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Michelle’s Journey to Vibrant Health

The goal of this post is to give you some inspiration by sharing a story about a client who made some important changes in her life to get her health back on track.

Imagine the best version of you, without filters or limits. This vision can become your reality.

This is about Michelle, one of our incredible clients, who started with us 13 months ago.

 

At the top of Mount Warning on our 2018 Wild Retreat

Michelle had been very active throughout high school and university; however, after graduating as a pharmacist, she worked long and intense hours managing a pharmacy. During these years, she had minimal time to dedicate to herself, let alone to exercise or to prepare wholesome meals. So she took action and followed her gut feeling to become a teacher. Although this is still a demanding role, this career change allowed Michelle more flexibility with her time, and she is now able to spend weekends and school holidays with her husband and young family.

When Michelle came to The Wild Movement, she hadn’t been training and felt like she was not in her best shape, but she was keen to make some changes to be a role model for her family.

We started with our individual consult to get a clear understanding of Michelle’s starting point. We ran through a mobility screening and then went through the fundamentals of squat, dead lift, bench press and chin up.

Physical Transformation

Michelle back squatted 37.5kg for three reps, dead lifted 72.5kg on the trap bar, bench pressed 32.5kg for two reps, completed one underhand chin up and rowed 1km in 4:06. Fast forward 13 months and her strength numbers are now 75kg for squat, 115kg for dead lift, 45kg for bench press, 12 chin ups and a 3:50 1km row!

Look at those back muscles!

Like many of our members, Michelle started by training twice a week to ease herself into a new routine. Her level of enjoyment remained high, as did her personal gains, so she gradually increased her sessions until she was training up to five times per week with us.

These performance results also led to changes in Michelle’s body composition. On her first scan, she was 22% BF and now sits around 12% BF (as per InBody scan). In her opinion, one of the most powerful changes behind these results is the change she made with her family’s eating habits. She attended one of our regular workshops hosted by our resident chef, Jasmine (The Wholefood Goddess), who taught Michelle and other members about Eating The Wild Way. Michelle was so inspired by this workshop; in fact, she went home and made some fundamental dietary changes to better support her active lifestyle with greater nutritional benefits. The good news is that her kids and husband are on board too… mostly!

Of course, it wasn’t an easy and straightforward progression to this point. Michelle writes below about some of her challenges and how she dealt with them.

Michelle’s Reflections

“One of the most challenging tasks that I’ve faced at The Wild Movement is setting goals for myself. This is on a more personal level because I thought that if I didn’t have any goals then there was no risk of failure or disappointment. It’s taken me a good 12 months to gradually change my thought patterns, I still struggle at times, however I’ve come a long way. A big realisation was that if I don’t have any goals then I can never really have any ‘wins’ or sense of achievement and personal growth. So this is how I made some changes… I took a risk and set myself some goals, I got out of my comfort zone by writing them down for everyone to see, and I started saying ‘yes’ more often to things I didn’t think I could do. Most importantly, I keep setting myself measureable goals with a date claimer to help me to stay motivated and to keep having fun whilst trying to chase down my goals.

Achieving a balanced life by learning to listen to my own body was another hurdle I had to overcome. Just through increased movement and mindfulness, I developed a greater awareness about when I can push myself harder to make some lasting changes and when I need to back-off and let my body rest and recover. I must admit, it’s still hard knowing the difference between good pain and bad pain, but I know I can get trusted advice and recommendations from Luke and the other coaches.

My greatest challenge over the last year has been learning to invest more time and energy in myself. My time so far at The Wild Movement has been the longest and most committed I have ever been to my strength training. The difference this time is I’ve realised that in order to look after my family, I need to look after myself, by feeling energised and making exercise a priority rather than an ‘add-on’ if there’s time. The coaches, together with the community at The Wild Movement, have greatly contributed to the longevity and success of my training, which is now an embedded part of my life and my family’s lives.”

Everyone’s measures of success are dynamic in nature and unique to that individual. As you’ve just read, success is rarely an easy and straightforward process; however, with the right support and environment, you too can start taking small steps in the direction that is right for you.

If you would like to have a chat with us to see if we can help you like we have with Michelle and so many other members just click HERE and send us a message.

 

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Action Over Paralysis

It is so easy to be overwhelmed with what is in front of you. Maybe you haven’t exercised in a long time. You also haven’t been eating the way you know is best for you either. You have been so busy with other things. The longer it’s gone the harder it has been to get back into training. With each day and each week the task seems more overwhelming.   Does this situation sound familiar?

 

Many of our long-standing clients were in this exact position when they stepped foot into our gym for the first time. I always have respect here, because that is a vulnerable situation.   These clients became long-term members because of a simple change of mindset though. If you too can adopt this simple change it will help you feel less overwhelmed and much more likely to stay consistent.

 

So what is this change of mindset?

 

The common mindset for someone in this situation is – “This is so hard. How the hell am I going to lose 20kg? It seems like an impossible situation”.   The truth is that is a big task. Losing 20kg (or any weight) is going to take a change of behaviours, which is always uncomfortable.   No one likes the thought of uncomfortable.

 

What I ask clients to think of in this ‘hopeless’ situation though is the feeling they are after. The majority will say something along the lines of ‘the feeling of being fit, strong, healthy, like I’m doing something good for my health’.

 

If you look at the above do you think you need to have lost the 20kg already to have the feelings being chased? I would suggest no. Although losing weight doesn’t happen instantaneously – the good feelings that come from exercise endorphins do. It is true it won’t take many sessions to feel good about yourself again.   You will feel fitter, stronger and healthier just by getting into a routine of exercise in your week.

 

All of a sudden you have the feelings that you thought losing the 20kg would give you. If you can change the mindset from helplessness with the task in front of you to simply realising it is about the lifestyle you live day to day taking daily action becomes something you want to do and not something you avoid because the task is too big.

 

To work through this simply think about the feeling you are chasing with the big scary goal you want.   Now simply think of the daily actions you can take that will give you these same feelings over the day, over the week, over the months.

 

Don’t let fear paralyse you. Chase the positive feelings you can get each time you move.   The process will look after the ultimate goal.

 

If you want to know more of how we can help people go from being stuck with their health to loving training and feeling awesome click Here to enquire or Here to see more of what we do through Instagram.  

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A Client’s Real Story.

Luke asked me to write something about my time at and some of the changes I have made since starting at The Wild Movement last year.

A little background, it was September 2017 and my life felt like it had become a hamster wheel (me being the hamster) – working 50-60+ hour weeks, eating (too much bad food), sleeping (badly) and then repeat. “How did this happen how did my life get to this….?” Looking back, I put it down to a series of interstate moves over an eight-year period where I had found myself always allowing work to come first. It was exhausting, chugging away to get through the daily grind with my immediate short-term goal to get through to my long service leave anniversary date which was due in January 2018, take a well-deserved break and then re-evaluate what I wanted to be doing.

It was definitely time for some changes to take place but I wasn’t quite sure how to make things happen. I had seen the Wild Movement 4-week challenge come through on my Facebook feed and thought this could be just the thing to help me to get back on track from a health and fitness perspective. I had participated in boot camp type challenges previously and really enjoyed the group environment and the time-lined approach with clear start and finish dates. Unfortunately, the September dates clashed with an upcoming holiday. Luckily, there was another challenge for October and I was able to schedule a consult for my return.

The Challenge

I set some early goals to commit to attending all of my scheduled training sessions, and also seek some work/life balance with no more than 40 hours a week at work. There was also a little something about giving up chocolate…… I managed to achieve two out of my three challenge goals.

  • The first scan & photo – I had dreaded this so very much but also knew I needed a clear starting point to help keep me accountable for achieving some results. It also allowed me to see exactly what my baseline was (the initial baseline definitely gave me something to improve upon)
  • I remember my first few weeks of training being super tough. I needed to sit down a few times, especially during those early conditioning sessions
  • I tried to make attending the sessions nice and easy, by scheduling the 06:00 sessions which didn’t allow me any time in the mornings to think about whether I was going to train as it was already too late to cancel – my alarm would go off and sleep/no sleep, feeling good/feeling ordinary I just went along and allowed it to become my “new normal”
  • Week 4 challenge testing allowed me to see some positive gains and to set new baselines for the future
  • My scan results from the 4-week challenge were definitely not what I had been hoping for. I had a small weight loss of 1.3 kg and subsequently a small body fat percent loss and some muscle gain 1.2 kg. I was definitely disappointed

After the challenge I decided to stick with training at TWM but I wasn’t entirely sure that all the hard work I was putting in was paying off or whether it was the right type of training for me. I spoke with a couple of friends about my frustrations over lack of results and they convinced me to stick it out for a bit longer. They also told me not to give myself such a hard time and surely any results in the right direction were good results. During the next couple of months I kept doing the 3 + 1 session bundle, tracking what I considered to be small changes through until the end of the year. A three week break over Christmas led to yet another disappointing scan result in January and I decided it was time to mix things up a little bit. I increased my training sessions to the unlimited bundle mostly so I didn’t have to keep choosing between Wednesday night Yoga and the Saturday morning sessions. From this point I averaged 6 sessions per week and was also trying to walk at least 10 kms most days. The walks were mostly to stretch out some of the strength training but also to get some fresh air and take some time to just move and listen to some tunes.

The food workshop with Jasmine early in the New Year was a real turning point for me. I had been eating what I thought was reasonably well but things weren’t quite coming together. I remember going home after the workshop, clearing out my pantry, heading out to buy a new food processor and pressure cooker and started to batch cook a selection of meals from the recipes provided. My favourites are the chicken meatloaf, chicken broth, and vegetable patties – simple, delicious and healthy meals which quickly became a key part in my everyday eating. I already had my training sorted out, I didn’t have to give it any thought simply get up and go when my alarm went off in the mornings. Having the meals pre-made and ready to heat and eat meant not thinking so much about meals allowing food preparation and eating meals to become really easy.

Finally, in April my scan showed some decent changes. From this point things just seemed to fall into place and it was so much easier to keep going with both food and training when the results were going my way. Training was also proving to be a wonderful distraction from work pressures and a family situation which had arisen. For 5 to 6 hours a week I just had to concentrate on doing what I was being told by the trainers, get it done, get out of there and then start the day knowing I had already done something really good for myself. The Saturday sessions whilst always super tough were a great chance to train with and get to know some of the people attending different sessions during the week and the Wednesday afternoon yoga sessions the perfect way to switch things up a bit stretch out and really helped me to refocus and get through the tail end of the working week.

When initially chatting about why I was at TWM and what I was wanting to achieve I remember Luke asking something along the lines of “what makes this time different?” with regards to wanting to make some lifestyle changes, be healthier and lose some weight. I didn’t really have an answer for this – I still don’t have an answer but some things which have made a difference and helped me to make some big changes to my health and fitness were;

  • An encouraging and supportive environment
  • Small groups – limited numbers allowing for personal attention to both technique and different fitness levels
  • A holistic approach to health and fitness including; training, diet, recovery and sleeping
  • Qualified and supportive trainers who know what they are doing and work hard to get the best out of everyone
  • A fabulous community of people who really want to see each other succeed. This encouragement and support has been wonderful

 

Learnings

  • Life sometimes throws you curveballs that can derail even the best of intentions. It would have been easy for me to give up a number of times however, I knew I needed to make some big changes and had some clear goals in my mind and this made it easier to keep going
  • You have to be ready for or get yourself ready for change – you need to know why you want the change and how you are going to achieve it otherwise it’s really easy to slip back into old ways
  • I have an 80/20 approach to eating. I eat chocolate most days. I have learnt it’s important for me to not eliminate foods completely – as soon as I restrict certain foods completely from my diet the wheels start to fall off
  • I am definitely not always my best self at 06:00 in the morning however, I persisted with this morning schedule and over time the early starts became easier, more so when the results really started to show
  • Being and feeling strong and doing things you have never done before (or not done for a very long time) whether it be a handstand, a pull-up, a cartwheel, get a new hang time or lift a new weight for the first time feels really good!

You can see the physical transformation which has taken place in my before and after pictures. It seemed to take so much time for the results to start to show and was really hard work taking a lot of persistence and commitment to get to this point. I am pretty happy with where I got to by making some big changes to how I was living my life from both a health & fitness and work life balance perspective. The physical changes are really only one aspect of my transformation. I was reading a quote recently and it said something along the lines of “When you start taking care of yourself, you start feeling better, you start looking better; and you attract better things. It all starts with you.” This has proven true for me one of my recent decisions was to choose to take back some control over my life, move away from a job which was no longer making me happy and subsequently choose to take an extended break away from “real life” and travel around Europe for a while. I am not so sure whether I would have made the same decision 12 months ago. The plan for now is to take some time out to have some fun and new adventures and then when the time comes I will start to make some plans for what comes next. I am really excited to be seeing new sights, having new experiences, meeting new friends and making some fabulous memories. Most importantly of all though I am enjoying taking some well-deserved time out from all the demands of everyday life.

See you all in a few months!

Coaches Note > This client lost 15kg and 20% body fat over these 7-8 months.  All credit to her grit in turning up no matter what!

 

 

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Are you getting in your own way?

So you really want to lose body fat. You know how to eat and live for this to happen, but for some reason you just can’t make yourself live this way consistently. You do it for a day, or even a week but can’t seem to string good weeks onto good weeks, let alone months. You know it is your big priority yet you keep getting in your own way. If this sounds like you then read on.

 

The above is a classic example of self sabotage. You want something wholeheartedly but you get in your own way before the goal is accomplished. In this instance, all the knowledge around nutrition, training and lifestyle isn’t going to necessarily help you get out of this cycle.

 

Before we look at what is actually going on it is important to get a basic grasp of some theory – In psychotherapy (I am currently studying a branch of this) according to Eric Berne people operate out of one of three ego states. Adult, Parent or Child.   These ego states are modelled from what we saw as a child. For example adult ego state means the person is being open, honest and straight up without any hidden agenda or games. Parent ego state is where the person is either nurturing someone or being critical.   Child ego state is where the person is essentially acting like a ‘child’. They may be in a state of spontaneity, fun or conforming.

 

So if we look at the above situation again we actually have an internal dialogue fight between 2 ego states of our selves. Our parent ego state is sending out messages that you can’t eat this or you can’t drink that. In other words, it’s being very restrictive and critical.   The internal dialogue is hitting our child ego state which just wants to have fun and be free.   For people that have a perfectionist streak within them this critical ego state is very powerful and dominant. The problem with this is that the ‘child’ is even more constrained and wants to come out even more.   This is where the battle is lost. The internal dialogue of “you can’t eat that, it’s bad” will eventually lose to the child ego state that says “stuff you mate, I want to be free”.   How long this battle goes on for with the parent winning depends on how strong that restrictive voice is and how many other stressors in your life you have.

 

So now we know what is going on at a basic level, what should we do about it?   We know with anything health and training the biggest, most important principle to ensure is carried out is consistency over a long period of time. You don’t get strong doing one four week program and you don’t go from fat to fit overnight.   With that awareness the best thing you can do for yourself is to give yourself permission to not be perfect all of the time. When you relax this perfect ‘driver’ you are relaxing the critical parent ego state and therefore not encouraging that inner dialogue battle where the child is going to win. It means you may not eat or live as ‘perfect’ as you would like but it means you will be much more consistent without the big extremes of on and off. We know that this is the recipe for success with your health and your body composition over a long period of time.

 

Imagine being able to eat some ice cream or have a wine without feeling guilty? This is possible when we relax that perfect driver because you won’t actually want it so often.   I hope this has helped you or someone you know. Please share and tag anyone you think this may help!

 

Thanks for reading! If you would like to know more about our training options at The Wild Movement then please go here.

 

 

 

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What Shoes Should You Squat In?

 

 

What sort of shoe should you squat in? Does it matter? I’m going to run you through these common questions so by the end of the article you have a clear understanding of pros and cons of wearing different shoes.

The majority of our members turn up in ‘trainers’. These are typically made to be light and with a large foamy sole to ‘cushion’ impact. Wearing of these in general is another whole blog article, but in terms of squatting I am going to start off with a blanket statement by saying they are not ideal.

 

The problem with a ‘trainer’

Trainer type shoes are not ideal for a couple of reasons. The first reason being a very large percentage (I would guess 80%) of new members are found to be lacking in ankle range as we assess their knee to wall test in the initial consult. There is admittingly some bias to this test with respect to different limb length but it gives us a great starting point.  With limited dorsi flexion (the ability of the knee to travel forward whilst keeping heel down) it is almost impossible to have a natural squat that is not completely hip dominant (placing no stress on the knee extensors).   Often what happens with a ‘soft’ shoe like a trainer the trainee will collapse in at the ankle under load.   Secondly, the soft sole disperses much of your force you have generated.  We really want all of that force to be straight into the ground.   If you think the extreme version of ‘soft’ think about standing on a big piece of thick foam and thinking how well you could squat. Not great right?

 

Factors affecting the shoe you should wear 

So if you shouldn’t wear the typical sports shoe what should you wear? This depends on a number of factors:

  • How much ankle range do you have? Does having more make your squat look and feel better? Remember the more range you have at the ankle, the more knees can travel forward, the more upright your torso and therefore the more emphasis on your quadriceps and the less on your back.
  • What is your main training game? Are you a Weightlifter, a Crossfitter, a Powerlifter or just someone that enjoys getting stronger?
  • Do you have any injuries you need to work around?

 

If you are a weightlifter your primary goal is to lift as much weight as you can in the clean and jerk and the snatch. The more upright you can receive the bar in these lifts the higher chance you have of making the lift. In this scenario you would definitely be going with a traditional weight lifting shoe. This has a very hard sole and also a raised heel which is going to let the knees travel forward more (hence keeping you more upright). Easy to obtain examples would be the Nike Romaleos and the Adidas Adipower.

 

If you train Crossfit or a similar type of training that involves heavy lifts but also a large range of other movements a shoe that still has a very firm sole with minimal rise will work best.   Reebok have the standard ‘Nano’ whilst Nike have the ‘Metcon’ and many others have a comparative shoe now.

 

If you are a Powerlifter you are only concerned with lifting the most weight you can on the squat and not whether you are more upright or not. A firm shoe (Converse Chuck is a standard powerlifting shoe) will do the job nicely.

 

If you are just looking to get stronger and don’t compete in any way then it really comes down to your goal with your squat and what it currently looks like.   Once again if you struggle to get good depth with your squat and your ankle range on a knee to wall test is less than 12cm than you can most likely benefit from a weightlifting shoe. If you are not sure still if lack of ankle range is your problem, refer to our last article here to run through a checklist.  Although more expensive than a trainer type shoe they can literally last you 10 years if you treat them right. (I have had the ones in the picture for about 6 years and have worn them at least a few times per week since then).

 

Happy Lifting. Any Questions? Please feel free to comment or email us [email protected]

 

 

 

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