We recently added this question to our RTM member survey and, surprisingly, quite some people said ‘no’. They especially would like to see improvement in their sleep patterns. But how can our gym contribute to that?
Now, we can give you a very nice list of bullet points telling you what lifestyle coaching is and what the benefits are, but it speaks much more to the imagination if we explain it through an example, by a case of coach Juan.
Coach Juan Ortega has been into lifestyle coaching for almost 10 years. After suffering from many injuries himself and the effect on his lifestyle (gaining weight, feeling depressed), he decided to look for an effective way to drastically and permanently change his lifestyle in a holistic way. This resulted in a concept in which he has been successfully coaching clients for years:
‘One day a woman came into my practice, a cardiologist, with the goal of wanting to lose weight for her sister’s wedding. A noble reason but I wondered if this would be enough to keep it up afterwards. I began to ask her some questions:’
“Why do you want to lose weight?”
“I want to look good at my sister’s wedding.”
“But don’t you look good now then?”
“No, I’m overweight and don’t feel good about it. It makes me feel insecure.”
“Ah okay, so basically you want to feel better about yourself and feel more confident.”
Next to a training schedule, the focus in lifestyle training is on changing behaviors and patterns to create a fit and healthy lifestyle, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Training in this is just a tool, a constant that we use to measure the effect of the change.
Improving sleep patterns
‘During the first session, in addition to working out, we paid attention to her sleeping patterns. As a cardiologist, she has to work irregular shifts quite often. This means that on average she sleeps about +/- 6 hours continuously per night. This can affect your sense of hunger because your stomach starts producing more of the trigger hormone ghrelin. At the same time, with too little sleep, fat cells secrete less of the satiety hormone leptin. And this, in turn, can eventually cause weight gain.
So, crucial: improve sleep rhythm. And better sleep also means better training performance.’
‘Her sleep pattern improved, she lost weight, but several sessions later the weight loss came to a halt again. Time for the next step in which we started looking at her eating habits. The focus was on, looking to adopt an eating habit that works best for her. We tailored her diet to her family situation, what she likes and what works best for her body. Result: weight loss and improved workout results.’
‘I noticed that her stress levels were very high. She was always on and had trouble detaching from work when she was at home. This was at the expense of her health. The goal: stress down, dopamine up.
I advised her several things to do. First: cold showering for 3 minutes. This stimulates the production of endorphins, also known as the happiness hormone. Next: mindfulness and meditation, to detach from work and being able to land back at home. And finally exercise, through sports but also by taking a bike instead of a car when commuting to work or go for a walk.
When she got to the point where she was able to keep this up, and her stress levels had significantly dropped, I asked her to go one step further and schedule some self-care once a week. This sounds like something very simple but before this there just wasn’t mentally room for it. Reaching this point was a huge milestone.’
‘After a while the focus was now mainly on prevention. She still had about 9 weeks a year where she worked extremely busy days (and night shifts), but she now knew how to manage this and then get back into her healthy rhythm. Even after she had her second child, she was able to get back into the swing of things relatively easily because it was now in her system.
Now, two years later she is back to the look she is happy with (not the weight!). The way of training we built together has become something she now sees as self-care, an investment in herself.’
So, what is lifestyle coaching? A PT concept which goes beyond only training in the gym. With lifestyle coaching we also focus on your day-to-day routine, nutrition, sleep habits, stress management, mindfulness; anything that’s holding you back from living a fit and healthy lifestyle.
We’re bringing together all the ingredients for a long-lasting improvement in your overall lifestyle.
Are you curious about what lifestyle coaching can do for you? Plan your intake with Coach Juan and get started! Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.