Tag Archives: personal trainer

Five “Wins” from 2015

Goodbye, 2015!Thanks for the memories!

One of the best parts of blogging is that I have an easy way to review my year.  I can’t say that 2015 was my greatest year ever, but there are definitely things I’ve learned this year.

5. I earned my certification as a Third Age Woman educator.  As someone who is in the beginning of the peri-menopausal phase of life, this course was educational for both personal and professional reasons.  In addition to confidently helping perimenopausal women in person, I’m busy developing an online course to help other women develop strategies to balance fitness, hormones, and the priorities of life in their 40s and 50s.  Subscribe to my newsletter if you’d like to know when it launches!

4. I’ve undertaken the longest training cycle in my nearly 30 years as a runner.  In June 2015 I started prepping for a 5K on July 4th.  That was the beginning of a training cycle that will peak (hopefully!) on May 29, 2016 in Durban, South Africa at the finish line of Comrades Marathon.  I’ve had a busy fall of training and racing.  The end of 2015 marks the halfway point– stay tuned for what’s coming to get me ready to toe the line in Pietermaritzburg in just under five months.  (You can click on the Comrades tag on the right ————> to find all the blog posts about this adventure!)

3. I made my first attempt at blog post series this year.  The first series was about aqua yoga— I absolutely LOVE aqua yoga, but since I can’t be with all of you poolside, sharing the highlights of this practice was the next best thing.  I also ran a video blog series about How to Do A Pull Up. Looking for an achievable fitness milestone?  Follow the videos and feel the confidence that comes with the strength and coordination of doing a pull up.

2. Even as my business grew this year, reaching more personal training clients and swimmers than ever, I was able to balance work and family.  From the ways kids can help me see the world in different ways to how having older kids is really fun to the occasional night out as a family of five, I’ve enjoyed sharing the stories of my family with you.

1. I earned my certification as a Prenatal Kriya Yoga instructor.  This is a bit of an ironic highlight to my year, as I don’t really teach prenatal yoga very often. However, the certification process was a fantastic education in yoga, and the summation retreat in California was one of the best few days of my whole year.  It was a great reminder that when business growth and personal growth can happen simultaneously, I’m one lucky gal.

Hope your 2015 had some meaningful wins for you.

Here’s to good health and great happiness in 2016!

 

Congratulations to Robyn— she’s the winner of the Leonie Dawson 2016 Shining Life Workbook and wall calendar.  

You didn’t win?  BOO!!!

You can still order a Shining Life workbook or planner for yourself — order a .pdf version, and start filling it out right away!  Go make a great life!

Can I Speak With You?

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Every time I have a public speaking gig, I get that flutter of excitement, knowing that someone in the audience is feeling down about their physical health, the stress of life that prevents them from taking care of themselves, and the struggle of just how that’s going to change.

I’m excited because I know that the message I’ve crafted for their group is going to offer them not just hope but practical strategies for success.

As a public speaker, I love to take my stories of family, fitness, and wellness to groups who align with my message that everyday people do, in fact, have time for regular exercise.  My strategies for efficient, effective exercise resonate with people who feel stressed out by the realities of work and family pressures.  What I hope people learn is that an overall plan for wellness– meaningful exercise, plentiful sleep, and nourishing foods– is actually within their reach.

Who are these people?

  • Mom’s groups
  • Playgroups
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Service & social organizations
  • Charity athletic teams
  • Goddess circles

Speaking to groups allows me to tap into the skills I used when I was teaching college and needed to engage a group of people with varying interest levels in what I was talking about.  By adapting my message to the specific group, my presentations offer real, practical advice to add value to the listeners’ lives.

Topics include:

  • Fitness & Family Time
  • Exercising with Baby on Board
  • Postnatal Fitness: Beyond the Mummy Tummy
  • Exercises for the Deskbound
  • Creating a Wellness Culture at Work
  • Training with a Team
  • Finding Power in Peri-Menopause
  • Yoga for the Unbendy

When I am engaged as a speaker, I also include plenty of time for questions and answers.  I love to facilitate group discussions about fitness and wellness, and I never pretend to have all the answers!  My extensive background of research in women’s wellness and practical understanding from my years as a personal trainer mean that I can connect the dots for people who find regular exercise challenging….and get them over the hump to see how taking care of their body really does make them feel better!

I look forward to hearing from you about how I can help the members of your organization craft a well-balanced life.  You can find me at karen@balancepft.com or leave a comment here so I can get back to you.

Good health and great happiness to you!

Women’s Wellness Through the Decades

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For most of the past decade, I’ve worked as a personal trainer who specializes in women’s fitness.  I have a special affinity (and specialty certification) for working with prenatal and postnatal women, as I think that the perinatal period is one where women should spend extra time and focus taking care of themselves.  Whether a woman always been an avid exerciser and just needs a little extra expert direction about the dos and don’ts of working out while pregnant or she’s never had a consistent exercise habit, I can help keep both the mom-to-be and the baby healthy.   I love supporting new moms during “the fourth trimester,” especially working to ensure that the core muscles work efficiently and effectively again after pregnancy.

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That said, I’m getting older.

(Sigh.)

Now the far side of 40 and feeling the changes of my body aging, I decided to invest some time into educating myself about the body’s changes during menopause.  While it’s been societally  taboo to discuss “The Change,” I find mass ignorance unacceptable.  If I can learn more about supporting women through menopause– and approach my own transition more happily and healthfully– then I think that’s a worthy goal.

In late summer, I undertook a certification course offered by Burrell Education, a leading women’s wellness organization based in London.  Its founder, Jenny Burrell, is well-known and highly respected for her science-based, practical fitness and wellness education.  In the course focusing on “The Third Age Woman” in peri-menopause and beyond, Burrell partnered with Jessica Drummond of the Integrative Pelvic Health Institute and Irish physiotherapist Michelle Lyons.  The trio delivered a twelve-week course that covered everything from shifting hormones to optimal nutrition to ideal workouts and even the importance of rest for women who want to not just survive menopause but actually THRIVE during the “third age” period of life.

I am confident that I can help women learn real, practical, and do-able strategies for creating a well-balanced life.  By addressing nutrition, exercise, health screenings, and how daily habits affect physical health, I can support women through the small behavior changes that will result in improved health and greater ease of living.  My peri-menopause POWER program has me all fired up to help third-age women feel fierce!

So while I continue to work with perinatal clients– and am honored to be part of the excitement of motherhood– I am eager to share my new-found knowledge about surviving and thriving during menopause with clients.   Because this work is more holistic than my previous personal training, I am looking forward to working with women in Austin and well beyond.  There is much good work that can be achieved through phone coaching, virtual training, and other digital support.

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My work has always been focused on helping my clients find and maintain balance.  Never is it more important to feel balanced than when riding the hormonal rollercoaster of menopause.  For some women, this period can last a decade– that’s a really long time to feel “off” or “not myself.”  There are strategies that can be employed to regain a sense of balance that will let women live boldly with both mental and physical strength.

Please do let me know if I can support you.  Regardless of your life stage, feeling healthy and strong shouldn’t be a luxury.  You’re worth it.

Good health and great happiness to you.

 

Aqua Yoga: Pranyama in the Pool

This is the final post in my five-part series about aqua yoga.

Before you read this post, take a deep breath.

If you’re one of those people who is interested in yoga but feel intimidated by all of the buff and bendy folks you see on the slick yoga magazines and the internet, I have a fabulous secret for you.

Yoga, at it’s heart, is about breathing.

It doesn’t matter how long your legs are or what the scale says or even if you can touch your toes; if you can breathe, you can do yoga.

(And since you’re reading this, I know you can breathe.  So no excuses!)

The yogic breath practice is called pranyama.  I must admit that I practiced yoga for years– mostly in fitness-oriented studios– and never encountered pranyama.  It was only when I started studying to teach yoga that I learned about pranyama.  And now it is one of the key parts of my practice.

But what does all of this have to do with aqua yoga?

I find pranyama practice in the pool especially effective at settling my mind and cooling my body.  Because I teach aqua yoga outdoors during the summer in Austin, integrating the cooling practices of pranyama are a key part of my classes.

Here are two types of cooling pranyama I use regularly:

Sitali breath

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  • Form a “taco tongue” and inhale through the mouth.  (If you can’t make a taco, purse the lips for the inhale.)
  • Place the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth, close the lips, and exhale through the nose.
  • Aim to make the exhale longer than the inhale.
  • Repeat for 10-20 breaths.

I usually stand with my feet about 6 inches from the pool wall, back to the wall, and my fingertips lightly pressing in to the wall.  This helps me keep my shoulders low and chest open.

Single-Nostril Breath

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  • Stand with your feet grounded under your hips
  • Use the right pinky to close off the right nostril.
  • Inhale and exhale with the left nostril only.
  • Repeat for 10-20 breaths.

The left side of the body is associated with the lunar tendencies.  The left nostril is considered the subtle channel, responsible for cooling the body.  I like this pranyama for the pool because water is also a lunar element.

Hey, Swimmers….

You’re well aware of the importance of breathing while you’re in the water.  Pranyama can help you become even more in tune with the inhale-hold-exhale-hold pattern we always have while breathing, but getting the timing right in the pool means breathing air rather than choking on water.

If you’ve ever tried lap swimming but struggled with regulating your breath, take a yogic approach.  First, establish a breathing pattern that feels comfortable to you– that may mean breathing every other stroke (so you’re always breathing to the same side) or every third stroke (alternate-side breathing).  Next, ensure that you’re exhaling into the water–aka blowing bubbles– when you’re swimming.  Finally, add a “hum” to your exhale.  Not only does this give you something to focus on to keep your rhythm steady, but it also creates a bodily vibration similar to chanting “om” in a yoga class.  The vibration is steadying and centering.

I hope you’ll take some of these ideas and play around with them next time you’re in the pool.  Breath work is one of the few silver bullets in the wellness world– breathe deeply and fully, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.

Health at Every Size

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I received an inquiry from a potential client a few months ago asking if my personal training philosophy was aligned with the Health at Every Size movement.  I had to admit that I had never heard of HAES, but I would investigate it and get back to her.

According to the website:

Health at Every Size® principles help us be at peace in our bodies, supporting people of all sizes in finding compassionate ways to take care of themselves. It includes the following basic components:

  • Respect, including respect for body diversity.
  • Compassionate Self-care
    • Eating in a flexible and attuned manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite;
    • Finding the joy in moving one’s body and being physically active.
  • Critical Awareness
    • Challenges scientific and cultural assumptions;
    • Values body knowledge and people’s lived experiences.

— An edited excerpt from Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Leave out, Get Wrong and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight, by Linda Bacon, PhD., and Lucy Aphramor, PhD, RD.

As far as making peace with body size and developing compassionate approaches to thinking about how we view and treat people of various body sizes, I wholeheartedly embrace the pro-tolerance message that recognizes that weight is not an indication of personal value any more than it is the sole contributor to a person’s health matrix.  Just like there are plenty of people who are considered “normal weight” who lack fitness, people with larger than socially-accepted body sizes can have a positive health profile.

As a personal trainer, my job is to support people on their wellness journey. Fitness is one of the components of a healthy lifestyle, but it is only part of the puzzle.  Sound nutrition, quality sleep, and maintaining a low-stress outlook on life also contribute to overall wellness and good health.  Knowing that my primary role is to help people build healthy habits through meaningful exercise, I want to support people of any size.

I’m pleased to say that I have been working with the woman who introduced me to HAES since May, and she is determined to create a healthier lifestyle for herself.  Incorporating regular exercise into her week and intentional movement into each day, these habits are building blocks to greater wellness.  Like anyone beginning a new exercise program, she is reaping internal health benefits through the increased workload on her body.  Whether or not this translates into a change in body size isn’t the point– it’s that going up and down stairs and taking the dog for a walk are now pleasurable activities that help her to feel vital and strong.

Fat shaming may be popular– particularly in the media– and even seen as en vogue in certain social circles.  But if we truly care about people as individuals, we must see them for who they are and value their health, just as we do our own.

I urge you to read through the Health at Every Size website and sign the pledge!

Good health and great happiness to you.

Get EQUIPped!

For the last eight months, I’ve been working like crazy.  In addition to my personal training clients, prenatal classes, Aqua Kriya Yoga classes, Balance Virtual Bootcamp, and blogging, I’ve been developing an entirely new program.

In February I launched EQUIP Fitness Business Development out of a desire to share my passion and knowledge of running a real-world fitness biz.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know other fitness pros as well as people who have been thinking about making the entrepreneurial leap.  One of my services is a phone coaching session where people “Pick My Brain,” and together we try to clarify their hopes and dreams for becoming a fitness entrepreneur.

But  Monday September 30th is the date I’ve been working toward all year. Next Monday the first cohort of fitness pros kick off Strong-Skilled-Smart, EQUIP’s signature business development program.  In just six weeks, we’ll walk step-by-step through the process of envisioning and launching a viable independent fitness business.  I’m so excited for what’s in store.

I still love my clients, both those I see in-person and those I know only online.  But the former college professor in me was itching to get back to some teaching, and Strong-Skilled-Smart is a way for me to do that and help others reach their dreams.

If you’re interested in enrolling for the inaugural offering of Strong-Skilled-Smart, it’s not too late!  REGISTER NOW to grab your virtual seat!

Five Ways to Balance

I’m one of those kinds of people for whom productivity is a form of relaxation.  I don’t sit around very well.  I get twitchy.  I get restless.  I get feeling like there’s something I could be doing.  And when I have days where I’m extremely productive, I feel most at peace with myself.

That said, I should be feeling pretty darn peaceful and Balanced over the next few months, because I’ve got a lot going on!  The boys go back to school on Monday, my daughter starts preschool for the very.first.time next month, and I have a whole slew of exciting classes and programs that are starting over the next few weeks.

1. Balance Virtual Bootcamp– Round Three kicks off next Monday, August 26th!  This 8 week program of 30-minute workouts delivered to your in-box three times a week has built a loyal following already.  The efficient and effective workouts are perfect for someone trying to start a fitness program or who now has less time because there are more kid-commitments to juggle (ME!).  Register NOW— you’ll be glad you did.

2. Aqua Kriya Yoga– I have classes on Thursdays from 6.30-7.30 from now until the end of September for the bargain price of $10/class.  Never done yoga before?  The water is a great aid in learning.   Advanced yogini looking to deepen your practice? Take it off the mat and feel the energy of the water.  Email me at karen at balancepft.com to save your place in the pool– classes fill quickly.  ALSO, I love to host private aqua yoga classes, so contact me if you have a mom’s group, bachelorette party, or women’s circle interested in a private event.

3. Prenatal/Postnatal Group Circuit Training Classes– I haven’t offered group classes in a few years, but they’re back due to popular demand!  We’ll do a mix of cardio and strength training, and I’ll be modifying to workouts to suit each participant’s needs.  I LOVE working with perinatal women, and I’m so excited for these Sunday morning classes to begin September 1st.  Register today, as space is limited!

4. Swimming Lessons– The season is winding down, but I do still have very limited openings through September.  Lessons are in the late afternoon and evening.  Email me at karen at balancepft.com for more information!

5. Personal Training– One of the bummers of my extended summer vacation is that I miss my clients.  For reals!!  I’m so glad to have seen so many of you last week, and I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone else soon.  If you’ve ever thought about hiring a trainer but aren’t really sure it’s worth the money, I’d love to talk with you about how I can help!  Not in Austin?  No worries– I do virtual training, too!

And one BONUS, which I haven’t talked too much about here…..

Last Spring I started a new company, EQUIP Fitness Business Development, because I’ve so enjoyed building Balance Personal Fitness Training that I want to help other people passionate about fitness follow their entrepreneurial dreams.  EQUIP’s Strong-Skilled-Smart program enrolls its first cohort into the six-week business development journey in September.  If you or someone you know is interested in owning your own fitness biz, make sure you’re on my newsletter list for the inside scoop!

Wishing all of you a productive & peaceful day!