Motivation

“The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.”

For some people the word motivation moves them — it serves a purpose, for others, the word is pointless, it doesn’t ignite their flame. Motivation can be quite complicated, to feel motivated is a huge step forward but as quickly as we can feel motivated — it can go away.

When people use motivational quotes or give motivational speeches, they are hoping that it will give you a reason to do something. Motivation works much like the wind; it blows you in a certain direction BUT that doesn’t keep you from choosing to go in the opposite direction the wind is blowing you.

As a personal trainer, I find myself feeling the need to keep my client’s motivated because most of my clients don’t love working out, and need the accountability – not a problem. The problem is if my motivation lacks, they will lack motivation & it becomes a domino effect. If somebody doesn’t already have a reason for wanting to do something, then it becomes one-sided and you will always have to feed them reasons (always motivate them) to keep going, to not give up, to push themselves, etc. In my profession that can take a mental toll because not only are you having to fuel yourself with constant motivation but now you are responsible of other people’s motivation as well — depending on the amount of people who need the motivation, you may not be fueling yourself enough to maintain their motivation & in turn you start to burn yourself out too quickly. Motivation is a great thing to have, and even better when you use it to motivate others in a positive way BUT it is something you have to continue fueling yourself with in order to fuel others — keep this in mind.

Motivation doesn’t always come easy. Fuel yourself with it but don’t spread it too thin.

Fitness Apps

Fitness & health apps have been popular way before covid came into the picture but especially now they are useful because not everyone is comfortable having a trainer face to face. Personally I have only used 2 health apps & both were for tracking my activity and eating habits (calories/macros). At the current studio I am working at, they follow precision nutrition as a base for our clients when talking nutrition but the company believes in MyFitnessPal as a tracking device for nutrition. I have never been a trainer that pushes clients to track unless they are comfortable with that themselves, and if so, then I think MyFitnessPal is a fun, user friendly app to do so.

Fitness apps don’t only have to track your eating habits, but they are helpful for tracking your day to activity in and out of the gym, they can be helpful in making you accountable, and some of them provide extra information such as recipes, exercises for certain body parts, and classes one can take part in virtually — not to mention some of them offer some ways to stay social with like-minded individuals.

Those of us who have fitbits, smart watches and devices that track our health/wellness, we can connect them to the app and make it easier on ourselves for when we don’t always have our phones available. I love using my smartwatch because it tracks my steps and also has other health benefits that can be helpful for when I am lifting and/or doing some cardiovascular work. If nothing else, I think it is handy to keep something that motivates you to keep going! For those of us who use this method, we probably have noticed there are TONS of apps and honestly the majority of them are free (which makes choosing the right one more challenging) but the perk is we get to try them all and go at our own pace and base them on what we enjoy about fitness, what our goals are, and our lifestyles. Win-Win.

For those of you who aren’t into technology or prefer to keep things more simplified — pencil and paper works too! I use this method and have always used this method when writing down programs for clients and writing down my own workouts before heading to the gym. The visual is one thing but it is the concept of having to write it down that really sparks my interest with this method of tracking. I find that writing it down makes us more motivated to do something, like we took the time to write it, so now to put into action and when you see it written down in front of you, it sticks more. I love it!

By all means, no matter what you do to keep yourself accountable, make sure it works for you in a way that doesn’t become a chore or stressful. If tracking creates a bad cloud over your head, don’t do it! I always tell clients this because some people have had bad luck with tracking or just don’t like the concept of feeling bad about their habits when they look at the pattern — I find we all have our issues, and so we like what we like and if tracking isn’t for you, don’t feel bad. Just do you & keep things simple.

Fitness WonderWoman

Shay-lon Moss

A Good Shoe is a Good Start

Before this blog becomes soaked in exercises, body movements, functionality and in depth chats on other topics pertaining to health & wellness.. let’s talk shoes!

They say shoes are a way to a “girls heart” but more importantly shoes are a way to execute an exercise safely, because without good shoes; our form suffers & when form suffers = we get hurt, we create imbalances, we overcompensate, and we tend to create issues that could have been avoided.

What’s considered a “Good Shoe”

A good shoe is a shoe that fits the activity. For everything we do, there is a recommended shoe.

Just to name a few .. & what they do.

Walking shoes: used for walking. Yes, walking needs a shoe too. As a matter of fact, I normally pay attention to how people walk when I am people watching — something I got in the habit of doing after college (I had a biomechanics college Professor who would make it a point to watch how people walk, and he would always prompt me to do the same thing whenever I was out and about). It was interesting because I soon learned that just by watching people walk, I could understand how it could work for or against them when doing certain exercises or performing certain task. A walking shoe typically does a good job absorbing shock, and also will provide comfort for long durations that can help prevent blisters or calluses.

Running shoes: Used for running. Many runners realize the importance of a good running shoe (it makes a world of difference). When choosing a running shoe, you want something that will be comfortable and I would normally even go as far as saying going to a professional shoe store who can customize your feet to the exact shoe(s) so that you have a safe running experience. For serious runners, the right shoe is the difference in their pace, speed, foot movement, and will have to withstand the terrain in which they run on & the mileage in which they run. For recreational runners, having the right shoe can save you a whole lot of foot issues in the future.

Lifting shoes: Used for lifting. Now we have tons of different lifting shoes, and I won’t go into a lot of detail about them all but normally for lifters, we have weightlifting shoes (raised heel) which are great for those who have poor ankle mobility & helps deepen the squat and allows lifters to perform better without having the knees give in. Flat sole shoe (converse) which mostly powerlifters use (including myself) although they work great for lifting, for those that have weaker ankles — not a great idea to lift in and for those that do front squats or high bar squatting — they aren’t the best shoe for the support but can work if you can manage good form .. the drawback in the narrow footing.. (which I find uncomfortable). We have going barefoot — this is a free option but again used for those that don’t need the ankle support when lifting, Cross-Training shoes — great for crossfit athletes and those who do a lot of jumping or lateral movements (somewhat popular among young athletes) but not great for squatting and/or running but definitely can be used for training in various other forms.

There are tons of shoes but the point is…

A good shoe is going to fit your lifestyle choice. Nothing has to be overly expensive to work, it is about the use you plan on getting out of the shoe and what you need in order to perform the task. Being in the fitness profession, I have learned to inform my clients about the type of shoes they should wear when doing certain movements so that they can get the most out of the exercise with the correct form and posture, and perform the exercise safely. A good shoe is a good start.

Fitness WonderWoman

Shay-lon Moss

My Personal Battle

Sometimes you have to stop & think does it really matter what others think of you if you are okay with how you look…

Honestly, my personal battle with my body & how I look has been an ongoing battle for a long time.  It really started when I was in middle school & after that it just became worse.   Like most kids, I was very active and participated in many sports growing up – I would say I was good at most of them. I didn’t pay much attention to my body image; it wasn’t as important to me (I wasn’t a girly girl by any means) however, my body and physical appearance became other people’s jokes, or commentary, or reasoning to put me down or make me feel inferior to them. I was skinny all my life, I mean skinny, not even much muscle until I was in like 9th or 10th grade but I was a tom boy at heart and carried myself like so — not in a manner that one couldn’t tell I was female but in a manner where I didn’t prefer to wear dresses or skirts or anything fancy  — I was just okay with jeans and tshirt or something comfy like sweatpants. During my athletic career in sports, the locker room made me feel so uncomfortable for many reasons but the main reason being that I was uncomfortable having to undress in front of other people regardless of the situation & I always felt weird when people would glance in my direction — not to mention I tried to avoid all eye contact. As I grew older, it didn’t become any easier to do.

When it wasn’t people my own age making comments about my physique, it was adults at the time whom would question why I was so skinny or put me on the spot about my weight. It wasn’t like I didn’t eat or was starving, I ate good and loved food (still very much do) but my metabolism was fast. I stayed active all the time, I wasn’t much for being sedentary. When I got to be older, I got more and more frustrated with the comments because they were starting to target not only my weight, they would target my body parts and target my sex appeal or my clothing choices or target things about me that I couldn’t change.. and all I wanted to do was “fit in”. During college I started to care-less about my health/well-being; I was fed up with other people’s views and started eating and gaining weight, more weight than I wanted to but I was hurting inside & for awhile in denial about my weight gain. It took me several months to realize how out of control I had gotten with my weight and while I wasn’t obese, I was definitely by my standards overweight and not happy with it.   When I decided to lose weight and train, I decided that same day to do what felt good to me and what I liked, to be the weight and/or body type I wanted for myself and NOT what others expected of me.

It felt good coming out from the other side knowing I was happy with my body, my progress, my strength and not only was I looking the way I feel but I was feeling confident in my own skin.   If you have been down this road, then you know.. the feeling I am talking about.  Still til this day, I know what I expect of myself (many times I am super hard on myself) but I know it is because I want it and not because someone else does — which makes a huge difference. I still suffer internally when it comes to my body image and I doubt it will go away 100 percent but it is better than it was and I am learning to self care and self love; something I wasn’t educated on when I was younger.  For the most part, when you go through a personal battle, it seems like you are alone and you are fighting all the time, non-stop, it literally weighs on you, and brings you down and makes you think lowly of self BUT when you start to examine yourself in a different perspective & realize how much more important it is to be what YOU want and not what others what you to be, it is like rays of sunshine on a cloudy day (everything you do from that time on, is about you and what makes you happy & less about how others may view your body or image). It isn’t easy to find a balance, but it is possible.

FitnessWonderWoman

Shay-lon Moss

“Body Shaming”

 Before you decide to jump to conclusions based on the title & possibly assume that I am going to push some kind of agenda where everyone has to accept everybody’s body no matter what because it is the “right” thing to do & assume that based on my generation, I am super sensitive to the world’s words. Let me begin by saying, as a fitness professional I handle body image in such a way that is sensitive due to the fact most of my clients are very sensitive when it comes to their own body type — but this does not mean I don’t tell people the honest truth, because clearly it is my job to help my clients achieve fit goals and feel good about themselves & the only way I can do so, is if they know where they stand physically   — sometimes the truth hurts but it helps in the long run.

Being Blunt, Being Honest, Being Rude

Nothing wrong with being blunt if the tone matches your feelings toward the subject & you choose your wording wisely, nothing wrong with being honest if it means you are trying to help and not bring someone down & being rude shouldn’t be a thing — because there are so many other options in how to tell someone how you feel about their body without being an asshole .. #sorrynotsorry

When it comes to commenting on another human’s body image, words are everything, and how you choose to use them should be taken into consideration (regardless if it is a compliment) because sometimes compliments come off somewhat over the top and make people feel just as uncomfortable as something someone would say that is rude or disrespectful — I would know because I have had compliments where I would have rather not have received it.  I have also been on the other end of the spectrum where I unintentionally offended someone about their body at my place of work (a hard pill to swallow since I have a hard time with my own body, let alone would not go out of my way to make anyone feel out of place about their own)  somehow my choice of words about myself made them feel some type of way about themselves & that is when I realized “damn! body-shaming doesn’t even have to be directly about someone, some people feel more offended when you say something negative about yourself & for some reason triggers them to feel some type of way about themselves.  Due to that incident, I am way more cautious about my own commentary about my body around other people BUT in the same sentence, I do believe those same people need to take a step back and realize it isn’t always about them.. #truth

Your body, Your Business

It is true, your body is none of my business UNLESS you come to me for help — with that being said, my opinions, feelings and overall commentary stays to myself unless I am asked otherwise to share them. If the world chose to live by this philosophy, body-shaming wouldn’t be as abundant.

My Profession doesn’t qualify me to make comments in every situation.

I draw the line in my profession between saying something constructive and walking away from a situation and/or circumstance because it doesn’t require my knowledge or comment(s). More times have I had to walk away than debate with an individual on their body image or health/well-being.  When I have clients put themselves down & talk negatively about their body, I usually change the subject or hone in on the exercise we are doing because it is outside of my scope of practice to be a psychologist and talk them through their mental health — I want to be supportive but I don’t want to dive too deep & end up in a bad situation — technically in my line of work;  telling he and/or she is good looking, or has a nice body is unprofessional.  Some trainers may feel differently about this, but I always find ways around a client’s negative attitude toward themselves by first listening and only listening (allowing them to vent their thoughts out loud) but then eventually I try to make the subject light and fluffy with comments about the weather or perhaps asking them about something that doesn’t cycle back to their body; such as family, work, the pets, or even talk about their form during an exercise so we can hone in the correct muscles. As a trainer and/or coach you have to learn to shield yourself (I will talk about this in a future post) because it can be mentally draining to take on so much negativity at once; especially when you have a full schedule and no breaks. 

Bottom Line:

There is no one way fits all when it comes to deciding how to speak upon a person’s body image. People handle situations differently and react differently towards certain words and descriptions & sometimes even react when we talk about ourselves.  It is always best to play it safe and be sensitive towards others — but it doesn’t mean you can’t be honest and share knowledge that could help someone — learning when to say something and how to say it is KEY, but also treating people as individuals and getting to know that person in order to make the right decisions about how one goes about addressing body weight and a person’s looks is also KEY.

FitnessWonderWoman,

Shay-lon Moss

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