Wednesday, 12 May 2010

#4 I have an injury

Injuries can be a nightmare. Long-term pain can drain you emotionally and leave you feeling down in the dumps. However, the reality is that the majority of people will experience an injury of some sort, so you are not a special case. Ex-British sprinter Darren Campbell said that whenever he lined up for the 100m he always had a injury. Sometimes, you need to take control of an injury and not let it control you.

I have seen it time and time again that clients who thought they were stuck with an injury have had their pain managed, reduced or eliminated when training with me. People get stuck in a loop of being too scared to exercise when exercise will most likely help. Working around injuries requires professional guidance. A good personal trainer would be better than a physio ( I'll explain in later blogs why) or one of your friends who read something in a magazine. You need to know what pain is OK, where it is and if it is getting better, worse or staying the same. If you ever find that you use injury to avoid exercise, remember these 3 things.

1. Lack of condition and muscular imbalance is the reason why most people suffer injuries.

2. Just because you feel no pain, doesn't mean the injury has gone. You just can't feel it anymore.

3. There are people far more limited and more active than you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get moving. It will not be easy, but it will be worthwhile.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Check your eggs!

There are people falling over each other to make money out of the healthy eating revolution that is sweeping the food industry. While I relish the thought of people eating healthier so I don't feel like I'm constantly having to search for healthy alternatives, there are a lot of people exploiting this movement. None more so than the egg industry.

To identify what kind of eggs you have bought, there are 3 sections to a code. If you have an egg nearby go grab one.

Let's use an example egg code of 1UK54321. The first number (0-3) tells you how the chicken has been reared. The following code explains the reared category.

0 = Organic, 1 = free range, 2, = barn, 3 = caged.

The next code tells you the country of origin (UK. The last few numbers are the farm ID. In the above example, the eggs are free range, reared in the UK, from farm 54321. Caged are the lowest grade eggs and should never be used in my opinion. Jamie Oliver tried to raise public awareness of the farming standards of cheap food, but people still have an issue with paying the true cost required to raise good quality food.

Recently the food authorities caught up with a man who had been selling low grade eggs as organic and free range. He had flooded the market for years. He was jailed and asked to pay back £3 million. This was the biggest known food scam in Britain. The temptation to make nearly 3 times amount of money by changing the packaging of eggs is too great for some people. Major supermarkets had been selling his bogus eggs (allegedly unbeknown to them) and my greengrocer had to recently change supplier, as he bought 'UK farmed eggs' when actually they weren't. Where there is money to be made, there will always be scam artists.

So what do we do? Know what the codes mean. Get your eggs from a trusted source. The majority of supermarkets aren't in my opinion. A good butcher, greengrocer or farmers market would be a good option. Don't be scared of asking for information about where your food comes from. Ask for their supplier or farm information, then check it out. Don't think that paying more automatically means that it is healthy.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

#5 I have a slow metabolism.

This is by far the most flogged excuse I have heard yet. The truth is that people don't actually know what they are talking about when they talk about having a slow metabolism. I accept that I have a metabolism that will assist me in looking like a gazelle. If I abuse this, I will, and have put on fat (not to mention looking 10 years older). However, there are people who say to me that they have one of those metabolisms which means no matter what they eat, they put on weight.

Your metabolism involves a complex network of hormones and enzymes which converts food into energy as well as controlling how efficiently you do it. Not everyone burns calories at the same rate. Unknown to most people who use this as an excuse, overweight people tend to have a fast metabolism. Metabolism is affected by age, sex and proportion of lean tissue carried. This is why leaner, more muscular people find it easier to stay leaner than those who aren't. This is also another reason why weight training is essential for weight management.

Some people have thyroid dysfunction which will affect metabolism and sometimes lead to rapid weight gain. However, this applies to a small proportion of the public. The women I know who have metabolism issues are curvy, strong and are in great shape. They train hard, are stronger than most men and quite often get comments from other women like, "it's OK for you as you burn it off," or, " You're lucky, if I ate what you did, I would be massive." The 'it's alright for you' brigade send me round the bend. These people try to discredit the hard work put in by those who don't make excuses.

The concept of your body not being able to lose weight or get in shape makes us feel better that we can't. We have bought into an excuse with no understanding as to what is really going on. Unless you have been tested for metabolism issues, keep quiet as it's embarrassing to hear. Most clients I see, simply don't realise that they aren't 15 anymore and need to look after their body a bit better and in a different way. They claim they have metabolism issues as a bottle of wine a night makes them put on weight more than when they were 21. It's not your metabolism, it's the 640 additional calories and the glycemic load which adds the weight!

I hope you enjoyed the series. If you happen to hear any of these excuses or hear one which isn't hear, leave a comment to make us chuckle.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

# 3 I can't afford it.

Money is often used as an excuse not to exercise. This is a difficult topic as it has different meanings to different people. There are some who earn lots, spend lots and have very little left over. There are those who earn considerably less but have very little outgoings. I have trained clients who fit into both of these categories and I want to make it clear that money is never the issue. It is always a question of value.

When you value your health above everything else, you move heaven and earth to do something about it. Some people come to me and say, " I can't afford a trainer but is there anything you can advise me to do?" Alternatively, I have had prospective clients say to me they can't afford my prices and ask if I can do them a deal. When I tell these clients to go and jump( not before I advise them on exercise and nutrition), they are shocked! These are the people who can often afford it. They just want it cheap or they want to feel they have negotiated a good deal. The worst clients I have ever had have been the one's who can afford to waste a personal training session. Either way, these two examples make a bad client. Now, I am much more skilled, qualified and charge much more so that I can offer more value and not attract any time wasters.

Why is it that we can spend thousands and millions on buildings, however, we feel uncomfortable spending a fraction of this on health? The answer is that society places a higher value on possessions (wealth) than on health. We say, "hasn't Claire done well. She has a good job, lives in a big house in the country." We don't say, "good on her for being super healthy. I wish I could be like that." The majority of people make derogatory comments about healthy people. As if being unhealthy is the benchmark we should aspire to be. This is a reason why there are people who like the idea of being fitter and healthy, but feel uncomfortable with having to pay for it.

Like anything in life, it is not about a lack of resources, it is a lack of resourcefulness which holds these people back. They look at others and say, " it's alright for them." They shift responsibility of their life onto the cards the world has dealt them. These people love to either find others who are as 'worse off' as they are, or love to moan about how life is harder for them than anyone else. These people either need a hug or a kick up the backside (my dad's words not my own). I'll let you decide which it is to be.