I adopt a Health at Every Size* approach to personal training:
- I believe that movement is a vital part of developing true physical and mental health, and aim to help my clients find the joy in moving their body and being physically active.
- I believe that body shape and size are not accurate indicators of health.
- I encourage my clients to focus on vital, life-enhancing goals, such as mobility, body-awareness, skill development, pain reduction, increased energy, etc.
- I do not promote fad diets or gruelling exercise programmes.
- I do not encourage a focus on aesthetics or fat loss.
My movement philosophy…
“Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.” (Mary Schmich, 1997)
- Forget about “exercise” – Be active. Move your body.
- Try to do something active for 30 minutes every day – whether that’s 30minutes walking the dog, digging in the garden, or dancing round your living room.
- Find joy in movement.
- There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of being active – it’s all about what YOU enjoy.
My food philosophy…
I hate the word “diet” when it is used to refer to a way of eating that is intended to reduce or control body weight. I prefer to stick to the original meaning of the term which is: “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.”
In my opinion, the best “diet” for good health is one that you can stick to and enjoy, without feeling deprived and without feeling the need or desire to revert to previous eating habits. With that in mind, my healthy eating ‘guidelines’ (forget about strict and rigid ‘rules’) would be:
- Try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables (especially veggies!)
- Try to drink plenty of water.
- Try to choose foods that are naturally high in fibre and protein.
- Try to choose minimally processed foods most of the time.
- Try to listen to your body’s hunger and satiety signals— allow yourself to eat when you’re hungry and try to stop before you’re too full.
- Try not to have any “forbidden” foods.
- Try not to see food as the enemy.
- Enjoy your food (especially cake) 🙂
My life philosophy…
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences.”
From a very early age it became apparent that my abilities were academic in nature, and that when it came to sport or athletic ability, I was really the ‘dunce’ of the class. As I grew up, the shame I felt at always being picked last for team sports and for being unable to perform a handstand or climb a rope like my classmates, led me to participate less and less in physical activity of any kind and I came to think of myself as not being the ‘sporty’ type.
By the age of 20 I was overweight, lacking in energy and I disliked exercise of any kind. However, that all changed when I started training in the martial art Taekwondo – I soon came to enjoy the activity that encouraged individual development and progression, rather than absolute levels of achievement. I also began to realize that I actually did enjoy exercise, that it gave me more energy and, surprisingly, more confidence in all areas of my life. Over time I came to enjoy and appreciate other forms of activity (even team sports!), and I also made other lifestyle changes, such as drinking more water, eating more fruit and vegetables and less processed food.
At the time all these changes in my lifestyle habits were happening I was doing a PhD in Psychology and I decided that I wanted to continue with my career in research in the field of Health Promotion. However, I soon realised that although I found research interesting (and still do), I didn’t find the work I did from day to day especially rewarding – I didn’t want to be the person evaluating whether a particular intervention, approach or technique helped somebody live a healthier life, I wanted to be out there working with people….
….now, nearly 13 years on from that first Taekwondo class, I’m a fully qualified personal trainer, specializing in lifestyle behaviour change, and dedicated to helping people make permanent changes to their lifestyle habits, and improving their health and wellbeing.
These days my favourite activity is indoor bouldering, and I always make time to climb for at least an hour 3-4 times per week. I also make time in the week to work on movement skills (e.g. cartwheels, handstands, monkey bars, and my Taekwondo patterns); to get my heart rate up with a jog or dance class (SH’BAM anyone?!); to re-connect with yoga; and to practice Animal Flow.