A guest post

This is the first post from a guest blogger. My new mate Robin from Trimax Endurance Sports got in touch with an offer to write a few posts for my blog. So by way of an introduction I’ll hand you over the Robin…

Trimax Edurance SportsAs a personal trainer I get a lot of questions that I can’t answer. The same happens when I coach¬†nutrition as well. What I’ve learned over multiple certifications and as many years in the business could actually be summed up to many people’s chagrin, and even to my slight embarrassment, is that when it comes to optimal diet, health, and fitness, you are actually going to come up with the answers yourself.

No one wants to hear this, which is why I am often reluctant to break the news. Most people hire a trainer and a nutrition coach to give them the answers, to cut through the mess of health claims in the mainstream, tell them what to eat, and how to lose their excess weight and hit their loftiest goals in short order. Many trainers and nutrition experts (and books, and diet programs, and media hype) will claim to be able to do all of these things and then some. Don’t get me wrong though, we need them. We need those guru type personalities in the fitness and nutrition world. They are charismatic and they shout the big ideas from the roof tops, publishing books and alerting the press along the way. And many of those ideas might actually be good! But really, the only ideas that matter are the ones that work for you. And that means you have some experimenting to do.

These ideas and theories have abounded throughout my career in the fitness industry, and I never paid them much mind, favoring moderation, adequate sleep, and a daily sweat as the cure-all. But two years ago, I started getting sick. I spent several months losing weight and ignoring symptoms until I finally found myself in a doctor’s office being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 27. Suddenly, moderation and light exercise were not only ineffective but quite hard to come by as I struggled with the hormone and blood sugar roller coaster that comes with injecting insulin. I could now relate very intimately with the weight and health challenges I had seen countless clients struggle with endlessly and fruitlessly.

I am about 20 months out now from that diagnoses, and I have only very recently come to a clear conclusion about how to eat, drink, exercise, sleep, manage stress, and live my life in order to feel and look and perform my best. And, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sleep, self-care, and primary foods. Let me be perfectly clear that I am not claiming to have it all figured out; I make mistakes and learn new things about my personal wellness every day. But it has also been fun and infinitely rewarding to recognize and respect this process and let it take me where it will. This has included giving up alcohol altogether, an unbelievable challenge that has reaped incredible rewards; trading a cramped space in New York City for the fresh air and sunshine of Southern California; and leaving my full-time post at a gym to focus more on writing and consulting, as well as my own health. And as for my diet and exercise regimen, I follow a Low Carb/High Fat whole foods diet (essentially Paleo), and do five CrossFit workouts a week, five easy, meandering runs that cover about 5-7 miles apiece, and try to fit in at least one yoga class. This is a demanding exercise schedule, but I have worked up to it and I eat plenty to fuel it (and could write about the ways of using fat for fuel all day long).

It works for me and its not my intention to say that it will work for you. In fact, my intention is to encourage you to make this process a priority of your own. And know that I, a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, nutrition coach, and health coach, still regularly open emails to read about a highly credentialed person making a very substantiated claim that refutes everything that I’ve worked so hard to learn about my health. And that when that happens, I freak out a little bit, ¬†then I go for a run.

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14 thoughts on “A guest post

  1. Pingback: A guest post | Social Jay

  2. This is great, glad you’re joining this already great blog. I’ve recently been diagnosed prediabetic and I’m in awe at how uninformed I have been with my own body and personal nutrition. I never knew I was so unbalanced eating 1/2 a watermelon, lots of fruits with white bread, or meals with white rice. Unintentionally, I had years of carb-loaded meals that was probably taxing my poor pancreas. I’m also finding my way through a high fat/low carb diet plan and finding it’s much easier for me to lower my cholesterol and body weight then it is to find perfect blood sugar control. I’m on a mission to help my friends to be more aware of health balance too since sleep deprivation, getting sick and stress as a new mom also affects blood sugar control. I never knew how tricky it is to achieve balance with health.

    • Denise, what a devastating blow to deal with as a new mom! It must be a challenge caring for yourself AND your family but I am sure that your little one(s) will see how mommy makes healthy living and healthy eating a priority and will grow up healthier, stronger, and more confident for it. And try not to look back too much at your “unbalanced” eating – you were doing the best you could with the tools that you had at the time. I have the same type of eating history behind me too, but I’m grateful for the wakeup call that put me on the healthy path that I’m on now! Some people ignore the the signals, maintain bad habits, and continue to feel unwell. You are making an incredibly courageous effort to improve your health and find balance for yourself and your family. Brava!

  3. Nice guest post. It’s true that trainers, nutritionists etc may not have all the answers. I gotta admit though, I am entirely dependent on my coach. if I didn’t get the weekly workouts…I think I might actually have problems deciding what to do….which in a way is a bit sad!

    • Hey, mizunogirl, I can’t fault you there – I am pretty dependent on my CrossFit WODs! Having a coach to help you and guide you is absolutely worthwhile – and as someone that coaches others on a daily basis, I LOVE handing the reigns over for an hour and being coached myself :) The trouble that many fall into, though, is having the mentality of, “Okay, coach/diet book/fitness guru, you’re the expert; tell me what to do…” and then relinquishing all responsibility and, consequently, empowerment, of their own. Think of how much your coach has guided your health journey; but remember, too, that YOU make the effort to show up for those sessions, and to get the clean food and good rest that your body needs, and to follow blogs and join conversations about health and wellness that inform the decisions that you make for your own body. Some examples I see all too frequently, though, are addiction to food, work, or partying that can very easily take priority over greater health and wellness. Folks like that look for a quick fix, and that’s who falls prey to the latest fad or media sensation. Doesn’t sound like you fit that bill! Keep up the hard work and I tip my hat to your coach!

  4. Hi Robin. Thanks for sharing your insights. A few years ago I had a colleague who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at thirty. He struggled to cope and I was able to help a little with some basic nutritional advice gleaned from years of trying to lose weight and a little knowledge from A Level Human Biology. The diet and exercise experts have disillusioned me too. It seems too many are self serving, promoting the latest fad just to sell their products or promote their books. I don’t have the answers either but what I have learned I’ve learned through trial and error. Clean eating, cutting the processed rubbish and walking have been my answers.

    • Hey mariekeates, great to hear from you and that you were able to be a resource for a friend dealing with a health challenge. The more I read, learn, and coach, the more stories I hear about regular folks with not-below-average fitness getting hit with huge, unexpected health blows! It’s tragic, but there is good information out there, if one is willing to go looking for it and comb through all of the self-serving and self-promoting “experts” out there. And that is great to hear that you have found some answers of your own – so next time you hear that you should be running rather than walking, or adding highly processed supplements and powders to your diet, you’ll remember that you already know what works best for you! PS. please feel free to forward my info to your colleague if he’d like to connect about dealing with T1D!

      • Thanks! My husband is a runner and I’m always trying to get him to give up the supplements. Been making him chia seed energy bars which seem to have half changed his mind. There is an ongoing argument in our house about walking v running :)

  5. A very refreshing perspective to hear from a trainer. It’s true that we rely on experts to hand us the answers – it’s a scary idea that we’re meant to know more than them about our own bodies (and that really the answers are very simple).

    All the best with dealing with your diabetes.

    • Thank you so much, Joanna, for your insight and kind words. It makes me so happy to hear someone else say that the path of health and wellness can, in many ways, be very simple, and not have to be a war waged against our own bodies! All the best in your health journey as well.

  6. Fantastic post. I’m sorry to hear about the diabetes but actually reading how you’ve gone on to overcome that obstacle gives me hope. I’ve recently been diagnosed with SOD (Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction) as well as discovering I am plumbed very wrong, which is posing quite a few problems at the moment with my training and unexpected weight loss. But I am determined to not let it define me and if you’ve managed to get your diabetes under control, eat well and work as hard as you do, then I can too!

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