I am a great believer of looking after yourself through exercise and balanced eating, and I think that the sooner people start to realise this, the better.
It’s not a case of completely cutting out all the yummy things that we enjoy, but instead a case of eating those treats in moderation.
Nor is it a case of exercising 7 days a week for as many hours as you can fit just to make up for a bad diet.
I try to be as honest as I can with all my clients - I have a very, very sweet tooth and would find it hard to cut these things out completely, but I know that if I wanted to make a real difference to my muscle tone then I'd be able to cut them out, sticking more strictly to my veggies and macros! I still live at home, so am not the main grocery shopper in the house, but since becoming a PT, and becoming aware of what a more balanced diet includes, I've found ways around being able to stick to meal prepping and planning.
Generally we eat a healthy diet as a family (mum, dad, me and 18yo sister), but sometimes I'd like to get really on top of things in order to notice more of a difference from an even better diet to match my training, which is hard when you're the only one in the family who wants to do so! We'll often have biscuits in the barrel, or a cake on the kitchen island (my mum makes a great lemon drizzle!), but these will be the sort of things that are just too easy to keep picking at...
My best food days are the ones where I'm working late at dancing or with clients so my main meal is at lunchtime, and my evening food is prepped of things that I can eat quickly between clients - a tuna salad wrap or a handful of nuts and raisins. My worst days are the ones where I've got no real plans and I'm hanging about the house, so despite a workout at home/the gym, my sweet tooth takes over and I find myself 2 biscuits down with my morning coffee, and a hot chocolate before bed.
The point I'm trying to make is that despite my job, and the knowledge that I have in nutrition and exercise, everyone has their down days. I can't preach to all my clients about cutting everything out when I know that I too need to treat myself occasionally, but I can inform them that their choices will effect their progress and the way in which their body works. Following days of snacking you'll find yourself sluggish, or following days of healthy choices you'll feel more motivated. I'm aware of what I eat and drink (and if I'm honest I very rarely drink, so for me that is one less thing to worry about, and is something that I really encourage clients not to do if they want to notice a big difference in their body shape), but what I ask my clients to do is simply to make themselves aware of their choices, and how it affects them.
They can't expect to out-train a bad diet, and this is the key. When you are hungry, your body needs nutrients, not calories. If I'm hungry I try to reach for a piece of fruit first before anything else, to ensure I'm feeding my body with some goodness.
It’s always a taboo subject among my clients that I suggest taking measurements and weigh ins every 4 to 6 weeks, and it’s because all they see is numbers on a sheet that either decrease (or increase?!) and they shame themselves for it knowing that quite often they could work far harder for themselves with food and exercise choices. But actually, what I, as a Personal Trainer need people to understand is that without the investment into your own health you are doing your body damage. You can’t always see the damage on the outside, but lots of irregular, unhealthy meals paired with little exercise is causing havoc on your organs, muscles, arteries, heart etc.
I'll regularly ask my clients how their week has been with food and exercise, and more often than not, they would have had a "bad" day...or few. From here I suggest improvements that they can make, and depending on how much of a difference they want to make depends on how much work they start to put in. Some people look at meal prep and planning as a chore, or an expense, while others start to realise that in the long run they are doing themselves a favour - these clients are the ones who become more motivated and notice a quicker and sustainable change in their body image.
Yes, eating healthily can be expensive, but how much do you value the health of yourself, and your family? You can’t put a price on that, but you certainly can start to make a difference today. Invest in your health. Invest in yourself.
AJR Personal Trainer x