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Being Kind to Ourselves

Friday, 13, January, 2017

I use this phrase a lot when I work with people who want to make long-term, sustainable changes in their life, the kind of changes that will dramatically alter their health and their future.

They often interpret this to mean they don’t have to live up to their health commitments, that they can go off-track and sabotage their food & exercise prescription simply because they “ didn't feel like it” or were “having a bad day”.

This is entirely opposite of what I mean.

Being kind to yourself, really taking good care of yourself, starts with a decision that is not negotiable and a willingness to be realistic about what is good for you.

Imagine: you've had a really stressful day at work, your boss is cranky at you, co-workers are being more difficult than usual and you have a splitting headache on the way home from work. 

Dinner consisting entirely of chocolate and cheese, possibly wine, and staying up late to zone out in front of the television may seem like an easy option. “ I've had an awful day,” you tell yourself, “I deserve some pleasure, I can’t be bothered doing anything else.”

So you eat some non-nutritional food and flake out on the couch. Your headache feels worse, you feel sluggish and tired but instead of going to bed, you stay up too late watching television, exacerbating your tiredness.

Imagine that this is your child, or your best friend.

Would you deliberately ignore their needs, or make excuses for why you wouldn't help them feel as good as possible, especially under difficult circumstances?

I bet you wouldn't.

Imagine: you've had a really stressful day at work, your boss is cranky at you, co-workers are being more difficult than usual and you have a splitting headache on the way home from work.

“ I've had an awful day,” you tell yourself, “so I’m going to make sure I drink plenty of water when I get home. I’ll make myself a quick vegetable omelette and I’ll make sure I get an early night.”

The first scenario may seem like the easiest option, and by certain criteria it may be, but since when has easy meant better. 

The second option means you actually change your situation for the better. 

You contribute to your health rather than detracting from it. 

You actually meet your real needs, rather than giving in to what it is you think you want.

Making your life a little easier the next day and helping yourself to feel better - THAT is being kind. 


Honour Your Body, Your Life, Your Self.

Thursday, 01, December, 2016


Dr Karl is on Triple J this week with a guest, talking about the science of weight loss & this is a topic close to my heart.

You may not know this but I used to have an eating disorder & probably a fair bit of associated body dysmorphia (when you have a distorted view of how your body looks).

When I was in high school, I learned to be bulimic; other girls showed me how you could throw up after eating to not gain weight. I thought it was a magical formula until I found myself living a miserable life. Then I started to make the changes that made the difference to save my life.

This, combined with my Mum being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes around the age I am now (early 40’s) made me sit up & take note of my health.

I did not want to follow in my Mum’s health-footsteps.

It didn’t happen immediately, but I started on the path that has led me to become a Fitness Trainer & Health Educator.

I know how it feels to not want to exercise, to complain about working out, and when I was training to be a trainer, I still remember the time where I actually started to enjoy working out.

That feeling of “yeah!” after a workout has stayed with me and once you get that, you don’t want to give it up.

Now I’m glad I went through that process because I empathise with clients who do the same. Although now I allow them to bring their ‘don’t want to’s’ and complaints, (they can even swear a lot), but they still do the workouts.
And they feel so much better at the end.

I also remember the point in my life where I realised I was choosing exactly what I wanted, so why couldn’t I choose what was good for me.
So I did.

I started eating better and actually enjoying it, moving more & feeling great for it.

When I had my son 11 years ago, I put on 40kg. Four Zero.

It was no mystery, I ate EVERYTHING, and then I ate theirs. When I had a 3.6kg baby, I had to take stock and decide; did I want to keep these extra kilos that made me feel so uncomfortable?
Was this related to my eating disorder so many years ago?

I made a conscious decision to love my body, to fuel it well & to exercise. If my body never returned to its previous state then so be it, but I was damn sure I would do everything possible to treat myself well & be happy with the outcome.

A lot changes in a woman’s body after children & we are so exposed to unrealistic images in the media (celebrities don’t even look like they do in the magazines!!).

So what if our bodies aren’t the same as pre-kids?
Are we going to be miserable for the rest of our lives?
Missing out on all the joy & richness in our lives?

A flat stomach is not an achievement.
A life well-lived, full of love, adventure, curiosity & laughter, sure is.

I want that for you.
If you have never exercised or unsure about how to start, please get in touch.
I'm here to help.


Wisdom of the Elders

Wednesday, 19, October, 2016


I attended a beautiful funeral service this week to honour a man who spent his 90 years on this planet creating a wonderful legacy; his family.
He was my partner’s grandfather and although I had only known him in the last couple of years of his life, he welcomed me & my son into the family as though we had been there forever.
Despite his deteriorating health, he still loved coming out to family dinner every Sunday night and was always interested in what the kids (his great-grandchildren) had been up to and what was new in his (now adult) grandchildren’s lives.
I had more than a few opportunities to chat with this lovely man about his past and I recall him telling me how he built the house he & his wife lived in for over 50 years. He was 25 at the time.
I was super-impressed by this and told him so. With modesty typical of his generation, he was a little surprised that I considered this a notable achievement.
“But Pa”, I said, “some 25 years old these days can barely function as adults in the world, let alone build their own house!” He considered this and quietly acknowledged that perhaps it was an achievement, but certainly not one to brag about.
(Can I tell you, if I BUILT MY OWN HOUSE, I would be writing that in fairy lights across the front of the building!!!)
I never knew my grandparents & am acutely aware of the power, wisdom & love they can have in our lives & the lives of future generations.
There are so many lessons & much wisdom from the elders in our families & wider circles, even if some of it is never spoken aloud. Look for the lessons, then do your very best to live them.


Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself

Thursday, 01, September, 2016


I came across the work of Patricia Lynn Reilly many years ago & her poem, Imagine A Woman In Love With Herself, resonated so deeply with me that I return to both the poem & the meditations when I need a reminder of unconditional self-regard, to embrace wholeness rather than perfection.


I shared this poem several years ago and found it resonated with women (and men) who had never heard it before and over the coming weeks, I will re-share it with you.


I especially love reading this poem out loud because the stanzas that hold the most meaning can be the most difficult to speak aloud, but the process of doing this is powerful & working through the accompanying meditations is transformative.


Patricia Lynn Reilly writes in her Introduction, “our beloved planet is in desperate need of women who have moved from self-loathing to self-love, from self-criticism to self-celebration. Women who design woman-affirming solutions to the challenges confronting human kind as it enters the 21stcentury. Women who use their personal and communal resources to give birth to images of inclusion, poems of truth, rituals of healing, experiences of transformation, relationships of equality and households of compassion. Women full of themselves!”

Isn’t that wonderful?
J

For the next month, enjoy this fabulous poem, delight in each stanza & if you find one that especially resonates with you, get in touch & I’ll send you the accompanying meditation.

I’m putting together a workshop based on the poem; if you’re interested, please get in touch.

Be full of your Self!

Big love,
Kim


Beautiful Reality

Friday, 20, May, 2016




I went to Wanderlust last weekend with a brilliant bunch of great people, including some big people in small bodies, (which is how I usually refer to children).

It’s a Mindfulness Triathlon which, instead of the usual swim/bike/run, was  5kms walk or run, just over an hour of yoga and meditation to finish.

Melbourne turned on a spectacular day and the walk along Beaconsfield Parade was a great opportunity to catch up on news & share stories. The big people in small bodies also enjoyed playing peek-a-boo from inside their prams.

Doing yoga with 2700 other people, all on our mats, ready to move in a conscious & joyful way had a profound impact on me. When the instructor pointed out that we were all here for a purpose, that we were all connected at that moment, I felt tears in my eyes.

Connection is more than just being with people, to feel connection even with yourself, you really need to pay attention.

I felt part of the bigger whole, I felt connected to each of the people around me, and it felt beautiful. There were people of all shapes, sizes and levels of flexibility who were doing their thing in the sunshine. This got me thinking later about what we think of as real, in terms of our health, fitness and body image.

What we see in the media isn’t real.
Hollywood & celebrities exist to pretend; their job is to
sell stories, images and ideas that aren’t real for the purpose of marketing.
One way they do this is by marketing a sense of dissatisfaction with our own, not always glamourous, non-photo-shopped, messy, real lives.  There’s even a marketing term for this, called a ‘pain point’. Hit someone’s ‘pain point’, the theory goes, and they’ll buy what you’re selling as the solution to their problem.

The problem with this is when the marketing convinces you that you have the problem in the first place. Hands up who had heard of a thigh-gap in 2000? Hands down if you understand that it’s not an achievement.

I’m all for feeling your best and looking your best but not at the expense of your sense of self, not when your happiness depends on a number on a scale or on the tag of your clothing.

What about the sass in your step, the fire in your eyes, the spark in your soul? These are all so much more important that the size of your dress.

Tying self-worth to body image can be dangerous. If you’re eating fresh, healthy food, exercising 3-4 times a week, are active enough to keep up with your kids and live your great life, then your body is perfect as it is. 

You are amazing.

“It is only through extensive and continual conditioning that an intelligent human being comes to see herself as an ornament, whose first priority is the attainment of a slender body, rather than as a complete human being who has myriad other concerns and unlimited potential”


Tuesday, 24, November, 2015


It was one of those weekends, you know the kind, where you have a whole lot of cool stuff planned with the kids and friends and it all just lines up beautifully.
Except it didn’t turn out that way.

Small Darling had a sore foot, so we missed my gorgeous artist friend’s stall at a night market. Instead we had our traditional Friday Dinner & Movie Night that we’d missed for a few weeks.

Lovely Partner planned on playing cards with friends on Saturday night and that fell through so we all headed into town to see the Infinity Swing and Noodle Night Markets at Fed Square. Also a lot of fun but I could tell LP was upset that his original plans didn’t work out.

There was some grumpy energy in the mix as people came to terms with not getting what they wanted and frustrations were close to the surface. 10 year old boys also seem to have little concept of people around them or consequences and I found myself in Grumpy Mummy Mode, saying to SD “That’s it, no dessert for you. You know better than that! What were you thinking?” (He was tipping water over the edge of a balcony where people could have walked through & been soaked).

Kids can be great at expressing how they feel and don’t always have the ability to regulate their emotions but then again, the same applies to us grown-ups too.

At one point in the evening I caught myself thinking “why did I bother? SD is behaving badly, LP doesn’t really want to be here” and I paused. I took a deep breath and realised I also had some unmet expectations about how this weekend was panning out.

I expected my child to be grateful for the excursion and my partner to be delighted that he got to spend the evening with me. Usually both of these things are true; my son often thanks me for the fun stuff we do together and my partner does enjoy spending time with me.
So none of us got exactly what we wanted or what we had planned for.

What we did get instead was an unexpected adventure together & we each learned more about ourselves & how we react when people or situations are not as we would have them be. That’s a weekend of winning in my book.


Chicken & Spuds a’la Hobbs

Tuesday, 07, July, 2015


My beautiful friend Shellee Hobbs gave me this recipe, it’s easy and delicious.
It doesn’t take too much effort & is such a hearty winter warmer or dinner party hit that feels like you went to So Much Trouble!

Ingredients:
6-8 chicken thighs, skin on
3 red capsicums
5 red onions
2 heads of garlic, separated & skin on
Dried & fresh thyme

Method:
Marinate chicken in a few teaspoons of dried thyme, olive oil, salt flakes & pepper
(I use a large ziplock bag to smoosh all the ingredients together to coat the chicken)

Part boil the spuds till they start to split.
Chop up capsicums & onions into wedges.
Drain spuds & once cool enough to squish with your hands, throw in a bit of butter & salt.

Place spuds in a roasting pan, chuck in capsicum, onion & garlic.
Drizzle with oil and place chicken & fresh thyme on top.

Bake at 200 degrees for an hour, drizzling pan juices over the top halfway through.
Serve with steamed greens & enjoy!


Health & Fitness Strategies for New Mums

Tuesday, 17, March, 2015


When you’re a new mum with a baby to take care of, feeling sleep deprived, with no energy and no time to recharge, making time for you can seem overwhelming.

Whether you were fit and active before your baby, or just feeling like you need to move more and do something for you, there are safe, gentle ways you can take care of your health and fitness.

Regular exercise has many benefits for your mind as well as your body.

The two main factors affecting what kind and how much exercise you can fit in are time and energy, neither of which are necessarily under your control as a new mum.

Paying attention to your energy levels is important in determining what exercise you can do on a given day.

Depending on your child’s age, there are many different ways to include them in your health and fitness routine.

1.     Incorporate exercise into your daily routine and take a regular walk with baby in the pram.

2.     When your baby sleeps, following an exercise video on You Tube.

3.     Most babies & toddlers love being lifted up and down and squats are a terrific strengthening exercise - do them while holding your baby for a play and exercise combination.

4.     Toddlers are naturally active so a game of chasey or hide and seek at the park is an activity you’ll both enjoy, and especially good before nap time.

5.     Look for a local fitness class specifically for new mums, where you can exercise in a safe, supportive environment. Meeting other mums in your area is a great way to meet other women who understand where you’re at.

6.     Fitness classes that offer strength and conditioning rather than just a straight cardio workout give you the most value for your precious exercise time – look for local groups that welcome babies & toddlers.

7.     Obviously, if you’ve been up all night with an unsettled baby, a heavy weight-lifting session is not recommended but a 30 minute walk around your neighbourhood WILL give you an energy boost.

8.     Make sure you’re eating good, healthy food, especially if you’re breastfeeding; you deserve every opportunity to feel as good as you can when so much of your energy is devoted to caring for the needs of another human being.

9.     Remind yourself regularly that you’re doing your best, listen to your body and know that sometimes rest is the best health gift you can give yourself.

10.  Start slow, do what you CAN do and start to notice how good you feel.

 
Kim Watson is strength & conditioning coach, health consultant, busy mum and the owner of MET Fitness.
MET Fitness provides Exercise for New Mums and Group Fitness for Busy Mums, helping other mums feel good, look good and have MORE energy.
www.metfitness.com and visit her YouTube channel for some quick workout ideas.




Body Composition and Fat Loss

Tuesday, 03, March, 2015

 



Most people who start personal training list one of their goals as "weight loss"; this can be achieved in several ways, not all of them healthy.

You can lose lean muscle, fluid or even lop off a limb to "lose weight", but what you really want to do is lose body fat; this is where body composotion is important.

Body composition refers to the amount of body fat you carry versus everything else that isn't fat, like lean muscle, organs & body fluids.

A healthy body fat percentage for women is between 18% and 28%, for men it is 10% - 18% and knowing your body composition allows you eat well to maintain your lean body weight and improve your body's fat burning potential.

The data below explains the difference between two people who 'weigh' the same, but with different body composition and activity levels:

Person A 
Body weight 60kg
Body fat 10%
Fat weight 6kg
Lean weight 54kg
BMR* 1500cal
Activity 1000cal
Total 2500cal

Person B
Body weight 60kg
Body fat% 30%
Fat weight 18kg 
Lean weight 42kg
BMR* 1000cal
Activity 200cal
Total 1200cal

*Basal Metabolic Rate (how many calories you burn just keeping your body going) + Activity = Total calories needed to maintain your current weight.

So you can see that despite weighing the same number, the body composition (lean weight vs fat) of Person A allows them to consume more than twice the number of calories as Person B, and given their body fat %, it's a safe bet that more of their intake is nutrient rich food.

I advise all of my clients with fat-loss goals to get their body burning body fat reserves as fuel while building and maintaining lean muscle; the same amount of muscle weighs more than fat, so they may not initially see a drastic reduction on the scales, but you will see and feel your clothes getting larger without feeling deprived of tasty & nutritious foods.

Eating lean protein and as many vegetables as you can with every meal, avoiding processed foods and getting in 30 minutes of cardiovascular work each day, as well as 3 - 4weekly weight sessions will see you gradually and safely reaching your goal.


Conscious Fitness

Monday, 01, December, 2014

 

Starting a training program can seem daunting at the beginning, there is a lot to learn about the exercise techniques, how to perform each movement, even how to breathe for optimal results.
Your body may move in ways you have not experienced before and you may feel uncertain, even anxious about what you are being asked to do.

MET Fitness training programs are more than just exercises; they are designed to improve your strength and posture and teach you to be more conscious of how you move your body, in your training session and in everyday life.
We often dissociate physical activity from our thoughts and feelings, but as many clients will attest, they have noticed profound changes in the way they think and feel in the whole of their lives, as a direct result of participation in their training program.

The word ‘whole’ comes from the same root as the word ‘health’ and by inquiring into deeper causes of our health problems, not ‘what’ but how we eat, drink, exercise and go about living our lives, we give ourselves the ability to influence our health in a profound and lasting way.[1]
Increased personal neglect contributes to increased reliance on symptomatic ‘fixes’ such as drugs or surgery. What is required are new ways of thinking, feeling and being in our bodies with an awareness that we operate as ‘whole’ rather than a collection of our parts.

Criticism vs Cooperation
By confronting learning opportunities with curiosity instead of fear and being comfortable with the idea of ‘not knowing’ while we are learning, we give ourselves the space to observe, receive feedback and alter our habitual patterns, creating new ways of moving and being.

We usually think that ‘controlling’ ourselves is the best way to effect changes in our lives or ‘improve’ ourselves, when what is needed most is cooperation.
Overemphasis on ‘knowing’ as opposed to ‘learning’ makes looking good in the short term more important that being good in the long term.

A new perspective is required.

Cooperating with ourselves
At MET Fitness we focus on deep learning on a physical level that allows us to embody new capabilities for effective action and movement. This embodiment is a developmental process that continues over time, in a continuous cycle of action and practice.

The impatient quest for improvement often results in superficial changes that leave our deeper patterns untouched. Conscious action is critical for transforming our will, thinking, emotions and body; we must be fully conscious to be fully effective for deeper learning.[2]
Deeper learning often produces fewer obvious consequences for long periods of time.
In order to embody new competencies we have to practice continuously for periods of no apparent improvement. In Chinese, ‘learning’ is expressed by two symbols: the first stands for ‘take in’, the second stands for ‘practice constantly’. In the West, we are so focused on results that we have little time for ‘practice constantly’.”
[3]

Learning is a lifelong process that doesn’t end when we leave school; it can feel dangerous or scary ‘not knowing’ and many people prefer the safety of this, rather than questioning, exploring or experiencing anything new in their lives.
We humans are complex beings, we need to experience the unity of our system as a whole, working with our breath and being fully present in our body, to experience conscious activation of the correct muscles for the job.

What we tell ourselves about that feeling can stop us in our tracks and prevent us learning something new and delightful about ourselves, our bodies and our relationships.
There are no mistakes with learning. 
You cannot do it wrong.
Just keep going.



[1] Communities of Commitment: The Heart Of Learning Organisations By Fred Kofman and Peter Senge p.3
 
[2] Communities of Commitment: The Heart Of Learning Organisations By Fred Kofman and Peter Senge p.3
 
[3] Communities of Commitment: The Heart Of Learning Organisations By Fred Kofman and Peter Senge p.5


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