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Feeling SYMPATHETIC? Could you be putting your health at risk?

The autonomic nervous system within the body involuntarily regulates internal body functions. It consists of both the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system controls our fight or flight response, while the parasympathetic nervous system does almost the opposite relaxes the body and slows many high energy functions. The parasympathetic system heals, digests and rests the body.

When the body senses danger or something of urgency the sympathetic nervous system is activated. Without any effort from our conscious selves the body goes into flight or fight mode. Heart rate increases, pupils are dilated, adrenal glands are stimulated, digestive activity is inhibited plus loads more! This can feel like shallow breaths, heart racing, a feeling of anx or stress!

Once upon a time this system would have been primarily activated when the person was under extreme threat. Being chased by an animal, hunting at night, in battle and war. These days, most people have it running too much! When unexpected bills arrive, when the boss calls, when we argue with our spouse, driving in city traffic, running late for meetings, lininf up at the checkout. The list goes on. Most of us don’t even realise we are using our sympathetic nervous system. The thing is, the sympathetic nervous system is vital to our survival, however using it constantly and when not needed can actually cause more damage than good. It means our body can’t heal appropriately, digestion is inhibited, muscles are tense, we don’t sleep well, we don’t think clearly and are in a constant world of stress.

Alternatively, the parasympathetic system as discussed above, does quite the opposite. When we are in a parasympathetic state, our muscles relax, our bodies complete their digestive functions efficiently, our body can heal and restore, our breathing is slower and we tend to be in a calmer state of mind.

So we discussed above what causes us to be in the SYMPATHETIC state, but how can we get our body into a PARASYMPATHETIC state? Anything that calms the mind and body. Meditation, prayer, walking in nature, spending time outdoors, resting/napping, being mindful of the present moment, breathing practises, swimming in the ocean etc.

How often each day do practise any of the above listed to reduce your stress and be in a PARASYMPATHETIC state? Personally, I would say the only thing I did above was sleep? On a busy work day, it was wake up, eat, get ready, go to work, be busy and stressed, come home, quickly make dinner, eat, sleep. Where’s the “relax” and “being present” there?

Now, while we all can’t just stop and chuck a down dog or  breathing mediation while at work, I highly suggest you make time. Even just 1 hour of your day, to fill in with some of the above activities. That’s my next goal. To ensure each day I’m making a conscious effort to increase my time in a PARASYMPATHETIC state. When you notice you’re feeling stressed, take a few bigggg deep breathes. Spot 4 different things around you in the room. It will ground you. Something you can see? Smell? Touch? Hear?  It will bring your attention to the “there and then”.

I watched a documentary called HEAL two days ago. Two of the examples they used about how stress can cause serious illness was the “Epstein Barr Virus + Shingles Virus”. Both of which I have had/have. If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is. Stress suppresses the immune system and can cause so many health issues.

I truely hope you’ve learnt something new from this blog and that It brings you an awareness on how you are feeling and that you can identify what autonomic nervous system you are spending most of your time in.

AE xx

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Why I broke up with my career as a Personal Trainer

Firstly, THANK YOU for taking the time to have a quick read of my latest write up!
This week I wanted to write about WHY I stopped taking on clients and basically “broke up” with my career as a Personal Trainer.

Over the last 10 or so years, the occupation of being a “personal trainer” has grown substantially. Like, ridiculously! I somehow managed to choose to take on the career at the same time that everyone else decided to. #rookieerror.

Personal Training & working with people and helping them in particular, is something I am extremely passionate about. I enjoy teaching people, encouraging people, believing in people & working with people. So why the break up?


I found that I was training my clients, in the time slots I needed to train myself. Clients need to be trained early morning or evening. These are the only times, working around my other employment, that I can personally do my own training Whether that is strength training, running, riding, pilates or stretching. I highly value “my time” and found that I was putting others before myself. This is something most trainers have to do, so next time you see your trainer, thank them!

We all have things go on in our lives which put us behind or make us late to appointments etc. As a personal trainer, you are bound to get those 5am text messages that say” Hey so sorry, won’t be making it today”. Mean while you’re already up, session planned and ready to go. As frustrating as it was, I was well aware that people had things going on in their lives and somethings you just can’t control. However, I love my sleep! So to take my time out, plan and be waiting for someone that doesn’t show up was extremely disheartening.

“I’m just not getting the results”. Those heartbreaking words said by clients. Until, you go over their food diary, sleep patterns, exercise regime and find out that everything you designed, explained and suggested has been completely overlooked and none of it completed or adhered to. I found that there was nothing more frustrating than putting my heart and soul into someone and them not showing the same commitment.

Collaborating with fellow trainers, only to find out that behind your back they were “snaking/stealing/persuading” your very own customers to join their programs instead. Ummmm…MATE! That’s not very Australian. I’m really not into competing for “clients” and don’t believe that people should be “competed for”. People deserve to train with who they work well with. I’ve always said it and still do to this day “Not every trainer is for every person, and not every person is for every trainer”.

The walls in which I’ve worked as a trainer have heard and seen many things. Tears, tantrums, deceit, pain, challenges, stories, lies, truths, passion, wins and losses. I’ve heard indepth truths of peoples lives and never told a soul. I’ve handed tissues to clients along with their dumbbells. As a trainer, you take all of this on. Your clients trust you with their very personal health and medical issues. Even though in your own world, you are dealing with your own happenings and emotions, it is also your job to listen and help others with theirs. You are a PERSONAL TRAINER. It gets very personal.


Stated above, I had a break up with my career as a personal trainer. It’s coming on exactly 1 year since I said “Goodbye”. At the moment, I still have a very special client that I see weekly and absolutely LOVE working with! I’ve  enjoyed the break and ponder daily where I see myself as a personal trainer in the future. I feel like it is definitely something I will continue with, but in a different way and with a different style. Who knows WHEN or HOW that will be. But keep your eyes peeled… never know what’s around the corner!



AE xx