I have been a personal trainer for almost a decade. Through years of experience and a lot of trial and error, I have developed a practice that has allowed me to witness my clients’ long term transformations, which are often complex and cumulative. Over the years I have noticed a phenomenon: people who worked incredibly hard in the gym were achieving their desired physiques but still not feeling satisfied with the results. These are the same clients who often suffered from terrible cravings, digestive issues, stress and poor sleep. The truth is, that even if we are happy with the number on the scale and the body in the mirror, these markers are not necessarily accurate reflections of our bodies’ complete wellbeing. This is why I long ago left these kind of metrics in the dust and believe so strongly in the philosophies that drive both my personal training and coaching. My approach may be somewhat unconventional, but I have found that when I share these guidelines with eager, open-minded clients, their overall wellness is elevated, ten-fold.
1. I do not use math.
I could go on and on about why I never put my clients on a scale. The scale is not an accurate reflection of someone’s progress. There are a multitude of factors that can affect that tricky number including what you’ve recently eaten, how much water you’re retaining and where you’re weighing yourself. Instead of weighing in, I have my clients find a favorite item of clothing that makes them feel confident and have them try on that item once a month. How they feel is reflective of how much work they have left to accomplish. I also never tell my clients to count calories. Every day our bodies are engaged in something different. The fuel our bodies crave varies depending on our activity levels – for example, whether we are sitting in a lecture or carrying boxes into a new apartment. Instead of calorie counting I teach my clients to tune in and listen to what their bodies need on any given day.
2. I am from the school of Intuitive Eating.
A variety of factors should determine your daily intake of food. Travel, hormones, stress, and lifestyle changes all affect what our bodies need. A set diet doesn’t take into account any of these variables. Learning to listen to your body as you go about your day is key to really becoming healthy. For example, 1200 calories is not going to properly sustain a busy New York woman who is running between appointments all day long under tremendous stress. Our bodies send us messages, telling us what we need and when we need it. We need to use these cues to make decisions about how we fuel ourselves instead of looking externally for rules and regulations. (intuitiveeating.com)
3. I use essential oils.
Essential oils are a new addition to my own personal practice and I highly recommend them. Our crazy modern lifestyles don’t always create optimal conditions for physical wellness. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and environmental toxins can leave our bodies unbalanced and energy deficient. From cleansing and weight management to supporting every system of the body, essential oils provide the tremendous support you need to restore balance and feel your best. They have become an “essential” element of my practice. (DoTerra.com)
4. I meditate. (Every. Single. Day.)
Our physical behaviors and habits, whether we realize it or not, are driven by both our conscious and sub-conscious thoughts. Not only does meditation provide time for the reduction of stress levels, it also gives us the power to reprogram our thinking and transform our behaviors. For example, a simple 3-minute meditation a day on mindfulness, has the power to create more thoughtful eating patterns. (ThePath.com) (http://artofattention.com/meditation/)
5. I focus on long term consistency rather than short term intensity.
Consistent behaviors will give you consistent results. This truly is my motto and I have been saying it for years. I create routines that inspire my clients to move and I try to motivate them to do something active every day. It is very difficult to sustain a super intense exercise regimen, right off the bat. I have watched clients try to beat themselves into submission, hoping to gain dramatic results. Ultimately these hardcore bursts of activity are not sustainable and a client often ends up back at square one when they find they are unable to maintain the furious intensity they have demanded of themselves. The body responds best to a balanced, consistent routine over time. When you create a pattern of workouts that suits your personality and is geared toward your body’s needs, you are 99% more likely to create new habits and achieve (and maintain!) your fitness goals.
6. I focus on superfoods over chemical-based supplements.
Superfoods are a special category of foods found in nature. By definition they are calorie-sparse and nutrient-dense, meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients – nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves. It can be incredibly overwhelming to walk through the aisles of a vitamin store or try to decode one of the countless articles about supplements in a fitness magazine, but the earth gives us everything we need. And digesting something in its most natural form will bring the ultimate benefits and results to your body. (foodmatters.com)
7. I promote and practice bio individuality.
There are countless “cookie cutter” diets and nutritional suggestions out there that inevitably lead to yo-yo dieting and patterns of failure. The truth is, no one diet works for everyone. Your body is an incredibly designed system that knows exactly what nutrients it needs in order to achieve its perfect weight and optimal health. I teach my clients that the intake of nutrient-dense foods will always be better than calorie restriction. What works for one person, isn’t necessarily going to work for another and only by looking inside yourself can you determine what is best for you.
8. I serve as a middle man between my clients
and other wellness professionals.
This includes life coaches (introducingwellness.com), acupuncturists, chiropractors, functional medical doctors, herbologists, energy healers and beyond. I consistently recommend self-help books, workshops, and wellness experiences such as retreats (www.blissoutwellness.com) to help re-establish the mind-body connection. It is abundantly obvious that achieving our fitness goals and the results we receive from our bodies requires a combination of elements working in concert: a consistent exercise routine, a nutrient-dense diet, proper sleep, regulated hormone levels, and a low stress environment. This is why when I work with clients I look at how all areas of their lives are connected and make sure they have support in all of them. By doing this, I am able to create a program and support system that serves their entire well-being. As a result, their fitness goals and weight-loss are achieved to greater degrees and with more maintainable results.
9. I encourage clients to eliminate unhealthy
behaviors by adding in healthy ones.
Deprivation often breeds unhappiness, especially when it comes to eating and other wellness-related behaviors. Instead of taking things away from my clients, I encourage them to add new, healthier behaviors to the mix. It turns out that when we focus on incorporating new healthy habits in our lives, we often simultaneously let go of what is no longer serving us. When we focus on what serves our body well, our body in turn sheds the desires of un-healthy habits and cravings – and it doesn’t even feel like work.
10. I focus on and surround myself, and my clients with positivity.
Energetically we need to be surrounded by others whose intentions line up with our own. Our minds and bodies naturally react to our surroundings and daily interactions. When we surround ourselves with people who support our desires to live a healthy life our success increases exponentially. Having a friend to take yoga or spin class with, or perhaps meeting someone new in a wellness workshop, can truly give you a newfound desire to create and maintain a lifestyle enriched with balance and wellness.