Thursday, 25 May 2017

Stop stopping (and starting and stopping and starting and stopping)

Stop Stopping....

I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for ten years this year. Actually, if I go back to when I started teaching classes it would be longer. One of the things I see consistently is people stopping, then starting again, then stopping, then starting again, then stopping, then starting again…

It’s an ongoing cycle that I will never fully understand. Every time they start again, they comment that they wish they hadn’t stopped because now they have to start again. And yes, it’s hard to get started!

We brush our teeth every day, we go to the toilet, we even shower (hopefully most days)! Yet when it comes to factoring in regular exercise, it seems to be the one thing human beings lack the most consistency with. Yet it has the ability to DRAMATICALLY change the course of our lives.

The reasons I always hear are:
  • ·      I’m not motivated.
  • ·      I don’t have time.
  • ·      I don’t enjoy it.
  • ·      Work is too busy at the moment.
  • ·      I can’t afford it.
  • ·      I’m too tired.


Let me put it to you like this. Motivation is not an actual thing. It’s not a tangible object that you can buy. It’s not a muscle you can develop. Quite frankly, it’s a myth.

Like brushing your teeth,  showering, eating and dressing, you just have to do it. It’s part of life. There is enough research and evidence to suggest that exercise is as important as brushing your teeth and showering. So, put your shoes on and go to the gym. Sound simple?

Well it is. We need strong bones, muscles and minds to conquer the world on a daily basis; you are not going to get that by sitting at home watching TV, throwing back some chocolate and wine and waiting for the motivation fairy to tap you on the shoulder. 

That fairy isn’t coming.









Time is also a bit of a myth, so what’s the real reason? Every human has the same amount of time available to them. However, do you respect the time given to you? Do you value every single precious minute available to you? Or do you waste it doing things that don’t serve you or your family?

For example – how many minutes are lost to the social media scroll, to TV or to unnecessarily long conversations about non-essential, unproductive topics?

Inspired by a friend and valued client recently (thanks Katrina), I timed how much time I wasted aimlessly scrolling social media in a day and I was SHOCKED. Now that is saying something coming from me because I highly value my time and run my day in 15 minute increments. When I stopped doing that, my productivity went through the roof. To achieve three solid training sessions per week with a quality program that includes a clear objective and measures in place to achieve them is 1.76% of your allocated hours each week. This is achievable.  This is all it takes.

If you don’t enjoy your training, then you need to make sure you are in the right place. Does the environment inspire you, do you enjoy the experience, have you asked for help and are you investing in quality coaching? Or is it simply because you didn’t get results because you were training for the sake of ticking the box, rather than engaging in the RIGHT training?
Exercise with people who inspire you and hold you accountable


At least once a week, someone will tell me they can’t afford a coach or even a gym membership, but will happily knock back a bottle of wine (or more), eat out a few times, buy coffee every day or eat takeaway or burgers on a regular basis. So basically, it’s not that finances are unavailable, it’s that the priorities are not quite on track. If your health was higher up the list, the investment in yourself and in a coach would not even be a question. 

Living in these times, when life is fast and busy and health is on an epic decline, can we really NOT afford to invest in ourselves and get the help we need? I can’t. I invest in coaching twice a week and it’s a massive stretch for me. But without it, my mental and physical health suffers, so it’s a on-negotiable investment for me.

Fatigue, desire and mental state are a few of the other excuses that I hear a lot and to be frank, this concerns me. At RHQ we firmly believe that regular exercise in the right environment can dramatically impact the quality of someone’s mental health, which will significantly decrease that ongoing feeling of fatigue. 

As a longtime sufferer of insomnia, not exercising is not an option for me. If forced to have even a week off, my sleep suffers immediately. It’s just not worth it. I also treated my PND with regular exercise. But can I tell you – getting myself there each time was an incredible challenge. But you know what, I just put my shoes on and made it happen.

So, if you want to know why you stop, then start, then stop again. It’s because you are choosing to do that.  

And one more thing....what if just before you stopped, you were on the brink of something WONDERFUL, but you missed out on experiencing that moment in time because you stopped (again). 





Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Letting go

Letting go…

I’ve been mulling over this topic for almost a week now. I have written this in my head three or four times. The concept of letting go can be applied to so many things, but the outcome of not letting go seems to have the same consequence – no matter what the object or circumstance is that we need to ‘let go’, the consequence will always be failure to grow.

As a coach, I see the consequence of my clients holding on to things from their past manifest itself in so many ways, all of these things leading to a less than satisfying or happy life. It also means they are not allowing themselves to:
1.  Learn and grow from that experience,
2.  Live a beautiful life, and
3.  Achieve the goals they come to me for in the first place.



Letting go of people –
How often do we cling to a friendship or a person who we know is causing us grief, sadness, stress or anger? I do it all the time. I want to help people SO badly that I maintain contact with them long after they are gone. Reaching out, trying to help them, trying to inspire them, thinking about them and ways that I may be able to help them. I recently realised that sometimes I have to let go. Either the time is not right for them or perhaps I am just not the right person for them.

And that really is ok.

Letting go of relationships –
I have seen so many people living in unhappy marriages, friendships and relationships because they believe that it’s either their destiny or they believe they can fix that person or that relationship. What if all relationship journeys had a start and finish point and we actually had NO control over it, like it was pre-determined?

Making the decision to walk away from a seemingly happy marriage with two children was one of the most excruciatingly difficult decisions my ex-husband and I ever had to make. Interestingly, the relationship is better now that we are not trying to force something that had sadly run its course. We both knew that we had a responsibility to model a healthy relationship for our children and by staying together, we were not staying true to this value that we both very firmly agreed upon and believed in.

And that really is ok.

We still are, and always be a family.
Rob is an incredible father and we continue to do things as
a family.
Our separation does not need to impact the kids.


















Letting go of identity –
One of my biggest hurdles as a coach is helping someone understand that the identity they hold onto may actually be holding them back from achieving their goals. To surge forward there needs to be a process of ‘letting go’ of that identity. I had to let go of the identity I had created for myself – that I was a small girl who couldn’t lift much. Hence the nickname Ronnie Coleman was created.

But more seriously, I have seen clients hold onto traumas from their past that severely impacted their own self-belief. Clients who believe their identity is a certain body shape (for example, “I am the fat mum.”) prevents their ability to move forward, and even clients who identify with certain moods or emotional states struggle to experience true joy in their achievements.

What if we allowed ourselves to acknowledge these events in our past as exactly that – PAST – and let them go? Or even better, utilised those experiences to learn, grow and help others, and to become the best version of ourselves through our experiences or trauma. It genuinely frightens me when I have a client who is unable to let go of their identity, because I know they get ONE single shot at this life, and if they could let go of the identity they hold onto, their life could be magical.

And that really is ok!

Letting go of experiences –
I was having coffee with my son Sam this morning. He’s 6 years old and I am completely smitten with him. I was thinking about his childhood, whilst also thinking about this blog and I realised that I had to go through a process with him of letting go of our earliest days together. In our early days, I had an extremely traumatic experience with him as a baby for a period of almost 18 months. There is nothing I can say that truly explains how bad it was, you just have to take my word for it. But I remember spending some time with a baby expert when we had exhausted all other avenues and were absolutely desperate. We had been released from sleep school having ‘failed’ that process, no books could help us, no doctors, nothing.

Whilst this baby expert couldn’t solve our sleep problems, what she did do was provide an environment where I could sit with Sam, connect with him as a mother and son, fall in love with him again and let go of the resentment, the trauma, the bad feelings and the experiences I had with him. I remember reflecting on this experience with Sam’s dad afterwards and we both agreed that what this expert did for us was allow us to connect with our son.

Sam spent the majority of his first 18 months
attached to Rob or I in some form.
He had to stay
upright due to his silent reflux. 
Now that the fog has lifted, what it actually did was allow me to let go and move forward. I wonder what my relationship with Sam would be like now had someone not taken me through this process and given me permission to let go of the experience? Letting go of this experience allowed me to become the mother I am today.

And that really is ok.




So, how do I let go?
Why this piece came about was because I am currently finding a particular transition quite difficult – letting go of complete control of Ritual HQ, my third baby. For five years now, this business has been my sole responsibility. I have kept it alive through the highs and lows and have given my heart, soul and everything I own to this place. However, it is time to let my team step in and take control so I can grow and expand Ritual HQ.

My team have got this. I know that deep in my heart. I know that the day-to-day operations are 100% safe in their hands, led by my partner Tyler. But until I let go, they can’t fully embrace the opportunity and the challenge. Tyler and the team know how important this is. They love this business as much as I do and that’s how I know the time is right to let them take control. It doesn’t mean I am exiting stage right. What it means though is that now I can start to focus on the bigger dreams that we have for Ritual HQ and for our community. If I don’t let go I can’t grow, and neither can Ritual HQ.

And you know what – it really is going to be ok!




Friday, 5 May 2017

Why every woman should strength train

It’s pretty obvious that I am a firm believer in strength training, especially for women. ESPECIALLY for mothers or anyone planning on entering that world in the next few years.

My background is actually in ballet growing up, then in my 20s I started teaching group fitness classes and absolutely loved it.

ALL OF THE CARDIO!

This period in my life absolutely served a purpose as it helped me to establish a love for exercise on a regular basis and more importantly, allowed me to help other people discover a love for exercise. It also got me through the darkest of times when my babies were little.

Fast forward to my early 30s and my body started to change. I started to experience back and neck pain, floppy bits started appearing and no matter how many classes I taught, these only seemed to get worse.

Introducing quality strength training into my world has had a massive impact on my life. I still experience injuries from time to time, however the strength in my body allows me to recover quicker. My posture is far better and my hair, skin and nails are healthy and strong.

More importantly, I am strong. I have arms, shoulders and a strong back that allow me to carry a lot, both physically and emotionally. They allow me to take care of children with physical confidence, despite my small size. They allow me to play actively with them, which is incredibly important to me.

Why does a woman need to be strong?

Let’s just consider the daily movement pattern of a mother.
·      Breastfeeding – being able to sit and hold your baby for an extended period in a somewhat awkward position.
·      Rocking your baby back and forth, up and down, round and round.
·      Attempting to do housework with a baby either in one arm or in a baby carrier because they just won’t settle and the housework will not go away.
·      Pushing a pram that potentially weighs around 10+kg along with a baby and a kid in the pram (I once weighed my pram at over 30kg).
·      Picking things up, putting them down, over and over again.
·      Your child is sick or falls down, they weigh over 20kg and all they want is for you to pick them up and hold them for a really long time.
·      Walking through the shops and your child’s legs decide to pack it in and you are faced with carrying your handbag, two bags of groceries and your 20kg child on your hip

Beyond being a mother, what about just generally having to face life with extreme levels of fatigue? Think about how your posture suffers. I have vivid memories of rocking my youngest, Sam, for hours on end through the darkness of the night. I am so grateful that my body was strong enough to handle this.

As a mum living on my own with my two kids I faced additional hurdles I had never considered. Little incidental activities that needed to be dealt with like:
·      Moving furniture.
·      Mowing my lawn on a steep hill (or generally mowing it full stop).
·      Being the electrician, the handyman and the landscaper.

The list is endless. Having some semblance of physical strength makes the day-to-day tasks seem less overwhelming.


Finally, what about the psychological benefits of feeling strong?
For me, this is priceless. It isn’t about looking skinny, lean or any of those things. Those days are passed and I am proud to say that at RHQ this is something we really discourage.

Especially for our younger women.

One of my clients training with her daughter.
The ultimate role model.
Inspire your children to be the healthiest version of themselves.
They deserve it.


I simply want to look and feel strong and healthy. It allows me to feel confident, even when life as a mother is becoming quite overwhelming. I can walk into a training session feeling really flat or overwhelmed and walk out feeling like I can tackle whatever is going on.

Strength training for me has been about regaining my confidence as a woman. My confidence took an absolute battering when my kids were born. Improving my physical strength has directly impacted my emotional resilience in a positive way, which I know I am then able to pass onto my children, especially my daughter.

I want my children to grow up knowing that they are strong enough, both physically and emotionally, to tackle any challenges the world has to throw at them. Our kids learn from us; there is an overwhelming amount of pressure placed upon us when our kids are born. I know that I am having a positive impact on the way they approach their world by consistently being the best version of me. Even when I don’t feel like it.

Mobility prior to squatting is super
important and will directly affect the
quality of the squat along with the
subsequent recovery.


And finally, from a purely selfish point of view, when my 40th rolls around next year I plan on attacking that birthday looking and feeling healthier and stronger than I was for my 20th or my 30th. Because after all, life begins when you hit 40, right?!







I spoke to a couple of our physiotherapists at AllSports Physio, The Gap. They threw loads of reasons at me as to why strength training and solid mobility training are important for all men and women. But one statement really stood out for me. I recently discovered that hormonal changes can significantly affect out bodies at different stages of our lives, but the affect of this can be dramatically reduced with strength training.

Emily Hodkinson from All Sports Physio, The Gap, said, “Strengthening or muscle pull on body attachments stimulates bone growth and can prevent osteoporosis. We also know that women going through menopause are at a higher risk of injury. Oestrogen has a protective role on joints and ligaments so strengthening helps to act as a shock absorber and protect those structures at risk.”

Seems legit.


So I took this question to my Mums Who Lift community: Ladies, why is strength training important to you?

Here are some of my favourites…straight from the RHQ ladies

Without lifting I'd be in pain, physical and mental, with a prognosis of ongoing misery. Lifting has made me functional.”

“Because it builds muscle which in turn makes my whole body feel stronger which in turn makes functioning on a day to day basis a hell of a lot less painful and easier than it used to be. I want to be mobile as I grow older and not stuck on a zimmer frame missing out on life”

“Because it make me feel powerful and gives me roar!!!”

“Increase metabolism, increase bone density, grow some muscle, loose some weight, to show my kids that I can still do "stuff" even though I'm injured! And I love the challenge of strength training!

Because when you have to deal with some heavy shit, you should be able to lift some heavy shit.

Makes me feel better about myself, you can set goals as you go, there's no end to the combination of sets you can come up with and you get to chat to all the great people at the gym! Definitely helps me mentally too.

Because I'm unlikely to look like my 20, 17 or 14 year old daughters again but I can feel strong no matter how old I am or what I look like.


So in summary…lift weights ladies!

And for the men reading this: substitute woman for man, skip over the breastfeeding part and insert with ‘holding your baby for extended periods of time so your partner can rest’. Finally, substitute handbag for man bag and you’ve got yourself a fairly convincing argument to hit the gym.



Mums who lift RHQ is such a special community of women
who truly understand the benefits of strength training and
support each other in their desire to live a strong and healthy life.