I’ve shared in previous posts about having a complicated relationship with food. One of the ways I’ve addressed and managed that is by developing healthy workout habits. But I wouldn’t say I’m super self-motivated in this arena. I need accountability and guidance. That’s where Fortius Training enters the scene. My sister, Parker, is a personal fitness coach who seriously knows her stuff. I’ve had the opportunity to train with her both pre, during, and post-pregnancy. She has a completely un-intimidating approach to wellness that empowers and (literally) strengthens. So I wanted to get her take on some of the workout questions I hear most often. Check out our interview below and take advantage of her exclusive offer for our readers(!).
NOTE: if you’re not local to our area, Parker offers remote coaching through Precision Nutrition to still help you achieve your fitness + nutrition goals.
How long have you been a trainer? what sparked your initial interest in fitness?
I’ve trained people on and off since 2011. To be honest, I can’t remember what sparked my initial interest in training. I only know that I can’t imagine a life without it at this point. I’m hooked. I love the variety within it, I love learning new things, and I love the physical, mental, and emotional changes it can bring about.
What is one question you ask every prospective client?
ONE question? I have a lot of questions for everybody, because I want to know their story. What does an average day look like? What do you normally eat? Are you under a lot of stress? What have you tried before for exercise? How did it work out for you? That may seem like an intimidating barrage, but really, they’re the bones of a conversation in which I can get to know someone. Although I’d have to say, the most important question to get a hold of is probably, “What do you want?” That’s the why behind us even speaking. That’s the motivation that drives action, because discipline is remembering what you want.
How do you help someone set attainable goals for themselves?
Setting attainable goals is about recognizing not just progress, but process. Eating healthy, unprocessed foods for a week is something to celebrate not because you’ll have achieved every goal you’ve set for yourself at the end of that week, but because you’re creating the habits that will bring change and success. It’s vital to remember the smaller goals that act as streetlights along the way to the bigger goal.
What is your reaction to popularized terms like “thigh gap” or “ab crack”?
They’re trendy stupid? An “ab crack” is just the reveal of abdominal muscles in someone who’s gotten very lean. Some beauty trends are indicators of health and strength, but some are dangerously superficial things to idolize…like the “thigh gap.” Pay attention to your own health, your own fitness, the changes you’re achieving by creating a better lifestyle. Don’t chase trends. Your body will thank you later when you’re fitter, stronger, and feel better.
How do you approach the relationship between training and nutrition?
Training and nutrition are SOULMATES. You can’t out-train a bad diet. You can’t get the most out of your food unless you train. It’s a beautiful thing, that each accelerates the other.
If someone says they’re intimidated by the gym, where should they start?
Whenever I see someone in a big commercial gym who looks new to training, who seems insecure in the environment, who’s really overweight or really underweight, I honestly feel a swell of respect for a total stranger. They’re out there to make a change in their lives, despite discomfort. They decided they wanted something different and they took action. They’ve committed their time and their finances. I love seeing people who want to make a change in their life and health for the better. So just to point out – not everyone there is going to judge you negatively! That said, I realize that doesn’t take away the nerves or intimidated feeling that a newcomer might feel on joining a gym. Be friendly with the people at the front desk; get to know their names and the place will start to feel more welcoming. When you’re on the floor, be respectful of others, but stay focused on your own training plan. Remember, everyone started somewhere! Even the bodybuilder by the dumbbell rack and the figure competitor in the squat rack. It’s time to own your journey.
When you’ve got a packed schedule and only 30 minutes a day for activity, what do you recommend?
30 minutes a day? Circuit training. If you can get to the gym, great…you’ll have more options with barbells and dumbbells and maybe a rower. If you’re at home, no problem…there are so many things you can do with your own bodyweight and a set of bands! (Maybe even a kettlebell.) Circuit training is putting together a series of exercises that you move through quickly, and then repeat, and repeat as many times as you’re prescribed/able. For example, bodyweight squats, pushups, lunges, planks, kettlebell swings, and rest for 1 minute, then do it over again. Will crank up your heart rate and get some metabolic stress going in your muscles. Your body will react!
How would you encourage someone to make fitness part of a lifestyle rather than a chore?
Getting fit is often about physical appearance, but the benefits of a healthy lifestyle based on training and nutrition are so numerous that I can only begin to explain here. In the long run. You’d be amazed at how many cells in your body respond to physical activity and proper food. In an ideal world, we’d probably all have a private gym, a personal trainer, and a chef on call. In reality, it can sometimes be tough to get to the gym, to nail your workout, to eat whole-food, nutritious meals. We want to create habits, not robots…consistency, not perfection. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a training session, and don’t sabotage yourself if you have ice cream on occasion. Life goes on! What you do 90% of the time will reflect in your body and mind, so remember what you want, don’t punish yourself if you want to have pizza once a week, and keep going. Human bodies are so changeable. Also, underrated, but find the things that motivate you. If you find a training style like Crossfit or dance class that really motivates you, you’re more likely to stick with it. If you find a new way to make your favorite recipe with healthy ingredients instead of highly processed junk, you’re more likely to enjoy your food. You have to customize your own healthy lifestyle so that it can be sustainable.
EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR OUR READERS: Parker is offering $30 for a 30 minute phone session to discuss personalized training + nutrition as well as a 10% discount on prices listed on her website. Offers valid through December 31, 2017. All you have to do is reference this post in your email!
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