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Love not punishment

When I started working in the fitness industry in the 1990s we were in the midst of a model that made us feel guilty for eating so we turned to exercise as a way to deal with this. But both movement and food are biological imperatives so what were we doing? It is no wonder so many people feel unable to exercise today when they grew up thinking that movement or exercise was linked to punishment.

Let me tell you something and it is really very simple. We were born to move and eat. Fact. They are wonderfully linked, we used to move to grow our own food, eat food, move again, to plant and grow and eat. It was a natural cycle, so what went wrong?

Many things, primarily the food system and a different way of living but I also wonder if it was a cunning ploy from the fitness and diet culture to make money. A method to make us feel bad about; what we looked like, what we were eating and how we were moving. Therefore, we needed to spend money because there is no way we could work it all out by ourselves. We needed help. So Personal Trainers, gyms and studios grew. I started a career. I was absolutely part of it. But I can now confirm that you are lovely just as you are, you can eat what you want and you can move in a way that feels good for you, whatever that way is. Your own body will give you all the signs and I am simply here to give you options; to offer you methods, help you learn about your body, to guide you into those “aha” moments and ask that you approach exercise and movement to help you feel good.

Over the last decade I have been trying to break the links between exercise and “no pain, no gain” It is why I haven’t given nutritional advise for years because exercise is still so linked to the diet culture. It is why I no longer do “PT” because the idea that I help people lose weight, tone up and work hard, will never disappear and it is why I am open to more than Pilates as I question if we need to be working within strict guidelines when we talk about movement? It is why I talk about movement rather than exercise. It is why I love learning about anatomy. It is why I am starting to guide rather than teach. It is why I have at times stepped away to keep my values intact. It is why I badgered my children’s school to think outside the box with regards to PE. It is why I was so proud that my daughter stood in front of her PE teacher stating the reasons why school swimming was not right for her. It is why I let my son stop contact Rugby without a question. It is why I believe contact Rugby should be optional in schools. I love sport but I am thoughtful as to whether it matches the personality of the child or adult. Please do not link exercise, movement and sport with punishment and fear from an early age or any age. I have seen it in hundreds of clients. When I ask the question and dig deeper the reason why they are fearful to exercise or have no motivation to exercise is because they had a bad experience within sport and exercise growing up or as an adult. I understand this and I help you move with ease, I make some links between movement, kindness, calmness and the confidence begins to slowly return.

I have hung up my trainers a few times because there is a wobbly side in this career that is not so obvious. However, it always pulls me back simply because I love movement, I love learning about movement and different ways we can move simply for enjoyment. I love creating experiences that make people smile. I love helping people feel good. I want to make a small change for the next generation, I want to help you read the signs that your body tells you, I want to break the link between punishment and movement, I want to help you have the ability to move on your own. I want to open your eyes wider. So here I am and I suspect I will be here until my time is up; learning, reading, writing, talking and understanding because there is a lot to do.

So please if you do one thing this month, change the dialogue in your home. Movement, exercise and sport should be about love not punishment.

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