Exercise can make you feel happier. Ever wondered why exercise can feel so addictive? Or have you experienced that post-workout high? That’s because exercise has been shown to increase the production of endorphins, “feel good” chemicals in your body that produce positive feelings. Exercise not only improves your mood, but it can decrease feelings of stress and anxiety.
Ihad the pleasure to interview Wendy Smith. Wendy has been in the fitness industry for over two decades and is a fitness guru in nearly all areas of fitness including Corporate Health Programming, Athlete Coaching, Personal Training, Sports Specific Mentoring, HIIT training, Weight Training, Group Fitness Instructing, Pilates Postural Alignment Specialist, Muay Thai and more. She is a fitness trainer for The Healthy Mommy, a global moms-only healthy living program, developing full body workouts for moms getting back into shape, recovering from giving birth or with older children.
Thank you so much for joining us Wendy. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Fitness and overall wellness has been part of my life from my childhood — I was born into a very active, sport loving family where inactivity was not an option. My childhood was full of sport, dancing and family travel adventures. So my whole life I have been committed to living my life to the fullest!
I have always pursued work and exercise together and that pursuit found me running a local Sydney tennis Center at 13! By 17 I was instructing at my university gym, at 19 I was coaching fitness at a large gym. I’m so grateful to say that I’ve continued my luck in making fitness training my vocation and my way of life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
After much success in global fitness competitions, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a huge door fell onto my back leaving me with three bulging discs and barely able to stay active. My life as I knew it seemed over — I gained weight and struggled with my self-esteem. I would sit on the couch and focus on the past and I was full of despair for quite some time. But then I thought, “why should I just clock off out of my life, that’s not who I am”, so I began to rebuild my life, my relationship with my children and slowly became strong and healthy.
This is who I am — even with adversity, I might have lost my way temporarily, but recovered and have a greater passion for keeping myself and others fit.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I’ve been in the fitness and wellness field for over two decades. I am certified in over 14 fitness disciplines including Pilates, Muay Thai kickboxing, Aerobics, Aqua, core training and freestyle group fitness programs and I am absolute proof that age is no barrier to great strength, health and fitness.
Aside from my professional achievements and experience, I’d like to think my unique contribution to the world of wellness would be my natural ability to motivate individuals, from all walks of life, to feel happier, fitter and stronger from training with me.
I have been part of The Healthy Mommy from the beginning of the company, always focusing on making fitness fun and enjoyable. I break it down into easy steps so people feel like they’re always closer to getting to where they want to be. I’ve been a Personal Trainer for so long now and my passion and love for it is still the same as when I first started. I’d like to think people connect with me and feel empowered to be more motivated and happy.
Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview.
We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know the theory, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
1. Waiting for the motivation or being ‘in the mood’ to do something healthy.
Many of us wait for Monday or just before summer to start exercising but they’re just excuses. The enemy of procrastination is NOW. The sooner you start, the earlier you’ll feel the results of your good habits.
2. Thinking it’s all ‘too hard’ to practice implementing a new habit.
This is a common roadblock I’ve experienced myself, especially after injuring my back and putting on weight. A good way to overcome this barrier is to work on small, actionable steps to get you closer to your goal. Start with swapping one unhealthy meal a day with something more healthy or start with a 10-minute exercise routine and work your way to increasing the length and frequency of your workouts. Chances are, you might feel so good about your new habits that you’ll set yourself in motion and keep going.
3. Past failures.
Perhaps you’ve tried to lose weight, get healthy, eat better, etc, many times before, and you just haven’t been able to get the results you want. Past failures can make you doubt yourself and stagnate your growth, but you’ve got to challenge the mental battle with yourself. Focus all your energy on building the new version of yourself, harness your will power and motivation to find that determination inside.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Stop and take three deep breaths. When we’re stressed, we sometimes lose the ability to stay grounded and on top of our game. When you catch yourself frantically running from one thing to the next, stop and just take three slow deep breaths. Feel the sensations in your body as you inhale and exhale. This can instantly put you in a calmer state of mind.
- Swap one simple, unhealthy habit for a new fun one — and make it a non-negotiable. For instance, if you don’t drink enough water, make the effort to have one or two cups of herbal tea, like green tea, instead. Or perhaps make yourself a big bottle of iced tea with freshly cut strawberries and apples. Anything to increase your hydration, but in a new and exciting way.
- Reduce the contact of friends, family and co-workers who make you feel worse than better. Sometimes it’s all too easy to go into autopilot and eat out with the same people or go for a night out of drinking when we know these habits hinder your positive efforts for a healthier lifestyle. You don’t need to ditch these friends or colleagues, just be mindful of your choices you make when you are with them.
- Work out first thing in the morning. That way, we don’t let the day slip by and excuses get in the way. If you work out in the morning, even for a quick 30 minute at home workout, you will feel energized and ready to tackle the day.
- Reward yourself on your healthy journey. While hitting your goals are great, give yourself a non-food treat such as a massage or a new workout top to keep you motivated and inspired to keep reaching more of your health and wellness goals.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
- Exercise can make you feel happier. Ever wondered why exercise can feel so addictive? Or have you experienced that post-workout high? That’s because exercise has been shown to increase the production of endorphins, “feel good” chemicals in your body that produce positive feelings. Exercise not only improves your mood, but it can decrease feelings of stress and anxiety.
- 2. Exercise can reduce your risk of chronic disease. Physical inactivity is a major cause of chronic disease, such as obesity, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease — just to name a few.
- Exercise can increase your energy levels. Exercise has been shown to be a real energy booster for people with persistent fatigue. In fact, exercise seems to be more effective at increasing energy levels for people with chronic fatigue syndrome than other therapies, like relaxation and stretching.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
- Body weight squats. Squats are a core component in many programs for trainers. This is because squats give you strength and power in your glutes, hamstrings and quads. They also define and shape your backside which means you’ll look great in those figure-hugging jeans!
- The plank. I recommend the plank because there are so many benefits: it burns calories, strengthens your core, gives you better balance and significantly improves your posture.
- 3. Push-ups. Another amazing body weight exercise you can easily add into your daily routine, push-ups can give you a toned upper body and arms while strengthening your lower back and core.
Many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
First of all, you need to have the right shoes, equipment and technique for that particular exercise you are doing. There have been so many instances where I see people wearing the wrong shoes for running, for example, which can make them more prone to injury. I’m also a strong advocate for taking the time to warm up and cool down after any type of exercise to prevent short term and long term injury. It’s also important to have recovery days and listen to your body when it needs a break. You can injure yourself more and delay your fitness efforts if you don’t let your body rest and recover.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I am already part of a movement — The Healthy Mommy movement as a Global Fitness coach! I provide workouts alongside trainers from USA, Australia and UK to give our enormous community of moms over 400+ full length workouts that are all accessible via The Healthy Mommy App.
As one of the original fitness trainers, I instruct workouts such as HITT and Tabata. I’m always amazed, but not surprised, by the moms who commit to the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge and get real results and genuinely change their lives.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work and consistency over time.” — While this most definitely applies to my line of work where people come to me for transforming their bodies, it also applies to any area of life. Relationships, career, and health — they all involve putting little deposits of love, energy and care for them to turn into something amazing and worthwhile.
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