Chicks Who Lift | Guest Writer Michelle Wong

We live in an image obsessed world, and in most cases the ‘perfect body’ is what’s portrayed to us on the cover of a magazine. Whether it be the infinite ‘slimness’ on the Vogue cover, the ‘happy family’ featured in New Idea, or the current winner of the women’s INBA bikini model in Women’s Health magazine. We all perceive ‘perfect’ according to our own reality, lifestyle and choices.

I’m not writing today about the ‘perfect body”, the one that many celebrity fitness gurus have made their fortunes selling to the masses, I’m writing about a strong and healthy, female body.

Here’s an idea. How about, as women, we work on our physical strength so we can increase our metabolism, (yes, that means burn fat) live a longer and healthier life by deterring heart disease and bone disease such as osteoporosis, and live independently for longer, without the assistance of carers in our senior years. All this, above and before the cool side effect of carrying the children/shopping with ease, (whichever your lifestyle) and looking smoking hot in a bikini.

Yes, I own a gym, and many of our clients come to us to assist with, ‘the now body’ but I like to think about how we’re helping them and their families in their future years. This is why we as a gym and me personally as a woman, am so passionate about women lifting weights.

There is no arguing with the science behind the body’s reaction to weight training, increased bone density, more efficient metabolism, increased strength and reduced risk of day to day injury. However. The general consensus still seems to be, “I want to get skinny, I should jump on a treadmill.” Ladies, PLEASE LIFT SOME WEIGHTS AS WELL! *Insert bonus side effect of feeling empowered through strength and firm muscles

So, why don’t women want to strength train?

ONE: CARDIO RULES THE WOMEN’S FITNESS INDUSTRY WORLD

Cardio is to the female fitness industry, what the airbrushed model is to the fashion industry. It’s an iconic, extremely well-marketed, (*insert Lorna catalogue here) symbol of all that is good health, and apparently leads to the ‘ideal’ female body. I am in no way discarding cardiovascular training as an integral part of your training program, but it is exactly that; part of an overall program. A program that is also made up of healthy eating, mobility work, stretching and of course strength training. It is the latter that will ultimately lead to the round booty, to the sculpted shoulders and the firm, strong arms.

TWO: I DON’T WANT TO GET BULKY!

I still have a giggle to myself when I remember my first ever PT session with a trainer. I pointed to a picture of a female bodybuilder on the wall and said, “I don’t want to look like that.” Today, I can reflect on his polite smile, and simple answer of, “No you won’t”, as I am now educated and realise that to look like ‘that’, would require years of disciplined isolation training for several hours a day, along with the strictest of diets. Ladies, I can assure you, a daily workout in the gym using weights, will not result in you becoming a muscle-bound beast. It will result in progressive muscle development, strengthening of bones and an overall firming-up of the body.

THREE: I MIGHT HURT MYSELF

My background is in teaching, 15 years of it in fact and one thing I can assure you is this: With complete lack of; or the wrong guidance, instruction and introduction to something new, anything can be dangerous. Sadly, with an inundation of gyms, all catering for the masses, the initial induction to the equipment and training is barely sufficient. Whilst many people share the well-popularised, ‘Gym-Fails’ clips for hilarity and entertainment, I look at them with a sense of bewilderment at how bad the industry is failing many of it’s clients. At our gym, it’s simple – safety first with solid foundations.

Most of my clients are mothers, mothers that have to tend to children or pick up babies, none of which can be done with injury or a sore back. Girls, my message here is simple – choose your gym wisely, get a good trainer who cares about you personally and prides themselves on the correct technique of lifting weights safely and appropriately for your lifestyle and goals. Done correctly, strength training will actually reduce the risk of injury as your strong muscles work to do as they were designed, that is support the skeleton and act as levers and pulleys to get daily tasks done.

In a nutshell Ladies, strength training is HUGELY beneficial to your everyday life and future self. You will not become ‘manly’, (a sadly misused phrase that I personally hate, but use here are a relatable reference point), you WILL feel strong, you WILL notice a significant ‘firming-up’ of your body, and you will totally be a ‘chick who lifts.’

Wongy x

Images by Lion Fox & Co
Images by Lion Fox & Co

Michelle is an educator, passionate about improving the health and well-being of children, families and classrooms!

You can follow her journey at…

Family First Fitness

Bust-a-Burpee

Positive Parenting: How to Achieve Great Behaviour by Raising Your Words Not Your Voice | Guest Writer Leonie Clements

Parenthood can be extremely rewarding, enlightening and enjoyable. Yet at times it’s hard to see the rainbows and fairy dust through the thickness of thunderstorms and hail. Parenting can be demanding, frustrating and exhausting. As parents we have the most important role of raising the next generation, yet most of us begin our parenting careers with little preparation through trial and error. The challenge for us all is to raise healthy, well-adjusted children in a loving, caring environment.

Positive parenting is an approach to parenting that aims to promote children’s development and manage children’s behaviour in a constructive and non-hurtful way. Positive parenting is based on good communication and positive attention to help children develop their skills and feel good about themselves, isn’t that how we all like to feel? Children who grow up with positive parenting are likely to develop their skills feeling good about themselves; they are less likely to develop behaviour problems.

There are five key points to establishing great behaviour through positive parenting.

First Key Point

The first one is ensuring a safe and engaging environment. Young children need a safe play environment, especially once they are on the move. Accidents in the home are the leading cause of injury in young children. By providing a safe environment means that you can be more relaxed about allowing your child to explore and keep busy through the day. An environment that is safe and full of interesting things will promote brain development and other sensory skills which will then reduce the likely hood of misbehaviour. Bored kids look for trouble. Supervision is always a must.

Second Key Point

The second point is creating a positive learning environment; parents need to be available to their children. This doesn’t mean being with your child consistently, it means being available when they need your help, care or attention. When your child approaches you for help or to show you what they have done in their play; Stop what you were doing and spend a few moments with them. Encouraging your child to try to do things on their own will help them to become independent. I’m now talking about the pre- schooler who can pack away their own belongings not an infant that needs you to feed them safely….so no bottle propping. Encouragement and positive attention will help your child to be motivated to learn. When you see your child doing something you like, tell them, praise them. By showing your child you like what they are doing they will be likely to do it again.

Third Key Point

The third point is using assertive discipline. Assertive discipline involves being consistent, acting quickly when a child misbehaves and teaching the child to behave in an acceptable way. When parents use assertive discipline, children learn to accept responsibility for their behaviour and develop self-control. Children are less likely to develop behaviour problems if their parents are consistent and predictable all the time. You can value your child’s individuality and still expect reasonable behaviour. When your child is misbehaving or having a tantrum/meltdown; it’s best for you to remain calm and avoid yelling, name calling, threatening and smacking.

Fourth Key Point

The fourth point is having realistic expectations. Parent’s expectations of their child will depend on what they consider normal for children at different ages, remember a two year old with limited language will not have the same understanding or physical skills as a four year old. Children are individuals and develop at different rates. Children need to be intellectually and developmentally ready before they can learn new skills, such as toileting on their own, feeding, or dressing themselves. Seek professional advice if you are unsure. Problems can arise when parents expect too much too soon from their children. Don’t expect your child to be perfect, we all make mistakes and learn from them. Most mistakes aren’t intentional.

Fifth Key Point

The fifth point is taking care of you! Parenting is easier when your own personal needs are met. Being a good parent is not about being with your child 24/7/, your child should not dominate your entire life. If your own needs as an adult are being met, it’s much easier to be patient, consistent and available to your child. It’s important for parents to have realistic expectations of themselves. It is good to want to do your best as a parent, but trying to be a perfect parent will only lead to feelings of frustration and inadequacy. Don’t be hard on yourself, everyone learns through experience.

Leonie Clements

Registered Mothercraft Nurse, Sleep Consultant, Lactation Educator and Creator of Motherhood Coaching Services

Gently guiding and supporting you on your Motherhood Journey

About Leonie

I’ve loved every minute of my journey of over a lifetime of experience with the unique families I have met and their individual bundle of joys. I started from humble beginnings as a Child Care Assistant then progressing towards my Mothercraft Nurse Training at Ngala. From the amazing education I received at Ngala I was able to sit state exams and become registered with the Nurses Board of Australia (now known as APHRA) to have a formal National and International Qualification of caring for Antenatal & Postnatal mothers and their children 0-6yrs old. I am qualified in all areas of child development including sleep behaviours, feeding and nutrition along with communication.

I have been privileged to work with Child Protect Agencies, Women’s Health, Education Department, Disability Services, Mental Health & Well Being and the Department of Health. I have continued my journey by obtaining a Cert 1V in Training and Assessment that enables me to run parenting groups and lecturer in the areas of knowledge that I have. I recently received a Certificate in Lactation Education which is assisting me to reach the level of IBCLC. My life wouldn’t be complete without my supportive family of three beautiful children and an amazing husband.

References to this article have been taken from Triple P Positive Parenting Program

 

You Get What You Accept | Guest Writer Michelle Wong

You Get What You Accept.

This phrase rings true in just about every element of my life. Whether it be teaching, parenting, training or running a business. Five simple words that we can all consider to improve our own selves, the lives of our children and the loved ones in our lives.

Simply ask yourself, ‘How many times have you walked past litter on the ground?’ ‘How many times have you left your child on the iPad because it’s easier for you to get what needs doing done?’ ‘How many times have you given up during a workout or not completed the required exercises?’ Now remind yourself, you get what you accept.

Hat Number One: Mother

As a mother of a four year old, I am all too familiar with the daily challenge that is giving in to less than desirable behaviour. One thing I have learnt, is that persistence and consistency pays off. Stick to your guns, be consistent with your expectations and don’t give up! A slip here or there does not mean you’re failing as a parent, it means you’re human. Reset and start again, our mini-humans are experts at testing every boundary, we need to be experts at maintaining them.

Hat Number Two: Teacher

How often have you heard people say that their kids are perfect for others or well-behaved at school for their teachers? The answer here is simple (not simple to achieve but simple to explain). Most teachers have very clear boundaries and expectations that they work tirelessly throughout the year to uphold. How do you control a group of 30 children of all personality types and backgrounds? With clear, consistent expectations of behaviour. Teachers also have the added advantage of the ‘Mummy Guilt’ being an ineffective weapon against them. Us parents are suckers for the ‘mummy guilt’, but teachers simply state, ‘That doesn’t work in this classroom’ and everyone moves on 🙂

Hat Number Three: The Gym Junkie/Gym Owner

How many times has my alarm gone off to train early and I’ve not wanted to get out of bed? Hundreds. How many times have I not gotten up? Nil. I know once I hit the gym/the running track/the workout, I will get it done. It may not be my best performance but I will not accept copping out altogether. When it comes to training and running our gym, Family First Fitness, I accept nothing but commitment and effort. This is why I get results and so do all of our clients. They rise to our high expectations we set and model and we do not walk past poor form or half-hearted efforts. When it comes to life at Family First Fitness, you get what you accept! Awesomeness 🙂

Now, here are my ‘Top Tips’ to help you accept the best in life:

  1. Enlist the assistance of others. You don’t have to do it all on your own. Whether it be a partner, a family member, a coach or a good friend. Ask for help if you’re tired or need a break, share the load. Maintaining high expectations on your own is a tough gig. Family and friends are there to help!
  2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with one expectation at a time and grow from there. For example, don’t expect to exclude all unhealthy food from the family fridge, reinstate earlier bedtimes and ban technology all in one day. Getting what you accept is definitely a continual work in progress, just remember that once you have chosen not to accept something, stick to it!
  3. Surround yourself with people who have high expectations. These role models in your life are great to be around and learn from. How do they parent, what training techniques do they enlist, how do they achieve harmony and balance in their life? I love the saying, ‘You are the average of your 5 closest friends.’ Now get out there and surround yourself with awesomeness!
  4.  Set the bar high. The higher the standards you set for yourself, the more you will achieve. I will never forget a very clever lady telling me once, that in the classroom, children will succeed at a level, approximately 80% of what has been set. So how do you achieve better results? Set the bar higher! I have used this as an analogy for life ever since and am continually striving to improve myself and those around me. Let’s all raise the bar!

For those of you who know me, or are familiar with my blogs, you will know that I like to keep things simple. By asking the question, ‘What you are accepting?’ You are getting the ball rolling to improve your health and wellness and that of your family too! So don’t walk past the rubbish on the ground, don’t cheat your workout and make sure you are leading by example – you never know who is accepting and learning from your behaviour.

Peace Out,

Wongy

Michelle is an educator, passionate about improving the health and well-being of children, families and classrooms!

You can follow her journey at…

Family First Fitness

Bust-a-Burpee