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…
As 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.