How do YOU feel about your body?

The majority of my clients are women.  All of them are interesting, incredible people with diverse backgrounds.  But there is a common theme that shows up with all the women I work with.  They are all very hard on themselves and their body image.  When I look at these women I don’t see the flaws that they continue to point out.  I see them for the amazing people that they are.  Their bodies have taken them to incredible places and provided the start of their children’s lives. My mission as a trainer is to provide them with the means to focus on health and fitness. Because that comes in all shapes and sizes.  I find it so hard knowing that our society has turned many women against their bodies.

As a former figure skater, I know what it is like to be judged on how you look.  I used to skate in a touring show where all the skaters were weighed on a weekly basis to make sure everyone looked “good” in their costumes.  We were expected to stay in our particular weight range and if we didn’t we were fined.  Hard to believe this practice existed!!!  This set most of the skaters up for disaster trying to constantly keep weight down when we were on the road all the time with not a lot of healthy food options provided.  This is when I really tuned into lifting weights as a way to keep my metabolism in check and maintain a consistent body weight for me.  As the tour went on I saw my skater friends become increasingly unhappy over what was happening to their body image.

I just wish that women could cut themselves some slack.  Life is busy and it’s not always easy to stay on track with eating right and exercising consistently.  But for goodness sake don’t make it worse by beating yourself up.  I have even heard women who are in top shape put down their body.  Let’s celebrate what our unique bodies are capable of doing instead of pointing out what they can’t.  Health and longevity should be the main priority.

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Exercise your way into Menopause

Now that I’m in my forties I’m thinking a lot about what effect menopause will have on my body.  I already notice changes happening as I enter into the peri-menopause stage.  This can last from 8 – 10 years prior to actual menopause. So it’s really important to tune into your body during this transition.

Many of my female clients are also in their forties and their main concern is dealing with what is known as the “middle age spread”  What happens is that a lot of women tend to exercise less during this time and therefore the weight creeps on as the hormones change.  But if regular exercise is part of your routine then the symptoms of menopause can be reduced.  Anxiety can become a problem for woman during this time and the best way to combat that is by keeping fit to reduce stress.  The focused breathing techniques used in Yoga have been known to reduce hot flashes.  During peri-menopause bone density decreases so it’s essential to strength train to protect against weakening bones and the threat of osteoporosis.  If we can maintain our muscle mass through regular resistance training then we can keep our metabolism from declining.  Exercise also helps to prevent joint pain, sleep disturbances, irritability and weight gain.  And we all know that it can help protect against high blood pressure, heart attack and strokes.  All of which become more of a concern as we age.

This is a stage in life when many women are dealing with other life changes.  It should be a time when women can focus on themselves more.  Just don’t let yourself slow down too much.

The female body is complex but at the same time pretty darn incredible! So ladies….keep active, eat healthy, tune into your body and enjoy life.

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