Your Weight, Does Not Weigh You Up

The scales. A dreaded world in an average person who is aspiring to better themself physically’s – vocabulary.

For some people, you may simply wish the number was just a little lower. For some a whole lot. And for some, realistically they wish the number was higher.

Truth is, the scales do not weigh up what kind of person you are. They do not define you. And never should dictate your happiness.

As a personal trainer, I’ve coached various people of both sides of the scale. Some needing to put on weight for health reasons, some needing to lose weight for health reasons. Some needing one of either for self esteem reasons. But there comes a point, if someone from either side becomes so fixated on reaching that magic number on the scale. Then the real ‘personal training’ needs to come into play.

Meaning, I will implement different strategies, that I too have used for myself: Train your mind to firstly be stronger than their body By encouraging a new belief system. By training the mind to know that even if someone isn’t progressing via a number on the scale; that does not mean that aren’t excelling in other areas.

This could be measurements. Bust, waist, hips and thighs, arms. 

Their body mass percentage (BMI). Meaning, even though the scales aren’t changing – they couldn’t be putting on muscle mass through resistance training. Hence, decreasing their body fat percentage but increasing their muscle mass – causing the scales to even rise; because muscle does in fact weigh more than fat. 

Their habits – the invidivifual could be changing bad habits such as: Walking more places than transport (accidental exercise!) Simply being outside more Often. Or creating a habit to visit the gym, Fitness class, or outdoor activity – because they’ve realised how beneficial endorphins from exercising, Really are! Eating healthier, leaner,  nutrient rich foods. Or the right portions of food for their goals – As well as simply eating enough food for the goals. And water: the good ‘ol 8 glasses per day.

Scales certainly aren’t my best friend either. I struggled a little at young age. Where in grade 4 at 10 years old, as part of a mathamatics exercise, I was made to weigh myself each week and make a comparison. I couldn’t understand why I was heavier than some of the boys in my grade. Because I was tall. Always tall. Always taller than everyone until I was about 16 (the boys started to catch up!)

Tall girls, we naturally weigh more. And that’s okay!

Nowadays, You’d think I’d be fixated on the scales on a daily basis, being a professional athlete? Wrong, I actually never weigh myself unless a coach or a form asks me to or out of simple curiosity.  It does not track my performance. Because my athletic performance is based on other areas, like: strength tests, running times and how I am feeling, in myself.

At fourteen I strutted down my first runway as a model. At 6’1” I was the tallest girl there. But during fittings, where I had to self-consciously bear-all to a room of 40 or so women, all onlooking. Who were competing for the other woman’s outfit she was made to try-on. And then be judged by four agency professionals, to whether I would be chosen to walk in that particular outfit.

I noticed here, I was physically different in other areas to women my age. Not negatively; because I knew I had something those other girls didn’t have (a few national Athletics championship titles under my belt). But being an athlete all my life – my shoulders were naturally broader, legs wider, I had baby abs. And My bum was more rounded. Also because I was brought up with a good belief system of taking good care of myself, eating a balanced diet (being Coeliac and lactose intolerant paid a part, too!). And genetics. Never forget your natural body type is probably a gift from your parents.

I Started weight training at sixteen, in our little Family home gym – courtesy of Dad’s life-long passion for health and fitness. This was to encourage my goal of getting stronger and faster as a track and field athlete. A few months went by and I gradually noticed my body made some cool changes. I developed more sculpted shoulders, and ”back gainz” I didn’t think were possible for that tall, skinny girl from the beach. My thighs got thicker, abs more chisled. I developed a little ”Beyonce-Butt!” And honestly, I loved it!

Here, I also developed what would be a life long passion for Olympic Weighlifting. Through functional training here, my skills as an athlete have only excelled! It’s one of the best ways for weight loss endeavours too; as you are using multiple muscle groups all at once, your core is constantly switched on and your whole body is being trained! In lifting,  I have found a new stress release: Just some gangsta rap and the barbell and myself.

Call me narssastic; but My body has become one of my proudest assets. Not because of the way it looks; that’s just a by-product of the hard work. But because of the way it operates to fuel My Passion. It’s broken down on me a few times with injury and illness. But the rest of the time it’s like a bad-ass fine tuned sports car.

 I have transformed myself through persistence and hard work. No by anyone else’s idealistic view of what I should look like. Certainly no man’s view, that ”I can’t possibly have better abs than him, because it’ll make them feel emasculated.” Or the notion that a woman shouldn’t be able to lift more than a man – because that’s not what society’s expectations deem as being ‘okay,’ or ‘beautiful.’

Hell No! I am proud of this body I was creating and am still working on, for my art. For a purpose. In order to make me the best athlete I can possibly be. And be happy and healthy; most importantly in the process.

The myth that women shouldn’t lift heavy because they will become ‘too masculine’ is only perpetuated by women who fear hard work. And by men who fear powerful woman.

This applies to you all; ladies. I will never be a champion Body builder (without performance enhancing mechanisms) because genetically I do not have the right length of muscle, or produce the level of testosterone to create that look. And you won’t too, trust me (unless you have crazy-good genetics!)

Weight training – if done right; with excellent form only improves strength, increases metabolism to aid with weight loss and digestive function, improves muscular endurance or hypertrophy; depending on how you are lifting. As well as your body’s natural function and reduces the risk of illnesses such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Phew!

I can proudly say I am approximately 8kg heavier than that skinny girl on that runway, those years a go. And I’m genuinely Happy with that!

I am the fastest I have ever been. I am lifting the heaviest weights I ever have. I am the healthiest I have felt. I’ve been fortunate to have run for my country; twice over. And I have a gorgeous partner who loves me regardless of what I weigh. I don’t think he even knows, or cares to know.

 But – most importantly – I feel the happiest. 

The number on that scale does not define me.How I perform on that track and that field, encourages me. How my actions make other people feel their best, makes me feel my best. How I feel – mentally, spiritually and health wise. That’s what Defines me.

Personally, I am constantly striving to create my best self. Whatever that is; is always evolving and being worked on. I aim to never settle and vow to continue to work on myself, every single day – as I encourage you all to do.

It’s important in this world – with so Many opinions and expectations on how think, how to look and how to feel, being thrown at us daily. To not just believe what’s being thrown your way. Take the time to do your research and make up your own mind. We must not be complacent with the way the world operates and strive to keep learning, always.

It’s okay to not look the way that society deems to be is aspirational, but to be happy whatever skin you are in!

So, I encourage you – do whatever you can, wherever you are, with whatever you have – to create your idealistic self. Not anyone’s image or expectation of you. Your vision, your dream. Go get it!
And never stop wanting to better yourself or let any number define you.

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Athletics Australia Announces Summer 2017 Competition Structure

Australian athletics fans, are in for a delight as Athletics Australia finally announces the competition structure for the 2016/2017 summer season.

There are some major changes to the association’s most anticipated competition: The 2017 Australian Athletics Championships, National titles. Once formally a four-day long event, for both abled-bodied and para-athletes Open aged category athletes.

The decision to combine both junior and senior competition, has created and eight-day long event for next year’s National Titles.

This new structure was designed in conjunction with Athletics Australia’s Member Associations and will be the largest annual athletics event in Australia and the Oceania-Pacific region. With an estimated 3500 Athletes to be competing, next March.

It will bring together participants of all ages in the pursuit of Personal Best’s and national championship medals, to the host city of Sydney, held at Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre.

Another major change to the competition schedule is the ‘’Summer of Aths’’ Grand Prix Event. This is the first time it will be held over two days, hosted by the nation’s capital, at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, ACT.

The aim of this change, was to attract more spectators to the championships. The two-day elite series, will welcome the very best able-bodied and para-athletes as they make final preparations for the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships.

‘’Nitro Athletics’’ is another exciting addition to the calendar. This is something Athletics in Australia has never seen before. It will be a ground-breaking team-based athletics series that will pit the best athletes from across Australia and around the world against each other across three events. More information will be confirmed on the Athletics Australia website, but there is a promise that the Fastest Man in The World, none other than Usain Bolt will be making an appearance, in this new exciting event.

Other smaller, structural changes, to each state and territory were made in this year’s calendar. Predominately including more competition and more elite level competition, with the change to record performance eligible for overseas competition.

For more information on the exciting changes, keep checking Athletics Australia and relevant state and territory associated websites, for updates.

Women in a Wruck

Saturday November 12th, 36 Degrees, 4 Games of Rugby Union and a team of strong women, you wouldn’t want to mess with.

Sydney University Women’s Rugby 7s team, took to Campbelltown Showground in the annual ‘Harlequin 7s Tournament’ for the year. The stakes were high with a $2000 cash prize on offer, for the team to take out the five-game-tournament on the day.

Rugby 7s, is a modified traditional Rugby Union game. It only last seven minute halves, with a 30 second break for half time. The name also resonates with the fact there are only seven players, per side on the field at one time. Because of these changes, there are also changes to wrucks, scrums and how many people per tackle to ‘clear out.’ It is a much faster, more cardiovascular based game and some might say, much more entertaining

Sydney Uni were off to a fine start, with both their A and B teams taking out their first matches. The heat, the tackles and the Bindi patches soon took their toll on the women, as they both lost their second games.

For spectators, it was an exciting and impressive day of Rugby. The Women’s side had both NSW Samoa and NSW Fiji teams take the field. And the men had both an Australian 7s team and Australia Fiji team, dominate their side.

Eventually is was the Sydney Uni A team, victorious through to the semi-final match, only one game between them and the championship game. After a good start up 1 try on the Campbelltown Harlequins, Uni went down in an exciting match 1-5.

Every athlete who took the field should be commended on their perseverance, their effort and enthusiasm as players clearly left everything on the field this tournament. Next championship isn’t scheduled until February 2017. For more information about how to become a Rugby 7s player for Sydney University, please visit:  https://www.susf.com.au/

Promising Internship or Free Labour

Having almost completed a Certificate IV in Screen and Media – Journalism, I have been busily applying for entry level journalism and presenting jobs as well as a few internships that would hopefully give me the contacts and skills to progress in the journalism industry.

On Monday I had a seemingly promising interview with the owner of a small Rugby League magazine. I won’t mention any names to remain respectful. My aim of this piece is not to ‘Name and Shame,’ but rather create awareness for other aspiring journalists who I wouldn’t want to wish a similar experience upon. 

The interview started like any other interview. I drove over an hour, to Sydney’s Southern suburbs, fighting traffic and rain. I was dressed to impress and felt confident about the experience I was about to embark upon. 

I arrived at the address, of a small shared office building and wandered to the room number I was given. After knocking several times on the opened door, not manned by a receptionist or anyone working in the crowded space of the room, stacked with magazines and sporting junk. I decided to yell out a friendly ‘hello’ before I tried to call the contact number I was given, to check I was at the right place.

Finally, a man walked out from a small room towards the back and greeted me. He didn’t open his hand to shake, or introduce himself. So I said I was Elana, here for the internship. Instead of shaking my open hand, he said ‘’yes yes come this way,’’ directing me to his office

The man was dressed in ripped jeans, a T-shirt and bare feet. This was surprising for the CEO, owner and editor of the illustrious up and coming magazine. He sat me down, on a couch which I was forced to slump into, as he appeared glaring down at me, from behind the screen of his computer on his large desk covered with papers. As I looked around the room I noticed family pictures, tribal art and quite a sufficient amount of magazine issues stacked messily in two large cupboards.

The interview started normally, like any other I had been to. The man asking me about myself, my studies, previous careers and what I hope to gain from this experience. But the manner he conducted himself after hearing my answers, was just plain rude. At this point, I felt somewhat put down. There was a clear power transfer he had established. Every answer to my question was replied with a sarcastic ‘’Why did you choose that,’’ ‘’At what gain was this choice,’’ and ‘’well you’re this age, you should have achieved this by now.’’

I was a little startled, by the sheer rudeness and insincerity of the man’s questions, I became a bit reserved for the remainder of the interview. But things got worse, as he compared my sporting career’s success to that of his ”promising Olympian daughter,” at a mere five year old. Myself, having being a professional athlete for eighteen years in comparison. 

He continued to speak about himself and his magazine in an obnoxious, hard-to-believe manner. Coupled with sweeping statements of the success of his past internees and the false promises he would make, if I too was successful in this position.

When I asked him simple questions about the duration of the internship and what field I would be placed in or what my responsibilities in this role, his answers there were also very vague. I was not convinced this man was going to be the golden ticket to kick-starting my successful journalism career. But me being the determined, persevering woman I am; I stupidly agreed to work for him following that interview. For what he said would be ‘an hour or so,’ that day to gain a grasp of my work ethic and see if I would be suited for his workplace.

An hour quickly turned into FIVE, without a break, without lunch and without gain. Other than the free labour of doing this man’s research, technical work and essentially publishing one of his magazines online for him. During this time, the man also left me alone in his office, while he ‘’quickly caught up with a mate over a coffee,’’ for a forty minute lunch break. And on his return interviewed another woman, for my positon in the same office I was working for him from. 

I’d had enough, this was becoming a joke and after personally having breakfast over 6 hours ago; I was starving.

I’m not the kind of woman who would let anyone walk over her, or take advantage of. I could see through this transparent type of personality. Whose success of his business could have been from stepping on other people’s toes; rather than good networking partnerships and hard work ethic that as I was first lead to believe.

This story is simply an example of young, smart female who was taken advantage of in the workplace. Although it was not nearly as bad as it could’ve been and fortunately I got out before I was made to do any more free work for this amateur operating business. It proves how quickly you can fall into the trap, while on the persevering path to success.

Here are some quick examples of a similar story, gone wrong:

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Of course, if this internship was a genuine, promising, inspiring career opportunity I would have stuck it out. But after being talked down to, blatantly insulted, given minimal direction and instructions for work and what was expected of me for that afternoon. And spending my day doing unpaid work for a business I thought I was only attending an interview for. I decided to let another person figure out if that path was right for them. My gut certainly told me it wasn’t right for me.

I want to remind you to not let anything to get in your way of what seems like a genuine and promising opportunity. But please remain wide-eyed, vigilant and true to your gut. Things aren’t always what they seem, but your success should never be brought – keep earning it. Keep working hard and never let anyone take advantage of you.

Hate created out of ignorance

A Victorian woman named ‘Laura’ took to Facebook this week to Publicly shame a so-called Sex offender, after witnessing what she called ‘disturbing and harassing behavior’ on public transport, in Melbourne. Since her post becoming viral, shared and commented by millions of people via social media over the last few days, with her seemingly feminist views voiced to aim to stop this behavior toward women. It was made clear, by hundreds of people who personally knew this man that he in fact was autistic and not in fact a sexual predator. Laura has since taken down her post, but did not set the story straight beforehand. She did not apologise for wrongly accusing this man, and promoting hate and abuse towards him, for his actions. She did not apologise for the vilification she created. She just left it, and that is what is not okay.

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Public transport is a great way to travel in a city. It is reliable, easily accessible and cheap. But you do encounter all different types of cultures, personalities, and abilities. This is what being tolerant is about. But Laura, demonstrated in her article that she felt responsible to protect another civilian, another female with the fear of her being harassed or sexually assaulted.  She felt he was such a threat to the public, in result the man’s face was splashed across social media in an explosive rant by Laura, as she claimed he intimidated four women on the tram.

By reading into just a snippet of the millions of comments, made on this post. It was made very clear that not everyone agreed with the woman’s claims. Some people wrote that the man was in fact a regular commuter on Melbourne trams who has autism and ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly.’

‘I have seen him on the same tram for years along Swanston and Elizabeth street,’ one man told Daily Mail Australia.

‘He exclaims and utter noises very suddenly at times and he does hover over people but he never touches anyone without asking.’

‘I don’t believe he singles out women in that regard either, he’s done it to me before and I have told him to leave me be politely and that he did.’

‘He likes getting high fives from folks, most people ignore him but at times they do give him one.’

 Another person pleaded with social media users to stop calling the man a predator.’This man was trying to get a woman to give him a high five and I know this man he has a disability,’ she wrote online.

It is clear with the backlash about Laura’s experience, that she mightn’t have encountered someone with a disability like this man’s before. Does that beg the question, that Australian citizens should be more worldly to understand that because someone behaves differently to what is perceived as behaving ‘normally,’ it does not make them a predator. It just makes them different to you. Which is more than okay.

Pictured below is an online post, via Facebook. In which a woman claims the viral post has led people to threaten violence on this innocent man.

 

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This is in direct comparison to Laura’s actual post, which is pictured below. Since discovering the man was Autistic Laura did not apologise but simple took the viral post down, after millions has already viewed and shared her thoughts and accusations.

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Moral of the story, know your facts before you accuse. Before you put it online for the world to see.

 

Personal Training; a lifestyle – not just a qualification.

Vince and Roz’s Gym, a family business renowned as ‘Australia’s longest running gym,’ located in Sydney’s inner Western Suburb of Ermington. Is the office for Australian Fitness professional, Elizabeth Richmond. She has been involved and working within the fitness industry for over twenty-five years and says it’s her passion that has kept her interested for so long. She soon realised exercise for her became a lifestyle choice, rather than a job.

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The fitness industry in Australia, has somewhat become unregulated recently; with the rise of online study. Elizabeth believes she gained her knowledge and expertise from physically learning on the job, rather than ‘‘reading the books and getting the piece of paper.’’ There are seventeen different Certificate four in Fitness Training courses available, in Sydney alone including respectable colleges such as Australian Institute of Personal Training, Tafe NSW, FIA Fit Nation as well as Open Colleges. This course is available to study online in over ninety percent of them. The debate here is, can you really be a qualified personal trainer if you aren’t personally, physically training someone?

Elizabeth explained, when she was learning to become a personal trainer during the 80’s, there wasn’t a formal qualification to study a Fitness Training certificate. Instead, she was granted her first job from the knowledge and physicality she leaned from other trainer’s around her gym and her experience in competitive body building. This suggests that the fitness industry, should ensure all online courses entail a physical component. This will enable trainers aspiring to enter the industry have sufficient skills, knowledge and training techniques to both safely and competently train a person in real life.

Elizabeth said, she hasn’t stopped learning; twenty years later. When formal regulations eventually entered the fitness industry, Elizabeth completed her qualifications like anyone else. But she only last year, decided to return to studying yet again to completer her Diploma in Training, to be able to teach other people to become quality personal trainers; like herself.

Personal training isn’t just like a 9:00-5:00 job, Elizabeth has various clients of ages, abilities and locations around Sydney that she is loyal to and trains regularly. She doesn’t stick to a typical regime or program either. ‘’I believe training someone, is to suit their specific needs and goals,’’ Elizabeth explained. She has clients that operate weekly from Vince and Roz’s gym facility and experience a resistance and cardiovascular based workout, in the gym environment. But she also adapts to clients location, by training clients in the comfort of their home as well as walking with them as a form or fitness, but also therapy.

A personal trainer is not just a physical trainer, they are there to support a client’s mentality also. Elizabeth offers motivational coaching and goal setting as part of her services. She also mentors an elderly group of ESL (English Second Language) ladies, by leading an aerobics style workout to suit their needs and ability.

Elizabeth’s success as a personal trainer, is based solely on her. She markets herself on the success of her clients and retaining long-term clients. Elizabeth doesn’t use any other form of marketing or social media. This is surprising in the popularity of online personal trainers such as Emily Skye and Ashy Bines; who rely solely on their popularity on popular social sites like Instagram and Facebook. Elizabeth believes her popularity goes past the materialism of social media marketing. She continues to train herself, week in and week out and inspires her clients to continue to do so, in the process. A testimony to her art, Elizabeth is an example of a real trainer who keeps to fitness industry alive.