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Showing posts from 2017

How to set resolutions you can stick to this New Year

It's that time of year when people start to think about how they want their future to look.

Do you have any New Year resolutions?
Setting yourself new goals and aspirations is a great way to start making positive changes in your life.

But are you falling into the trap?

THE TRAP!
A lot of people start out their year with sincere and heartfelt goals, but struggle to keep up with them.

Then they stop working at it, don't reach the goal and feel bad. They couldn't do The Thing. They will never reach The Goal. They feel like they have failed.

This year, you will not fall into The Trap, because I'm here to help.

Your 3 step guide to great resolutions 1. Set an achievable goal
Be realistic. Is is something that is physically possible? Will it require changes or resources that you are ready, willing and able to action?

Let's have a look at some examples. Let's say your goal is to run a marathon, in 4 weeks time. Let's be honest, unless you are already a long distan…

Fairytales from the gym - Discipline

Is it a will of iron, or are you chained to your routines?
A while back I was having a conversation with a bodybuilder. He was, in line with many people in fitness, strictly focussed on his passion, and how it was superior to other strength training.

"Powerlifters" he said to me, "they eat all wrong and they're too fat, they've got no discipline see."
He said this, gesticulating with his fork, as he ate his usual meal of chicken breast with cold rice and broccoli.

As a powerlifter I thanked him for sharing his perspective and went on with my day!

Reflecting upon this from a coach's perspective, I started to look past his assumption that an individual's choice not to be as lean as they can and to eat in a way of their choosing could only be a lack of commitment. I started to consider the nature of "discipline" and how this works.


Meal plans and meal prep
Eating pre-prepared meals to the same recipe, multiple times a day, every day is fairl…

Changes are afoot

I'm adding amazing new value to my online nutrition coaching.
It's a bit subtle so I thought it would be good to break it down  here.


Reflecting upon improving my coaching practice.
I've been working for a while with people who want to focus solely, or principally on their diet and lifestyle, rather than the "traditional" exercise focused Personal Training.

As with all my work I have been considering how I can do this better. Deliver a better service, be more efficient, get better results etc. This is what I found....

I really enjoy working with individuals, talking them through the issues they are encountering and helping them to see their way past their personal roadblocks.

Checking in and regular accountability is great. While many exercise based clients find between-session check ins unnecessary, nutrition clients tend to need consistent support and more frequent reminders.

While I am great at the theory stuff, and always a teacher at heart, I am not sure th…

Your quick and easy guide to eating healthy from a restaurant menu

Ok, so last time I totally saved your lunch box, and now I'm here to save your lunch out.

Eating out is fun. It's a classic example of how food is so much more than fuel for our bodies - and that is one of the reasons why making dietary changes can be hard. It's not just about what you put in your face, it's also about your culture, the people you hang with, your habits and your emotional or sensory connections with food.



Eating in restaurants can be fraught with difficulty for people trying to adjust their eating patterns. You might have established preferences on the menu, you can't control the portion size or the ingredients in your dishes. You might feel pressured to drink alcohol and studies suggest that people actually eat more when eating in company.

This is why many people on strict weight loss diets, or athletes prepping for competition often choose to sacrifice social eating for their final goals. But you might not have that option if your job involves so…

I'm here to save your lunch. How to make the best salads in the world.

Twice this week, I have caught myself saying to myself (because I talk to myself a lot) "Salads are awesome, I love salad".

Then I laugh at myself for being a massive dork who likes salad AND talks to myself about it.

But it made me think about how often salad is done a great disservice as a food.

Up until my mid twenties, I hated salad. Salad was boring. But the reason I felt this way, was that I, like many children of the '80s, grew up with "salad" that consisted of strips of iceburg lettuce and watery tomatoes. The classic school dinner salad. With salad creme on the side. Possibly also with Spam.

So let's stop this right now. That stuff isn't salad. It's a very sad garnish with big ideas it hasn't got the backbone to live up to.

Then I learned that salad could be made with leaves that don't taste of refrigerator and sadness. And you can add all sorts of awesome things to make it super tasty and satisfying.

But those kinds of salads get a…

Misfits and rejects - the hidden blessing of being picked last

I am not a sporty person.

When I was a kid I was never a priority for the team picking. It's not that I wasn't able, despite the knee braces and nonsense, it was more that I didn't really care for it. My family don't "support a team", or play much sport. My brother played cricket, as a small child I found it intensely boring. My father sailed. My mum watches Wimbledon while knitting. I never really understood the appeal of watching someone else do sport, and none of the sports that were available to me interested me.

You want the ball so badly? Have it! Why are you throwing it away? I thought you wanted it?

I am not a sporty person.

So it came to pass that I reached an age where my peers were getting into their competitive sports, with school teams and suchlike. But I wasn't on the teams. Not even the 3rd reserve team. I didn't mind because it just wasn't my bag.

Those of us who didn't make the teams often referred to ourselves as "the r…

Get your swag!

Free Living Fitness - On your body!

Did you know I have a Zazzle store where you can buy lovely things to wear and drink from and stuff?

Check out my latest shirt, lovingly decorated with the Free Living Fitness mission:


Free Living Fitness Mission Statement T-Shirt
by FireLotusFitness

Free Living Fitness Mission Statement Mug Blue
by FireLotusFitness

Becoming a powerlifter - the aftermath.

The main event!
It's been a couple of weeks now! So a bit of a delayed update because I have been up to all sorts of things.

The news on powerlifting is that I did get to my meet! I made weight (hoorah!) by cutting a couple of kilos, then I did the competition, and because I knew that I would likely not be able to update my blog straight away, I made a little video to summarise how the competition went.

[TLDW, I totalled 230kg, which is less than my gym PR, but I'm pretty happy considering. There were hiccups...]


Here's a couple of quick videos (kindly recorded by Ryan from Kernow Gym). My second squat, with extra angry lockout, and my third deadlift.

The one that didn't get away. This is my second squat @ 72.5 after my first @ 70 was disqualified. I was pretty annoyed at that, which probably accounts for the fast lockout 😂😂 A post shared by Claire Salem (@firelotusfitness) on Oct 16, 2017 at 11:04am PDT


I like deadlifts, deadlifts are my favourite. A post shared by Cl…

Becoming a powerlifter - The final countdown

Meet minus 48 hours.....
Well this is weird.

My meet is happening in just a couple of days and I feel oddly underprepared because I haven't done anything for a week!

I'm a dancer, and when I have a dance performance to prepare for, the last week is a frenzy of preparation, costume adjustments, last minute rehearsals. I might not even have decided on my music until a week out!

Powerlifting is very different.

I've heard it said that the reason why lifting meets are so supportive and non-competitive is that the winner is decided in training, not on meet day.

I peaked (hit my heaviest lifts) in the penultimate week of my programme. Then I had a week of taper, where I trained with substantially lighter weights and less sets, followed by a week of deload.

On Monday this week I tested my openers - the first weight I will attempt to lift on the day, a weight I know I will definitely nail - the rest of the week has been walking and yoga. My only other intensive exercise was teaching…

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…

10 tips for the body positive fitness professional

I've been thinking a lot recently about what it takes to put all this body positive stuff into action, as a trainer. So I thought I would share some thoughts because that can be useful.

It's something I am very mindful of, when I talk to clients, or when I write about what I do, and I thought it might be helpful to break some of it down, for my own reference. Like ground rules if you will. Not because rules are essential, but because having a clear "policy" on these things makes it easier - the less individual decisions I have to make in a day, the better my day is! So here goes.

1. Never assume that a potential client wants to change the way their body looks.
It's a super-easy trap to fall into. If someone who is not particularly lean approaches a trainer for nutrition advice, statistically, they probably wanted to know about fat loss. We meet so many people who want to know about that, it becomes a reflexive response.

But it also sniffs a little of some big assu…

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…

Becoming a powerlifter - peaking sucks

Dying

Human noodle

Too much hench....



And that's basically your update for my powerlifting meet progress!!

But lets back it up a bit.

Last time I updated I was dealing with some back issues, which really put a dampner on my progress. Well things are looking up.

Firstly I took a visit to Lucie Spraggon, who is an amazing local soft tissue therapist. She did some poking around and came to the conclusion that I had - I had tweaked a muscle in part of my mid back, and in order to "give itself some space" it was drawing in everything around it. Lucie did some kind of magic which separated out the dodgy bit, allowing the rest to work properly again. Then she did some acupuncture for good measure.

Immediate relief. I was back training deadlifts (just trap bar to start with and not too heavy) the next day. For a week or so I could still feel the original tight muscle, but it wasn't interfering with anything else.

Lucie also suggested I should work on activating my glutes to m…