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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

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Personal Training For Everybody

Sooo I have been slack on writing recently, I have no excuse, I just haven’t prioritised this. Sorry for that. I hope you’ve missed me!

This is something that I’ve been meaning to touch on for a while. My personal opinion is that everyone who is looking for results in the gym should have a Personal Trainer. Pro athletes have coaches to reach their goals, so why shouldn’t you? Don’t you deserve someone to guide you, push you and keep you accountable? I think you do! I have one (yep a Personal Trainer has a Personal Trainer! I gave some reasons why in this post https://dionstewart.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/why-i-have-a-personal-trainer/) and I can see myself continuing to do so for a long time.

In saying this though I realise that not everything is that black and white. I’m single, have pretty much no debt and no children or people dependant on me. So I can afford the one to two sessions per week with no stress. That obviously isn’t the case for everyone. There’s mortgages, kids and other responsibilities that can impact someones ability to afford Personal Training. Here’s some other options to help you out.

First up if you can go out every weekend blowing your hard earned dollars on alcohol, fast food and whatever else, maybe you need to prioritise your finances a little more. Write down exactly what you spend for a fortnight and reassess from there. Maybe cutting down on the excesses on the weekend will allow you to do one, two or three sessions of Personal Training a week? You health is worth it..

If you really cannot afford sessions every week, could you afford one every fortnight? It’ll be such a big help with keeping you on track and accountable. A Personal Trainer should give you a program to follow so you have a structured approach to training and then once a fortnight they can give you that extra push to keep you going. They should still offer you support when needed and help you with your goals.

Even still that may be a large commitment financially. How about seeing a trainer once every 4-6 weeks, paying them for a program and get them to take you through it? That way you have a program tailored to you, you’ve been shown how to do the exercises correctly and changing it every 4-6 weeks will keep your body changing and prevent you getting into a rut. I have several clients who cannot afford regular training, but see me for programs monthly instead. I will also give them a little help with nutrition along the way.

I’m going to be a little cheeky and now throw this to the other Personal Trainers out there. Have you considered offering these options to clients who cannot afford weekly sessions with you? Sure it’s not an income every week, but think about the other benefits. You offer this to someone, then when a friend asks them about the gym and Personal Training, you’ll be the first person they think of, you may then pick up a client who does the weekly session with you. So regular income coming your way! Don’t get stuck thinking you have to have just one on one clients all the time.

Hope that helps some of you a little.

Any feedback is always welcome!

D

 

Client Spotlight: Mathilda!

Welcome to my first client focus blog! These will be the chance for me to brag about the people I have been working with and share their successes with you. Hopefully they’ll inspire you as much as they have me.

Without further adieu I present: Mathilda! Mathilda came to me as a one off comp session through the gym I work at. We sat down first to chat about what she was looking for training wise. She had been in two car accidents and was just looking to get some of her strength and mobility back, plus rid herself of the pain she was in. I decided not to do any exercise whatsoever in the first session and instead taught her foam rolling and some mobility drills for her to complete. She immediately felt some relief and tension leave from the foam rolling (seriously if you’re not doing this, start, like right now!) and drills. So we began with one session a week to get her back training. Along with the foam rolling and mobility drills we have now added some strength training and interval work. Slowly but surely her pain has alleviated and her quality of life has improved.

Mathilda is also one of those clients that comes in with a smile on her face and she always cracks me up through her sessions. Getting up at 6am is not a chore for someone like her. Even when I come in and she looks at me with a very serious face and goes ‘We have a problem’. At this point I do freak out a little, has she hurt herself again, have I hurt her?? Uh no, she looks at me and goes ‘I forgot to wear a bra’. Come again? Yep she managed to put a singlet and Tshirt on, but forgot the bra. I laughed so hard I cried and continued to laugh for the entire session, plus give her hassle for the next week about it.

Here’s what she had to say about training with me:

To Whom It May Concern,

Testimonial for Dion Stewert:

My name is Mathilda Straw and I came to train with Dion after I had been involved in a serious car crash and was suffering from chronic back pain. After seeing a physio therapist for a while without results, I was eager to get back into exercising and increasing my strength and fitness in order to get well. After meeting with Dion she advised a training regime in which I would be able to gain back some of the strength I had lost since the accident.

After 1 – 2 sessions, my mobility increased dramatically and my pain and discomfort decreased considerably. It has now been 5(?) weeks and I am well and truly on the road to recovering. I am also beginning to increase my strength, confidence and energy levels and am able to foresee a future involving a much healthier lifestyle, post injury. I not only thoroughly enjoy the sessions and the level of attention Dion gives me during the sessions but find the ongoing support outside of the gym invaluable. As a passionate cooking enthusiast, the information Dion has provided me in regards to nutrition, I believe, is directly linked to my current feelings of increased wellness and control in my quest for leading a healthier lifestyle.

I believe that any changes that are beginning to show in both my mental and physical wellbeing are directly attributed to my ongoing involvement in personal training with Dion. Her support, motivation and confidence in me have and will continue to be a vital part of my training development.

 

Regards

Mathilda Straw

Words like that make me feel so good, it really is great to know that I am making a difference in someone’s life.

Mathilda thank you, I look forward to our future sessions and getting even more results with you!

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

Results Time

I am one happy girl!!! I’ve reached the four week mark since I returned from holidays and that means assessment time. The results have come through and my hard work has paid off.

On the 16th July here is what I was at:

Weight 70.6kgs

Skinfolds:

Bicep 19

Tricep 21

Subscapula 10

Supraillium 20

That makes my body fat percentage 31.7%

Here’s what the 13th August had to offer:

Weight 69.3kgs

Bicep 8

Tricep 18

Subscapula 14 (Yes that’s higher than before, Rob and I think he mixed the previous subscap and supra around)

Supraillium 15

Making my body fat now 25.54% boo yeah!!!

Here’s some photos to show you the difference:

Yes I’m in my underwear-get over it!!

My stomach and hips are the most noticeable in reductions. I no longer have that muffin top hanging over my jeans.

I’m very happy with these results and while it’s not lean, that’s my holiday gain gone. I’ve still got a long way to go to be where I want to be for this summer, but obviously I’m improving.

Here’s my goals for the next four weeks:

Another 3-4% body fat reduction and to get back to my 95kg deadlift (this was what I was at before the trip). I still have my sessions with Rob and we’re doing a super set phase for the next four weeks-great for strength! I have one weekend where I know I’ll be drinking (a very close friends hens day), other than that, no booze allowed! The challenge for me after that weekend is I crave crappy food for at least two days afterwards and my training always suffers. Not this time-I’m going to meal plan around it and detox afterwards to get the toxins out ASAP.

I’ll will keep you all informed on my progress over the next month!

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