Should you be aiming for personal bests in 2020?

Humans are designed to be able to deal with short lived stresses which go away after a short time. The fight or flight system kicks in for a short period of time, and once the stress is over, we return to rest and digest mode. We can then reset and in some cases the body will make changes to be better and more resilient.
As a fitness coach, allow me to offer exercise as an example of a stressor that allows the body to make cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and mental health improvements, in short lived doses!
What if, as a result of modern life, most people are coping with ongoing stress, with the fight or flight system jammed on all the time?
And what if on top of this, a global pandemic were to come along and for many people brings the stress levels even higher?
I think at the current time we need to change our expectations of what benefits we will get from exercise. It’s important to stay active as one part of keeping the body healthy and giving the immune system the best possible chance to deal with whatever it comes across.
I think we need to prioritise the mental health benefits of exercise at this point over setting personal bests and trying for the most intense workout in the world. After all, the Olympics have been put off until next year!
I’m proud that my clients keep turning up and putting in the best effort they have got on the day, even if they’re finding that the resources they have to spend are a bit more variable than they were prior to interruptions caused by *that* virus. In 2020 given all the rapid changes, uncertainty and stress that people are experiencing, that’s awesome!

2019 year in review… for yourself

It’s the time of year when the Year In Review articles appear (and Decade in Review, because 2019…)

So a question for you… have you done a year in review for yourself?

The highlights, the lowlights, the things you’ve learned, the insights you’ve gained. The memories you want to keep and the things you want to leave behind in 2019.

I got a lot out of this exercise, I had overestimated the negative things from this year, and being able to put the positive things down on paper shows that I’ve made a lot of progress in the right direction!

And if you happen to do a decade in review exercise as well, you’ll probably be amazed at how much you’ve learned and grown in 10 years! For example, 10 years ago I was working stapled to a desk and had the first rumblings that I should be doing something different…

Have you taken time to reflect on 2019 and if so what insights did you gain?

Pain and soreness: when to keep pushing, and when to dial it back

Today’s blog post is on pain vs soreness, and being able to tell the difference. It’s a really important area of awareness so that we can tell the difference between when we’re at risk of injury, and when we’re just working hard within a range that we would expect from a workout. The aim is to be able to really sustain our practice, and be able to keep exercising as frequently as we like, and not have to take a break because of injury.

It’s really common to see people injure themselves when they’re getting back into an exercise routine, whether they’re pushing too hard too early, or ignoring the signs. So really we want to be able to tell the difference between soreness that’s OK and pain that might be a signal to look after ourselves. The difference is, soreness is something that may come up 24-48 hours after doing some exercise. The most common form is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. It can be a fatigued feeling, a burning feeling, but it’s really just a sign that the body has been working hard. It’s been challenged to improve based on the work that it’s done.

Whereas pain can tend to be more sharp, more intense, it can be in the joints rather than the muscles. It can come on quickly and not go away. It can affect parts like the shoulder, the low back, the hip, the knee and the ankle – areas that we don’t want to have pain. One of the things we want to do is to rate how strong the pain is. A 6 or more out of 10 is a signal that it’s probably not a good idea to push through. It’s a point to consider seeking a professional opinion, perhaps to see a specialist like a physiotherapist about whether there’s an issue. 6 or more out of 10 rating of pain is a higher risk of injury.

You may want to work with a coach who can start you from where you’re at, build things up based on the progress you make at every stage, and understand the amount of work and recovery that you’ll need. A coach can give you a set of eyes to help identify the risk of injury. I’ve done certifications through Rehab Trainer so that I can help my clients avoid the risk of injury. For the clients that have suffered injuries in the past, we can build things up and get them moving without increasing the risk of re-injuring, or having other injuries occur.

If you’d like some more information about what I do, send me an email using the contact details below, and let’s have a chat!

New Offer: 14 Day Fitness Kickstart!

For a limited time, we have a new introductory offer to kickstart your fitness leading into summer!  We’ve made it easy for busy executives and small business owners to get back into fitness by including the following:

  • Initial individualised fitness and movement assessment
  • Unlimited group fitness classes using your own individualised program (subject to availability of spaces)
  • One personal training session (subject to availability)

$280 worth of value for the one off price of $79!  Places are limited, so don’t wait to register your interest! Fill out your details in the form below and I’ll be in contact to see how I can help you become a healthier, fitter and more energetic version of yourself 🙂

Get started with the 14 Day Spring Special!

28 Day Fitness Kickstart

One of my big interests at the moment is making it easier for people to fit exercise into their busy schedules.  And so, I have launched a new program called the 28 Day Fitness Kickstart!  It includes a custom exercise program, nutrition coaching focusing on changing habits one step at a time, and weekly check ins with me to help you through anything you’re having trouble with.  The exercise program is flexible and includes programs which you can do at home or on the road if you frequently travel, as well as in person training with myself.  It’s aimed at people who need a little bit of help to get moving, so that they can look and feel better.  I’ll shortly have a separate page up with more details of the kickstart.

Places are limited for the weekly in person training, so if sounds like it’s of interest don’t wait!  Fill out your details in the form below and I’ll be in contact to see how I can help you become the best version of yourself 🙂

Get started with the 14 Day Spring Special!

What does the MyFitnessPal compromise mean for me?

MyFitnessPal logo

For the past couple of years I’ve recommended that people use the free app MyFitnessPal to track things like food intake, exercise and weight.  Recording these things over time allows us to track progress being made and helps achieve results.  So it was disappointing this weekend to hear of a MyFitnessPal compromise. The data which the company stores on users of the app has been breached.  You may be thinking, what does this mean for me?  Allow me to explain based on the information released by MyFitnessPal!

What happened?

MyFitnessPal have stated that data associated with user accounts was obtained by a third party in February this year.  This data includes usernames, email addresses and passwords, with the majority of the passwords being encrypted.  MyFitnessPal haven’t said how strong the password encryption is.  As a worst case (with the weakest encryption), the passwords associated with accounts may be able to be recovered by the third party.

What should I do?

Firstly, I recommend that you log in to MyFitnessPal and change your password.  Change it to a password that you’re not using for any other app or Internet service.  (In fact, I recommend that you use different passwords for each app you use.  A password manager app may help you keep track of all these different passwords – let me know if you need more info on password managers…)

Secondly, as email addresses are part of the information that has been obtained by the unauthorised party, be on the lookout for suspicious emails, particularly emails asking you for personal information or to click on links that don’t quite look right.  MyFitnessPal for example have stated that they won’t send emails asking you for personal information or link to websites asking for personal information.  It’s a good general rule not to provide personal information in response to emails.

If you have any questions that I haven’t answered in this post, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

 

Customise MyFitnessPal to track additional data

I’m a big fan of being able to measure progress (and my clients will know how much I love to use the word “progress”!) One of the most common mobile apps my clients use for tracking their weight and what they eat is MyFitnessPal.  What is less commonly known is that you can customise MyFitnessPal to track pretty much any additional piece of data you can think of. I’ll use sleep as an example as getting enough sleep is critical to maintaining health and to achieving everything from fat loss to building muscle.  Of course Fitbit, Garmin and other devices can also track your sleep if you wear a device to bed!

To add a new field to track, you need to go to the MyFitnessPal website ( www.myfitnesspal.com ).  Log in using the same username and password that you use to log in to the mobile app.

Under the My Home menu, highlight Check-In.  Under the Other Measurements heading, click on Track Additional Measurements.

MyFitnessPal Screenshot 1

In the Description box under Add Another Measurement, type Sleep and click on the Add Measurement button.

MyFitnessPal Screenshot 2

Sleep will now appear under the Current Measurements heading.

MyFitnessPal Screenshot 3

You can now log in to the mobile app.  In the Progress screen, highlight the Weight label at the top of the screen. This will display a list of other measurements to track.  Sleep will be at the bottom of this list. You can now enter a number corresponding to the amount of sleep that you got the previous night. Tracking this will help give a picture over time of whether you’re getting enough sleep to help you with your goals, or whether you need to take steps to get more sleep!

 

What’s New – March 2018

March marks 3 years since I started training at Royston Park! What better time to update everyone on what’s new.  I have some new offerings to go through with you. They’re all focused on getting making it more convenient to train and on helping people get better results from their training.  While I know that my clients are nervous when I add new things into my bag of tricks, there’s nothing to worry about, honest! 😉

Online Training

Firstly I now offer online training. This is an excellent option for people to fit in exercise on their own time or on the road.  The training is delivered through a mobile app which includes videos of all of the exercises. This will help ensure they’re performed safely and for maximum benefit.  The program is customised based on the goals that you want to achieve and the frequency that you’re able to train.  As part of the training package I’ll check in with you regularly. We’ll be able to discuss how you’re going and I’ll provide some accountability as you work towards your goals.  If you’d like to register for the online training or just to get some more information, pop your details into the form at the bottom of the page and I’ll be in touch!

12 Week Challenge

Even more exciting and getting lots of interest, I’m running a 12 Week Challenge for the first time starting March 26! There will be regular intakes after this.  During the challenge you’ll track what exercise you do, what you eat, and how you sleep. I’ll coach you in each of these areas to make changes. Over the course of the challenge coaching will help you  achieve the goal that you have set.  Research has shown that the best way to make sustainable change is to make small changes to habits, practice these changes over a period of time, and then move on to further changes.  This is the system that the challenge is based on, with accountability to keep you on track.  I’ve chose 12 weeks as the duration as we’re able to make some serious progress and lasting changes over this time.  If you’d like to register for an intake of the 12 week challenge or get some more information, please use the form at the bottom of the page and I’ll contact you!

Coming Soon

There’s more planned for the rest of 2018 as well, as I’m always looking to improve and help more people.  I’ll be commencing some training in nutrition coaching in April. I’ll then offer nutrition coaching as an additional service to help people achieve their goals.  And in May I’ll be taking a course to help correct and improve painful and restricted movement for people. This will feed into the fitness coaching that I’m currently doing.

I’ll make What’s New a regular series on my blog. I’ll be strongly focusing this year on adding skills and tools that will enable people get to their goals.  See you next update!

 

Book In Now For Your First Consultation!
Get started with an initial consultation where we meet and discuss your fitness goals. Includes a workout based on your goals and a plan to go forward. Register here:

The March challenge is… HULA HOOP!

Every month at the studio we hold a challenge and keep score on a leaderboard to see who will come out on top.  Past challenges have included the most watts that can be generated on the assault bike, the most slams with a slam ball that can be done in 60 seconds, and the furthest distance that can be covered on the rowing machine in 60 seconds.  We’ve got a new challenge for March, going with Adelaide’s Mad March theme – not car racing 🚗, not Womadelaide🎵… the hula hoop! The challenge is to see who can keep the hoop going the longest!

10 Ways To Make Time For Exercise

I regularly find myself in conversations with people who are looking for ways to make time for exercise.  Making time is a challenge that I have faced for a while now, starting during my previous deskbound career. Even now with the early starts and late finishes of the typical day of a fitness coach, it can be more of a challenge for me than you might think! (You could be excused for thinking that fitness coaches love to work out though don’t they?) Throw in other life commitments and it’s not easy!

I think that if you don’t feel like you have time to exercise, then you really need to make the time to exercise.  If you make looking after yourself a priority, you can make sure that you’re showing up to everything else you do as the best version of yourself. Based on my years of experience both in fitting in exercise to a schedule with parenting and full time work, here’s my tips for making time to fit in exercise.

  • Exercise first thing in the morning

I wasn’t a morning person before I started coaching, so I can sympathise with anyone who looks at this one with some reservations.  As the day goes on, many people find that they can get sidetracked by emails or work or the kids or meetings or (insert reason here).  But if you start the day with a workout, the day doesn’t have a chance to throw you a curveball before you get your exercise done.  The payoff will be that you’ll have more energy throughout the day and be more productive!

  • Schedule it in your calendar

There’s a saying: “What gets scheduled gets done.”  If you have a vague plan to do some exercise at some time during the day, it may or may not happen depending on how the day pans out.  But if you put your exercise commitment in your calendar, it’s scheduled! If you use the calendar on your phone, you’ll even get a reminder before the entry to make it happen.

  • Exercise with friends

If you arrange to exercise with a friend, you’ll be accountable to them to turn up and work hard.  You wouldn’t want to let down a friend, would you?

  • Do what you enjoy

I often say that the best exercise is the one that you enjoy. You’re more likely to do something that you enjoy than something that isn’t enjoyable. If you’re looking forward to going for a walk, you’re more likely to do that than the exercise that you’re secretly (or not so secretly) dreading.  And you get more benefit from the things that you do than from the things you don’t do!

  • Take the stairs

Taking the stairs as an alternative to taking a lift at work or an escalator while out shopping is a sneaky way to get the heart rate up.  If you find yourself puffed out from taking the stairs, never fear! After a few times of taking the stairs your body will start to adapt and it will get much easier 🙂

  • Get moving at lunchtime

A lot of people work through their lunch break at their desk.  This doesn’t give their body a chance to loosen up some of the tightness and stiffness that you get from sitting at a desk all day.  Even if you only take a walk at lunchtime around the block, you’ll at least give the body a chance to get moving and feel better!

Along the same lines, Steve Jobs was known for his walking meetings – having a discussion while going out for a walk.  If it worked for Steve, it could work for you!

  • Train with a fitness coach

Training with a coach has many benefits.  You have a time scheduled in your calendar that you can stick to, and the coach is waiting for you to turn up! A good coach will hold you accountable to make sure that you make time for exercise, and will be able to make sure that you do the exercises that are most safe and time efficient and get you the results you’re looking for.

  • Exercise snacking

Research has shown that you get the same benefit from breaking up exercise into smaller snack size pieces compared to one larger chunk of time.  So if it’s a challenge to find 30 minutes in your day, what if you could find 3 lots of 10 minutes to do some exercise that you enjoy?

  • Get moving while watching TV

Rather than being stuck to the couch while watching TV, what if you got up and did some body weight exercises?  You could set a challenge for how many squats or lunges you can do in a commercial break, or how long you can hold a plank!

  • Track it

Many people will be familiar with wearable devices such as Fitbits that set a target for how many steps that you take in a day.  It can be much easier to make time for exercise if there’s a goals such as number of steps to meet each day.  Some companies have even held challenges for their employees to see who can take the most steps in a day!  Picture a meeting room with all meeting participants walking around the room to ensure the step count keeps increasing 🙂

As a minimum, if you’re able to make 30 minutes in a day for walking, you’ll feel much better and your body will move much much better than if you didn’t make the time.  If you can make more time than that and do some exercise that you enjoy, you’ll be doing even better for your fitness, health and wellbeing!