In Food We Trust

Posted: April 3, 2012 in Fitness

I live in Victoria – by all accounts a pretty fit city.  We have access to fresh air, local food, and 3000 fitness and yoga studios.  I’ve read many times that the North American obesity rate is hovering at 70%, but I have not seen that percentage represented here.

Last month, our family took our kids to Disneyland and we saw first hand the reality behind the stats we hear about.  The vast majority of people we saw were carrying at least an extra 20 pounds and many were carrying an extra 100 lbs or more. Everyday we saw a dozen people so fat that they couldn’t move – they used motorized scooters to get around.  I saw a very obese middle-aged woman reaching out her hands to her teenage son so he could pull her off the bench.  I’m middle-aged.  I have a teenage son.  I tried to imagine that life for myself.

And I tried to understand what I was seeing from a place of compassion.

If 70% of the population is obese we’ve got a problem on a societal level.  This is not a simple issue of self-control.  We didn’t have this problem 100 years ago.

If we take access away from healthy living – cram people behind office desks and feed them MSG in the form of “natural ingredients” – they’re gonna get fat.  Our society is proof of that.  Based on my experience, I know that a great many of us are trying to do the right thing by our health and are being misled.  We are bring sidetracked by the all the corporate interests involved in the production and monetization of food.

I believe that the vast majority of us are a trusting sort.  Most of us are wired that way.  Everyday we have a great many interactions and most of them are built on trust.  When someone breeches our trust, it’s a really big deal and it confuses us.  Sadly, every day our trust is being breached by companies saying they are providing us with nutritious food when in fact they are providing us with addictive chemicals in food-like substances.

So here’s a thought:  We’re not fat because we’re stupid.  We’re fat because we’re trusting.

And here’s a question:  Can we look at this from a critical place while maintaining our general trust of humanity or does choosing a healthy life doom you to cynicism?

Sandy

Good evening dear readers.  I’ve just been browsing the net looking at various fitness sites and was taking in the before and after shots on many of them.  Even though it has been repeatedly recommended, I have never as a trainer, gym owner, or program developer used before and after photos in my marketing.  I’ve thought about it and as tempting as it might be, it just doesn’t sit right with me.

I don’t like the idea of using images of my clients bodies to draw sales.   “Look at these poor sods 3 months ago –  look at their rolls, see how dumpy they were?  Wouldn’t want to be them would ya?  Well, look at them now – so pretty, so skinny, so happy.   I did that and here’s how I’ll do it for you.”   I know it works.  And I know it can be inspiring – I just don’t like it…

I didn’t get into this profession so I could make people skinny.  And all that “strong is the new skinny” is more advertising bull-hockey.  Strong is the new “still obsessed with your looks so you can feel superior to everyone else because otherwise you’ll feel sad, hopeless and depressed” skinny.  Not much new there…

Note the absence of the thinking part of this body...

I got into this profession so I could help people think less about how they look and more about the overall quality of their lives.  You can’t photo someone’s confidence going up.  You can’t photo whether they feel more comfortable in their own skin.  You can’t photograph whether they are living more meaningful, empowered and satisfying lives.  And if you could, I have a feeling you’d see it in their eyes more then in their bodies.

We’re all mad – you know.  Everywhere I turn I see images and suggestions that tell me not to be happy with myself and the beauty/fitness industry earns its keep by preying on our insecurities.  No news flash there, except that we do have some choice.  If we go deeper into our health and fitness, we may connect to our own voice and be able to let go of all the nonsense.

Show me a before and after of that.

In health, Sandy

BOOBIES!!!

Posted: March 6, 2012 in Fitness
Tags: , ,

It may not be a reason that you often hear, but for those of us with big boobs, we know that not having the right bra for exercise can be a real obstacle.  This may be too much information, but I’d like you to understand what I’m dealing with here.  I’m a 34D, have nursed two kids and regularly jump up and down.  I’ll leave you with that.

I’ve tried at least a dozen different brands.  I’ve been marginally satisfied with my sports bra for the last few years.  I won’t name it because I don’t have anything nice to say about it except that it does do the job.  It also cuts into my ribs, has seams in all the wrong places and is so tough to take on and off that I actually include that in as part of my workout.

We’ve sent a man to the moon, but I’d given up all hope of ever owning a decent sports bra.  So, when Under Armour asked me to try their latest, I didn’t get too excited about it.  When I took it out of it’s package I remained skeptical.  There were no heavy seams.  There weren’t a thousand clips. There wasn’t even an underwire!  In fact, there wasn’t much to it at all, and worse yet, it looked like it might be… comfortable.  Good D-cup sports bras aren’t comfortable.  Everyone knows that.

Now I’m sitting here an hour post workout writing a review on it.  Before I even get to the performance this fact alone is a true testimony.  In my previous bracarnation, and to my neighbor’s delight, I’d often be caught trying to take off my horrid rib-digging bra before I even made it through my front door.

So, I’ve been wearing this bra for a couple of weeks worth of workouts and have done a myriad of things included agility training, jump rope, basketball and other bouncy type stuff.  This bra totally holds up – so to speak.  Here’s what’s great about it:

  • it’s comfortable
  • it’s easy to get on and off
  • it holds up the girls
  • it looks good on
  • the sizing is simple and accurate
  • it washes well

It also comes with a removable insert that they say gives extra support.  Truth be told, I took it out after the first wash. I’ve got too many responsibilities – I just couldn’t handle a removable insert.

So ladies – if your bra sucks, try this one.  It is the only bra out there that I would recommend for any woman living in the land of plenty.  Go there now.

Thanks for reading.  And if you aren’t already – follow Hit to Fit on Facebook.  We’ve got some exciting developments happening and that’s where we keep y’all abreast.

Sandy

Happy as a Lark is the New Injured

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Fitness
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Anyone who’s ever had an injury, please raise your hand.  Uh, yeah – except you there with the buggered rotator cuff…

Injuries suck.  They can prevent us from the simplest of tasks and they can take us away from all the activities we love – even those that define us.  They threaten our routines and can be devastating as we helplessly watch our hard work atrophy.   At worst an injury can threaten to sabotage all our healthy habits.  As a trainer, I’ve seen that happen all too often.

However…

Injuries can be an opportunity too.  We can use the time and the energy put into our ‘normal’ activities and redirect them to other, often neglected, areas.  Those of us dedicated to “intense” exercise are often deeply demoralized when an injury happens but we are also those who could benefit deeply from meditation and yoga.   Injuries can give us the time we need to delve deeper into our nutritional habits and dedicate ourselves to cleaning up our kitchens and diet.  Even a 3-month break from normal activity doesn’t necessitate a loss – it’s possible to come back from an injury with renewed habits, focus and awareness.

Moral of this post – don’t let an injury get you down.  Committing to our health isn’t just about training hard – it’s also about how we eat, how deeply we breathe and how we approach setbacks and adversity.

Yours sporting an injury,

Sandy

I recently read a post called “The Difference Between Being Nice and Being Kind” – please read it if you have the time.  You may or may not agree with her but the article has stuck with me for days.

The article suggests that nice people “try to please so that they can feel good about themselves” and kind people “take responsibility for their own self-care”.

The article addressed nice and kind people’s relationships with others.  As a personal trainer, I mainly focus on people’s relationship to themselves.  I see the same distinction between people who are nice to themselves and people who are kind to themselves.

People who are nice to themselves allow themselves to sleep in even after they’ve made a commitment to train 3X/week at 6am.  People who are nice to themselves sign up for a 8 week session and don’t show up again after the first class because they didn’t like how they felt about themselves (clumsy, awkward, fat…) in that first session.  People who are nice to themselves have 2 glasses of wine after a really shitty day.  Nice people have great intentions.  They come up with a severely restrictive plan to change their whole life and the first day they can’t follow it, they give up entirely and wait for the next wave of motivation (often in the form of self-hatred) to kick in.  Nice people set themselves up for failure and when they feel really badly about themselves they pick themselves up with a piece of cheesecake.

In a nutshell, people who are nice to themselves blow off their commitment to their own health the second they don’t feel like doing it.

I used to be nice to myself and I spent most of my energy feeling shitty and wishing that my life, my body, my energy level would magically be better.  Praise to be Allah, I learned that being nice to myself wasn’t going to get me there.

Being kind did.

Kind people act in their own best interests.  Kind people treat themselves as though they are their own loving parent – the type of parent who wants them to succeed.  A parent who wants them to be happy, responsible, successful and discovering their own potential.

Kind people get up on cold, rainy mornings because they committed to doing that and kind people honor their commitments to themselves.  Kind people have learned that while it’d be “nice” to have cheesecake everyday – an apple will make them feel better, and cheesecake is great on occasion.

Kind people have learned that sometimes you have to do things you don’t “feel like” doing in order to live a life worth living.  Kind people don’t rely on motivation to maintain a balanced life, they rely on commitment.  Kind people don’t beat themselves up after an indulgent weekend.  They enjoy themselves fully and on Monday morning, they get back to their well-balanced and sustainable routine.

Kind people see through the illusion of perfection and don’t fall for the black and white thinking that goes with it.  Kind people know they are going to get old and have decided they will do their best to live their years in a strong and healthy body.   Every day, kind people make choices that will support a healthy present and a happy future.  Habits are hard to break – kind people are gentle, aware and committed to themselves as they break unhealthy habits and create healthy ones.  They forgive their follies and don’t punish themselves by allowing their weaknesses to rule their lives.  Kind people know they won’t always feel like doing it – but at least 80% of the time, they’ll do it anyway.

Kind people don’t let themselves off the hook.  They let themselves succeed.

Be kind to yourselves people.

In health, Sandy

The sun is streaming into the kitchen.  Great tunes are playing on the stereo.  I just finished my workout.  It’s 2012 and I’m preparing for Rapture.  I’ve lived through a few doomsday predictions, but none has caught my fancy quite like 2012.  This one, this so called quickening, or awakening, the great shift, ascension – this time, this one – I really want to believe it’s gonna happen.

The last 200 years has been a crazy time for us humans.  We’ve been so hyperactive that we impetuously reinvented the entire fabric of our social world.  From steam engines to iPhones.  Isn’t that amazing?  I live in awe.

But… I don’t think we’re gonna keep up this pace.  I don’t think it’s possible – or healthy.  I think we need some time to step back and process everything that we’ve done.  I don’t know where all this drive came from – certainly not from the likes of me – but the few who have been doing the driving should stop.  And the many who have been going along for the ride should get out of the car.  Walk around.  Stretch.  Talk awhile.  Let’s take a deep collective breathe.  Then let’s get some lunch and start asking ourselves some tough questions.

Are you in agreement with what you see before you?  Are you happy with the expectations/limitations that surround your life?  Do you think there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way you are?  If so, who or what gave you that idea?  As a culture – what are our core beliefs?  How obligated are we to the past?  What have we been convincing each other to believe?  Can we trust ourselves or do we need society to set the boundaries?  To what extent?  If you had the power to live your life on your own terms, what would that look like?  Where does the power to do that come from?

I love the occupy movement.  The most common negative response I’ve heard goes something like: “what do they even want? they should just get a f’ing job.”  To be honest, I don’t know what they (or you) want, but I understand that it’s not what’s been put before them.  With all the din of the last century – all those leaf blowers, fax machines, and trucks driving in reverse – how can any of us really know what we want (please read: I’m-overwhelmed for more on that).  But I’ve had a lot of conversations lately and I hear people say – I don’t know what I want, but it’s not this.

It’s fine not to have the answers – it’s even better to ask the pertinent questions.  I want to believe that this is the year that we will collectively examine all of our assumptions – all our biases and beliefs.  I want 2012 to be the year of The Great Decluttering of our Minds.  The year of Metaphysical Fitness.  The year of Occupy Yourself.  Let’s start with an open curiosity into our own workings and desires then move lovingly forward from there.

Who’s in?

Sandy

10. Employers will dedicate office space for fitness training and hire fitness/nutrition experts to educate their staff.
9. Healthcare will adopt an integrative care model and stop treating symptoms.
8. We’ll all go outside a little more.
7. Companies will give gym memberships to all employees.
6. Gov’t will not charge tax on fitness related activities.
5. Medical doctors will prescribe gym memberships.
4. Fitness will be advertised for how it makes you feel not just how it can make you look.
3. Home workouts.
2. Short workouts.
1. Functional Fitness in commercial gyms.  🙂

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are feeling optimistic for the coming year!

Sandy