Monday, September 29, 2014

Know your Ikigai ...

Movement, like any action taken to create change first needs a purpose to begin. 

Have you ever committed to a twelve week challenge to improve your health, or losing 5 kg before a wedding; or going the other way and building muscle mass for a body building competition?  - habits which end as abruptly as they begin once the purpose of the activity has been met, followed often by feelings of disappointment when the short term gains erode and sense of purpose is lost.

Dan Beuttner, researcher and author of Blue Zones, identified that Okinawan’s in Japan who live to be 100 years and beyond achieve this partly to a practice known as Ikigai. Ikigai is the concept of understanding your reason for being. Ikigai is knowing your purpose.

Identifying your Ikigai comes easy to the young and to the old.  For those of us in the middle the muddle of life can create chaos and confusion and without making time and space for 'self' Ikigai remains an illusive and misunderstood concept.

I was talking about life with my 6 year old the other day, which is how we got onto the Ikigai 'thing'.  Telling me he didn't want to die, stumped as to how I was going to manage this conversation we ended up talking about his ageing great grandma and the difference in their years, and then we talked about the things that helped her to get there.  We talked about her Ikigai.

The most amazing part of this conversation was when I asked my two boys if they knew what their Ikigai was.  To my surprise, they both said yes, instantly.  For my 7 year old it is drawing that makes him feel the best, and for my 6 year old it is games!!   And as I observed them each engaged in their individual ikigai tasks, purposeful movement becomes apparent.  Even with a broken arm this week, Mister 6 is playing games!!

I believe it is more than the busy-ness of our lives that keeps the knowing of our own Ikigai at bay.  It could be the clutter of negative and demanding self talk in our head.  It could be the relentless pursuit of success on someone else's terms.  It could be the cumulative effects of stress in our world that ultimately erodes health and wellbeing and as those that know pain understand, through pain it is difficult to know very much else at all.

Understanding movement and its purpose is a vital piece of the puzzle that helps us to understand ourselves.

For the curious among you, on October 18 we will be exploring this and more at the movement cODe workshop with Ian O'Dwyer, Lachlan Boyd and myself.  There are a still a few spots available .... jump online and book today at  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We are Groot ....

Last week I went to see Guardian's of the Galaxy.  Against my better judgement, it seemed like the best option available ... and I was pleasantly surprised.

The experience truly transported my work busy brain away from it's concerns of the days and into a fantasy realm of true comradery, strength of family, comedy and challenge.

The lynchpin of the experience is not the protagonist, Quill, but the tree like character - Groot!  Possessed of the most amazing talents to sprout leaves, flowers and fire flies to save the day, he gives the ultimate sacrifice to save his 'family', with the element of hope at the end a sign that he may return for the next ep.  His final words ... "We are Groot", significant because throughout the movie his only words have been "I am Groot".

About 15 years ago I also had the privilege to listen to George Negus speak at a luncheon for ABIG in Dubai.  The key take home message of what he had to say was that in trying to create positive change in the world we must look for the similarities between us, rather than the differences.

The recognition that we are part of a connected network of sentient beings helps us to create the positive change that we all so obviously crave.  Daily posts and gratitude challenges being taken up around the globe tell us that we are searching for something better.  We tag our friends to get some feedback and yearn for a collective common goal that gives us purpose.

Today consider that your words, actions and thoughts may be the tiny pebble thrown into a much bigger pool.  Like the butterfly effect, your small actions have a bigger impact on the congregation that is humanity than you may realise.  Be the best version of you and consider acting for the "We" rather than just the "I".


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Kim Kardashian does it ...

Tabloid magazines are definitely not the place to get your post natal health advice.

I’d like to suggest that the innate wisdom of your body knows better!  Better than to crunch, lift and plank your way to sculptured abs.... 

Restoration of strength, tone and endurance to the post natal pelvic floor and abdominal corset of muscles is a key goal for every new mum, after every birth to prevent lower back pain, stress incontinence and a myriad of other health and medical conditions that may not appear until much later in life.  Ask your mum or grandma!

Not only do we as new mothers think that we need to nurse, feed, and care for our newborn 24/7, but it’s almost a pre-requisite for maternal success these days to have your pre baby body back before you’ve given birth!!  A little exaggeration, but if you’re a new mum, you know what I mean.

Retraining of the pelvic girdle and the muscles it contains is essential for long term health and success.  

Some facts you may not know
  • Research shows that after 2 natural births tissue failure rate of the pelvic floor is 85%
  • 100% of women experience diastassis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, during pregnancy
  • When the muslces of the pelvic floor malfunction, as is often the case after childbirth, they must be retrained - they will not spontaneously return to normal function
How you can set yourself up for success
  • Have a real time ultrasound of your pelvic floor by a physiotherapist 6 - 12 weeks post partum
  • Practice abdominal breathing and Connect 4 Pelvic Floor, Transversus Abdominus connection daily
  • Be guided by the advice of appropriately qualified and experienced professionals in your return to pre-baby fitness and exercise activities. (Integrated Pelvic Physiotherapy is one of the best I have come across, with a wealth of valuable information downloadable from their website at
Your pelvic floor and transverse abdomunus muscles perform multiple functions in your body including continence, organ support, reproduction, respiration and spinal and pelvic stability.

The repurcussions of a weakened dysfunctional pelvic floor are far reaching and can limit activities of daily living, overall confidence and enjoyment of life.

Arm yourself with good information to take care of your pelvic floor by contacting Simone from Mumbalates for the best advice on where to get your pelvic floor real time ultra sound done in Cairns and what to do to retrain and integrate your pelvic and abdominal muscles for long term health and success.

Simone is a mother of 2, Cert IV Personal Trainer, creator of the Mumbalates Post Natal Exercise Program and has over 7 years experience working with post natal women.  Tel 0411027883.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The BIG toe shoe debate!

This week I've had some new vibram (toe shoes) on - Bikila in Blue.  I love them.

Apart from attracting some complimentary feedback on my fashion sense, my footwear has resparked the discussion on the value, validity and purpose ... or otherwise ... of minimalist footwear.

And the universe has conspired to give me opportunity to voice my opinion through client interactions.

So instead of being simply opinionated I wanted to ask a few questions that might invite a bit of a discussion on the topic rather than a the usual barrage of commentary that takes a love em or hate em position.

I wear my toe shoes because I believe they make my feet, and by default my body, work better.  I have bunions, chronic knee, hip and lower back complaints and occasional digestive problems.  When I wear my toe shoes all of these reduce or disappear and I am a happier and hopefully better person as a result.

So here are my questions:

1. What is the bunion doing and how did it get there?
2. Is the bunion good?  Does it have a purpose?
3. What changes in the foot and its motion could be having a positive or negative effect on movement throughout the body?
4. Same question regarding a positive or negative effect on health throughout the body?
5. What are the mental health implications of wearing my toe shoes?
6. Have you tried toe shoes??

I'm really interested in the opinions of everyone who has an opinion on toe shoes.  Even if the look of them simply has you calling the fashion police ... let's hear about it.

As for me, I'm off for a play to enjoy my well adjusted toes and renewed energy!!

Have the best day.
Sim :-)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Taking RAPPS for success!!

What are the two things that stand between you and the achievement or your greatest goals?

Liane & Patricia Kruger can tell you.

Today I met with these two amazing ladies to learn the secrets of their success.

Together they have shed the equivalent of a whole person (70.2kg) in weightloss over the past 12 months.  

They started their journey on September 1, 2012, weighing in at 91.1kg for Liane (47yrs) and 95.8kg for Patricia (68yrs).  Today, they are no longer required to weigh in, they do it to motivate others and show them that it is possible to achieve your goals and maintain them.  Their weigh in this morning was 57.3kg and 59.4kg respectively.  (From size 24 - size 10).  Suffice to say they look and sound amazing.  So much so that on a recent trip to Italy Liane was asked if she was a personal trainer.  She beamed like a lighthouse for the rest of that day, and the beacon went on again when she recounted the story to me today.

It is my privilege to be their personal trainer.  Twice a week I see these ladies to help them strengthen, stretch, tone and relax their muscles and keep them accountable in some way for their own health.

The real secret of their success however is not in the fact that they have a personal trainer, or that a team of professionals guide them with health, nutrition and movement.  The real secret of their success is RAPPS they do themselves.

  1. (R) They take RESPONSIBILITY for themselves
  2. (A) They take ACTION every day that keeps them on track
  3. (P) They PLAN for success
  4. (P) They surround themselves with POSITIVE people
  5. (S) They SUPPORT each other

As is often the case with people who create and experience positive change in their life, there is a not so positive story that preceeds the success.

5 years ago both women were smokers.  12 months ago both women sat on an airplane with a skinny family member wedged between them and embarrassed by their inability to sit comfortably and use the facilities of the aircraft to eat a meal, both made a decision to take action when they returned home.  As they recount their story to me of this event the disappointment in themselves is evident.  

But let me tell you this.  The day I met these women, approximately 1 month after their D day, no trace of negativity was evident.  There was plenty of fear as they embarked on the new and I was as nervous as they about their physical capacity to cope with the demands of their training.  After our first meeting I could tell they were committed for the journey and every week when I would see them I became almost as excited as they about their transformation.

Positivity begets positivity and commtiment plus action begets results.

Over the past 12 months Liane and Patricia have seen friends and associates try to emulate their results - some with a little success.  When I ask them what is the difference they both agree on a few things:

“We like awesome” ... to be awesome you have to get results
“ We wanted to find the healthy side of ourselves”
“Something just clicked - this is a lifestyle change”

Both women wanted not just a change in weight and a shape, both wanted the lifestyle benefits that go with that.

Patricia, at 68, was troubled with bad hips and knees and was not going to exercise - she just wanted to change her diet and lose the weight.  Now she is a star pupil blazing a trail for many half her age.  Having lost weight and found movement Patricia is pain free and about 1 month ago was rewarded when her enlightened doctor freed her from her prescription for high blood pressure. For the doctor, this was the first time he had ever been able to do this.

Transformed these ladies are a joy to be around and an inspiration to all who cross their path.  They travel a lot, and this year took a trip to Europe where, whilst others drank coffee and ate biscotti these girls took to the streets on walking tours and visiting surrealist art exhibitions. Like the pied pipers of life, they drew a crowd because their version of the holiday was simply more fun.

Liane’s advice to those that want to change is pure gold and her generosity allows me to share it with you:

“Let go of everything you know and love and be open to new things.  If you want to change, you have to WANT to change.”

It’s really so simple!

Check out these before and after shots - I’m sure you’ll agree there’s been plenty of positive change.

August 2013:

August 2014:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Three cheers for TAFE!!!

So I found out today that Monday 3 June is National TAFE Day and there's a sausage sizzle to celebrate.

There should be a helluva a lot more celebration than that about one our country's most impressive learning institutions.

I can't speak for every TAFE in the country, but I can speak with 3 years experience under my belt of dealing with the Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE and the head of the Cert 3 & 4 in Fitness training, Sonya Barber, of the Cairns TAFE and all it's generosity and intelligence.

A few years back I found out about ViPR.  It's the best training tool in the world for movement authentic to human design ... but that's another blog.

In my quest to share the brilliance of ViPR I approached TAFE and they were the first, and at the time the only, receptive ear I could find.  In the interests of being open to all learning Sonya brought her students to the PCYC and we played ViPR for about 2 hours.  It was awesome - motivating, energising, fun, playful, challenging, life affirming - everything fitness should be.  As a one off I thought it was brilliant.

What has been super exciting about TAFE is that this one chance occurrence opened my eyes to the bigger world of TAFE and a way of learning that embraces and connects with the community around it, and truly creates pathways for success for people of all ages and with all interests.

Tonight at 5:15 me and my ViPRs can be found at Gatton St, on the TAFE grounds, doing ViPR Playground!!  Since our initial encounter Fitness Form & Function has formed a strong relationship with the Cert 3 & 4 Fitness students at TAFE and their teachers and mentors, to the point where now TAFE supports the training of ViPR for all their students as part of their curriculum, they actively engage in ongoing training in the Fun Fitness Friday sessions run by Fitness Form & Function, and they generously donate their space and time to enable the offering of a free ViPR class for everyone, not just TAFE people, every Thursday afternoon.

A healthy, connected community cuts a path forward to a healthier life for all, and TAFE, especially the TNQIT and Sonya's fitness division, are leading the way.

I am proud to be associated with TAFE and so grateful for their openness to the new.

On Monday 3 June support your TAFE and support the organisation that supports the community.  It's changing lives!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Biggest Loser

Tonight I find myself with some free time and have decided to channel surf ... all the way to the repeat of Biggest Loser on Channel 11.

I never watch this program, but tonight I can't move on ...

The program is overwhelming.  Possibly I've had one too many glasses of wine on a Saturday night to be objective, but the fact remains that there are people on this show that weigh over 250kg.  This is more than 3 times the body weight of an average person like myself.  The weigh in made me weep.   Not for the fact that these people are big, but for the question that it raises - what has happened in the life of a 27 year old young man that he needs to cover himself with so much protection that he requires that much weight to feel safe.

So much about this program confronts me, and yet at the same time it opens up something that has so much relevance for so many of us today - where does life go so wrong that people hate themselves enough to want to eat their way to an early grave.

A call to action.  If you love someone - tell them.  If you have a gripe with someone - get it out and clear it away.  If you have a need, tell someone that can help and find a way to meet it.  For each of us there is only one life ... we are well served to get from it exactly what we want ... heavy or light, we will surely die alone!

Easter is a time for renewal.  Here is the opportunity to start fresh today and focus your energies on what it is that brings out the best in you each day.

Stop worrying people and start living.  One life, and it starts now!!!

Happy Easter xx