KatyLostWeighty Talks Depression, Anxiety and Magnesium

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I have decided to break from the norm with this post and be a little more scientific with my approach to writing. Mental health is something I am very interested in, particularly Depression and Anxiety.  For anyone who hasn’t guessed already from the name of my website, I am no neurologist. Instead, this piece comes from my own experience and personal research. As before KatyLostWeighty, KatyLostHerMindy.

According to a leading mental health organisation, cases of recorded depression are on the rise. In 2014 19.7% of people in the UK aged 16 and over showed symptoms of anxiety and depression. That is a 1.5% increase from the preceding year.[1] If we look back even further and broaden our interest to include the USA, the 1% of Americans who complained of depression in 1905 is a tiny percentage when compared to the 1 in 10 people who complain of it today. For me this raises the question, why is depression in western society getting worse.[2] 

I have suffered from anxiety and depression. The worst episode I had was just before I started on my journey to lose weight. It was one of the things that led to my urgency and determination to get in the gym and stick to a new healthier lifestyle. I didn’t know much about how the mind works back then. The extent of my knowledge was that exercise makes you feel good and I would have argued that that was a lie considering how much my body ached from finally using it; Bloody Squats!

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Depression and anxiety is as scary as it is desperate.  Sometimes you can feel a bit blue, sometimes you can feel hopeless and other times you can feel totally separate from yourself and the rest of the world, like you are viewing everything through a bubble. There are loads of symptoms and none are to be dismissed. My desperation forced me to research to try and find a cure for how I was feeling. There was one thing I found that helped me more than anything else; Magnesium.

According to leading researchers, there is a very tangible link between Magnesium deficiencies in the modern world and depression.  In the past we would have got our recommended amount of Magnesium from food but with the increase in processed food in the western world and the introduction of refined grain, all we get from food now is fat.

Magnesium has several functions in the body. One of the most interesting uses of Magnesium is that it can suppress the release the stress hormones (Cortisol and Adrenaline). In addition, it can act as a blood/ brain barrier to prevent the entrance of these stress hormones. If our understanding of mental health assumes that people can be predisposed to depression and other mental illness based on the amount of stress they endure (Diathesis-Stress Theory), then Magnesium plays a vital role in reducing the number of us who suffer.

When I started taking Magnesium it took two days for the fog I was living in to clear. In the time since,

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I normally suffer from anxiety and to a lesser extent depression during PMS season. A study conducted in 2010 showed that PMS symptoms in women who were treated with B6 and Magnesium dramatically decreased when compared to test groups. who weren’t treated in the same way. [3] So if you, like me, feel like the world has abandoned you for a week a month, then you might want to take a closer look at your nutrition and supplementation.

The link between Magnesium and your mental health is scientifically proven and yet I for one knew nothing about it until I suffered.  It makes me wonder how many of us are suffering from nutrient deficiencies of some kind that we aren’t even aware off. How many people live day to day, tired, lacking in energy, sad, sometimes hopeless and not even realising that it doesn’t have to be this way. That it could potentially be helped, if not fixed, with a little more understanding of our body, mind and the willingness to make changes.

 

There is a lot more to be said on this topic , so if you found this piece interesting, please subscribe. Like me on Facebook, Follow me on Instagram and Twitter….like me people lol.  Thanks xx

Disclaimer- If you are elderly, pregnant or suffer from kidney disease please consult your doc before supplementing with Magnesium. Keep it safe readers.

[1] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-depression

[2] http://www.psychology today.com, Magnesium and The Brain The Original Chill Pill.

[3] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3208934

Client Spotlight: Agent K

I want all of my clients to have the chance to shine because I am so proud of their achievements. However, sometimes you work with clients that are so important in their everyday life that their identity has to be shielded. Let me introduce to you, Agent K. I can’t possibly tell you what Agent K does for a living, because she won’t tell me….in fact even when training her, I have never seen her face, as she wears a series of masks.

When she is not saving the world, she trains with me at Gymbox and has made some fantastic progress. Here is what she has to say…..img_3290

What made you start personal training?
I have always hated sport and exercise.  I used to chalk that up to youthful rebellion; my proudest moment was when a school PE teacher told all the mums and dads at parents’ evening that I was a bad egg who worked their children up into “fits of not trying”.   However, as I approached 30, my inability to carry my shopping home without getting winded was becoming an increasing source of shame.  I was flabby, stressed, ill most of the time and not sleeping very well.  Enter Katy…
How have you managed to have such a busy personal life and still have time to train?
This is why having a personal trainer is so important to me.  Katy always makes training fun so I look forward to it rather than dreading it.  She has also stopped me from feeling intimidated by the other (enormous, muscle-bound) people in the gym, or the (unnecessarily complicated) equipment.  Seeing the gym as a fun place to let off some steam keeps me coming back.  Also I think of Katy as a friend (who I pay to hang out with me…) so I don’t want to let her down by not making it to training.
 
What’s your biggest accomplishment with in the gym?
That I’m still going every week almost 2 years later!
 
img_3283What’s your favourite exercise?
I’m answering this question very carefully because I know this might be used against me at future training sessions… Probably squats because I am proud that I have finally learnt how to do them properly.
What’s your favourite healthy meal?
Shakshuka – baked eggs in spicy pepper and tomato sauce.
 
Would you go into space if you knew you could return and that there was civilised life out there? 
100%.  I don’t even need there to be civilised life (being able to come back would be good though).
 
Are you a spy?
I’ll never tell…img_3286

Fitness Bullying: Is Your Gym Divided?

The other day I was working out at a gym I hadn’t been to before on a guest pass. This gym is wicked. Top of the range equipment, cool vibe and promises to get you into shape in an environment you look forward to being in. So far so good.

Towards the end of my workout, I was stretching near a man who was shadow boxing. He wasn’t moving much and didn’t need all the space he had around him. He looked like he was in the zone and probably quite intimidating to some. A larger gent then came into the area we were working in. Quite the opposite to the boxer, he seemed nervous and unsure of himself. He went to set up the equipment he needed to do his workout, which was about 5 feet away from the boxer and definitely would not have affected him punching the air. What happened next is the reason I am writing this blog…the boxer shouted at the fella, telling him he had no idea what he was doing and that he clearly hadn’t been to the gym before because of his size.

say-what-nowDeflated and defeated, I watched the new gym goer, put away his equipment, walk back to the changing rooms and shortly after leave the gym…without working out.

This really bothered me and has made me become more aware of fitness bullying (a term coined by The Girls Gone Strong). I see it everyday, from the way new gym goers are spoken about in January, to the way the clothes people wear are judged more important than effort put in.

When you are scared to use the gym and intimidated of exercise, joining and going should be all it takes to earn admiration. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case as often anymore.

Fitness is not a club that you have to be deemed worthy enough to join. If you can do a one armed handstand, endless muscle-ups, run obstacle races across tough terrain, Olympic Lift like a boss or any other feat of the human body, then you should be really proud. However, please don’t let that pride get in the way of remembering how hard it was to walk into the gym on your first day and not know how anything works; equipment to etiquette.

If someone is finding joy and progress from only using the cardio machines, praise them for it. If someone isn’t quite ready to use free weights but is beasting it on the Lat Pull Down, congratulate them on their success. If someone doesn’t know how to use a machine or looks lost in the gym,  help them!!

Every single member of every gym has the desire to improve themselves in common. Our blog-first-time-at-gymwill power, knowledge and skill may be different but we are all trying and that is a quality to be universally admired and guided; not broken down into ability levels and made exclusionary.

Sadly, I feel that fitness professionals/gurus are partly to blame for this emerging culture. Thanks to Instagram and other social media platforms, people are no longer becoming inspired by the things they can eventually do themselves but rather getting caught up in cults of personality. Look up any fitness professional/guru who has over 200k followers I guarantee on average you will find more posts about lifestyle aimed at making you envious of their life, rather than helping you improve your own. It is this shift in focus that I feel is filtering down into gym environments and making it a bit more unfriendly than it should be.

Individually we can change this trend by going out of our way to make sure everyone feels welcome at the gym. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge or too self-involved to accept it from others. Let’s collectively make our gym environments somewhere everyone is welcome, all successes regardless of size are praised and where no one has to leave the gym a victim of fitness bullying again!

Peace,

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Client Spotlight: Siobhan ‘the quad god’ Sleet!

My clients inspire me everyday with their determination, perseverance and ability to multi-task their busy work and home life with training. Siobhan has been working with me for over a year now and she continues to impress me with her attitude and consistency and I am very proud of her. Here is what she has to say about training, nutrition and reaching goals.img_2567-1
Why did you decide to start training?
I decided to start personal training because I wanted to improve my fitness and generally lose weight, feel more confident with my body and feel good about myself. It wasn’t just about my looks though, I wanted to be more healthy and also invest in myself and feel mentally more healthy too – which I find training also helps you to do. I generally struggled with making the time as I’d always put other things first and I really like the commitment to having a trainer that makes it harder to make excuses not to take time for yourself!
What is your favourite exercise and why?
There are quite a few but I’m mostly enjoying the exercises where I can see an improvement over time. Some of them I hated to begin with but then noticed strength increasing and started to feel good. So I like pull ups (because I can see I can/will get to the point where I can lift myself), Deadlifts because I can see progress (and almost lifting my body weight!) and leg press because I just like the power I now have in my legs. Also being able to push a heavy weight off you with your legs is useful, right?!!
Have you faced any difficulties in your journey so far? How did you handle them? 
I have, and still am, struggling with a balanced diet and commitment over time to this. Particularly with a hectic job and lots of things to juggle. I also don’t like cooking for one. This has been an area where Katy has been really patient (!) and also helpful. Sharing tips and meal plans etc which are genuinely good foods and nice to have. It’s just my own personal battle with making that much time for things and making good choices when hungry.
What’s your favourite healthy meal? 
Probably the healthy fajita recipe Katy gave me. I like that it’s a nice meal that’s got img_2565flavour. Also you can cook and have it for lunch the next day too which helps!
What are you the most proud of achieving so far in your fitness journey? (There are a lot to pick from)
To be honest I’m most proud of the fact that I’m still doing it! It’s been just about a year and I’ve not given up, can see progress, and have fun training. I genuinely miss it when I’m not doing it. In the past I have given up or made excuses and not made myself a priority. I think having someone that I enjoy training with has really helped because it’s also a bit of reverse psychology that I don’t want to let Katy down either.
I’ve also really enjoyed seeing improvements in my day-to-day. The small stuff like running for a bus and getting on without  huffing and puffing, or lifting up the big water cooler bottles at work and find it easy to change them. I also tried new exercises like climbing walls etc and found that my strength was much better than it had been and also compared to others in the class. It’s really nice to see that you are getting somewhere!

10 Reasons Why Brazillian Jiu Jitsu Is The Sport To Take Up When You Have Never Been Sporty!

Brazillian Jiu Jitsu is such a massive love of mine. I have been so busy doing it, I haven’t blogged about it and that’s just not like me.

I often talk to my clients about how girls are  labelled from a very early age as being ‘good at sports’ or ‘bad at sports’. I was certainly identified as the latter and the label stuck with me into later life. Particularly for girls, once you’re labelled as being not sporty at school, the opportunity to play sports may not arise again until University, where the level is higher and opportunity for a spot on a team smaller.

93203 Taking part in sport is something I feel should be available to all young girls and women. The physical and psychological benefits of being successful in a physical endeavor, really does change how people see themselves and often the success starts seeping into the other aspects of their lives. However, age, fitness levels and lack of confidence can all play a part in why people who aren’t naturally athletic, decide that they never can be.

Luckily in Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, you will have none of these problems.

For the uninitiated Brazillian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ is a ground based martial art. It is often referred to as human chess but reminds me a lot of cats cradle, as you are constantly finding yourself in awkward positions that you need to find your way out of  (but that may just be me lol) The aim is to submit your opponent but you can win by collecting points as well.

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There are loads of blogs out there about why women should train BJJ. Often they focus on the self-defence element and while important and true, it wasn’t the reason why I started this sport so I am not going to focus on it here. Instead this is specifically aimed at those women who are a bit reticent about taking up a martial art.

1: Time, hard work, determination and the will to never quit will always match or beat ‘natural talent’ in the end. In Jiu Jitsu, everyone cultivates their own game over time. Your game is made of your strengths so in BJJ, the saying ‘Talent is a pursued interest and anything you are willing to practise, you can do’ has never been truer.

2: It is team sport but you fight on your own. You know that feeling of giving the ball away in football or dropping the baton in a relay and letting the side down? Well, that doesn’t exist in BJJ. When you fail, you only really fail yourself and it is nothing a tub of ice cream and a silent sob won’t mend.

3: Being heavy is no longer a stigma, it can be a strength.

4: Age is no problem. EVERYONE is welcome on the mats.bjj-pic

5: Even sporty people don’t have a clue what they are doing when they start. Your lack of athleticism, will go unnoticed as you all try to figure out what a ‘guard’ actually is.

6: Practicing Brazillian Jiu Jitsu and being strong of mind are synonymous. As a white belt, everyone has something to teach you, but even as you go up the ranks there are always lessons to learn. In my opinion, this cultivates a community where people are listening to learn, not to just respond. This can translate into every area of your life and build your character as you build your game.

7: In BJJ there is no time for vanity. This is a sport where you will find yourself truly pay attention to what your body can do rather than what it looks like. That said, I defy anyone to find an exercise where you sweat as much in an hour.

8: BJJ will also make you see where your body is weak. Because you are addicted to this sport, you will find yourself wanting to do more exercise and eat better to make sure your body is the best it can be, so you can be the best you can be. There is no doubt, that you will become a fitter and healthier version of yourself.

9: You get to be part of a team and a wider community that all have the same determination to better themselves as you do.

10: You will realise that you can win against the odds. Make no mistake, being a women in this sport is not easy. The majority of your sparring partners will be men. You will feel broken, sore and frustrated when you feel that you can’t see any progress. You will fail more times than you succeed and you will find your mind defaulting to thinking about BJJ, which makes you feel somewhere between in love and crazy. But I promise you the journey is very fun and addicting and despite the challenge, there is nothing stopping you from being great at this martial art, except you.

If you want to try Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, I wholeheartedly advise you to find out where your local class is now.

If you are based in London or you are already Gymbox Member, come down and visit us on rga-logothe mats at RGA Gymbox Farringdon. Or keep an eye on the RGA Gymbox website for the launch of our brand new Tuesday night ladies only class.

the-basementOr if you happen to be closer to Stevenage, check out The Basement Martial Arts, for a family friendly club with an exceptional standard of teaching.

I hope to meet you all soon, just don’t beat me up too badly, ok??

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Verity – Client Spotlight

My client Verity is one of the most dedicated women I know. She has a determination about her that is inspiring and attacks every challenge I give her with an infectious sense of fun. Her transformation so far has been remarkable. I asked Verity a few questions, to help inspire those of you that have yet to start on your own journey.verity

 What inspired you to start your weight loss journey?
I turned 30 and thought “oh shit: this was the best this was ever going to look”. Better call for reinforcements!
How has your approach to nutrition changed?
Tracking what I eat has made me more honest with myself about what I eat. And therefore much more controlled.
What did you struggle with whilst losing weight?
Impatience. Waiting for it to happen. But I didn’t give into frustration, I just kept calm and listened to Katy Moran. (note- Verity was not paid to say that lol)
Top tip for any women yet to begin their journey?
Do it. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single squat.
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Client Spotlight: Lisa Power

 

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Lisa has been training with me for just under a year and in that time she has completely transformed herself. 

I couldn’t be prouder of this lady and I think you should all get to know a little bit more about her and her journey;

Name: Lisa Power20160622_113253 (1)

Age: 43

Occupation: Head of Partnerships

What was your motivation for beginning your fitness journey?

Having been a serial yo-yo dieter and fickle exerciser, I’ve always struggled to find something ‘liveable’ – fitness that I enjoy, that doesn’t feel like a chore, and an eating plan that doesn’t discount a social life, but I always believed it was out there. With weight training, I felt like I’d finally found something that I could benefit from and enjoy forever.

What has been the biggest change you have seen in yourself over the past year,besides your amazing weightloss?

My fitness and stamina is through the roof; I’ve surpassed targets I never thought possible with strength; and I thoroughly enjoy exercising, every single day.

20160622_113444What have you found to be the biggest challenges in losing weight?

My social life, in particular my nemesis – alcohol – slowed down my weight loss a bit more than I’d like. However I am happy to say I’ve found a way to balance this with my diet, and having Katy advise me on nutrition and giving me valuable advice about coping mechanisms when faced with temptation helped me work out what’s most important to me and still achieve my goals.

What is your favourite exercise and why?

I love deadlifting! Not only because it’s such an amazing all over workout but also because I look totally badass lifting a huge barbell with plates!

Any advice for women who have yet to start their own journey?

Be consistent. It’s the most important part of achieving your goal. Find something yo20160622_114939u love and do it regularly until it becomes habit. If you’re embarking on training don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Most gyms offer a taster PT session and for me, it was invaluable – I wouldn’t have got here otherwise. This is particularly important for weight training, as form is everything as a basis to improve.

Well done Lisa, I can’t wait to see what you achieve next!!