Top Tips to FIT in FITness!

 

Do you ever wonder how an earth that mum of three, or that young career driven person working long hours or the full-time uni student juggling four jobs all seem to have more time than you?

I am a full-time engineer, part-time swimming coach, part-time tutor, part-time blogger, a lover of endurance sports and a Crohns Warrior. There are days where I struggle to stay balanced but just like a gymnast on the balance beam, you’re going to fall off more than once but it’s up to you to either jump back on or throw in the towel. To reduce your chance of losing your balance and falling off I have collated my tips that have helped me.

 

Kate’s Top Tips to Fit in Fitness

 

Schedule and Prioritise

Have a yearly calendar and schedule all your important dates, social celebrations, fitness events, holidays etc. It’s important not to neglect a certain aspect of your life. One week your focus may be on training and fitness, the next week it may be family focused with your Mum’s Birthday celebrations. Keep balanced, for your mind, body and soul.

 

Commute

Do you work in a place that is accessible to run, cycle or walk to work? Fitting in fitness through commuting allows you to save money on petrol/public transport, help the environment while working out. Win. Win. Win.

Commuting to work requires organisation such as bringing in lunch and work clothes the day before, unless you want the extra weight in your backpack. Ensure you know the facilities available to you in your workplace (i.e shower located in the disabled toilet, safe place to store your bike).

Straight To It

After work, go straight to the gym, pool or workout place. This way you will have no temptation when you get home to plop on the couch or get distracted by doing chores. You will also save in travel time by skipping the home detour. Just remember to pack your gym bag the night before with workout clothes (and shoes, I always forget shoes).

Preparation is KEY

Prepare your workout clothes, pack your swimming bag or make snacks for on the go. Prepare whatever you can to ensure you don’t fall off that balance beam. For me, I like to write out a schedule of what my training will look like for the week and to plan accordingly. And remember colour coordination is a great motivator… Don’t just pink about it, just blue it!

Fit Friends

Nothing keeps you on track than having someone else with you on the journey. Having fit friends not only keeps you motivated, but accountable too. Whether it is having them as a training partner for a running event or joining the gym to tone up, working out is always better with company. Catching up with friends can also be a great way to fit in fitness. Instead of catching up over doughnuts and milkshakes, mix it up with an active catch up. Rock climbing, beach swims, yoga classes, dog walks, hiking or stand up paddle boarding are great fun ways to fit in fitness.

 

Overview of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease, like many other autoimmune diseases affect all aspects of your life including: working, eating, sleeping, socialising, travelling and exercising. I will be releasing a blog post each week highlighting different aspects of my life and experience with Crohn’s.

Before and after diagnosis I experienced the struggles, the embarrassment and the challenges that come with the disease. Being a “glass half full“ kind of girl I always try and find the positives in a less than desirable situation. The amazing support of my family, friends and medical team, and developing a strength that I never imagined existed are just two of positives.

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When I first received my diagnosis one of the first things I did was Google “Crohn’s Disease”. I wanted to know what, why, how, who…. question after question I was searching.

My goal of FitnessandGuts is to provide a hub of information, experiences and tips for anyone who has been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, or an Autoimmune Disease. FitnessandGuts is not solely just for Crohn’s Warriors, it will provide fitness, nutrition, and motivation blog posts with a dash of Kate quirk and of course PUNS!

What is Crohn’s Disease?

The CCFA (Crohn’s Colitis Foundation America) have created this short video which gives you a run down on Crohn’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8ryJ9P38B8

Currently, approximately 75 000 Australians suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (either Crohn’s or Colitis).

Crohn’s Disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the intestinal tract. The intestinal tract includes your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small/large intestine, rectum and anus.

Symptoms

Crohn’s Disease symptoms can include:

  • Diarrhoea (or sometimes constipation)
  • Uncontrollable Bowel Movements
  • Bloody Stools
  • Vomiting
  • Cramping
  • Fevers
  • Weight Loss
  • Malabsorption causing Malnutrition
  • Anaemia
  • Skin Rashes
  • Mouth Sores
  • Eye Sores

What I had: all of the above symptoms, excluding for the last three.

Complications

There are complications you may experience with Crohn’s Disease resulting in surgery, the complications can include:

  • Strictures
  • Abscesses
  • Fistulae
  • Fissures
  • Severe malabsorption and malnutrition

What I had: stricture, which resulted in my urgent surgery. During surgery it was discovered I also had a fistulae (fusing onto my urinary tract).

Diagnosis

  • Blood tests
  • Stool tests
  • Colonoscopy (and/or endoscopy)
  • Biopsy from scope procedure
  • X-rays of your abdomen
  • CT or MRI scan.

What I had: blood test, stool test, colonoscopy and MRI.

More Information

What’s Next

Take your future into your own hands. Don’t sit back and wait to be ‘spoonie’ fed, get out there, research, share experience, seek medical help and be open to try different things to see what works for YOU!

Stay tuned for more posts about my experiences and tips: health, nutrition and fitness!

If you have any questions or feedback for me, please visit my Contact Page and drop me a message, and I’ll be sure to catch it and throw one back.

Gym Newbie

I classify myself as an Enthusiastic Gym Newbie. I first entered a gym at the start of 2013. I was more of an outdoors girl and team sports participant for fitness, however when I started a job with benefits including free gym membership I decided what do I have to lose? 

My Experience

I remember my first day I entered a gym; I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I walked past the weights room looking at all these buff men in front of the mirror lifting weights, overwhelmed by it all and not having a clue what to do myself I headed into the cardio room. I jumped on the treadmill so I could watch what others were doing, to me it seemed everyone was expert. After a few visits of running on the treadmill I decided to begin gym classes, bootcamp style. I really enjoyed the class as it was all set out for me and all I had to do was turn up and work out. In late 2013, I got bitten by the triathlon bug so I started focusing on my swimming, cycling and running, leaving my strength behind. After several months I realised I was lacking strength so I decided to include a few gym sessions into my training. I looked up a few exercises online and decided to give them a crack as my strength program. Although the sessions were fun and exhausting, my technique was all wrong, I was overdoing it and it wasn’t aiding to my triathlon training, just making me sore. At the beginning of 2015 I approached James de Lacey (DIME Performance Head Strength and Conditioning Coach) for a personalised plan tailored to my triathlon goals. For the first time since starting at a gym I feel comfortable and confident performing weights, exercise movements and stronger. 

Top Tips for Gym First Timers

We all start somewhere

Don’t worry about being a newbie, everyone was once a beginner. It may seem like everyone else knows what they are doing but the majority have no clue just like yourself, whether it is incorrect technique or over doing it etc we all have something to learn. Be humble, be curious and be kind.

Have a plan, or at least an idea

If you are serious about getting fit and strong the best thing to do is get a tailored strength program for your fitness goal. If you want to go to the gym without paying money for a plan, watch videos, research workouts, ask coaches (either at the gym or online) but don’t go in blind. Remember it’s OK to ask for help. 

Don’t over do it

Start with only a few exercises. You may get excited after a few and want to continue but trust me your future self won’t thank you as you might injure yourself if you go all out first time.

Slowly progress to heavier weights or more reps as you improve, you don’t have to start lifting mammoth weights on a gazillion reps on your first day… Delayed Muscle Onset (DOMS) is a bitch.  

Be prepared
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Appropriate clothing and shoes
  • Shower accessories (if you are planning on showering after the session)
  • A small snack 
Gym Etiquette
  • During sign up, most gyms will run you through the expectations of you, the gym-goer. Make sure you listen and follow through. Also keep a look out of signs up on the wall.
  • Hygiene is important! Put your towel down when you are working out or after you finish each exercise spray and wipe so that next person doesn’t have to sit in your sweat.
  • Re Rack Weights. If you can lift it, you can put it away.
  • Don’t push in, if one person is hogging one piece of equipment you can ask to work in between their sets.
Progress

Whatever your goal is it important to record progress, whether it is photos, measurements, body fat %, weights, reps or distance. After your first gym session you may pull your shirt up and look down at your belly and expect to see abs, but things take time. Make sure you look back at your initial progress report and celebrate at how far you have come.

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Top Tips for Living with a Chronic Disease

I love sport, I love food and I love adventures. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with a disease that has made doing the things I love very difficult. Late last year, October 2015, I was diagnosed with a Chronic Autoimmune Disease, Inflamed Bowel Disease called Crohns Disease. Most people have not heard of Crohns unless they have it or know someone who has it. I have gone through the wars with this disease and currently in remission and on the road to recovery to do the things I love! 

 

I decided to collate my top tips for anyone living with a Chronic Disease, in particular tips from my own experience that have helped me cope with Crohns, specifically with exercising/training.

 

Health

Know and Respect your Limitations

Listen to your body. In my case, my gut. You know the saying gut feeling? It’s a thing! Your gut is your second brain. If I had a dollar for every time I have felt drained and unwell but I have tried to keep up with other people, I’d be rich! A friend named me Astro Girl as I am usually full of energy “Go! Go! Go!” and then all of a sudden I run out of batteries and will just turn off. At first (before diagnosis) it was very frustrating as I loved to train (swim, bike, run) on weekends and then go out at night and could not understand why I would feel so ill and fatigued. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed Crohns and was informed that my intestines were so inflamed nutrients were not being absorbed resulting in anaemia.

Fuel your Body

Keep a food diary. Not only does this help you keep track of trigger foods but it is also important to take note of your intake of food especially when training to ensure you are getting enough energy. Some illnesses you need a higher intake of food as your body is working overtime fighting the disease. Your appetite will vary along with symptoms and it is important to keep your body fuelled even if it is through liquid form (if you can’t handle solids). It is beneficial to see a dietician if you are unintentionally losing weight as you may require a nutritional supplement.

 

Rest and Recover

Fatigued? Exhausted? Similar to knowing your limitations and fuelling your body, I can’t stress enough that everyone has different requirements. I need a good solid 8-9 hours sleep per night otherwise I get completely run down, compared to other people who can handle less than 6 hours. It can be hard to keep on track with your training program when you don’t know how your body is going to handle the day. Playing it by ear, or in my case playing it by gut. Don’t push through as you will probably make yourself sicker. For me the best thing is to rest and rehydrate and if I am feeling up to it some active recovery (walk, yoga etc).

 

Share Experiences

They say misery is always better with company. Although I don’t wish this disease on anyone, it is comforting to know that I am not in this alone. There’s a small army out there fighting to find a cure. It is a very scary prospect being diagnosed with a disease or undergoing surgery, therefore hearing feedback and advice from ‘veterans’ help ease the uncertainty. For instance, before my surgery I was told that sneezing, coughing and laughing will really hurt after surgery and that pressing a pillow against my stomach will help limit the pain. Thanks Emma for that advice!

 

Support Network

Similar to sharing experience, a support network will be you rock throughout this journey. Your support network does not have to have a team of disease sufferers, they can include your partner, your parents, your friends, a counsellor, a doctor, a nurse. It is really up to you who you can rely on to support you on your journey. For me it is my partner, my parents, my sister, a few close friends, my doctors and my dietician.

 

Seek Medical Advice

It is very important to have a reliable, trustworthy, caring GP. Your GP will co-ordinate/ refer you to a specialist, surgeon, dietician, physio etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (no question is silly!), bring your own research to the table and ask for their medical advice. Your GP can also assist you with your current quantity of training and if you are in a state to continue at that level or need to back off. It is also very important to discuss with you doctor / physio a gradual return to exercise plan after any surgery.

 

My biggest tip is find the doctor that is the best fit for you. If you like asking lots of questions and don’t settle for someone who rushes you along. This may take time as it may not be your current GP. I was so fortunate to have a great medical team, GP, dietician, gastroenterologist, IBD nurse and surgeon. Forever grateful.

 

Research

Research. Research. Research. I’ve learnt that no one is going to help you unless you help yourself first. It’d be lovely for someone to come knocking at your door with a big bunch of answers but it’s really up to you to determine what you want to do and how you want to live your life. Be proactive, not reactive… I want to be cured not just treated. Like I mentioned before, medical advice is vital however do not just settle for an opinion of one doctor, explore your options, seek different opinions until you find the best fit.

 

Another topic to research is nutrition. Everyone has different perspective on what your ideal diet should be and an opinion on diet and it’s role in autoimmune diseases. To determine if diet can help you, research and experiment. Explore different diets to see what best suits you, whether it is the elimination diet, raw foods, paleo, GAPS, plant based, the list is endless. Remember do what works for you!
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