Find out what your clients need then give it to them.

I am currently on Day 6 of an 11 day cross country road trip and I just discovered the fitness centre at our hotel is being used to store furniture. Don’t even get me started on the non-existent coin operated laundry facilities! I believe in being true to my word so I’m a little miffed that this place is unable to follow through on theirs.

I am lucky that one of my fitness entrepreneur clients happens to email out 15 minute workout videos so I will be able to get my workout in as soon as I’m done this post. I will use the free wifi (they delivered on that promise) to download a video or two and get my sweat on in the privacy of my hotel room. What my bad ass client understands about her clientele is that sometimes it’s too challenging to get to an in-person class or intimidating to find a facility while on the road. Even though I’m moving 4000km away from her and her classes, I can still stay connected to my fitness tribe and my fitness routine thanks to her bi-weekly videos. Her videos are included in the $69 monthly membership fee but anyone, anywhere can subscribe to the videos only for $20! It’s a great way to give clients a little extra and a unique way to generate some extra income.

Find out what your clients need and a find a way to give it them;-) Get creative while I go download the newest video!

 

L’aventure commence!

I’m wrangling the kids at the hotel (many thanks to my wise mother for wrapping a surprise for each of them to open each night of our trip!) after the first day of driving. We left the Annapolis Valley around 7:30am and we arrived in Portland Maine around 6pm.  My 4 year old son experience a bout of hangriness and we had to make an emergency pee stop but overall, it was a half decent day.

We made a quick stop in Brewer which turned out to be not so quick thanks to a gentleman who cheered when he saw our Nova Scotia plate! He came over and chatted to us about local politics, the current state of American health care and admired our beautiful children. Seriously, he chatted to us for about 20 minutes, pointed out some historical landmarks and advised us of which part of town to avoid due to the drug addicts. Never a dull moment!

Our hotel looks like it might have starred in a crime drama at some point and the stairwell bears a faint whiff of urine, but we’re safe and there’s a Denny’s in the parking lot!

Sometimes you’ve gotta toot your own horn

I’ve never been much of a horn tooter, but I’m changing my tune lately. I grew up learning to accept praise modestly and win graciously. That’s fine, but in entrepreneurship you’ve got to learn how to be your own biggest fan.

I launched my business almost 2 years ago and since Meraki’s birthday, I’ve been a member of the Halifax and Region Military Family Resource Centre’s Entrepreneur Club. Every year the Club awards the Entrepreneur Spirit Award to one of the club members. Each club member is able to nominate one other member for the award, with past recipients not being eligible.

This year I submitted my nomination only to find out that individual had won several year before. Who do I choose next? I debated with myself prior to submitting my second round nominee, and I checked in with my BFF (best fitness friend) and one of my sisters. They both agreed with my choice and I sent the email before I could change my mind.  So who did I nominate?

MYSELF! Yes, you read that correctly. I told my BFF and sister that if I didn’t win at least it would make a good blog post. BUT I WON! I won my first business award! I don’t know if anyone else in the club nominated me but I feel like this was a significant accomplishment because it shows that I believe in what I have chosen to do enough to take the risk of nominating myself for an award, (think about it…it is kinda risky, isn’t it?)

MFRC Spirit award

A strong belief in yourself is what you need to steer your business through the vast sea of competition out there. If you don’t believe that you or your product or skills are great, why would a client believe it? So, start telling yourself you’re great at what you do and believe that you are great at how you do it. Get out there and start tooting your own because no one else is gonna do it for you!

Dream big or go home:this is a HUGE event!

A few months ago I came up with an idea while I was high on adrenaline from another fantastic event. I shared my idea with some like-minded fitness folks and it’s grown to become #Canada150WarmUp. (It’s called a warm up because it’s an event to get us excited for Canada Day but also because it’s an active event!)

#canada150warmup logo copy

I want more Canadians to be active and thought that we could all give our beautiful country the best 150th birthday gift ever: just 15 minutes of our time to be active!(I’m playing on the 150 idea with 15 minutes and 1:50pm, but you’re intelligent folks, so you probably figured that out already.) So the idea became a dream to have communities from Newfoundland to Nunavut to British Columbia participate. In addition to my local friends, a fitness friend in Ottawa immediately jumped on board and connected me with SokJok who wanted to work with us to spread this event nationwide.

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On June 24th (23rd for schools) at 1:50pm, EVERYONE in Canada is invited to take just 15 minutes to be active. Communities and fitness businesses are hosting FREE mini events to help you out, too! SokJok just happens to be selling super-snazzy Canada150-themed socks, so when the contribution code #Canada150WarmUp is used, money will be used to create fitness bursaries. For every $150 raised, another Lucky Canadian will receive $150 to use towards sports equipment, a gym membership, a fitness certification or class! We’re making it easier for Canadians to get active and stay active!

So, how can you get involved? Host your very own #Canada150WarmUp event! What a great way to support a healthier Canada, come together with your community, and promote your fitness business or get your school moving! (and wander on over to http://www.sokjok.ca and get yourself some socks!Don’t forget to post photos online to qualify for a bursary or the SokJok grand prize of a $500 travel voucher!)

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Visit the Canad150WarmUp Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Canada150WarmUp-227836314389846/) and share the hell out of it! I dreamed big with this one, and each of you can help make it a reality!

How much time do you spend on the floor? The pelvic floor, that is.

This is the first post of a two-part spotlight on the pelvic floor. This post is geared more towards fitness professionals, while the next post will be addressed more to fitness and wellness clients.

 

I’m a mother of two so I’m well acquainted with my pelvic floor. It’s one of those areas that by the time you realize how important it is, it’s usually because something has gone awry and you’re in rehabilitation mode not prevention mode. Lots of fitness professionals remind you to “engage your pelvic floor” and make sure that pelvic floor is strong” but what does that even mean? As a fitness professional I know what it feels like and I’m sure personal trainers out there are familiar with the  “pulling your elevator up to the next floor” analogy but do we even fully understand what’s truly going on in there?

RyanGoslingPelvicFloor

I thought I understood until one of my sisters (also a mother of two) recently discovered her issues were exacerbated by the ever so popular kegel exercises. After hearing about her experiences I asked her to write down why she decided to seek treatment and what that treatment is like.  Having a healthy pelvic floor is about more than kegels…so much more! Fitness professionals need to re-educate themselves on this deep issue that may be keeping potential clients away from fitness classes and working out. How fit pros are addressing this may even be making things worse!

*This portion was written by Jenn Richardson, BSN, RN

I became pregnant with my oldest daughter in December 2013, after a bout with anovulation and what we thought was infertility. My pregnancy was fairly healthy, though I suffered with bilateral separated SI joints (where your sacrum meets your hips-you have a joint on each side of your lower back). I had an induced labour which lasted just under eight hours and after having pushed for only 30 minutes, I delivered a beautiful, albeit wee, baby girl. I had no tears and no episiotomy. As soon as she was delivered, my back pain went away!
Fast forward to her first birthday, I was just a week pregnant with my second baby girl. This pregnancy was not so easy and I had hyperemesis gravidarum for the entire pregnancy, pretty major diastasis recti, as well as separated SI joints again. I went into labour at 39 weeks and barely made it to the hospital because she was in a hurry to get here. Again, I pushed for just 30 minutes, after just 3 hours of labour, and gave birth to a chubbier baby girl with no tears or episiotomies. This time, my back pain never went away.
I am now one year post partum (can I even call it that at this point?) and still suffering with pain. My lower back is in a constant state of cramping and I have pelvic pain that feels like menstrual cramps 2-3 days a week. I even had a couple days with pain so bad that it brought me to the floor. My pubic bone feels like it is constantly bruised (read: feels like I’ve been kicked in the crotch) and I have this hard-to-describe heaviness in my pelvis.
I have a runner friend who recently made a post about pelvic floor physiotherapy and how it has helped her after having two babies with even faster labours than I had. If it is helping her, maybe it could help me. I checked out a few clinics online and decided on Choice Health Centre in Bayers Lake and physiotherapist Stephanie Brown. She is specially trained in pelvic floor physiotherapy and has even used it as a patient herself.
I had my first visit to her clinic this week.
If you’re shy about professionals touching your lady bits, you’ll have a hard time with how hands on the assessment is. This part lasts a half hour or so and involves two fingers in your vagina the whole time. Ok, not the whole time. The first 4 minutes or so, she evaluates external pain trigger points and reflexes. Then the next 26 minutes involved an internal assessment, where she manually manipulates the muscles of your pelvic floor to find where your pain is coming from. I kid you not, at one point it felt like she had grabbed a hold of my pelvic floor and squeezed it as hard as she could. She told me she was just barely touching it. That is how injured my pelvic floor is. She continued this with all the muscles, finding wonderful pain trigger spots, sending shooting pain down my glutes and into my hips, with just the light touch of a finger. Hypertonic, she says. My pelvic floor is way too tight. She told me she could feel my muscles twitching and throbbing as she touched them. No wonder I have been having pelvic pain.
Part of this assessment is to evaluate for rectal prolapse (rectocele) and bladder prolapse (cystocele). She immediately caught my grade 1 cystocele just by having me cough. The anterior (top) wall of my vagina had weakened enough for my bladder to dip down just slightly. I had no idea I had a bladder prolapse! Thankfully, a grade 1 prolapse is nothing to worry about and it will likely not cause me any problems.
After a half hour of being internally massaged, for lack of a better description, Stephanie informed me that with a hypertonic pelvic floor, Kegels can make it worse (don’t tell her I really hadn’t been doing them anyway, like we are all told we should). My muscles were so tight that they were closing off my urethra (tube from bladder to outside of body), causing me to have to push to finish peeing. Many of them were spasming and twitching, causing cramp-like pain. It all makes sense!
Because my muscles are all so tight, I am working on reverse Kegels to relax those muscles. It is a hard as it sounds. I have to relax the pelvic floor without pushing it outwards….? It takes a lot of concentration and focus and I don’t even know if I am doing it right half the time. Stephanie has told me that she can do biofeedback, whereby they place a probe in your vagina and connect it to a computer. When you contract and relax your muscles, it presents as a graph on the screen (similar to cardiotocography, which monitors baby’s heart rate and mom’s contractions during labour) so you can learn how to effectively control those muscles. That sounds fun…

After having two children, one miscarriage ending in a dilatation and curettage and several visits to the emergency room during recovery, I’ve had enough hands up my vagina so I admire my sister for being willing to endure the discomfort and intrusion necessary to heal her lady bits. She’s a public health nurse who teaches sex ed to teenagers so nothing really phases her, but why is what she shared so important to fitness professionals?

Remember where she said the assessment revealed that her muscles were too tight and that “with a hypertonic pelvic floor, Kegels can make it worse”?Stop and think for a moment about how many times you’ve recited the “do your kegels!” to clients. Be honest…it’s probably a lot, right? Now, think about how many of those clients may be in the same situation as my sister. How many of you are feeling embarrassed right now? (As embarrassed as having a physiotherapist’s hands up your hoo haa?) When we know better, we do better, right?

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I wonder how many women are avoiding running clubs, bootcamp classes, and fitness in general because of incontinence or discomfort? This is where potential clients are hiding! Knowing this presents a fantastic opportunity for you as a professional and for women in your area:

  • get educated! Read up on the topic
  • connect with a pelvic floor specialist in your area (I found several by typing “pelvic floor physiotherapist” into Google)
  • if you’re a pelvic floor specialist, connect with some fitness professionals
  • co-host an education seminar on the pelvic floor and educate women (and other fit pros! Remember the events you host don’t have to all be workout-related!)
  • encourage your clients to seek the advice of a specialist

I’m glad my sister endured the discomforting hands-on (hands-in?) so that we could then share this information with you and hopefully improve the lives of many women.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we continue to chat about the floor with potential clients!

Something worth getting excited about

I just got home from a busy day and I’m feeding the kids, feeding myself, dealing with the issues that came up during the day, and surveying my social media when I saw that a fellow military spouse had just posted her elevator pitch on a Facebook group I’m part of. Turns out she’s involved in fitness and wellness so I decided to reach out.

This lovely lady is about to pursue yoga teacher training and through chatting I discovered a kindred spirit: someone who wants others to appreciate what their body can do and embrace their health and fitness! YAY! A like-minded individual who is seeking support and encouragement!

I find it amazing when we connect with people who totally get who we are and why we do what we do. It feels energizing, doesn’t it? Like we can take on the world! Guess what? WE CAN! I’m sitting here practically buzzing with excitement at the possibilities that lie ahead! There is so much opportunity to welcome people into our fitness communities and grow, grow, grow!

I encourage you all to seek out people who share your vision and connect with them, whether it be in person, on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Support the work they’re doing (’cause we’re all working our butts off here) and start growing that fitness community from the inside out!

 

Bedtime