Skip to main content

Doing what you love is good for you.

In my Free Living Fitness manifesto I said

Fitness should be the result of living your own full and joyful life

This principle is for me, the most important of all, it is the anchor of the who FLF concept.

Why?

My role is to help people improve their health: To help people make their bodies stronger, more efficient, more comfortable and longer lasting! There's a lot of ways to get to that place but in my opinion, the best, most sustainable route to good health is doing something you love.

Because for any positive change to become a habit, it has to be something that you keep coming back to. The rewards have to be greater than the cost. Fitness in itself should be a great reward. You get to be healthier, avoid disease, improve your quality of life and extend your life expectancy. But how many times have you heard someone say something like....

"I'd rather have this cake and deal with the diabetes later"
"I don't want to live an extra few years if it's no fun"
"Ugh, I'm going to blow off this workout because it's cold today and I'm not losing much weight anyway"

Health and fitness goals are often far off and abstract. One of the greatest challenges for a personal trainer is supporting a client in setting goals which are achievable, tangible and rewarding.

But I also wonder whether this is where we should be looking. The more I learn about the psychology of motivation, reward and willpower, the more I understand that the external factors and distant goals aren't the important focus. At least not when the path to the goal is flexible. Intrinsically rewarding tasks always come up top.

When I set fitness goals, I think about what has worked for me in the past, and that is almost always goals that revolve around the "how" - the thing I do and how much I do it, not the result I am hoping for at the end of it.

So find something you love doing. Make a commitment to keep doing it regularly until it becomes a part of your life that you want to engage with, that you can't imagine being without. And that's when the benefits start rolling in.

This is one place where personal training can really come into its own. The right trainer, with a broad training skillset can really support you in exploring new ways to bring healthy activity into your life - and help you stick with it.

For me the activity that got me off the sofa was dance, you can read a bit about that on my dance blog. I dance every day, because it makes my day brighter. I also walk my dog every day, because if I don't she nags me, and because I find a lot of tranquility in the process, as well as racking up my daily steps.

Have you discovered your fitness passion yet? I'd love to hear about it, let me know in the comments or on Instagram or Twitter using #freelivingfitness


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Managing Fibromyalgia flares

I've written before about living with EDS and Fibromyalgia,  much of my personal fitness and health practices are geared around managing those conditions and keeping me as well as I can be.

When managing a chronic health condition, particularly one that involves fatigue and potential flare ups, pacing, good nutrition, good sleep and generally taking care of yourself is always the first priority. Ideally we want to have as few flares as possible. But sometimes they still happen, and when they do, it's good to have a strategy in place.

And I'm going to be talking in fairly general terms, because while EDS and Fibro are my personal experience, there is so little understanding of the mechanisms behind these conditions, that most strategies are going to be applicable to a number of conditions where crashes of exhaustion and pain are a feature.


So what is a flare?
A flare is a period where someone with chronic illness suffers increased symptoms for a short while. The symptoms can…

What's the deal with yoga and hypermobility?

I wanted to address a question today that keeps coming up on various hypermobility and EDS forums that I frequent. It comes up so often in fact that I feel like I have to write this all up in one place, to save me 1000s of key strokes of individual responses and distil some of my opinions and thought processes on the matter.

It always goes like this. Someone asks a question like "I've just been diagnosed with hypermobility, I've been told I can't do yoga anymore..."

The responses are always a mixture of "yes, my doctor/physio told me yoga was the worst thing I could do for my hypermobility" and "I do yoga and it's been the best thing for my hypermobility".

So what gives?

Well, I'm firmly in the "yoga is useful" camp, and I have to disclose that. I'm a yoga practitioner of around 20 years and a perinatal yoga teacher, as well as a personal trainer and bendy person.

While I have the deepest respect for the medical professio…

Step away from the scale. Why weigh ins and weight loss don't match.

I have a persistant bugbear when it comes to health coaching, and it's this issue of "weight".

People are often talking about "losing weight", the number on the scale becomes a focus. "If only I could just get under 65kg" they say. Or worse I see advertised "buy this supplement and you can lose 20kg in a fortnight".

I've found myself frequently sitting with a weight-focussed client and asking "if you were 2 dress sizes smaller, fit and toned, but you weighed the same as you do now, could you be happy with that?"

You might be surprised how challenging a question that can be. For many people, particularly those who have struggled with weight loss, that number is the absolute key. They can wake up, feeling energised and full of life, slip into those jeans that used to live hopefully in the bottom of the drawer, check themselves in the mirror and love what they see... then they step on the scales, see the number is half a kilo grea…

How staring at your phone could be causing your weak ankles.

Our bodies are incredible.
They are mad feats of improbable engineering with bone, muscle and connective tissue working in balance to move smoothly and with accuracy.

We have pretty much the same bones as a llama, a bat or a seal. Variations the lengths, tension and kinematics mean that we move and function completely differently. That's awesome.

I've been fascinated by movement since I was a teenager. I remember being a precocious 17 year old at my university interview. I had taken a trip out to the Equine Sports Medicine Centre to look at the high speed treadmill. It's an amazing (and very expensive) bit of tech that allows a horse to gallop while being relatively stationary, so accessible for all kinds of diagnostics. My interviewer asked what I thought of it. I said it was pretty impressive but I wasn't sold on how the horse moved on it. They still offered me a place. I still don't like to assess movement on a treadmill, you don't see natural locomotion.

A…

Running with wolves

When I started trying to reverse my post-baby weight gain, I spent several months, probably a year or so really floundering.

I was exercising, hard. I didn't feel like I was overeating, but I wasn't losing weight. In fact sometimes I was gaining more and I couldn't figure out why.

Often I get personal training clients coming to me with the same problem. They eat wholesome foods with few treats, they exercise hard several times a week, but there's no weight loss.

The answer to this problem is a staple for a PT or nutrition coach. It's about activity levels. If I sit on the sofa all day, I burn through just under 2000 calories. If I do a 30 minute HIIT workout, I burn about 200 more. But if I spend my day doing housework, walking to town to do errands and generally being on my feet, I burn 3000 calories or more. It's not the workouts, it's the activity or NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis if you feel fancy).

So how do you keep up your NEAT or low leve…