Highlights from 2020

Highlights from 2020

Read time: 10 minute read

2020 was a weird year – no one can dispute that. I felt a little bit like this picture at first, as I went through all of the emotions and experiences – stress, unpredictability, shock, awakened, relieved, free – all at the same time. I would say 2020 tested our resilience, compassion, trust, and stability, more than ever before. Most people I know actually embraced the changes – extra time, less pressure at work, more time with their loved ones. Travel restrictions, lockdowns and business closures made the world seem like a much smaller place. It made us appreciate what we have right in front of us. I found myself grateful for the house I own, the friends I have, and the clientele I allowed into my business as this then became a business I run from home and I mean, completely from home. So thanks to the events of 2020, I will be going into 2021 with some really great realisations, and this post is dedicated to what I learned

1: SOCIAL MEDIA HIATUS

I took a three-month break from social media – all platforms, apart from messenger. Highlight, you ask? Hell yes! Social media is not my jam. I hate it, actually. I think it’s filled with lies, absurd competition, and fakery, and I have wasted a lot of time over the years trying to work out who is honest, and who is not. I think there are better ways to occupy our time. When the lockdowns started, I really felt the pull to go inwards. There was literally nothing else being spoken about online but you-know-what, it was all very negative, and fear-based. This is not how I like to live, nor can I do my best work or live my best life in this environment. So I decided this was my opportunity, I had always wondered whether it was necessary to post on social media for my particular business. My client spots have been full since 2013, and I don’t think any of them told me they found me on social media. So, this was my big chance! I deleted it, and instead filled this time (now that my brain wasn’t filled with everyone else’s ideas and perspectives), with re-connecting with my goals. At first I found myself scrolling Pinterest, but then deleted that too. The habit is hard to break, eh? I then got stuck into work. It was great. Whilst not on social, I learned of how it changes your brain (not for the better), I learned of its political bias, how it supports particular messages and not others, and got some real evidence that reinforced to me why I never liked it. Once I was done with my three months, I didn’t care about it at all. It didn’t effect my business. Now I just post what I think my clients would love to read, and I don’t worry about anyone else. So that’s made the social world a little more fun. I am sure there are many out there who always saw it this way, but it took me a while to get there! So, that was highlight number 1.

2: GRATITUDE

Despite it being a stressful year, I realised that I have everything I need right here, right now. If I was to never acquire anything else, I would be one happy woman. I realised that my business isn’t going anywhere, and no lock down is going to dull the flames that fuel the drive in my clientele. I would say about 95% of them cruised through the year, didn’t quit, stayed on track, and smashed their goals – some had babies, lots of bodies and minds were transformed, a few ladies competed (Robina turned PRO!). They actually inspired me! Because growing up I experienced a lot of stress, there has always been a part of me that clings really hard to what I have. I work non-stop fearing that I am not doing enough, not being enough, and that with the slightest ‘bump’ I could lose everything I have worked so hard for. I feel like the penny is going to drop an any minute. 2020 was the year in which I realised that will never happen. I built my business with integrity and it is here to stay. I feel so much calmer since having this realisation, as I didn’t realise I was still operating with this underlying fear playing in the background. If anything, my business has been busier than ever. I am working from home now, still considering whether I will return to a gym or open up my own, but for now I am content. Which brings me to highlight number three…

3: I WORKED ON A LONG TERM DREAM

With no travel, no social media distractions, and a few less clients in the first month of lockdown, I found myself feeling really energised with this extra time. Even though it was only 10 hours or so, it felt like a lot of time to spend on me. I made a connection with a long-term friend and client, to assist me in a work project which will be revealed very soon – a few months time in fact! It’s how I always wanted my business to be, but with health issues and such a consistently heavy client load I was never quite able to piece it together. Anyways, I can’t reveal too much. In the meantime, enjoy browsing my new Website! This is part one of the change we have been working on during this time.

4: IT WAS THE HEALTHIEST YEAR OF MY LIFE

Health is the greatest wealth. I would always read this, whilst battling health issues, but never really understood it’s full meaning. In the past all my money and focus was on healing my body – I wanted to be completely healthy so I could live my life to the fullest. Although it did take me years to achieve, 2020 was the first year I was able to reap the rewards of all that hard work. I was able to save money as I didn’t spend it all on health care. I experienced no mental health interference, consistent sleep, no break in training, no fatigue outside the normal kind, I branched out and ate various foods that I haven’t been able to eat for years and lost another 6kg. I had the time and mental space to read up on, and learn about topics outside of the health field, which included studies on surveillance, gender identity issues, social media toxicity, political memoirs, and other topics. (yes, heavy, i love this kind of thing!) But I love to learn and grow so it was great to be able to focus my attention in this way.

5: I FOUND OTHERS WHO WERE EMBARKING ON A SIMILAR HEALING JOURNEY TO ME

Healing yourself from illness is not something that the larger population understand, and I always found this isolating. When you want to bypass medical recommendation and unwind your health problem, there is no one to talk to but the specialist groups you find on social media, or the professionals you are paying for this support. Even now I am healed, I still struggle to find others that understand my journey, but one event stood out to me in 2020, and that was a conversation I had with others who were working on healing their bipolar disorder (this is one of the things I healed in myself). They found themselves in such a similar place to where I was in the past, and were seeking answers to missing pieces, or things they could add to their efforts, as they were so close but not quite over that line. I contributed mine which brought me much joy! Might I add this was on Facebook – so that’s another thing that it is good for 😉 When you find people who understand all of you and what you have experienced, it is a very freeing thing.

6: UNCOVERED SOME INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN TO CARRY ME THROUGH 2021

Again with the fact that my attention wasn’t on my health, and I was researching new areas from politics to history, I found myself super focussed in on women who speak their minds and aren’t afraid of what other people think of them In a healing journey, much of what you need to do is reclaim what you lost in your childhood – what you were shamed for, isolated for, and disliked for. One of those things for me, was honesty. I always told it like it was, didn’t like being told what to do, but was convinced that this was a bad thing that I needed to ‘stop’. The next piece of my healing journey is to reclaim that part of me. In my research I found women who can inspire me into 2021, and with their strength and wisdom backing me, I don’t see anything getting in my way. I don’t believe any of us can achieve what we want without modelling off the courage of someone who has already done what we wish to do. So, that’s it. In summary it has been an amazing year, one of great transformation, realisation, gratitude, and joy.   What was your favourite memory of 2020??

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

Alignment over Hustle

Alignment over Hustle

Read time: 7 minute read

Being in the business game I constantly see coaches and entrepreneurs talking (or shall we say bragging) about their ‘hustle’ – how hard they work, how many hours they put in, what time they get up in the morning, etc. 

Is hustling really all its cracked up to be? How does it apply to life in general?

Lets compare the two… 

Hustling is a masculine energy; it’s about pushing, controlling, forcing, and working things into place. It’s about doing whatever it takes. It’s a cognitive (thought-centred) process, where you observe what others do, think about how to beat them, and strive to outwork. 

Aligning is a feminine energy, where you lay goals out, and ensure they’re congruent with you personally. It’s about bringing who you are, and what you want to do together, so they can work along side each other. Sounds like the winner already, right? 

I think it depends on the level of success you want to achieve in that particular activity, and the kind of person you are, but assuming we are all women here I am going to propose that you get aligned, before you hustle. 

I learned this lesson the hard way, always working harder, longer, and more effectively than all of my competitors. Yes it brought me a lot of ‘success’ at the time, but it lead me down a pretty dark road to burnout, which left me back peddling in the end. So here I am making sure you don’t make this same mistake!

I learned that simply working hard wasn’t enough. I needed to bring alignment into the mix. 

Alignment + Hustle = Success

Success is not just about beating the competition. It’s about liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. We can thank Maya Angelou for that quote. So before moving forwards you need to have a pretty good idea of the goal posts you’re aiming for.

If you simply want to feel happy, then alignment is literally all you need. If you want to excel however, you need to hustle once you have your aligned and your goals are in place. It’s a constant push and pull between the two energies; we align, then we hustle, and repeat this process over the long haul until our goals have been achieved. 

How to apply this ‘alignment over hustle’ principle 

In general nutrition/health/weight loss goals, you align by making sure you’re losing weight for the right reasons, and that you are using a method that works with your body. That is enough to get you great results. The hustle comes in when you’re partaking in a competitive sport such as bodybuilding, or wanting to lose that extra 5% in the end. 

In training/exercise, you align by finding a training regimen that you enjoy, is at your experience level, and is well balanced. Working with your body, and not overstepping your physical capacity, is essential. You hustle when you want to excel, after you have laid the foundations down

In business and at work, you align by working out what you want to gain from your business, regardless of outward ‘success’ markers. You hustle once you know why you are doing what you’re doing, and where you want to end up.

In relationships, I believe alignment is really the only thing you need. If you have to hustle someone to be your partner or friend, or hustle your family to do what you want, they’re probably not your people.

Finding alignment, with yourself and your goals

Finding alignment means finding out who you are on a deeper level. Remember that finding alignment is essentially a feminine energy, and feminine energy is PASSIVE. It works better when it’s aligned first. 

STEP 1: You have to get quiet. Take a break from the ‘noise’ of the outside world. Meditate, go to the beach, or sit alone in your favourite café. Tuning out the outside world is the only real way you can work out what is going on for you, on the inside

STEP 2: Ask yourself some deeper questions; is what I’m doing making me happy? Do I have a clear goal? Am I energised, or exhausted? Do I feel supported, or isolated? Be honest with yourself here. 

STEP 3: Work out what you can let go of, and what to focus your attention on. Work out how you are going to ensure you don’t get caught up in other peoples ‘hustle’, and stay aligned with yours. 

Simple, right?

If you find yourself cringing at the idea of this whole suggestion, it’s a sure-fire sign you need to do a lot of work in this area!

Without alignment, we risk losing connection with our deeper wants and needs. We risk going a million miles in the wrong direction. We risk never discovering, or losing sight of our own unique gifts and talents. We also risk burning out and having to backpedal, which in itself is extremely stressful. Been there, done that.

Jen x

Self Sacrifice and Powerlessness

Self Sacrifice and Powerlessness

Read time: 2 minute read

“The deepest pain I ever felt was denying my own feelings to make everyone else comfortable” – Nicole Lyons

So often as women we put themselves last, after watching our mothers slave away for the family and learn over time through societies conditioning that it’s better to be quiet then it is to raise your voice

The long term repercussions of stifling your emotions and not being heard can be huge. Anger, resentment, and feeling inadequate or unimportant are all emotions that increase cortisol (stress hormones) and can erode away at your self-esteem over time. Eventually you find yourself in situation after situation feeling just as powerless as the last .

Know that your voice matters. Everyone’s voice matters. Women, men, children, adults, elderly, all important. We all have individual value to share. Stifling yourself or playing it small so that others don’t respond poorly may will give ‘haters’ a momentary win, but for you in the long run it’s a massive loss .

If you find yourself keeping quiet when you want to speak, saying yes when you want to say no, and denying yourself of healthy emotional expression in order to keep someone else happy, then maybe it’s time to start expressing yourself .

I learned this one the hard way and as much as it was anxiety-provoking the first few times, the long term consequences have been so liberating

Growth

Growth

Read time: 2 minute read

“Don’t waste another second thinking that you’re failing, when really all you’re doing is growing” – Chani Nicholas

Growth comes in many forms.

Sometimes it’s the obvious things like getting a new job, completing your degree, or getting a pay rise

Sometimes it’s the more subtle things like not eating that chocolate bar, saying no to drinking on the weekend with your friends, or making to the gym each day of the week that you planned to

But then there are those REALLY subtle changes that are disguised as ‘failures’. A relationship breakup, leaving a job, or ‘stuffing up’ something that means a lot to you. These are the things we beat ourselves up about but they are just as powerful as the rest for growth and change

We learn from failure. We grow from failure. Bringing our attention to the things we do ‘wrong’ can empower us to change them. Sometimes you need to take a step backward in order to move forward

Don’t miss all of the beautiful things you have done that helped you to become the person you are today. If you are alive and conscious, your growing

Jen x

 

 

 

 

 

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