Saturday, May 8, 2010
As a personal trainer I have worked with clients from all walks of life. I have trained clients who struggle with weight loss, clients who are elderly, and clients who have suffered back, knee or shoulder injuries.
The one thing they have in common is they all come to me with a vision in their head of how they want their experience training with me to go. Many are seeking weight loss, while others are seeking relief from pain and some simply want a more effective way to workout.
The most challenging and rewarding part of my job is helping clients realize one major point: I want them to understand the difference between being healthy and having a body look the way it is desired to look.
I do not want anyone to think that are limits to how much a person can change their body if the desire and determination are strong enough. As a matter of fact having a “perfect image” can serve as a means of motivation to help an individual meet their goals. The key is to remember that often we are our own worst critics. We as individuals see ourselves everyday and it is very easy to criticize ourselves. This is self-sabotage and we need to find ways to embrace our bodies more.
In so many cases, I have had clients lose an enormous amount of weight or completely reshape their hips and butt and not give credit where credit is due. They work so hard and rather than focus on the changes they made they still become frustrated when not yet being where they desire. I want people to embrace the journey, learn to compliment themselves and take pride in the fact that they are doing the best they can, with an attitude the like the that, the results are sure to follow.
Often we as a society will hold ourselves to an unattainable standard and then are crushed or let down when we do not reach it. With Hollywood, professional sports, and models many of us have lost touch with what it means to truly be healthy. Furthermore with shows like “The Biggest Loser” instilling false hope and ideas like it is a good idea to lose 30 lbs in one week, it is no wonder Americans are not sure what is healthy.
There is an old saying, do not judge a book by its cover. Do not assume that just because a person on TV has the great hair, the tight tummy or the perfect smile that they are healthy. These are all visual judgments we make and say nothing to the many other aspects of being healthy. This is simply having a body type that the majority of society deems as pleasing. Obviously those with the trim, thin body probably are in shape but are they healthy? I know 300 pound people who can survive one of my hour long workouts and I know people who are trim, and could not make it 10 minutes with me.
Many individual will go to extreme lengths or take short cuts in their quest for a “better body.” Diet pills, crash diets and now even the lap band surgery are all perfect examples. None of these make the person healthier they are instead merely applying a band-aid to a wound that will surely grow. By using vices to try to achieve something that simply requires hard work, determination and persistence will eventually come back and bite you.
Furthermore do not assume that what we see on TV is how our bodies are suppose to or have to look. Shapes and sizes of bodies come in about as many style as we have cars to choose from.
Some bodies are predisposed to be tall or short, some are more likely to be hefty or skinny, some are more apple shaped and some are more pear shaped. The diversity of shapes and sizes are something we should embrace and behold. For if we all looked the same, visual stimulation would surely lose its appeal fast.
All bodies are beautiful, and when we embrace what God has given us we can truly become a healthier person. When we admit that there is something we do not like about our body we hinder our ability to change it. Instead do your best to come to peace with where you are at, believe that you are beautiful and then decide to change it. Changing it does not mean you do not like it, it simply means you are deciding to express yourself in a new version.
My definition of a healthy person would be: a healthy person is someone who is in balance with the universe. I believe there are three parts to everyone one of us, the mind, the body and the spirit. Neglect to one or any of the parts will interfere with your ability to experience perfect health.
In regards to our mental health, did you know the average American watches over 4 hours of TV a day. History channel or not watching, that much TV serves as absolutely no mental stimulation. Our mind is an amazing tool we have been given and when it is used correctly all of us have the potential to accomplish anything.
We should write poetry, take photos and perhaps even learn to play a musical instrument. Learning a foreign language, taking a college course or doing the sodku in the Sunday paper are all great ways to challenge the mind. Expressing ourselves in a creative manner is the best exercise you can give a mind. Our minds are hungry and the more we feed them the healthier we will become.
Our physical health is a vital component to our overall sense of well being. Exercise should serve as a foundation paired up with a balanced diet. Every single person should exercise. I read a quote once that said, “With everything we know about the benefits of exercise, people should have to get a doctor’s note not to exercise.”Nothing could be more true, exercise is a crucial component of a healthy life.
Not everyone needs to look like Brad Pitt or Heidi Klum but it is absolutely essential that we give as much attention to our bodies as we do our cars. It is scary but true, most Americans take better care of their cars than their bodies. This is not meant to be a spanking on America, but we know fast food is bad for us and we eat it, we know smoking causes cancer and we do it, and we know we should exercise but many of us do not. I have heard every excuse in the book, when you begin to get healthier you would not dream of ignoring the body’s physical needs.
The body is like a well oiled machine and when you forget to grease the gears things are going to start to malfunction. We suffer from obesity, diabetes, stiff joints and heart disease just to name a few. Not exercising your body is unwise and unfair. When we do not exercise our body many organs such as the heart and lungs have to work twice as hard to do the most simple tasks. No one should every get winded walking up a flight of stairs.
Not everyone needs to spend 2 hours in the gym every night, there is an appropriate way to express our bodies physically for everyone. Whether it is pounding the weights, swimming in the lake or walking with the kids in the stroller, we can all find ways to exercise.
When we do not care for our bodies we are limiting our abilities to truly express ourselves. God created our bodies, God created our minds and God created our souls. If we ignore any aspect of this threesome we are essentially ignoring God. For when the mind, the body and the soul are fully cared for our potential for success in every aspect of life is further enhanced.
Whether you go to a church or a temple, pray before dinner or meditate before breakfast, taking time everyday to be in touch with that you believe to be holy is crucial.
Our spirit plays an equal and important part in our overall sense of being healthy. Our soul is our guidance, our soul is that little guy on your shoulder helping you make smart choices, and our soul is our connection to God. It serves all of us very well to pay attention to the spirit that has been placed within us.
Our emotions are indicators from our soul, and from our God. If we are partaking in something that brings us feelings of joy, happiness and/or acceptance we are on the right path. If we are feeling sad, angry or scared, that is an important sign from God that you are doing something that your soul does not agree with. Example: when we criticize and judge others, often that will create an emotion within us that represents negativity. Therefore, if we acknowledge that we are feeling bad we then have the power to change it. No one likes to feel bad and using your emotions as a guidance system we can find ways to quickly release that negative energy.
On the contrary when you are doing something positive you feel it. Have you ever looked at a new born baby and had an overwhelming sense of love or joy fill every fiber of your being. Those are good emotions, those are signs from God that you are being the happy, positive being you are suppose to be.
We as humans are a three part system: mind, body and spirit. Those who wish to embrace this idea and hold it dear will find out very quickly that this is the true key to happiness. Many of us desire to have six pack abs and chiseled arms, and that is a noble desire. It is important to remember though, we are perfect where we are at and we should take care of our bodies not because we want them to look better but because our health is a vital component to happiness. Challenging our mind and nurturing our soul is just as important. Combine the three and watch your health really take off.