offers of help and talking to people he knows, a supplement rep who I used to work closely with called me and offered interviews for a Club Manager and PT roles at a gym she is currently working for, it was quite overwhelming to be honest. I also took my own initiative and emailed or used Facebook to contact people who I consider my role models asking if they had any jobs available or could help me in any way.

Well it paid off, while I’m not at a gym yet, I have made a great connection who has set me up with an interview at a gym in Cottesloe and he will also be mentoring me as I set up my own business in PT. The changes are slowly happening. I will keep you updated as to where I am and what I’m doing.

Change Number Two:

My own Health and Fitness goals.

While away I didn’t hold back on any kind of food or alcohol and I did no exercise whatsoever (well I climbed the Eiffel Tower but that was it). I needed the break physically and mentally, I was just tired from it all, also the worries about my job didn’t really help. I’ve obviously put on weight while I was away and my BF increased to 30%. Not great at all-in fact that is considered overweight by the charts we use. I’ve never been really lean and I’ve decided that I’m going to get there. As soon as I got back, I turned the bad behavior around. I joined a 28 day program that included nutrition and training guidelines as well as an immense amount of online support. (Yes I’m a trainer, but we need support to). I’ve picked up my PT sessions with Rob again. I’ve said no to social drinking. I’m being fussy at restaurants with my food, simply asking them to make changes so my food will fall in line with my nutrition plan. I’ve set myself goals to hit by Christmas and even though it’s only been 2.5 weeks I can see and feel the difference. After four weeks I will post my results along with some photos to show you how I’m going.

So what’s the point you ask? Simple. Is something in your life not right? Is there something you wish would change? This doesn’t have to be Health and Fitness related, it could be something to do with work or home. Well you know what? It’s not going to change if you don’t do something about it. You need to make the change yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and shake things up! This can be gut wrenchingly scary-I know I’m doing it myself right now! Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way, when people offer assistance at least listen to them, you never know what they could offer and what could come your way. It’s going to be hard work to get what you want but isn’t that worth it? Isn’t that better than being miserable and wishing for change?

So do it now! Start making changes and reap the happiness!

I’ll keep you updated on my own progress, both with the job and with the Health and Fitness.

I sincerely wish you luck in your changes….

D

There’s More To Life Than The Gym!

I tend to come across as one of those health ad fitness ‘freaks’ who lives and breathes the gym. Many people think that this is all I can think about 24/7. OK maybe I am sort of one of those people, but it’s not the be all and end all. I work full time (and more) in a gym and then train myself on top of those hours, I need to make sure I have time away. Trust me if I don’t get away I go crazy!

So do you. While staying fit and eating properly are important parts of your life, do not let it consume you. You should be finding other ways to destress and relax, things that do not involve working out constantly. Remember there is such a thing as working out too much. If you are feeling consistently drained and low on energy, you could be overtraining. Listen to your body if you feel like you need to back it off a little. It won’t kill you to take a day or two off and recover.

What do I do to relax? Easy! Catch up with friends or family, go to the movies, read, get a massage (if you resistance train-which you should-then massage is pretty damn important for recovery). These things help me get my head away from health and fitness and to wind down.

Here’s my advice to you. Find those things you enjoy outside of the gym and do them! Get a hobby, read a book-whatever-just do it!

Your body and sanity will thank you for it.

D

Celebrating Strength In Every Way

I don’t know whether this is just me noticing it more or whether it’s an actual change in the fitness industry (I would say a combination of the two) but there’s a renewed focus on feats of strength in the gym setting. There’s motivational posters everywhere, feel good quotes every day, pictures to inspire and videos to demonstrate and before you say anything yes I know I post them as well!

Now I know I love these posts, I love seeing people lifting heavy stuff and getting stronger. I celebrate and encourage it! But there are other forms of strength when it comes to health and fitness, other things that need to be acknowledged and celebrated. Things that I think sometime we (yes me included) forget. This is just some reminders to all of us to celebrate everyone’s strength, regardless of what they are.

First of all my Mum. Last December she had surgery on her left shoulder. A ligament was torn, the surgeon shaved off part of shoulder bone and then the shoulder froze after surgery. She spent four weeks in a sling not being able to use that arm at all. Once the sling came off, the rehab was supposed to begin but she couldn’t even lift her arm 10cm from her body and physiotherapy hurt her. The surgeon actually gave her a cortisone injection (side note: I’m not a supporter of these injections, but that is part of the story) so she could commence rehab. Finally she was at least able to do physiotherapy in a pool, with her  first goal being 10 laps of 25m each. I’ve received random texts as she accomplish those laps, at first it was just 3 laps before her arm hurt, then it was 8, then she made that 10, surpassed it and went to 13. Keep in mind this entire process has taken her from January this year until April to do those laps. I saw her two days ago and she can actually raise her arm parallel to her shoulder. This small feat which many of us would take for granted has taken her six months. The strength she has shown is incredible and I’m so proud of her. She still has a long way to go before she regains full use of her arm, but I have no doubt she will get there. For the record when Mum watched the clips of me doing my deadlifts she laughed and said to me her next goal is to mop the floors at home all in one go with no break. Go Mum!

The brother of a very close friend has been overweight since I’ve known him. Obese in fact. He tipped the scales at 200kg and still didn’t have the need to lose weight. Until he realised he couldn’t walk from his front door to his letterbox without taking a break. This is something that I couldn’t even fathom as something I could not do, as would most other people. These little things that you and I do every day were an immense struggle for him. Well I’m pleased to say that as of the last update from my friend he is down 36kgs! He can walk to his letterbox and further, he is doing walks around his local park instead! At his heaviest he was looking at buying a new car because he couldn’t fit his seat belt around him. Now he’s looking at a new car because the options available to fit his smaller frame have increased! This is an amazing show of his strength-it doesn’t matter that it took him a while to realise that he needed to lose weight, what matters is he’s doing it!

To everyone who may read this, strength is not just the ability to lift really heavy things in the gym. Your strength may be joining a gym and starting your health and fitness journey, it could be the slow process of rehabbing an injury to even just move normally again or just admitting that you may need help.

Whatever it is, celebrate it and celebrate the strength of others around you.

D

Winter Is Coming…..

Yes I stole the title for this post, but who doesn’t love Game of Thrones? This post doesn’t have anything to do with dragons, wars, white walkers or my battle for a kingdom, but with something that people ask me about every winter: training while you are sick.

We are coming into winter and that means an influx of colds and flu. Ranging from a small case of the sniffles or a sore throat to full-blown body aches, headaches and fever, these can have a serious effect on your training regime. Most people I have spoken to (coworkers and gym members) seem to have the same opinion, if the infection you have is above the neck (ie sniffles, runny nose, sore throat) it is ok to train, whereas if it’s below the neck (fever and coughing up phlegm-gross) then you need to take time off.

The reasons behind the above thoughts is that if the infection is below the neck, it is closer to your heart and when you train the infection can spread to your heart. I can personally testify to this. A little over two years ago I picked up swine flu while in Indonesia. I didn’t realise it was swine flu and when I returned home I went straight back into full on training. My heart was under some serious strain, I could feel it every session almost bursting through my chest and I struggled to recover after each session. Eventually I realised this probably wasn’t a good thing and saw my doctor. I’m not kidding when I say she pretty much smacked over the head when I told her what I had been doing. My infection was so bad I had to stop training for six weeks and ended up taking two courses of antibiotics, the doctor told me that any more stress on my heart and body would probably see me end up in hospital. Not a good thing  by anyones standards.

Due to this I also take extra precaution when I get sick, even it’s above my head only. Why? Well let’s think about this.

When you’re sick your body is fighting an infection. It’s putting all of its strength into getting rid of the illness so you do not get worse. When you train you are doing something very similar to your body. You are draining it of stored energy, you are tearing your muscle fibres (yes tearing, it’s for muscle growth) and you are putting it under enormous strain. Think about how you feel after a really intense workout, somewhat similar to being sick? So if you train while you are even minorly sick you body is then trying to fight/repair two ‘infections’, it’s not designed to do this. By doing so you can end up getting worse, look at me and my swine flu-SIX WEEKS OFF! Don’t make the same mistake I did. Take the rest, take that one week off, it’s better than six.

Here’s some other things for you to consider if your still going to be one of those people who ‘just push through’:

You’re contagious and I, nor the other 300-400 people who come through the gym doors daily, want your germs. Firstly for the gym members, if you come in they can catch whatever it is you have, they may get even sicker and have to have time off training. Because of this you are directly affecting their health and fitness goals. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Now when it comes to me, if you come in and I get sick what happens? Plenty. If I need to take time off sick, I don’t get paid for those personal training sessions or classes I don’t take. So you’re affecting my income. Are you going to do my food shopping or pay my rent? Doubt it. Then there’s the clients that I would have to cancel because I don’t want to pass this illness on to them. You are then affecting their health and fitness goals, again I ask how would you feel if someone did this to you? Finally if I get sick, I do not train, refer to the story above. So you’re now affecting my health and fitness and if you know me at all, that’s not a good thing.

This winter I’m asking you one thing. If you get sick, even mildly sick, take time off from training and allow yourself to recover. If you need to go for a gentle walk do so, the fresh air would do you good and get you moving in a way that is not harmful to your body. I know that this might be hard for some to take the time off. They feel guilty for not training. But think about this long and hard, one week now or six weeks forced off with the threat of hospital in the back of your mind? If that doesn’t work then think of everyone else who you could impact by coming into the gym.

If you’re someone who trains with me privately or comes in to my classes, here’s a forewarning: If you come in with even the slightest sniffle, I’m not training you. I refuse to put that stress on your body or put myself at risk of catching it. Save yourself the hassle of debating with me on the gym floor and cancel the session. I will make it up to you later.

This all comes from a place of caring about your health.

D