Fitness Boxing

“I’d really like to get back to boxing,” she said. “It was my favourite form of cardio. I think if I could do that, then I’d really feel like I’d made some progress.”

I have a strained relationship with what passes as “boxing” in the fitness industry. I almost feel visceral pain when I see inept personal trainers having their clients spaz out on pads or on the bag with horrific technique. When I see them getting their clients to soccer-kick the bottom of the bag, or kick the pads when they’re being held on the wrong side of their body I feel like I die a little inside.

I’ve deliberately moved away from the “fitness boxing” or “women’s kickboxing” scene. While at first I saw it as my “point of difference” and marketed myself as a PT who could hold pads, I quickly became disillusioned by the clientele it attracted. Once upon a time, Muay Thai meant everything to me, and it pained me to whore it out and see it reduced to a calorie burner for people who only saw technical instruction as an impediment to the flailing of limbs that was making their “fat cry” in their quest for the perfect “bikini body.”

But I’ve gotten to the point where I may no longer be able to contain myself. Today, an intelligent, educated, driven, successful client with balanced, healthy, realistic goals asked me to start holding pads for her again because it was something that made her feel strong, healthy and powerful. If I say no to that, I’ve really missed the point.

Why I Do My Job


Nothing makes me happier as a personal trainer than seeing a client make progress. The most meaningful progress can’t be neatly summed up with a before-and-after pic on social media. The most meaningful progress from my perspective is an improvement in quality of life. Today I was privileged to witness a long-term client able to push herself to near-failure on the lat pull-down machine. This is significant because, in the space of a few months, she has gone from being in constant pain due to muscular dysfunction in her upper traps and exercising purely to rehabilitate this dysfunction, to being able to explore the limits of her strength with functional, integrated muscle recruitment. In simple terms, it means no more sleepless nights with headaches and back pain, not needing to see a physio multiple times a week, and being able to consider exercise goals beyond pain management.

Moments like these are the reason I do my job.

Staying Hydrated

Something that I have had trouble with in the past has been staying hydrated when my training load has been heavy. Sometimes it can literally feel like if you’re not training, you’re showering, sleeping or trying to fit enough food in your stomach to fuel your next session, and amidst all of this is can be surprisingly easy to neglect to drink enough. Couple this with a failure to replenish the electrolytes that allow your body to actually retain the water that you drink and fairly soon you’re dealing with dry skin and eyes, muscle cramps, headaches and reduced performance.

My training load today was quite heavy, but I managed to avoid these side-effects of dehydration by:

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How Yoga Has Helped Me


For the last month and a half, I have been doing a lot of yoga. I’ve found yoga valuable in the past. For instance, when I was just beginning to recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, yoga was one of the first forms of exercise that I was able to attempt. I could do it at home, stop any time, didn’t need any assistance, and there was no risk of becoming stranded as a result of fatigue – which could have happened at that stage had a gone for a walk on my own and become too tired to make it back.

It’s quite amazing to think of how weak I had become as a result of being debilitated by CFS. Things like chair pose, high lunges or cobras which I now perform easily as part of an active recovery really tested my muscular strength and endurance back then.

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Jiu Jitsu Adventures at Bull and Tiger Grappling: Evolving Beyond My Comfort Zone

On Wednesday night , I did something out-of-character and registered at the last-minute for a BJJ competition that I literally found out about mid-roll that day. I’m a creature of habit when it comes to pre-comp and pre-fight preparation and routine. Although there are many people who take a relatively casual attitude towards BJJ competition preparation, I usually treat mine like a fight-camp and make it the sole focus of my training.

At Bull and Tiger Grappling Comp, Singapore
At Bull and Tiger Grappling Comp, Singapore

But ever since I first put on a gi in 2011 and started thinking about MMA, I have wanted to fight in Singapore. A last-minute BJJ comp is hardly a fight, but it seemed serendipitous – as if the Universe was posing me a question that I needed to answer.

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Where Did You Want To Be Two Years Ago?

I was recently prompted to “write the post that was on my mind when I decided to start this blog.”

I went back over my archives and read my first post. It was February 2012. I was enjoying my first year of good health after chronic fatigue syndrome.

I wrote:

Me, 2012, with cake and neck injury
Me, 2012, with cake and neck injury

“Where I’d rather be now is reaching more people through my personal training business, competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, fighting in Muay Thai again both here and in Thailand, and making my debut in Mixed Martial Arts. These are the things that have formed the basis of 2012β€²s Resolutions, which in turn determine the actions I take each day to make these a reality.”Β 

Since then, I moved some goal-posts. Transitioning from Muay Thai to MMA was more difficult than imagined, so my goals to have more Muay Thai fights and to go to Thailand have been superseded by my focus on grappling.

I have seen how competitive the personal training industry has become, and how much more clients need than basic exercise programs. I continue to work with fitness clients, while making myself a better exercise specialist and, eventually, a holistic nutritionist through formal study.

One area of my lifeΒ has gone according to plan, and that’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Losing via ground-and-pound stoppage in an MMA fight against Arlene Blencowe last year turned out to be a blessing. It has driven me to develop my grappling skills.

Last weekend I competed in the South Australian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu State Championships – my first competition as a blue belt.

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Why Am I Here? Clarifying My Place In The Blogsphere

I’m not going to wax existential, but I’ve been prompted to think about why I’m here and what I hope to accomplish in the blogsphere.

It’s a timely question, given that it’s been some time since I established this blog, and that a few things have changed since then.

I originally started blogging as a way to create more awareness of the work that I do as a personal trainer. In the few years that I’ve been blogging, however, things have evolved. I’ve been exposed to the work of many other bloggers, and the combination of my time working with fitness clients, the study that I’ve done, and the experiences that I’ve had as an athlete and as a woman have clarified my ideas and inspired me to expand my blog-gy mission.

For instance, I’ve become aware of what a huge issue Body Image is, not only for individuals but for society at large. As a personal trainer I simply cannot choose to believe that I exist in a vacuum. Although I consciously perpetuate no particular body image, I am a sort of intermediary – people, particularly women, seek me out as part of their quest to create a certain physique, and I cannot help but notice when the concept of self-worth or beauty upon which their goals are based is hurting them.

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