I Won a Telstra Best of Business Award for Accelerating Women

I Won a Telstra Best of Business Award for Accelerating Women

Read times: 5-minute read

What a whirlwind that was!

I received an email almost 12 months ago now – ‘you have been nominated for the Telstra Best of Business Awards, click here to enter your business’

In 2017 I had some experience with Telstra’s awards program, and what I remembered most was the clarity I received about my business as I worked through each stage. Despite having no confidence at the time and being selected as a finalist, I was told by one of the judges I was a close second to the overall prize. This boosted my confidence in myself and my business exponentially, and since that day I always intended on doing it again.

So as I received the nomination I clicked through, and began putting my entry together.

The Telstra Awards are a rigorous process, so it’s not something you can breeze through or do in a weekend. There are four stages, each more involved than the one before it. You are notified after each round whether or not you have made it through, and if you do, you continue on to that next level. Each level they want to understand your business on a deeper level than the one that passed.

From the beginning I had the final round in my sights – the pitch pack – and so I put it all out on the table from the beginning.

The process 

The first round is multiple choice, social media links, your website and a short bio on your business purpose and story. If you’re selected to share more about your business you enter stage two, which were 3-minute videos responses on all aspects of your business, including; 

  • Company purpose and solution
  • Culture and team
  • Financials and future 
  • Business story 

They offer specific categories to best suit your business, I chose ‘Accelerating Women’ and ‘Championing Health’. For each category you submit additional answers to explain how you are contributing to Australia in alignment with the criteria of that specific category.

Once I reached the third round, I almost called it! It required 5 x 5 1500 word answers to each aspect of your business. As a solo entrant I struggled to complete it alongside my client load. You also don’t realise how much information there is to share, and how little 1500 words is, when you’re trying to explain what you do to strangers!

With the editing support of a long-term client, I passed through that stage to the interview stage – a 30-minute interview with the judges. They were extremely knowledgeable in their own fields and by this stage knew all there was to know about your business and vision.

From there, I made it through to the awards night as a State Finalist in both my chosen categories. I was SO excited!

The pitch deck was further away than I thought though – I needed to WIN in order to give my pitch. 

I WON the Accelerating Women award!

Dressed up in a gown, hair and makeup done, I attended the awards night with my two favourite people – my bestie and my partner. 

Then came the announcement – ‘I am so proud to announce that the winner is, Wildly Strong’. I was shocked! I took the stage to accept my award and deliver my acceptance speech. I was overwhelmed but also just so happy and proud. 

It was the best thing I have experienced in my business so far. And it’s not for the reason you may think.

I have no formal training in business. I am heart-led and my intuition is what brought me to where I am now. I followed my gut, shared my story and supported women in overcoming the same struggles I have overcome.

So I have no mentorship, and I get no business feedback, but the awards program offers me an opportunity for just that. It asks important questions of you as a business owner, and forces you to get clear on your past, present and future in a way that makes sense to strangers – not one of my strong points!

The National Experience 

So here I am ready to put together a pitch pack – the part I was most excited about. Judges from across Australia were selected for the panel, and you have 10 minutes to pitch your business to them. Aware of the fact that I had no formal training or any clue about corporate lingo, I put together a pitch that I was super proud of. 

They asked me questions around investment, how I was going to ‘challenge the establishment’ and things like this, to which I replied I would have to get a mentor. I hadn’t thought this far ahead, as I don’t have many resources available to me.

They gave me really great advice on what I could do to grow my business with the resources I did have – creating partnerships with other professionals that my work gels well with.

So a night of mingling, a pitch pack presented to judges, a masterclass where we met the CEO of Telstra, and a 6-hour long awards ceremony I was presented with my state finalist award. I didn’t win the national prize, but as a realist I wasn’t expecting I would. It was the experience I was seeking and the clarity around my own business journey that was most important to me.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. I have such clarity around who I serve, the direction I am taking, the story that led me here, and what I need to do next in order to continue accelerating women into the future.

I was offered a speaking opportunity with the Defense Force, an article in the Canberra Weekly, an interview with one of the judges Div Pillay in June, and I made an appearance on Sunrise off the back of this awards program. These are valuable experiences that came off the back of the publicity I received in the awards program.

Where am I going now?

If I am honest, I am resting! The two awards ceremonies were on either side of my PTSD healing sessions in Byron Bay. I didn’t really get a chance or space to process what came up in my session, and I fell behind on client work! I am still catching up.

So, it’s a rest from me, and I have a few exciting things in the pipelines that I can’t tell you about yet – but it’s coming sometime in September.

The Telstra 2024 Best of Business Awards nominations are now open, so if you know of a business that could benefit from this process in the future, be sure to nominate them here!

Lessons From A 25+ Year Health and Fitness Journey

Lessons From A 25+ Year Health and Fitness Journey

Read time: 10-minute read

I’ve been in the health and fitness game for a long time. I’ve made every mistake, and paid for those mistakes time and time again.

It pains me to see everyone making those same mistakes, as there is so much ‘new’ information online, and none of it addresses the root of what it takes to sustain a healthy lifestyle in the long term.

In this post I have reflected on this, so here 10 of my top lessons from my 25 year journey. 

1. Emotional Regulation should be your number one priority

It starts in the mind (which stems from the BODY), so you can’t be healthy if your mind-body isn’t aligned ⁠

This is first because this is KEY. I learned this after many years of perfect eating and training, when I developed chronic fatigue. As I explored the mechanisms behind this illness I learned of how dysregulated my nervous system was, and it was this dysregulation that led to my condition.

I already had depression, anxiety, ADD, and PTSD diagnosis, but because I was so removed from my body, it didn’t click until I was physically unable to function. 

What does this look like?

  • Learning to feel into the body
  • Healing and or facing childhood trauma
  • Asking questions about your uncomfortable emotions
  • Seeing a therapist if you need to
  • Taking time to reassess your job, relationships and life choices. 

These things aren’t easy, they’re a journey, but I can assure you there is freedom (and better results in all life pursuits) if this one is explored in its entirety.

2. It’s a PROCESS. No one masters the habits overnight.

We all fall backward and have to jump back on the wagon again. ⁠

Rome wasn’t built in a day! Along your journey there will be setbacks, as it is impossible to just ‘decide’ to change and have no problems. Think of change like an onion, as you peel back one layer another appears.

So you start eating better, now you have less inflammation and more clarity to see the waves in your emotional state or those things that trigger it. When you’re triggered, you may spiral back to old habits in order to regulate yourself. In noting that, you need to develop a new habit to regulate, rather than leaning on those things you’re trying to quit – cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, etc.

Be patient with yourself and think of it like you’re going on a quest, and on this quest you want to uncover all those things that are holding you back from your dreams, and work through them one by one. As you do this, work to be happy and grateful for what you already have, and this takes the pressure off!.

3. We all have different needs and genetic capabilities – learn yours. 

This is KEY! We all have different muscle shapes, strength capacity, waist size, abdominal shapes, body fat storage limitations, sensitivities, and histories. Your past will influence your present, which is why the first point is so important.

If you’re wanting to change your body, then knowing those who excel in physical endeavors are built differently. They most likely don’t share your story. They most likely have more responsive bodies, lower body fat set-points, a faster metabolism and better levers for lifting. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else but your own. 

4. Nutrition is the number one variable you can control (in a sea of environmental toxicity – so start there)

If you don’t eat well, you really have no chance. There is no other way to say it! We are all impacted by our environment, epigenetic suggests up to 95% of our health outcomes are related to just that. It’s hard to avoid pharmaceuticals, petrol fumes, and some of us have high levels of emotional or psychological stress, but we can all control our diet.

This means; low refined sugar, no seed oils, no fried foods, no trans fats. It’s not that hard to do, but it’s hard to accept as those foods are SO addictive. So, start in the kitchen!

5. Weight training has positive carryover into ALL aspects of life

Weight training is beneficial for; 

  • Bone density
  • Injury prevention
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Mental health
  • Strength levels
  • Sports performance
  • Hormone function
  • Nutrient uptake

And, it can make your body more resilient. When you train well, the nervous system upregulates and has to return to normal again. The more you do this, the more it can stretch, the more you can take on in your everyday life. 

6. Being lean is NOT where the happiness lies

I have been shredded three times. The first time I was miserable as I had major body image issues and I had hedged all my bets on being lean. When I arrived there, I was more disappointed than I had ever been. The next time it was a little better, and the last time I was well aware that it was for the sport and the enjoyment, and so it was great, but I would never choose to live that lifestyle in order to stay lean, as the sacrifices I had to make were too high. Same goes for you!

7. It’s important to identify what you’re willing to do and how you want to live, and weigh that up against how you want to look.

And then, you want to work on accepting how you look. 

⁠How you look is largely genetic, and most people won’t tell you this. This means you won’t buy their programs or sign up to their weight loss diets. I tell my clients this, they understand what is realistic for them and what it takes to achieve the body they desire to have.

For me personally, this means being around 70-73kg, I have a nice shape, but I have no real visible muscle despite when I am lean looking very muscular. After a lifetime of chronic dieting and stress, I have to accept that this is what my body considers to be safe.

So ask yourself, what about this weight is safe for me? If there are realistic changes you can make to be healthier, then it’s likely you will lose weight as you make those changes. If you’re already living a truly healthy lifestyle, then understanding any further leanness you may achieve will not necessarily stick around.

Keep in mind also, that obesity is never safe for the body. Our bodies carry healthy amounts of body fat, but this is never in excessive amounts.

8. Community is essential – you need to have a safe people in your corner.

No-one can make it on their own!⁠

If you don’t have people in your corner cheering you on, it will be hard to change. I have experienced both sides, where I had friends that were not egging me on at all, in fact behind my back hoping I would fail. This means that when I would change, I would feel disconnected and with that disconnection came me ditching my efforts in an attempt to fit back in again. 

Recognise that good connections are people who; 

  • Support you
  • Listen to you
  • Compromise with you
  • Don’t need to be right all the time
  • Ask you how it’s going
  • Point out positive changes in you

They are not people who criticise, put negative ideas in your head or hold you back.  

9. SAFETY is needed for any lasting change.

Safety for me is something I only learned in 2022 as I heal my childhood trauma. I had no idea I didn’t have safety, and no idea how to recognise it.

SO this what safety is, for anyone who doesn’t know; 

  • It is having non-judgmental people in your corner
  • It’s being able to speak your mind without fear of negative consequences
  • It’s people who have a genuine interest in your life
  • People who can be present for you 

If you feel you lack safety, then this is where I would start! Seek out a therapist as this can be a great way of learning what safety feels like, and I’ll give you a tip, it feels strange but also very right to your nervous system.

You may have heard me talking about this alot of late, particularly as it relates to weight loss. Safety is key for any physical goal, as without safety we have chronic stress, and in chronic stress the body is surviving, not thriving, and you can’t achieve things that your body deems unnecessary when it is simply trying to keep you alive!

10. Your needs will change with each phase of life.

One minute it feels important to be skinny, the next it’s important to be strong, then suddenly we care more for mobility. Ride the waves and don’t judge your earlier choices as you occupy new spaces. ⁠

Changing your preferences is normal, and it’s important to embrace this and not fight against it. I see really often people posting about how they once cared about how they looked, but now they don’t, but rather than sharing in an empowering way, they’re mocking the girl who thought weight loss would make her happy.

Weight loss doesn’t make you happy, but your belief in that was your only hope for safety in that phase of your life. What you did in the past was what you did to survive. There are no right or wrong things to do if they lead you to your best life.

I have done; 

  • Cardio and fun runs
  • Weight training and bodybuilding
  • Powerlifting
  • Strongman
  • Walking only while I had chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Back to bodybuilding
  • Now back to walking only really light training as my body recovers through trauma therapy 

I have resistance every time I can’t weight train, as it is my preference but at the same time i have to ride those waves – if the body doesn’t want to do it, then I need to give it a rest. My point here is, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ exercise routine, food, training style or phase to be in. Do what your body can do at the time.

So those are my top 10 tips for you! I hope you gained some new insight.

There is a video version of this too, if you would like to learn more!

Does losing weight make you happy?

Does losing weight make you happy?

Read time: 5 minute read

Most people get into the body transformation game with one idea in mind – 

“The perfect body will make me happy”. 

Is this true though? NO! And in this post I am going to cover this in detail. 

There are a few things I want to cover on this topic including; 

  • Where does it come from? Let’s look at the media’s role in it, and our own
  • How much this impacts us personally
  • Where does the happiness part lie? and, 
  • What can we do about it?

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

I have been a Personal Trainer for 20 years, and a full-time Women’s coach for at least 12. Personally I have always been obsessed with weight loss and body transformation. And most of the women I have trained over the years share the same obsession. 

There are a number of factors behind why we think being skinner will make us happy, but we can narrow this down to two categories; 

  1. The media
  2. Our own personal issues.  

If we go back prior to social media, and particularly up until the last few years, there was zero representation of the averaged-sized women in the media. Every teen magazine or fitness magazine had on the cover – how to lose weight’, and most often it was a 1200 calorie diet with no carbs paired with an excessive exercise routine. 

Let’s start with the Media 

As we started to make traction in the fitness world, learning from our earlier mistakes and teaching women to nourish themselves (I’m talking between 2010-2017ish) I really saw a shift. Women want to eat more, meaning, they want to eat what their bodies require of them. They were sick of the yo-yo diet cycle. 

However, with social media came the introduction of influencers – most often slim women who looked exactly like those we had seen in the media our whole lives, but now there were more of them, and their accounts grew as women everywhere wanted to know what their ‘secret’ was. I can tell you what their secret was – their genetics – but they won’t tell you that themselves. 

They began selling diet products, fitness challenges, getting photo shoots in their underwear and the bikini and fitness model divisions were introduced to competitions to fulfill this need. Now the perfect body can be two things – tall and slender, or lean with large muscles and a perfect set of breast implants. 

So in 2022, we have a new problem, being thousands of genetically elite, self-proclaimed experts who use their own ‘perfect’ bodies to perpetuate diet culture for profit. They don’t coach and have no idea of the impact their behaviour has on young women, nor do they probably care. Furthermore, we see them as ‘experts’ because they look the way we have been programmed to believe ‘healthy’ women should look. 

So just as we were making progress, an even larger force came in and we were moving both forwards and backwards at the same time. The fitness industry which was once a safe place for women to build themselves up was now just as toxic as the mainstream media industry. 

Women turn to fitness to boost their confidence, and are exploited. They achieve great things with their own minds and bodies, but because they aren’t aesthetically extraordinary, or can’t maintain a lean physique, they feel like they have failed. 

So that’s the media aspect of it. 

Then we have the second part, which is our own personal issues

Technically speaking, no ‘health’ organisation inflicts an eating disorder or body image issues onto us. In order for us to be susceptible to the messages, we need to be somewhat vulnerable to them. 

Much like they don’t remove addictive things like alcohol, porn, sugar and certain prescription drugs off the market, they wont ‘ban’ this kind of body from being supported because 1/ this kind of aesthetic-based ‘beauty’ sells, and we live in a corporation driven society, but also because, only some people become addicted. 

Some people are susceptible, and others are not. There is a really great thought leader in the area of trauma and addiction, Dr. Gabor Mate. We will use his words here to illustrate what I am saying; “ask not why the addiction, ask why the pain?”

HOW DO YOU BECOME SUSCEPTIBLE?

There are two ways you may become vulnerable to believing that your body needs to look a certain way in order for you to be happy; 

  1. You need to feel like you’re not good enough as you are, on some level, and
  2. You need to believe that there is something positive at the other end of the transformation – praise, belonging, success, attention, love, etc. Whatever you believe you need in this life to be safe and accepted, this lies at the end of your body transformation journey. 

We have only a few basic human needs – shelter, food and water, and connection. In order to survive, we need to be accepted by the tribe as no one human being can thrive on their own. 

Most corporations prey on our need for connection, as in the western world we have plenty of shelter, food and water to go around (disregarding the quality of that of course which is on a sliding scale). They do this by creating scenarios where it is taken away, for example the ever changing algorithm on Instagram based on what they call the ‘fame lottery’, supplying endless food and drinks that inflame the nervous system, and dating apps where we swipe instead of boldly approaching someone in the real world and asking for their phone number. So things aren’t really working in our favour here. 

Our need for connection is created into cash for large corporations. For those of us who become fixated on our bodies as a place of inadequacy, ‘diet culture’ is the solution. Once we walk down this path due to our own insecurities, there is no shortage of places to land. 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR BODY-FAT?

When you lose all your body fat, you do not immediately feel happy. To be perfectly honest, you may even feel worse – more vulnerable, more disappointed in learning that this wasn’t the answer. Your friends and family may distance themselves from you because your lifestyle is so restrictive, so you may even feel more left out than when you started. 

Furthermore, if you’re in a loop of thinking there is something inherently wrong with you, you will continue to find things that are wrong with your body. For me I hated the shape of my waist, and my left shoulder was smaller than my right. I’ve had clients get breast implants because they hated the way their leaner bodies came with a smaller bust, or they complain about the tiniest bit of cellulite that remains under their butt crease, which I can’t do anything about because it’s their genetics

Lately, as I have been engaging in therapy, with the trauma being the root cause of my body image issues since childhood, this ‘issue’ has been much more apparent. I noticed I look and feel different multiple times of the day. One day I think I am fat, the next I am old and ugly. I would put on clothing thinking it won’t fit because I’ve gotten so fat, only to find my body hasn’t changed at all. 

So how you see your body is linked directly with issues you have going on within yourself, and although the lifestyle adopted by going on a weight loss journey can be helpful, the weight loss itself won’t change those beliefs you have within your nervous system unless you actively work with those too. 

WHAT PART OF THE JOURNEY DOES CONTRIBUTE TO GREATER HAPPINESS?

Whilst losing fat doesn’t bring about feelings of happiness all on its own, the activities undertaken in a body transformation process absolutely can, such as;

  • Better food choices leading to lower inflammation 
  • Regular exercise increasing lymph flow and blood circulation
  • Lowered stress hormones which lead to improved sleep, gut health and feelings of calm

The truth of nutrition really is that eating a diet full of highly processed food is a problem, causing leaky gut, and neuroinflammation, which directly damages neurotransmitters and makes us feel crap about ourselves. So a healthy diet is key. Once again corporations interfere with your assimilation of this information because it’s unfavourable for their profits. 

Losing weight will not make you happier, but being healthy will

For a healthy weight woman, meaning that your body has the amount of body fat it deems to be necessary for you to create life, forage and protect your young, fat loss will not make you healthier or happier. It is also highly likely that whatever fat loss you achieve will be put back on, as this is the body’s safety mechanism. 

The body decides how much body fat is safe for you personally, and has no care for your body composition goals. So for this person, a dieting process may make you healthier because you’re eating better, sleeping better, and moving more, but you could also achieve this without cutting your calories back and losing body fat. So there is no benefit to losing that body fat specifically. 

If you’re higher in body fat than what your body deems to necessary, then you may experience more feelings of happiness as you lose weight, and with clients this looks like easily fitting into a plane seat, purchasing fashionable clothes, feeling more energised, less mood swings, moving more freely and being able to play with their kids. 

So weight loss for some people does improve quality of life, but it’s important to identify the ways in which your body weight is affecting you. It’s also important to diet in a healthy way, no matter your starting point. 

In summary, if you’re a healthy or unhealthy weight, making healthier food choices and moving more (both of which come with a weight loss goal) will lead to improvements in the following; 

  • Stable blood sugar, thus more stable moods and energy levels
  • Increased energy do to a lower toxic load, 
  • Lowered inflammation which leads to fatigue and depressive symptoms 
  • Improved sleep which lowers stress and food cravings, and
  • Better hormone balance, so your time-of-the-month will be more pleasant, your skin more vibrant and your mood overall more stable. 
  • Less stress leading to more capacity for connection

So those are the reasons why someone seems happier when they lose weight, but it is not specifically because their body fat is lower. 

What can I do to start healing my relationship with my body?

The following is what I recommend to my clients when they come to me wanting to change their bodies; 

  1. Unfollow anyone that triggers you to feel low self-worth. If you contract or feel envious when you see your feed, just remove them. 
  2. Switch your focus from calorie restriction and dieting to start, no matter where you are on your journey or what your end goal is. Eat your maintenance calories and see if you still want to lose weight once you’re feeling more healthy.  
  3. Train to get strong and improve your overall physical capacity, and do exercise that is friendly to your nervous system – weight training, cardiovascular activity, dance, yoga, pilates are examples. Note that competitive powerlifting, crossfit and HIIT training may be too much. 
  4. Start looking within. What do I want this for? Do I need to lose weight or am I just unhappy? If you feel the issue is outside of your capacity to process, hire a qualified professional like psychologist, psychotherapist, or coach who specialises in this area. 

By working on these things you can start to heal the relationship with your body. There is of course the ‘body positive’ movement, but I would be very wary of that as it often does not encourage a healthy relationship with food, which is foundational to good health in the long term. 

Often the best way out of body image challenges and diet culture is through it too, so don’t beat yourself up if you did a competition and felt like you failed. This is all a part of the journey. Now you know that’s not the answer and you can start focusing on those practices that brought about joy throughout the process and build on them instead.

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Body Love

 

Body Image & Weight Loss – Does Losing Weight Make You Happy?

Body Image & Weight Loss – Does Losing Weight Make You Happy?

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Fat lossRead time: 8 minute read

I have been a Personal Trainer for 17 years, and full-time for at least 10. I have always been obsessed with weight loss and body transformation. From the moment I spotted the first bit of fat on my body (around 12-13 years old), I became hooked on exercise, calorie counting, and beating myself up in the mirror. 

I was naturally ‘curvy’, meaning a bit soft and not very muscular. Being this shape in the 90’s meant not fitting into fashionable clothing brands, not being able to find bras and swimmers that fit, and finding that even the sportswear that did fit, made me look ‘chunky’. That’s what I thought anyways.  

There was also ZERO representation of averaged-sized women in the media. Remember, no internet in the 90’s 😉 

I bought into all the teen magazine hype and observed how ‘happy’ all the skinny girls in school seemed to be, and formed the belief that being skinnier would make me happier and that I would be treated more positively if I looked ‘better’. So I went about achieving the perfect ‘fitness body’. I was willing to do anything to achieve it, regardless of my overall health. I mean, health had no mention in the fitness world anyway; it was all about how you look. 

I did get pretty close to reaching my ‘perfect body’ but I did so at the expense of health. What came as a rude shock is, I still hated my body, even at 12% body fat. I just saw more flaws. I still felt like an imposter. I still felt not good enough

Body-image issues are rooted much deeper than outer appearance, and all women need to realise this. 

How much does our body image impact our lives in general? 

A study conducted by Dove including 13,000 participants, found that an astounding number of women and girls allow their body image issues to determine whether or not they participate in important life activities, and how they assert themselves or express their opinion to others. 

It also stated that most women of this mindset will consciously stop themselves from eating, whether or not their health is at risk. These are disturbing statistics, but I see this kind of behaviour in the women I coach on a daily basis. As you can see, I also felt this way myself. 

So this means that women aren’t reaching their full potential, when they’re constantly worrying about their bodies.

Are we actually happier when we are skinnier though? No, we are not. 

Who, or what, is to blame? 

We could certainly blame the media, who flood us with images of beautiful, unrealistic, heavily edited bodies. But that wont help us. Research into the topic, and deeper inquiry into my own issues lead me to understand that the problem is much deeper than ‘the media’. 

Generally speaking, when we feel unhappy or out of control, we tend to turn our attention to the ‘outside’ world. We try to mold ourselves to what we believe is socially acceptable. We attach our unhappiness to tangible things that we have conscious control over – more money, fancy car, a hot body, etc. 

We lose sight of what’s important and believe that by changing ourselves, we will somehow become happier, or more worthy. We forget that it’s who we are that counts the most. 

When we are happy with how we look, the rest of the world mirrors back to us that exact same feeling. People love you, when you love you. 

Being skinny will not make you happier, but being healthy will

By reaching a healthy weight (20-25% body-fat, or even up to 30% for some women), we are definitely closer to reaching our full potential due to increased energy, health, lowered inflammation, improved sleep, and the greater overall emotional wellbeing that accompanies hormone balance. 

Achieving a healthy weight also requires us to develop a healthy relationship with food, which is never a bad thing. 

What can I do to start healing my relationship with my body?

Firstly, stop looking at all these perfect women and wishing you could be just like them. Unfollow anyone that triggers you to feel low self-worth. Assuming they’re the picture of health and happiness can be detrimental, as you really don’t know what these people do behind closed doors. You can’t actually know if they’re a true inspiration to you, or if they are being honest. 

Switch your focus from calorie restriction and crash dieting (and beating yourself up) and focus on improving your health and vitality. Work out how many calories you need to eat for optimal health and start re-fuelling. You body composition will change all by itself if once you start nourishing it. I get all of my clients to increase calories and nourish their bodies before focusing on weight loss goals. 

Start looking within. Try to remember when it all started. Was it in school, or after carrying your first child? Was it something your mother always worried about? Once you identify where it started, you have better awareness and conscious awareness is the first piece of the puzzle when it comes to healing. 

For me personally, when I started attacking my body I was already experiencing some depression and anxiety. I had very low self-esteem. I kind of just decided it was my body because it looked different to other girls’ bodies, and I fixated on it. Additionally, my mum always hated her body, and complained about being ‘fat’. In a way, making my body look good was my way of proving I was high value to the world around me. 

How I coach women now

I still coach body transformation, even after this journey. I love it still and love working with women to optimize their health and body composition. I see it as kind of art form, a fun project you can work on and that you can carry around with you everywhere you go. 

What I have changed though, is my approach. I replaced the all-or-nothing, get-the-best-body-in-the-shortest-amount-of-time-possible approach, with one that focuses on reaching goals in a healthy way – adequate calories, no overtraining, and with a positive view of self. Almost always with my clients, some work has to be done here in the beginning stages, but the end result is that we build bodies they love and in a healthy way. 

It is unfortunate that we live in a world that values appearance over health, but it is pretty inescapable, especially with the addition of social media. Rather than getting angry about, it, or feeling victimised by it, we need to find our space within it to heal and nourish ourselves, so that when we see these ‘perfect’ women, we still feel great about our amazing selves! 

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Fat loss

Jen x

Should all Personal Trainers have Abs?

Should all Personal Trainers have Abs?

Read time: 3 minute read

I saw a post on Facebook the other day questioning whether trainers should have a six-pack before offering any kind of health/fitness advice. I LOLd a little bit, but then one of my clients who is almost qualified to PT was questioning her place in the industry as she is, in her opinion, not lean and muscular enough to succeed. I hear this a lot so, it got me thinking

This is me at 76kgs, after 16 years of working in the health and fitness industry. I started gym training when I was 15 and I’m now in my 30’s. Do I look perfect? Nope, I am sitting at 29% body fat. Am I a shit trainer? No. Should I stop offering advice because I’m not a size 8, and don’t reflect the ‘typical’ female trainer body shape of this time? Hell no

Limiting your idea of health and fitness-related knowledge to the presence/absence of a 6 pack and low body-fat is denying the existence of so many factors that affect one’s body composition. These include genetics (biggest one), life experiences, age, performance-enhancing drugs, stress levels, and the list goes on

Limiting the worth of a female trainer to the muscularity and leanness of her physique is a rejection of the many other aspects that make women beautiful/powerful: women are soft, wise, strong, intuitive, caring, etc. The more estrogen we have, the softer we are, and emotionally we absorb a lot of what happens around us. These traits, in my opinion, are essential when it comes to inspiring health and wellness amongst women.

This industry is very masculine, and it always has been. I have had to fight to embrace my femininity with it, and I see many women fighting the same battle. We aren’t all cookie-cutter body shapes as the fitness industry suggests us to be!

Your physical body reflects your triumphs but it reflects your scars too, and a little body-fat is not a bad thing when you are looking after yourself. Probably time women embrace that

JEN x

Perspectives on the ‘Perfect’ Female Body

Perspectives on the ‘Perfect’ Female Body

I love this picture as to me it represents how much my perspective has changed, both as a trainer and as a woman in this industry. Definitely not as strong or as lean as I once was, but stronger and healthier than ever in both body and mind

These days I liken the pursuit of this ‘perfect’ female physique to playing a game of soccer, but where the goal posts keep being moved and the shape of the ball keeps changing. You can NEVER reach it, and mainly because what also doesn’t change is your lack of perspective, which leaves you unable to recognize your own personal power or beauty even when it’s staring you right in the face.

In some ways I think the fitness industry has lost it’s way a little. I think women have lost sight of what’s achievable naturally, what is healthy, and where the truth lies. As a trainer I strive to be what I wish I had at the beginning of my journey, even if it doesn’t fit within the ‘norms’ of what is happening at this present time. My experiences have shaped me and I don’t budge on my principles, no matter what anyone says. I support my clients in any direction they choose to go, be it bodybuilding, powerlifting or whatever because I love and value them, but because their health is the top priority they are able to achieve more than I ever did

It’s important to remember that no matter who you are, you don’t have to be the hottest, skinniest, fittest, or strongest girl out in order to own your space in this world; you just have to be happy with yourself. Eat well because you love you body, lift weights because you love your body, but own your individual journey and remember it’s a different journey to everyone else’s

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