Does Your PT Have To Be IN Shape?

Ingrid Barclay on Thursday, 10 September 2015.


FIO girls. 12 months ago I posted a photograph of a girl called “Brooke”, and I asked a controversial question…..would you trust her as your competition coach? 45% of you said yes absolutely, if she knew her stuff, the fact that she was very overweight would not bother them. The other 55% said absolutely not and reasons varied from: “she clearly doesn’t know how to look after herself”, to “she’s fat”, to “I wouldn’t trust that she knows too much about fat loss”. Well, that photograph of Brooke……was me.
Fortunately FIO didn’t seem to lose any followers and some of the girls who said “no they would not trust her as a coach” have religiously followed my posts over the past 12 months so again, my number 1 message tonight on this post is that how someone looks does not dictate how good they are at coaching, and getting to bring the best out in YOU. I have to admit, I think by memory I cried my heart out for a day and was upset for a couple of days. I wanted to scream “but I have the knowledge. And I am really good at several aspects of coaching, and I am successful”. You know, I really wanted to defend myself. And no, it was not a driving force to change, I cannot claim that. The only person that drove me to prioritise myself was me. One of my good friends Kylie Mitcham said “what did you expect Ingrid – you would have known some people are going to be judgemental?” and she made me pull my head in and get on with things – so thank you Kylie for your always wise words. You often ground me.

A word on my ‘before’ photo: Message Number 2. Results has very little to do with information. It has everything to with implementation. At the time this photo was taken a) I was not prioritisng myself, but rather Body Conquest and its clients and b) I just couldn’t implement what I was supposed to do (anyone relate????)

This is such a huge issue–something that all of us in this industry, either professionals or fitness enthusiasts have grappled with: Why can’t I just do what I know to do??? It can be frustrating. It can be disheartening. It can make us feel like a fraud. Like we’re weak and out of our integrity. But it’s also a reminder that just because you know something doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily implement consistently. I had to change my priority and my mind-set. And so I did.
For those of you who have followed my journey for the last 12 months since I signed on to do recomp, what a BIG Saturday I had last weekend. Huge. My last posing session with my wonderful posing coach Irene Nikole. A catch up with my coach Damon Hayhow whom I hadn’t seen in 7 weeks, and my first ever photo-shoot with my lovely boyfriend Ji Cottrill. So the stats and results I hear some of you ask….ok here it is.
Starting weight: 86.5
BF: 30.7%
End Weight: 74.5
BF: 13%

Our goal in terms of skinfolds was 30 mls. 7 weeks ago my skins were 61 so of course I was hoping for a HUGE change on Saturday when Damon re-did my skins. What a shock I got when I registered a whopping (NOT!!!) 6 ml drop. Message number 2 in this post: Girls sometimes and it’s really funny because I have said this over and over and over again on FIO, measurements do not tell the whole story. So my total skins over 8 sites is 55mls and yet…..big massive drum roll please…..Damon did indeed say “you should compete, you look wicked”. Again, it’s NOT about the numbers it’s about how you look in the mirror.

Yay, yay, yay. So YES I AM COMPETING!!!! I am going ahead with June the 7th, so I am a week and a half out from stage and super duper excited. Not nervous, just excited. Yes I have skin issues (as you can see from my ‘after pic’ as we didn’t photo-shop it), but I have a truck ton of muscle, pretty nice shape, and my symmetry isn’t too bad either (I need to grow me some calves though lol).
I have not flogged myself to ‘make this competition’. There were many things I could have done to hasten my progress. But I kicked back and said “no” to them so that IF I did compete, it was a natural outcome of where I am at. And it is!!! My message number 3 for this post is this: the single best thing about this progress was the SPEED at which I did it. SLOWLY. Slow was the absolute key to regulating my strength, my hunger, my energy levels and my cravings. I can honestly post to you that I have not craved food off my plan once. Nope, it has just been such a do-able, autonomous process. I am still on plenty of carbohydrates, plenty of calories, plenty of food and I am coping. Coping is super important especially when you suffer depression as sometimes your ability to respond to stressors is compromised. So it has been really important to keep my HEC (hunger, energy, cravings) in check so that there was never a need to self-sabotage. So for those girls who insist on crash dieting (and 12 week – 20 week preps is crash dieting for SOME girls who compete, because they start in the vicinity of where I was) I really hope you grasp this part of my message. Because if you can cope, and actually ENJOY eating spot on for a year, with all those things in check – that’s a beautiful thing. Very very empowering. And it hasn’t crossed my mind what I am going to consume post comp – I will still be doing recomp – I have zero intention of stopping that, I mean why would I….so I shall just be having what is on plan for the week.

*Please note I am not suggesting for a second here I am some amazeballs dieter…..I am ready and wary for things to change the minute I compete – I am only too aware of how our minds can do funny things!!!!)
Now for those of you who work in the industry, or who are overweight or battle any of the issues that I do I have this to say:
Resist the temptation to explain your physique. You’re amazing, perfect, whole and valuable regardless of your size; you don’t EVER have to defend your body. Don’t think you need to be leaner, more muscular, to be a better instructor/coach/trainer or to start your own PT business. You don’t! Like me, if you have a message to get out to other women, then get it out, as you are SO much more than your body.

We are all working to find balance, to overcome insecurities and to find ways to feel worthy. Our natural human default, in my opinion, is to think we suck. So we use things like our bodies and our careers and our Facebook “likes” to boost our feelings of self-worth. And while all of those things are of course valid, no outside thing or person or assessment can ever make us feel whole and worthy if we don’t find a way to feel loved and affirmed on the inside all by ourselves. And this is a practice. Even a competition will not affirm your value for any length of time.
I’m excited to compete, I am excited to share 1-2 photographs of me on comp day with you all – of course I am. But I am more excited to continue to write posts that encourage you to self-trust as that is the ultimate freedom. To share snippets of what I know about conquering demons of a life-threatening disease, and depression, and a busy lifestyle in order to have a happy and healthy body that performs really well when you ask it too. I’m excited to show that if you take the time to get your mindset all sorted all kinds of wonderful things can happen well beyond doing a competition!

For me the physical change came from a deep desire to achieve it. If you too have the same desires you HAVE to actually want to do something different. You have to actually want to give up the old way. And this can be extremely difficult because in a messed up way, we kind of sort of like the struggle. We need the negative self-talk because it’s familiar and it’s a shield. Think about it. In order to choose a new way, you’d have to start graciously accepting compliments without argument, instead of deflecting the praise (which has been yours and my default), for example. You’d have to act differently. You’d have to carry yourself differently. You’d have give up the blaming and complaining and assume responsibility and take ownership of your happiness.
When I am not perfect (and I am not perfect every single day, lol), I remember that I am human and it’s okay. I trust that I am doing my best, and I also trust that I am not defined by a single moment of struggle/failure or success. I show myself compassion and give myself the benefit of the doubt. I hope my post helps some of you, inspires some of you and encourages some of you. Most of all THANK YOU to all my readers for following my page and sharing in my ups and downs. Hopefully I do a reasonable job of talking more about helping you than talking about “Ing”!!!
Feel free to share your thoughts