What is a holistic personal trainer?

I get asked this a lot and I know it’s a pretty vague term, so I thought I’d explain my take on it. When I started providing PT services a couple of years ago, I didn’t quite fit in with the other PTs. Sure, they were nice people, but I didn’t want to be yelling at my clients like a drill sergeant or pushing them until they threw up.

I knew for exercise to be sustainable, you have to enjoy what you’re doing. The core motivation has to come internally – from you. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with needing a push from a PT or a friend, but if you need someone yelling at you to get moving, maybe take a look at your relationship to exercise.

The body needs to be flexible and correctly aligned to allow energy to flow through the joints. This is where my experience with yoga and martial arts come into play – I’m able to diagnose and correct many issues with posture or movement that (according to my clients) results in them feeling much stronger, and in a shorter space of time, than they ever have before. Correct posture and alignment also ensure no injuries occur during exercise and can help existing pain and injuries such as knee or back pain, helping you stay healthy and strong long into old age. You still want to be able to keep up with your grandkids right?

A big focus in exercise for me is mindfulness. Be in the moment, in the body, not thinking about what you have to do after your session. After an exercise, pause and notice how the body feels and how your energy flows differently. Exercise is a moving meditation – a way to reconnect the body with the mind. In fact, the main component in building strength comes does not come from the muscles, it comes from correct alignment and strengthening the connection between mind and body via the brain and central nervous system.

I’m also interested in how exercise affects the mind. I exercise more for the benefits to my mood and mental focus rather than the physical benefits, even though there are many. And of course I enjoy the exercise I do. If you’re not, maybe you need to find something you do enjoy, or maybe you’re just taking it all too seriously.

Me deadlifting twice my bodyweight

Of course what we put into our bodies is of fundamental importance, and I’ve experimented with a lot of different diets to find what works for me. Although I’m not a nutritionist, I can discuss what has worked for me, and others. The core teaching is to listen to your body and see how it feels after eating different foods. Do you get an energy crash and a headache after eating cake? Why are you eating it if you know it’s bad for you? What does that say about your relationship with food, and with yourself?

For me, exercise is a microcosm of the macrocosm. The discipline and self-mastery you learn during exercise should flow into the rest of your life. It’s often hard to take that first step to exercise, but once you do, you find you enjoy it and feel great afterwards. Just the same as it’s hard to take that first step towards any goal you set yourself, but things will flow once you get momentum going and you’ll reap the rewards.

I also brought a lot more experience to my PT work. While I only completed my PT training a few years ago, I’ve been training myself for over 10 years. I’ve been practising yoga for almost as long, and I’ve been doing martial arts for the better part of 20 years! All the learning and skills from these pursuits come into my PT sessions.

And lastly, sometimes my clients are just feeling tired or run down. When that’s the case, we take it easy and then towards the end of the session, I do an energy healing on them (if they are open to that of course). Only you really know your internal state, or even what you really feel like doing, so I let you guide the session based on that feeling. I’ll still have my own plan for each session, but it’s flexible - after all, you’re investing your time and energy – why do something you don’t want to do?

I don’t know of any other PTs like that, so seeing as my approach is very holistic, I called myself a holistic personal trainer.

If you’re interested in improving your health, and my approach resonates with you, drop me a line. We can discuss your goals and put together a plan to suit – my programs are tailor made for you, they aren't some cookie cutter program. I offer services to the Central Coast and greater northern Sydney – and yep, I even come to you! More on my holistic personal training service.


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