Get ready for a life-affirming fitness adventure!
Nature Based Exercise Coaching is a cornerstone of my work and I've found immense joy in the process of working with others. Working together as a team, we identify the factors for success, then implement them in practical ways. It's amazing what we are capable of, as we focus our minds on concrete goals and set the necessary incentives for progress.
My training approach is outcome-driven. The process is fun and enjoyable, most people come to me with specific results in mind. It's often a problem-solution approach. Over the past decade the main outcomes for my clients have been:
1. Getting to (and staying at) your healthy weight.
Getting height/weight proportionate is a prerequisite to health and fitness. My approach is not to make this the main thing, but to use measurements, goals and lifestyle changes to zero-in on what is best for you. Being underweight or overweight, both create health problems and make it difficult to enjoy exercise activities. I've found that addressing this as a part of initial evaluations allows us to set goals, make a plan and create accountability system that will ensure results.
Diets, cleanses and fixes fail for good reasons. Stress, hunger and craving become very real problems. Working with clients, I acknowledge that usually - change is required for lasting results. There are often two negative cycles that we tackle with empathy and compassion.
One is the reality that it's so easy to lose weight and then put it right back on. There are many reasons for this and my experience is that unless the body adapts to burning fat as fuel, there is no way for the body to regulate. This is a nuanced approach that involves careful assessment, trial and error, as well as close support and accountability to measurements. In this respect, everyone's metabolism is different and responds differently to food choices and exercise. During the first 4 weeks of weight loss programs, you'll weigh-in and check-in daily. It's critical to find out what is working and to find the right balance of food intake/exercise out-put. I provide food lists and meal plans, as well as allow for days where you can eat whatever you want. Clients report that energy increases quickly and hunger is not an issue.
The other success step we take is to break the effort/reward cycle. Associating food as a reward for exercise is a terrible approach to life, but one that is embraced by society and media. We are not dogs performing for treats. I work compassionately with clients to practice self-acceptance around food. If you want pizza, ice cream or cheeseburgers -- that's perfectly fine and there are room for all of these things -- the trick is to consume what we want because we want it, not because we feel we deserve it. Food as a reward is a negative dis-empowering habit. Food as enjoyment, as a way to fuel your success and to power your results is what we aim for. Contrary to popular opinion, I have found that it's not how much you eat that counts, it's what you eat -- which creates energy and regulates your hunger.
As a rough guide, I find that clients who are willing to devote an hour-per-day/seven hours per week, to moderate exercise and who are willing to follow a careful meal plan for five days each week, will lose, on average, 15 - 20lbs in a twelve week period as this is happening, your body will gain some lean muscle mass, so you will feel lean and notice your clothes fitting differently. Thereafter, weight can be maintained with about three hours per week of exercise. After 12 weeks, new habits are forming that mean less effort than at first. The hard work is the first four weeks, after that, your body responds to newly adapted ways of burning fat as fuel, the food choices ensure that you feel satiated. A new appreciation and understanding of food choices, means you won't need to worry about what you eat, letting new habits and occasional monitoring keep you right where you want to be.
2. Cardiovascular Endurance.
No one likes to be out of breath, unable to keep up, or not being able to enjoy exercise because of a lack of cardiovascular fitness. The good news is, that with a phased (periodized) approach, cardiovascular fitness comes easier and quicker than most people imagine. Our bodies adapt well to the correct intensity and amount of training, so results begin to show quickly.
3. Muscular strength.
Cars, desks and the couch really do not help our strength! However, just like cardiovascular training, results come quickly with the right approach. There are many ways to build strength. My methods begin with functional core strength and build from there. With the right training and diet, there's no reason to not have a strong and toned body, no matter how you feel today.
What makes us happy? Sometimes it's getting on path to a big goal, other times it could be escaping from the office for a bit of stress relief.
Before becoming certified in fitness training, I was drawn to the healing power of nature and outdoor exercise. I've read many medical studies which show that physical exercise boosts brain function and hormone production in ways which anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs seem to not be able to match. Personally, I've experienced depression and post traumatic stress disorder that I thought I could not overcome. I was prescribed medicines for both depression and anxiety, medicine which didn't work very well and which I was told I'd need to take for the rest of my life. It wasn't something I planned for, but like the saying goes - life happens when we are making other plans. It turned into the biggest challenge I've ever experienced.
While I neither forget, nor fear, those dark places... I have found that a structured treatment-plan of non-drug therapies, nutrition, outdoor exercise, community and time in nature --, have created a level of contentment which, a decade ago, was absolutely inconceivable to me. With the help of others and a supportive environment, I've discovered ways to take the toughest parts of those experiences and see them as openings to something more. I've learned that the void of depression and the pain of anxiety - if I can identify it and grasp it -- is fuel -- fuel that can set me free from feeling incapacitated by pain, emptiness and confusion. Doing this work with a backdrop of nature - and in wild open places - has placed things in perspective and provided a place to deliver that pain outwards, turning it into action which has allowed me to feel connected again, to feel alive again in a way I thought I'd never again know. I know that sometimes, especially when on the downside -- it requires a leap of faith to get-after-it... but, I've come to realize the healing power of exercise in nature, I've learned that we are not powerless over our physical or mental health issues -- that we can recover.
I don't advocate my treatment-plan for others - it's just what works for me. And I'm no expert on these matters. Depression takes many forms and I think it's important to involve a primary-care physician or therapist trained in these matters. I work with medical professionals and practitioners who are available for referral.
What I often hear from clients, though, is that outdoor training has a high positive impact when combined with other therapies/treatment. In addition to my own studies and treatment; I've have trained with many people who experience anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress, attention deficit, social anxiety, as well as food and other disorders -- and with clients who are working through grief. I can't cure any of that, but through coaching, but I have seen, in practical ways, how we can work to create the environment, circumstances and incentives towards optimal health and happiness. The upside, I have found, is that by creating the necessary incentives for overall physical and mental well being... we tend to allow access to all sorts of potential opportunities that were previously not imagined. I've lost count of the number of times someone has come to me with a goal of losing 25 lbs and feeling more energized and next thing there are mountains getting climbed, races run, wardrobes emptied out for new clothes. Does outdoor exercise have the power to transform lives? I think it does.
With a good plan and a gentle consistency; even persistent fitness problems can become excellent opportunities. We all have determination/motivation in us and it's true that often our greatest challenges produce our greatest strengths -- Teamwork is often the key to success.
Whether you want to take up a new outdoor activity, run a race, lose some weight, get a clean bill of health or get in the best shape of your life -- I look forward to having the chance, to see if my coaching style is a match for your goals. I offer a thirty-minute consultation at no fee.