Great expectations

Well dear followers and casual readers, I think the time has come for me to give you all some news.

Now that my family know, my friends know, my managers knows, and some of the rest of my colleagues know, the next step before telling the big wide world is to let you in on some exciting news that has had my brain in a buzz for the past week.

Great Vegan Expectations is soon going to be joined by Great Expectations Fitness – not another blog, no, as I am only just squeezing out my two posts a week currently – but a fitness coaching company run by me, my ideals, and my vision.

My vision is that fitness, strength, health and happiness should be accessible to everyone.

Just because I like training in a gym doesn’t mean everyone does. Just because I wave off the grunting and the sweat smeared on benches by my fellow gym users as mere lack of etiquette doesn’t mean that everyone out there will feel comfortable in their presence. Just because I have adapted my lifestyle to enable me to train 5-6 days a week doesn’t mean everyone else can or, more importantly, wants to.

I want to be the approachable fitness coach, the one to whom you can explain that, “sorry, this week I just didn’t feel like training, so I didn’t follow any of your recommendations”. Not because I will let anyone get away with it altogether, but because I want to know so that we can modify my recommendations and build a training programme together that works for you.

Anybody can find a weight loss, mass gain, explosive strength, or cardiovascular fitness routine – and absolutely any sort of diet you could ever dream about – in a glossy magazine, or for free on the internet. Having spent more hours than I would like to calculate trawling those sorts of programmes, I can not only promise you that the vast majority won’t work for a large number of people, but I would also bet pretty much everything I own that another big chunk of them don’t actually work at all. That is why people pay for personal trainers – to get an individualised programme.

This matters to me because I believe that physical fitness and mental health go hand-in-hand. Health and happiness are linked and intertwined, and anybody who leaves out one half  of the equation will perpetually be running around in circles chasing the other.

Forgive me for being blunt, but there is no point in forcing yourself to stick to a training programme that leaves no room for anything else in life that you love. It doesn’t matter how fit or strong you get – if you’re not happy, you’re not healthy. Simple.

I have followed routines that didn’t excite me but that gave results, I have looked forward to training sessions which have put me to bed with a smile on my face, I have imposed diets on myself that took over my life and soul, and I have forced myself to throw away the rule book, which ultimately didn’t lead to me feeling much happier. I need a happy medium with all of these things – but my happy medium might not be someone else’s happy medium.

Unfortunately many trainers don’t realise this. They think that because they love getting up at 5am to go for a run with the sunrise then downing a power-green-smoothie before going to work energises them, that their clients will if only they can get into the habit of it. The problem is that most clients think this too – when they struggle to stick to their programme, they feel ashamed and discouraged, and fall back into the vicious circle of fitness loss. So why don’t they demand something that works for them? Well, my theory is that we are taught through the current education system that discipline is key – if you’re not achieving, it’s just because you lack discipline, so we put our heads down and knuckle down and throw ourselves at the wall again. We are so conditioned to this feeling that nobody actually remembers that it’s not about working harder, but working smarter.

So my vision is to help people get more active, teach them to enjoy their food, and show them how good it feels to live in a healthy body.

If you enjoy training outdoors, we’ll train outdoors. If you enjoy team sports, we’ll use team sports-inspired drills instead of meaningless isolation exercises. If you just want to look good in your bikini this summer, I will cut the crap about feeling happy and healthy and get you slim and confident. If you hate asparagus, there won’t be asparagus in your diet, and if you’re not a morning person I won’t be asking you to get out of bed two hours earlier to perform a power-yoga routine before crafting a high-protein salad for breakfast before going to work.

It sounds so obvious, and yet so few trainers actually live by these ideals – which is why people continue to buy magazines and print routines off the internet.

Anyway, on a more personal note, I have handed in my notice at work and my last day is on Friday, 7th June. That is when Great Expectations Fitness will officially be launched. I have a logo on the way (thank you, Eilidh Urquhart), and a few more plans involving ethical training gear and animal-free supplements, but in the meantime you guys are allowed to check out my half-baked website, follow my new Twitter account, and like my Facebook page. Of course, there will be a 10% discount for anyone who mentions my blog when booking training sessions, which is why I thought I would give you guys a heads up before throwing Great Expectations Fitness into the big wide world.

I look forward to telling you guys more. Great Expectations isn’t just a name.

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