i remember it clearly.
I was doing some work experience with a PT at my local gym. A new gym member had a session with the PT to go through her new complimentary program. We went into the ladies' only section of the gym and proceeded to show her what to do for her workout.
One of the exercises was a back extension. If you don't know what that is, check out this video. The unfortunate thing about the ladies' section, was that this piece of equipment was right next to the door into the main gym space. Directly outside the door was a frequently used assisted pull up machine. There was always people using this machine.
The PT demonstrated, and then the new member had a try. It was at this time I noticed that a group of young guys had come to use the pull up machine outside the ladies' area, and they had spotted the young lady using the back extension machine and they were getting a "good view" as she bent over the machine. This made me really uncomfortable for her, so I tried to position myself between them and the young lady. But the trouble with that was, I was now in the same viewing position as them! Super awkward, even though I was trying to protect her from a really embarrassing and uncomfortable situation.
How many times have we found ourselves in situations where we feel uncomfortable because of our bodies? Where we feel unsafe to be a female? We feel people's stares, we hear them commenting on our bodies and clothes whether it's a whisper to their friends or a cat-call from a group of tradesmen. Other people even think it's okay to touch us without our permission. We've been at the gym, emotionally vulnerable, trying to make improvements to ourselves so we can get our confidence back, and we hear comments there too. We avoid the treadmill because there's a gym-creep who likes to watch bouncing boobs as women run. We wait until the stretching area is empty so we can work on our flexibility without being watched. Maybe we even change gyms because when we were deadlifting at our old gym, one of the trainers commented on how good our a** was looking, and who in gym management would take a complaint from little ol' you seriously about the most talented trainer working there?
These are all made up scenarios, but I know it's happened. I've heard of much worse things happening. It's wrong. This #MeToo movement goes so deep, and it goes way beyond the current hashtag generation.
My Commitment To You
As someone who has experienced sexual harassment, it is my commitment to you, to make sure you have the best, safest, most comfortable fitness experience possible.
It should be everyone's commitment. Men and women alike should be looking out for each other, and checking each other's behaviour out of respect for their fellow humans. Because let's face it, even though women being harassed by men is the most common form, nobody is safe from harassment.
If I train with you in-person or online, I commit to sticking up for you, to showing you respect and to backing you up.
I commit to believing you and supporting you when you find the courage to speak up.
Thank you to the many courageous people who have spoken up about harassment, and thank you to those at the forefront of educating people about how we can respect each other better.
we all know what it's like, right ladies? You're smashing your workouts, eating well, then you wake up and bam! the cravings, bloating and fluid retention hit. #thankshormones
Honestly, our bodies are freaking awesome. When you think about the amount of activity that goes on in our brains just so we can blink or raise our arm, it's mind blowing. And your liver? That organ does over 500 jobs within your body. How does one organ have that many jobs?!? Our bodies really are complexly amazing!
And our reproductive system is no different. We often think about our uterus, ovaries, vagina etc, as isolated parts with an isolated role. But wait - there's more to these organs than something to reproduce or have fun with. Our reproductive system is intimately connected to our brain, thyroid, and even our adrenal systems.
Here's a quick recap for those who need a refresher about their monthly cycle:
And how does all of this relate to my fat loss?
At the start of your cycle, during your follicular phase, you won't be retaining as much fluid as you would during your luteal phase. This is because your hormones are lower.
During ovulation, when your LH and FSH spike, you might get some bloating, maybe some slight discomfort in your lower belly, as well as breast tenderness.
Between ovulation and your next period, you'll start to get those delightful PMS symptoms. Breast tenderness (maybe even increasing in size too), fluid retention, sluggishness, all that blah stuff that we love sooo much!
It's because of these hormonal changes within your body, that it may seem like you're not making any progress. I'm going to give you one handy hint about taking your measurements or weighing in that will help you keep your sanity:
ONLY TAKE YOUR MEASUREMENTS AT THE SAME TIME DURING YOUR CYCLE.
Yep! That's right! If you don't want to mess with your head and feel like you're getting nowhere, only track your progress once per month. If you don't seem to get hung up on and upset about what your body is doing, you can try fortnightly or weekly. But pick a day, and that will be the day. That way, you'll know what your cycle is doing and how it will influence your weight and measurements. It will save you a LOT of frustration!
(Another handy hint: track your cycle. There's loads of apps online, so it should be really easy to get started. And of course, I'm here to help if you get confused!)
I remember scrolling through Instagram one day. It was very early in my PT career. There it was - the detox tea that would solve all of your problems... and probably mine too!
Cue: eye roll. Ugh. Yes, let's all drink this tea and lose weight and feel ah-maaaazing! If you can't already tell, I was very against the idea of someone marketing a herbal tea as a weight loss miracle. What ever happened to eating right and working out??
(What happened to eating right and working out? Humans got lazy and wanted a quick fix. That's what happened!)
Anyway! What I was truly feeling was frustration, masked in sarcasm and negativity. Because here was a business person using people's (mainly women's) insecurities, past failures and naïvety to make money. Or at least it seemed that way. I don't like miracle creams or wonder pills. It just seems like a trap to me and we shouldn't be taking advantage of each other like that, just to make a few bucks.
Over the next few years I wasn't the hugest fan of the word "detox" simply because of what I said in the last paragraph. However, thankfully I am an open-minded person who loves to learn new things!
So, what is the go with detoxing?
Over time I have come to learn the definition and true purpose of a detox. We all have toxins within our bodies. Even if we live in the remotest part of the world and lived the healthiest lives, we would still have toxins inside us, thanks to the normal metabolic processes within our bodies. It's just what happens! The true purpose of a detox is not to force the toxins out, but to give our own bodies what it needs (nutrients) to mobilise and eliminate those toxins through your body's natural pathways. Sure! A herbal tea will help support our bodies to detox. But often-times our bodies need something a bit more comprehensive than that, they need something specific to us as an individual.
It is my belief that if someone wants to detox, they need to do it under the guidance of someone qualified, preferably a Naturopath or Functional Medicine Practitioner (FMP). The Naturopath or FMP can order tests to see how your body needs balancing, and they have the knowledge and the qualifications to prescribe supplements to truly help your body to detox in the safest way possible.
As a Personal Trainer, I have seen situations time and time again, when women are doing everything they can "right". They eat well, they exercise appropriately, and they get adequate rest. But despite having "the trio" under control, the changes they want to see happen aren't happening. This is where the Naturopath / FMP, additional testing, and the detox come in. Because sometimes, your body needs extra help! Your body serves you your whole life, so why not show it some love, right? When we give our body what it needs, awesome things start to happen!
why should i detox? I'm pretty healthy...
If you already feel pretty healthy, that's cool! Detoxing is not compulsory at all! You are in control of your life and you make your own decisions.
If it was up to me, I would do a detox at the turn of each season, throughout the year. For one week, every three months, I would flood my body with nutrients and give it what it needs to do it's normal cleansing thing (only more efficiently, thanks to the extra nutrients). Think of it as a self-care protocol on top of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, to ensure my body stays balanced. Some people might want to do a slightly longer detox at Spring time so they feel great for Summer. It really is quite flexible! For me, it's also about disease control and making sure I am able to live a long and healthy life. I want to be able to do handstands and cartwheels well into my 80's (no joke!), and if I'm going to do that, I need to look after myself!
how will my body tell me that i need to detox?
Here's a few things to look out for!
I'm not here to tell you that if you experience these things, then you 100% need to detox. Nope. That's not what I do.
This list is for you to look at, and judge for yourself on whether or not you should even consider a detox for your future.
Because the last thing I want you to do, is to get hooked into something because you saw it on Instagram and you have nobody in your life that can guide you properly.
If you have ever considered doing a detox, or have thought it could be a positive thing for you to try, then I want you to feel empowered to do the research and figure out what's best for you. I want you to find trustworthy people and quality practitioners to help you towards optimal health!
"To detox, or not to detox, that is the question" (I'm pretty sure Prince Hamlet would ask that if he was a health conscious fellow!)
In my opinion, yes. People should do a quality detox under the guidance of a qualified Naturopath or Functional Medicine Practitioner. Because I'm pretty sure everyone wants to live a healthy and happy life, full of energy! How often you do your detoxing is between you and your Practitioner :)
*** Remember - a detox or any supplement protocol is never a substitute for a healthy lifestyle! ***