The Challenges Of Exercise

Steve December Blog Image

As I’m sure you already know from my previous blogs, I’m one of those people that’s crazy about exercise and training. It is my job though, so it’s okay to be a little bit fanatical about! I’m also slightly obsessed with cakes and sweet stuff too which makes me human, I guess. I’ve always been in to pushing my body hard predominantly around heavy lifting to get big and strong, but it also helps to burn off the lovely cake and chocolate!

As an advanced Personal Trainer and Rehab Specialist it’s my business to support and guide my clients with every challenge.

Whether it’s physical or mental support that’s needed, my role is to empower someone to grow in both body and mind. The synergy of body and mind is the interaction of the two elements which will be greater of the individual element… basically, using both will always have a better result than just using one at a time.

Synergy of body and mind is part of my business ethos, it’s only recently, since my stoma surgery, that it became so relevant to me. Beforehand, I was dependent on the physical aspect of my own training, thinking it would give me everything I needed to improve my self-esteem and confidence. I thought getting the body I dreamed of would make me happy. Isn’t that all that matters: having a six pack, huge chest, and massive quads? It was a vacuous and shallow thought-process that manipulated my mind. What’s ironic is the fact I have a very different approach to my clients, first and foremost it’s all about the mind. The mind will always be the most important element when it comes to understanding someone’s needs and how best to coach and guide someone to achieving the results they strive for. However, with myself I was blinded by the physical aspect.

As my career progressed, I was able to identify issues around body dysmorphia and how that impacts our self-perception.

What we see is in ourselves is very different to another person’s perception. This is a tough one to master, especially when you live with an invisible illness which can trigger deep insecurities. These can manifest in many ways, for me it was either going to make or break me. I never thought I would come away from this with both body and mind stronger than ever.

I’ve focused on my own training for years and since becoming a personal trainer and coach, my knowledge of training and understanding of physiology and biomechanics is extensive. The biggest lesson I learnt is why I do what I do, the reasons behind my drive to keep training. Not only do I love the buzz, but I also love the sense of achievement. That feeling when you’ve pushed harder than ever, and you look in the mirror and see the real you. When you’re proud of that person who stands in front of your own eyes.

When you have a stoma, exercise can be a huge challenge…

Not only do you worry about the bag being uncomfortable or whether you will need to change during a session, but you also think people will be looking at that non-existent bump under your shirt, or that they’ll notice you touching your stoma pouch to check if it’s okay.

The gym environment can be an intimidating and overwhelming place for anyone, the key is to mentally prepare yourself.

Set short-term and long-term objectives, be realistic but also challenge yourself.

People always ask me for my number one piece of advice about starting to exercise and train, every time my response is: focus on you.

It’s not about what others are doing or thinking. Honestly, they’re probably too bothered about themselves to notice the things you’re anxious about. My second-best piece of advice is to learn… gaining a greater understanding of technique and training methods will make you feel less lost and intimidated by the training space. This will improve over time, but it’s good to be prepared before you start. I recommend working with a personal trainer or an app which can help get you started. Finding some direction with training and nutrition will certainly help, and of course most importantly, take the necessary precautions to avoid damaging your stoma.

There’s no reason for you to stop exercising once you have a stoma. In fact, you now have even more of a reason to get active. To read our advice for exercising with a stoma head to our Staying Active With A Stoma page.

by Steve White

Steve White

About the author

Hey guys, I’m Steve - a Northern lad who moved to London to start a career as a Personal Trainer. An accident led to my temporary stoma and I had quite a traumatic time, but I'm doing what I can to help others. An important fact about me is that I am blessed to have the most adorable, loving cockapoo called Sally. Follow me on Twitter @SWfitnesslondon or find me on Instagram.

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