Exercise with a spoonful of tough love. Given from the right person, it can produce incredible effects.
I am convinced that exercise is the best medicine. It helps take care of your body, your mind, and your mental health, too. It’s easily accessible to all and doesn’t have to cost a penny. The only obstacle is that it can be seen as medicine and not everyone wants to take it.
It took me years to find an exercise that I love. Finding it wasn’t easy. As a kid, I was always picked last for the teams. I wasn’t a fast runner and did not excel at any sport. I didn’t like exercise, period. Probably because I wasn’t good at it.
Several years later, I found my place. What I do for exercise, is not important, but how it makes me feel, what I can accomplish and the fact that I am challenged every time, is what really matters.
During this social distancing time, each Friday morning, I have a virtual training session with Debra Basch @coach_debra_basch who is also a fitness and nutrition coach with @ladythefup and a part-time college instructor at @humbercollege.
It. Is. One. Tough. Hour. Which means that its exercise with a spoonful of tough love.
I wouldn’t want it any other way.
She tells it like it is. She doesn’t sugar coat anything and pushes me to my fullest potential. It’s hard, uncomfortable, and as a result, I see growth.
Recently, I had the chance to ask Debra a few questions about why she thinks exercise should be a part of our lives.
How did you get into the fitness industry?
I became a Level 1 Ontario Gymnastics Federation coach at the age of 16 where I was Coaching gymnastics and training as an elite competitive gymnast. I started teaching group exercise classes at 19 and coaching gymnastics to pay my way through university. It’s ALWAYS been a part of my life since I started gymnastics and figure skating at the age of 4.
What is the best and the most challenging part about teaching at Humber?
The best part is connecting with the students. The most challenging part is connecting with the students! Engagement is KEY to building rapport, credibility, and ensuring their success. Students at the post-secondary level are young adults with emerging adult responsibilities such as work challenges, relationships, and time management conflicts. You are in constant competition with these forces outside of the classroom. My goal is to always keep their best interests in front of THEM. I’m never the “know it all” and I routinely ask for feedback whenever I teach. If students sense you’re just doing your job (like some personal training clients) they become disengaged and sour. However, when they see you truly care and you have their best interests at heart, engagement is very high.
What is the best and worst part of being a personal trainer?
The best part is being able to help guide people to reach their goals. To teach them accountability for their successes and losses. If they fail at their goal, I’m always interested in understanding why it happened. How much effort did they put in? Why do they think they were successful or felt short? I am a guide and support but I cannot do the work for them. The minute the excuses come and the blame falls on work, family, and time management, I will direct it back at them.
Fortunately, the worst part is no longer applicable! I am very grateful that my style and credibility have attracted a wide and varied clientele in age, gender, socioeconomics, and abilities. In my earlier career, I had to work with anyone who walked into the gym. I do not work well with “entitled” or “weak” mindset people. I have no patience for excuses. I’m not expecting perfection but I do expect that you give YOURSELF your best effort. The exercise I instruct with a spoonful of tough love.
Why is it important to exercise – especially now.
If exercise was a part of your routine for self-care before COVID19, then why should it stop now? The excuse that you’re not motivated to do it at home is weak. It’s either part of your life or it isn’t and I suspect that if you need a gym then you are looking for a way out.
Exercise does not have to be grueling to be effective and we need it for stress release and perhaps “alone” time. It keeps our immune systems strong, our sense of well being high, and a daily dose of dopamine doesn’t hurt to keep the mindset strong. There are so many options to work out effectively at home to fit any budget. Unfortunately, it saddens me when I hear the excuses.
Do you have a favourite way to exercise?
Anything where movement is involved!
Do you have any advice for middle school kids and their parents regarding exercising?
Exercise sounds like brushing your teeth but for a lot longer. A necessary non-negotiable evil. Parents can be excellent planners, but terrible doers! We all make excuses and I am guilty of that, too!
There are 23.5 hours in one day. Choose just 30 minutes to do something active with your kids.
Parents are the biggest role models in a child’s life and continue to be well past the teenage years. A kid who gets to spend time with their parents engaging in activities where you all get sweaty and have fun becomes time well spent.
Kids are inherently lazy when they don’t “feel” like it. The teachable moment here is that in life, we need to suck it up and do many things we don’t feel like doing. The good news is that sometimes we get surprised and actually like it! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if what you started today was taken forward to your children’s lives when they have their own families?
You heard it here. Exercise, no matter what sport or form, needs to be a part of everyone’s life. Make it part of your daily routine just like brushing your teeth.
I’m so grateful to be able to have the opportunity to write what I’m passionate about and what I think will serve others. If you would like me to write about you and your passions for the Braves The Waves Journal, or for your own company, please be in touch.