Personal Training Works Best When It Gets Really Personal!

Today's the day!

Today’s the day!

My Facebook newsfeed is jam-packed with folks declaring that today marks the first day of their 2013 “health kick”. Local gyms are starting fitness and weight loss challenges as I type. Personal trainers in every global nook and cranny are reminding me about their services to support the achievement of our weight loss and fitness goals, so we can (at last) be the proud owner of that “dream body”.

As a fitness professional myself, I think that the fitness industry offers valuable support to those of us who want to lead a healthier life. Being physically active is a really important aspect of our journey towards a healthier relationship with our body and towards achieving (and maintaining) our optimal weight .Being physically active encourages us to spend more time in our bodies and gives us the opportunity to develop exquisite levels of body awareness. Bottom line : exercise definitely supports your getting the “bottom line” you really want :)!(That’s just me being “cheeky” :)! Ooops!)

Are you an active fan yet?

Are you an active fan yet?

If you’re on a weight loss journey, you probably agree with everything I’ve just said. And whilst you might be an “intellectual fan” of exercise (and you could probably give a lecture on everything you “should” be doing to get the body of your dreams – and keep it), chances are you’re not an “active fan” (yet :))! Chances are, you wish you didn’t have to do that whole exercise thing – or that someone else could do it for you! Chances are, you might not find it easy to get motivated to move your body. Chances are you might even sense some resistance every time the word “work-out” is mentioned (and chances are, you’re not even sure why that should be the case .. especially because you intellectually acknowledge that working out can move you in the direction of that dream body!).

What often happens at this point is that people decide to engage the services of a personal trainer. Sounds ideal, right? Well, there are some really useful things to be gained from working with a personal trainer. Firstly, they know stuff about physiology; they know what “good form” and good technique looks like; they know about training frequency, intensity and volume. They know the latest thinking on the best ways to achieve your physical goals. The really good ones also know a thing or two about nutrition. Add to the mix that you’re spending time with people who are just “oozing” vibrant energy, body confidence and health (that’s contagious and you might be at serious risk of catching some of that if you spend enough time in their company!) and it all looks incredibly appealing. And all of this is both valuable and important – and, if you take regular training sessions (and eat what they tell you to), sooner or later you get to see physical changes in your body.

Sounds perfect, right? Or can you see where this might be heading? Does this remind you of anything? Like the diet you really didn’t enjoy but you forced yourself to do it anyway to get the results? Did you manage to stay “on track” for good? What happened when your emotional appetite shouted louder than the diet rules? Did going on a diet resolve your relationship with both food and your body? Did going on a diet resolve your emotional issues once and for all? Did you eventually get to love that strict diet in the end? (I’m guessing it was unsustainable and didn’t work out the way you’d hoped, right?)

Are you plugged into your own motivational power source?

Are you plugged into your own motivational power source?

So what am I trying to say here? Here’s the thing : working with a personal trainer can definitely improve your relationship with your body and bring massive physiological benefits. The personal training process can help you to develop confidence in new ways too. But, what if after weeks or months of personal training you still don’t feel motivated to exercise? What if you rely on the personal trainer to take responsibility for your motivation in the longer term? What would happen if you stopped working with the personal trainer? How will working with the personal trainer have contributed towards your developing a life-long love affair with physical activity?

For some lucky people, resolving their emotions, beliefs, values, attitudes and identity around food and their body can be the piece of the puzzle that transforms everything. For these lucky people, once they have been able to stop emotional eating and to start relating to their body and food in healthy ways, they find it easy to do the whole exercise thing. Things just fall into place. They’re enjoying being in their bodies again, enjoying exercise as an end in itself rather than as a means to an end. Motivation comes easily.

For some of us, however, even when we’ve resolved our emotional eating patterns, the exercise piece still doesn’t fit naturally with us. And this is the crux of it all. Until you’ve worked out why you don’t enjoy working out and why you don’t find it easy to access powerful positive motivational forces , you’ll just have to work out how you’re going to pay your personal training bill in the long term! (The minute you “break-up” with your personal trainer, the divorce courts will let them walk away with all the motivation. After all, it was theirs on the first place).

Personal training can be transformational!

Personal training can be transformational!

My view is this : your personal trainer’s responsibility is to help you to become your own best personal trainer. Their intention shouldn’t be to have you as a client as long as they can! Instead, the relationship should exist for a sufficient time – enough time to get to the a point where you are ready to fly solo (in touch with your own motivation and really enjoying a positive relationship with physical activity). In order to get to that point, your personal trainer needs to be skilful at working out what’s really going on with you. Over and above training your physical body (and teaching you how to do that for yourself), they should also acknowledge the all-important mind-body relationship ~ so that all of you is lined up for “effortless” success within the context of physical fitness. That’s right, I actually said effortless and I meant it! I’ll go one step further. What if you were to break out of the “Exercise is hell” paradigm and break into this one “Exercise is a true reward for both me and my body : it is a joyous communion my deepest natural self.”? Are you shouting “Get real!” at the computer screen? (Get real? I just did :)).

If you are considering the personal training route to help yourself get back into regular physical activity, my advice is to ascertain just how personal the experience is going to be! When interviewing a prospective personal trainer, it’s really worth checking out their philosophy. If you meet one who is capable of helping you to explore how your emotions, attitudes, values, beliefs, identity (and even your life purpose) are impacting on your current relationship with physical activity (and food!) – that’s what I call personal! If you meet one who is qualified to help resolve unwanted emotions – that’s what I call personal! If you meet one who knows how to help you to develop supportive beliefs about yourself and physical activity – that’s what I call personal! If you meet one who knows how to help you to get in touch with your most powerful, positive motivational forces – that’s what I call personal!

If you walk into a personal training studio with a mindset that isn’t totally supportive of your fitness / health journey (or supportive of you as a whole for that matter!) then just make sure that, one day, you’re able to walk out of that studio with a whole lot more than the body of your dreams. Just make sure that you’re able to leave all that no longer serves you (physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually) behind. For good.

Make sure it's more than cosmetic!

Make sure it’s more than cosmetic!

Just like forcing yourself to go on a strict diet does little to heal your relationship with both food and your body, personal training that does not acknowledge your unique psychological, emotional and spiritual make-up is at best only that – make-up : a cosmetic that makes the surface look good for a little while and then wears off.

In my experience of the fitness world, fitness professionals are genuinely committed to helping people to develop, and maintain, healthy lifestyles. If you are hoping that getting a personal trainer will help you to resolve your relationship with food and your body, do satisfy yourself that they can support you in this way. I am really thrilled that more and more personal trainers are becoming qualified in the psychological aspects of weight loss and fitness – I’m a huge fan of the holistic approach. And if you meet a personal trainer who you think can help you achieve your fitness goals but may not be qualified in the emotional and psychological side of things, my advice would be to make sure that you find a way of resolving the emotional/psychological spiritual stuff too. I’d suggest finding a qualified coach or therapist who is fit to work out this side of things with you 🙂 This way, every inch of you is headed in the same direction : your body is taking action and your mind will be wired up to support your success!

Here’s the take-away : Only when personal training seeks to explore the deepest truth of who we are, is personal training personal enough.

 Gotta run :)!

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

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Energising Action!

Welcome to the 8th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/  and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)

First things first : a very happy New Year to you and I hope this post finds you in fine fettle! Yesterday’s post was all about developing your own nutritional philosophy and today’s post acknowledges what many of us may be doing today : setting intentions for 2013. We’re going to be taking a look at how to set outcomes and take action geared towards achieving your outcomes, geared towards helping you to “stay on track”!

Learn how to fuel the flames of action!

Learn how to fuel the flames of action!

Last night, I spent a wonderful evening in front of a roaring fire. The Christmas tree sparkled in the corner .The dog stretched out in bliss. My partner, Ian and I sat all cosy on the sofa. I felt a deeply satisfying sense of “home”. (If Barry Manilow had been playing on the stereo and my partner had been wearing his Indiana Jones hat, it would have been the icing on the Christmas cake :)).

As you and I have known each other for 7  full days, I feel I can be open with you. Truth be told, last night I was so in the mood. Conditions were perfect 🙂

If you are blushing whilst reading this, relax! I was in the mood for setting an intention, for setting a goal of moving into,and making, a new home in 2013.And the conditions were perfect for setting that intention because I was already experiencing what it would be like to feel completely at home. Let me explain a little more…

Feeling completely “at home” last night was a really big deal for me because it has been a very long time since I have felt at home. I moved from Scotland to Northern Ireland in Summer 2011. I moved from my own home into someone else’s. I thought I would soon feel at home but I didn’t.Even with the prospect of my partner and I moving into a farmhouse that we could renovate and “make our home”, I just couldn’t get excited about it. I couldn’t even talk about it without feeling quite distant and totally disconnected. I didn’t unpack a lot of my belongings (they, like me, just didn’t seem to belong!) and I often thought about Scotland. Ian kept taking me to the farmhouse, asking for layout suggestions, colour schemes and even oven specifications (he knows I love cooking and hoped that would get me interested in the house move). None of it lit any kind of flame at all in me.  So, here we are right now in January 2013 and we are still not moved in. And, until last night, I felt like we were still living in a “stop-gap” house in Limbo, County Antrim. Nothing felt permanent. It didn’t feel like home at all.

Positive energy can be a powerful force!

Positive energy can be a powerful force!

Last night it all changed.  Feeling the intensely satisfying feelings of connection, love, belonging and home, I heard myself set an intention to move into the farmhouse. That’s right – whilst I was feeling all those good feelings, the words just popped out! Ian and I talked the house into life as the embers warmed our imaginations. I could see it right in front of me, I could smell the food from the farmhouse kitchen, I could hear my son playing teenage music in the tree-house nearby and I could feel myself belonging to that place. I could feel myself in the bricks and in the roots of the orchard trees and in the soil which would provide us with food. I was in a state of utter connectedness.

When Ian realised that I had “moved in” right in front of his very eyes, he asked me, “What’s one small step we could take, to get the wheels in motion for our move?”

After I’ve published this post, I’ll be checking out internet coverage. That’s my next small step that will take me closer to my outcome. And guess what state I might want to be in while I’m taking that step? That’s right, I’ll be getting myself into the “feeling at home” state, the feeling of “utter connectedness”. That way, I’ll be feeling really good while I’m taking the action and any following small steps I plan will be pulled along by the positive energy attached to my goal (to make a new home). My focus is clearly set on making Northern Ireland my home, rather than on a wistful ache for Scotland.

So, if you’re sitting there, scratching your head and asking “what’s this got to do with me making a New Year’s resolution about weight loss ?” Well, if you think back to times in the past when you’ve resolved to lose weight once and for all – and then found it an incredible struggle to keep your resolve, chances are that you may not have been in the optimal state for setting your goal / intention or for taking action. And the chances are that when you considered the steps to achieving your goal, it suddenly looked huge and overwhelming because you felt pressure to do it all at once!

Keep your attention and energy heading in the direction pf your outcome!

Keep your attention, energy and action heading in the right direction!

Today, I’m going to share with you a process for setting your intentions for 2013 which helps you to focus on what you do want, rather than what you don’t want. So, I was focused on not feeling at home, feeling disconnected and Scotland ~ rather than focusing on feeling at home, belonging and Northern Ireland. People who want to lose weight often focus on how bad they feel about their body instead of how good they’d like to be feeling about it, for example. Is the penny beginning to drop about what happens when your focus, attention and energy is not fully aligned with your outcome? Achieving your outcome may turn out to be less than easy, right? The process I am about to share with you will also help you to identify and access the powerful positive states attached to your outcome, so that you can use this energy to plan and take the next step. And the invitation is to take small steps : this way change will be evolving gradually and it will feel more manageable as you experience regular small successes that keep you heading in the right direction.

Here’s How To Do It Ask yourself the following questions (I give some example answers just to help clarify the process). Go into the changing room of life and try the questions on fully 🙂

1. What do you want? (State your outcome positively and in the present )

A : I am feeling comfortable, healthy and confident in my body. I am living a healthy for-lifestyle.

2. How will you know that you’ve got what you want? (What are you seeing, hearing, feeling that lets you know you’ve achieved your outcome? Engage all your senses!)

A : I am enjoying shopping for clothes. I am looking in the mirror and recognising myself for the first time in a very long time. My skin feels as though it fits perfectly. I feel like this body is me. I feel at home 🙂 I am taking real pleasure nourishing myself with food that my body enjoys. I am physically active.

3. When do you want it?

A wee tip here, if you’ve struggled with your weight in the past, you’re probably answering this with something like “tomorrow” or “yesterday” 🙂 . I understand that  AND I also know that very short time frames can pile on the pressure. So give this question some consideration, knowing that while you’re losing weight you are probably going to be in a much more positive state this time and you might even enjoy the process of becoming healthy! (And you know what happens when you give yourself permission for pleasure and you take all the pressure off, right?) When I took action to lose weight, I decided that I would achieve my goal at the perfect time for me and I would just concentrate on enjoying the “getting there” bit. I was clear about my outcome, I kept it in mind and I literally took one small step after the other until one day I realised I had “arrived” !

4. Having achieved your outcome, how will you be BEING different as a person? (This is the powerful positive energy that you can ride towards your outcome. The idea here is to actually experience this state of being now. The additional questions I ask help to bring the state of being to life.).

A : Unstoppable

What’s that like? Where do you feel it in your body? Does the feeling have a colour? Is it moving or still? Is it warm or cold? Where does the feeling start in your body?

A : Wow. It’s hot, red and really high-energy. It feels like it’s pulling me along. I can barely contain it. It’s right in my stomach and in my chest.

5. When you feel the positive state of being emerging (so you’re actually feeling the feelings), ask what’s the next smallest step you could take TODAY to move towards achieving your outcome?

A : I’m off for a 15-minute stroll.

(Reminder : evolution requires much less effort than revolution. Small steps soon add up as long as the small steps are heading in the right direction 🙂 )

And that’s all there is to it. We’ll talk more about achieving your outcomes tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you really enjoy getting into some deliciously positive states that will energise your action! Oh – and do take the next smallest step and share your experiences in the comments box!(I’ll ask you how it went tomorrow :))

All this talk of being unstoppable has brought on a sudden urge! Are you in the mood for a change too?

Gotta run 🙂 !

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

Welcome to The Thigh-High Boot Camp!

A very warm welcome to you! I invite you to watch this short welcome video if you’d like to get a better feel for what I’m about :

  • Are you unhappy about your weight or your body?
  • Are you fed up of dieting?
  • Have you had enough of looking at yourself in the mirror and saying things about yourself that even your worst enemy wouldn’t say to you?
  • Are you fed up of waiting to live the life you want, and feel the way you want to feel, because you feel your weight is getting in the way?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place! And if you think this is one of those strict military- type boot camps – that just isn’t what I’m  about (that’s because I know you’ve read every diet book going and you’ve probably started many an exercise regime too.. and it’s still not working out for you.)

This is not a diet. This is not an exercise programme. This is a heart-warming, soul-nourishing feast of learning that offers you the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with your emotional appetite and to get back in touch with your natural body wisdom.

If you have struggled with your weight for too long, now is the time to end the battle and discover what all graduates of the Thigh-High Boot Camp know : give your weight a piece of your mind and it’ll give you the peace you’ve been looking for all this time 😉

For full details of the (women-only) Thigh High Boot Camp (what it is and how it works), just click on “About The Boot Camp”.

What are you weighting for?!

Jane Talbot  😉