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Showing posts from July, 2017

Sexism in fitness - how to spot it and how to handle it.

Today I'm going to have a little chat about an issue that has been bothering me for a while. I've had it on ice, because it's an inflammatory subject and that takes careful thinking and even more careful writing, and I like to be measured on these things; but I've reached my capacity for holding back...

Is fitness a man's world?
I'm not sure that's much of a question to be honest! Walk into almost any general fitness facility (disregarding women only gyms or group exercise classes) and it's clearly a male dominated space. That's changing, which is great, but it still lags far behind much of the rest of our culture, such as say, office space. Even when women are accepted and welcomed, it is very much that we are finding a way to fit into that world, rather than carving out our own portion of it.

And when women are in that space, it is often assumed that they are there to lose weight or look better. You know, for men. There's an issue there, and I…

Finding my first powerlifting meet.

Carrying on with adventures in powerlifting.

Once I decided that it might be fun to try competing in powerlifting competition, I was presented with my greatest challenge yet - working out how to go about that.

Powerlifting is a fairly niche sport, there's lots of really keen athletes and lots of resources out there (thank you internets), but they tend to be polarised between the fairly superficial, which helped me decided that it was something I wanted to pursue, but didn't tell me how, and the completely specialist, that assumes you are already in and know what's going on.

I did a bit of a Google and found a competition fairly close to home, almost exactly at the point where I will peak my current training cycle. Brilliant. But it's not that simple....

All powerlifting competitions happen under the auspices of a federation, and to enter a competition, you have to be a member of that federation. Some competitions also require you to qualify, which means as a beginner y…

I can't write a clickbait title, because I'm always on the fence!

I was inspired to write this post, when recently an individual who read this blog, without being familiar with me or my writing, accused me of suggesting certain choices were "virtuous". My first reaction was slight confusion, because that's not a term I'd use and not part of how I look at things, my second reaction was to look back and see if I had worded something in a way that might seem innocuous to me, but be taken differently by someone looking at it through the lens of their different life experience - it's important to me to be inclusive. But what I realised, is that often people are looking for the polarity, and wanting to know which side of a situation you are batting for.

Everyone likes to have a tribe. Schoolkids have the nerds and the sporty ones. Adults have football teams. Dog people, cat people. In my dance background I have encountered tribalism between dancers of different styles.

I am not a very good tribalist. At school I was neither one of th…

Fairytales from the gym: The Cardio camper

We haven't done gym myths for a bit, so lets have another look at one of our fairytale characters.Do you spend 90% of your gym time on cardio machines?Does your programme consist of a circuit of all the different cardio options?Do you exercise at a consistent level, without harder or rest intervals? Then you might be a Cardio Camper! The counterpart to All weights - no cardio!
Firstly, well done. You are in the gym, and the cardio fans are often amongst the most consistent and active gymgoers. I have no interest in criticising that at all. What I would like to do though, is to help you channel that dedication to get better results!
And who doesn't want that? What if you could spend the same, or less, time in the gym, but actually see faster and greater improvements in your cardiovascular fitness, lose weight faster, get stronger and improve your alignment and gait?

Getting the most out of your cardio gym workout. The first thing you need to consider is why you are in the gym. …

Becoming a powerlifter - New beginnings

So lately I've been starting out on a new fitness adventure, and I thought it would be fun to write about it and take you guys along with me.

Over the last few months I have been getting more focussed in my strength training towards a powerlifting model. When I noticed I wasn't really progressing as much as I would have liked, or with the balance between lifts I wanted, I decided to start a formal programme, and then it occurred to me that it would be fun to compete. So now we have this whole "starting out in competitive powerlifting" situation, which is both maddeningly confusing and very exciting.

So let's start from the beginning.

Starting out the heavy lifts.
Those who are familiar with my background will know that I am a dancer, perinatal exercise specialist and long time gym dodger.

While I had a history of strength training in my teens and early twenties, that was forsaken for martial arts, dancing, pilates, yoga and bodyweight training. As a result, it wa…

We need to talk about talking about our bodies.

Up until a couple of years ago, I always had "saddlebags". For those not in the know, this delightful term doesn't indicate that I was some kind of human pack mule (that's parenthood) but that due to hormones and genetics and all that guff, I stored fat on a certain point on the outside of my thighs.

I'm going to call it trochantic adipose tissue. I'm not sure if anyone else does, but what's the point of an Anatomy degree if I can't use fancy anatomy words to make up names for body parts by describing them?

I always had this, at a size 10 or a size 16, it was just how my body was. But I knew I wasn't supposed to have it, because that's a bit that is consipiciously absent from most images of women in the media. And also it has a colloquial name. Not a particularly offensive one, but not a flattering one either. Not a term that one would associate with beautiful women with amazing bodies.

Anyhow. They are gone now. I'm a chunky size UK12 but…

If you can't love yourself.... why body positivity and fitness belong together.

A few weeks ago I wrote up my weight loss story, and I promised that I would follow up by more closely exploring some of the useful things I learned along the way which have left a lasting impression in how I feel about fat loss programming, and how I support my fat loss PT clients.

One of the key things I learned is the immense role that self esteem plays in fitness. On a personal level, I had to learn to be OK with where my body was, and find the motivation to nurture myself, before I could properly break into a programme of good nutrition and consistent exercise. I truly believe that exercise should never be punishment for what you ate but a celebration of what your body can do, neither should depriving yourself of food be punishment for how your body looks. Long term good health comes from enjoying being in your body, eating good food and getting the most out of life.

On a more general level it is something I see when coaching clients, either for nutrition or personal training - y…