The Business of Corporate Fitness.

Whenever I meet people who are overweight, stressed, unfit and suffering from an array of health problems, I always make a point of asking how they got that way. Of course politeness prevents me from being quite so blunt, so my more sensitive question is “Do you make time for exercise?”

I don’t ask to be intrusive or condescending or because I want to make them clients (although it would definitely be in their best interest!) but because I am genuinely puzzled that they don’t realise the difference exercise could make to their lives.

Nearly always, the answer to my question is no, and the reason for it is their busy corporate lifestyle. I’m sorry, but this particular excuse, answer, whatever you want to call it, simply does not sit right with me. Let me ask a few loaded questions to explain why, particularly if this all sounds very familiar to you…

How often do you waste half an hour of potentially productive time trying to work through a throbbing headache? You know the one, where your eyes go blurry and it feels like someone is repeatedly putting a hammer to your temples. How often do you get tired mid-afternoon and count down the hours until you can go home, only to realise four hours later that you haven’t really done much work, and now need to stay back an extra two hours to make up for your lack of productivity?

How often do you take sick days? Why don’t you turn those eight hours of missed work into eight hours of feel good exercise? Do that, and there’s a good chance you’ll never need to take a sick day in the first place.

How often do you see the fit, lean guy come into work in the morning looking happy, cheerful and bright-eyed, getting through the day with ease, and wonder how he does it? There is no secret. The only difference between you and him is that he makes the time for exercise!

So many people say to me, “I’m just too tired to get up any earlier”. But isn’t your health and wellbeing more important than a sleep in? It only takes 30 minutes a day, not necessarily in the morning, to make a big difference to your quality of life.

When I put this to people they umm and ahh over it and then realise that I’m dead right. But more than that, what I try to make clear to them, is that taking half an hour or more out of each day to exercise will actually leave them feeling less tired in the short and long term.

Exercise not only combats fatigue, leaving you more energised, it also helps you think more clearly and ensures better productivity throughout the day. After exercising you will naturally choose healthier foods, feel happier, look better, get sick less… do I need to go on?!  Because I could go on and on and on and take up almost the entire magazine, talking about the benefits of exercise.

Some of my fittest and most regular clients are corporate people whose jobs are endlessly demanding. They make exercise a priority in their life and they reap the benefits. They are the people you see bouncing into work and experiencing success in their role, moving up the corporate ladder easily and effortlessly.

They function on a higher and more productive level, probably getting through the same tasks as you in half the time.  Not only are they successful in their workplace, but because they make time for exercise, they also have the energy to cook healthy meals, go out socially, date, think creatively, laugh and even stop to enjoy nature and everything else this amazing world has to offer.

So I’m going to let you in on a secret. Do not let work rule your life – make exercise your friend. Just try it! Start small, it might mean a 20 minute walk in your lunch break and then gradually two gym sessions a week before work. Plan a realistic training program and STICK TO IT for four weeks, then reassess. I bet you’ll wish you’d read this article six months ago, or even six years ago!

After four weeks of incorporating exercise into your life, the new routine will stick, you’ll start getting through your workload quicker and avoid that afternoon fatigue. You’ll see the fit, lean guy dancing his way out of work and you’ll be able to pull your belt in another notch and dance out of work with him – an hour earlier than usual no less!

Stay posted for next week’s article, which will give you a simple training schedule to follow, easy changes to make to your diet, and tips to stay healthy throughout the working day. I promise it will all be easier to commit to than you ever thought possible. And in turn, will make your corporate desk-sitting lifestyle easier, more enjoyable and more productive!

Love My Body Health Retreat Bali!

I arrived at Sharing Bali 2 days ahead of the retreat, to get a feel for the village and plan my sessions before the group arrived. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the village. When I am in a place that encourages health and well being I always feel at home. At Sharing Bali, you live on fresh lemon grass and ginger tea, water, loads of vegetables and fresh air. It is a place of looking after the physical body that’s for sure. But for some reason you cant help staring at the beautiful surroundings, view from balconies and sitting on cushions and also looking after the mind. Thinking positive thoughts, making those tough decisions and creating goals- for me both personal and business. I can only imagine the head space people go home with after their time at sharing Bali. Right now after 1 night and 1 day I feel as if I don’t have a care in the world.

Last night at dinner we had some film crew (a couple) come to Sharing Bali to look at filming Sharing Bali for their ‘letting go’ production. We sat and had dinner with them. Karen did mention that the people that come here really want to be here and I can see how Sharing Bali would attract like-minded people. Michael and Jo Jo ate with us (you don’t order your own meals here we all eat together at the same time like a family!) and what amazing interesting people they were. JoJo and I discovered to be very similar people, both about to launch our first books on wellness. I don’t personally believe in coincedences. I believe that everything happens for a reason and everyone you meet is for a reason. And if you stay present and willing to give your time to others you will find you walk away haven’t learnt something from them or gained a tip that will help put you on the right path. I feel like I know exactly why I met JoJo that night.

This morning I woke up early and went for a walk./run. It is considered impolite to run through the village so I walked through the villages and ran between them. Everyone is so friendly and I think the men like blondes! I found that after powering up hills for an hour I still had so much energy. I felt well rested already, just from the relaxing nature of the village, the fresh air, the easily digestable food and the gallons of water and fresh herbal tea I was consuming, I then sat with Karen the amazing Australian woman who runs the village and had breakfast. She is such an interesting woman you find it so easy to just listen to her. We then went about planning sessions. I finished with her- excited to run sessions because basically, your imagination is the limit with training at Sharing Bali. The property has everything I need to get my group fit, toned and healthy!!

SUNDAY 25TH AUGUST
Today, I got up and went for my run. Once again I felt great and found I had so much energy. Then I ran through one of my training programs with Karen. I was stuffed afterwards so I’m sure the group are going to find it hard enough.
I was nervous about the retreat beginning, mostly that my training sessions wouldn’t be hard enough or easy enough. In reality, I know this wont be a problem as I am so used to training groups with varying fitness levels, I have been doing so for 14 years but you still get these moments of insecurities. It just like everything to run very smoothly and for everyone to feel satisfied with the service I provide. I rested for most of the day, which you find yourself wanting to do a lot of here. Clare one of the retreaters arrived earlier than the others so had lunch with Karen and I. she had been going through a hard time over the last couple of weeks so opened up to Karen and I – something I soon discovered happens a lot at Sharing Bali. Being here definitely becomes a spiritual journey without it being anyone’s intention – the atmosphere just sort of does something to people. I love it. It makes me laugh a bit. At 4pm the rest of the retreaters turned up. My nerves disappeared pretty quickly. All the girls are very friendly and everyone seemed to get along well. That’s what’s great about people coming for the purpose of a health retreat, everyone is in much the same state if mind and are obviously like-minded people. I’m sure we will all go home with life long friends. At 6.30pm we met for dinner and feasted on fresh healthy Balinese dishes that are all made here in the village with fresh produce grown on the land. Nothing bottled, nothing with added this or that. Just coconut oil, fresh herbs, spices, tofu, chicken, fish, tempeh and loads of greens. I feel amazing after 3 days in this village. My skin is glowing, my eyes are bright and I have loads of energy.

MONDAY 26TH AUGUST
I woke earlier to get my own training and have ‘me’ time ahead of a busy day. I spent an hour doing sprints up the drive way, some circuit training and setting up for my bootcamp session. At 7am we all met for our first bootcamp session. I got the group doing the workout that I did yesterday. Everyone had come in the right frame of mind and ready to really be troopers which I was happy about and made my job easy. The session went for roughly 75 minutes and everyone was done, so to speak. Half an hour we had breakfast. Fresh fruit, fresh boiled eggs and fresh watermelon juice. We then set up for our jungle trek. This was harder physically than I thought it was going to be. Climbing up steep hills with uneven surfaces, walking through creeks and dealing with sunshine, humidity and high altitude made it quite the challenge. The trek went for 2 hours and left us ready for lunch. After arriving back at the village we were all given a fresh paprika body scrub with yoghurt, which we all used before bathing. Quite a treat after the morning we’ve had and I cannot believe how soft it left my skin!
Then was lunch another typical Balinese feast which always satisfies. It’s strange how different the eating habits are here for me. 3 meals a day no snacking. But I find you don’t feel the need to snack, nor do you crave treats and sugars the way you do at home (they aren’t accessible here anyway). You are giving your body all the nutrition it needs so all cravings subside. Its like your body is just happy.
After lunch we had a cooking class and learnt how to make some of our favorite dishes and we got to see just how fresh and natural everything really is here! Amazing! And they are just so talented. Quite an eye opener for everyone. The quality and taste of food is so much better without all the processing methods we have at home, it really made me wish Australia wasn’t made up of factories. We don’t eat the way we born to eat in Australia. That’s not to say it isn’t possible!!

After the cooking class we had another bootcamp session which we managed to fire up for. 30 minutes of abs and cardio, sprinting along with sand bags, burpees and so forth- my idea of fun! 😉

Then shower, dinner and an early night. Perfect day by my standards.

TUESDAY 27TH AUGUST
We woke early for a 6.15am running group session before bootcamp. We walked through the village and then got a great interval training session over the hills. We got back at 7am for an hour of bootcamp. Mini circuits of climbing, sand bag running, pull ups and so forth. Planking in partners with hand claps, squat and swings with bali made kettle bells – no muscle group was left untouched. We finished up at 8am to shower, have breakfast and get to Ubud town at 10am. In ubud we all did our own thing- used wifi to check our emails, went shopping, had lunch etc. I chose to go off and see a very well known healer. It was a very personal experience and I had been warned he may come across physical issues, emotional or spiritual. For me, it was emotional and he went about blessing me and healing my heart. It was also as if he read my mind as there was one issue I wanted to come to a conclusion with during my time at Bali and he answered it for me. He was such an interesting man with a real gift that was obvious to anyone who saw him. I picked him to be maybe 55-60 years of age and later found out he was 82.
At 2.30pm we met for a spa treatment where we got an hour massage a full body and scrub and then a rose petal bath. We all felt amazing and pampered afterward and as I looked around the group I noticed we were all glowing with good health and vitality. After a 30 minute walk from the spa we had an early dinner at Sari Organika and met our drivers, heading home for an early night. I set my alarm for 2.30am to get up for our volcano trek- yikes!!

WEDNESDAY 28TH AUGUST
We left at 3am for the volcano. Everyone was very quiet in the car. We were trekking up to the top of the volcano by 4.10am, in order to be at the top for sunrise. It was expected to take around 1.5-2 hours to get to the top. We split into 2 different groups with Karen (who has done this trek around 90 times!) supporting the slower girls and me up front leading the way. It was tough!!!!! My group powered along and got to the top drenched in sweat in 1.20 minutes. We wondered whether Karen may have had to take some of our other group members back as it was hard to believe they would have kept going with the challenge that it was. When they got to the top 20 minutes later we couldn’t believe it- we were so proud!! I was so happy to have my whole group together for sunrise and to see some of the best Bali views we would ever get to see. We cooked eggs for breakfast in the volcanic steam before trekking back down to the bottom.
Once, back at the cars we went to the hot spring only a 3 minute drive away for some soaking and relaxation. We then came home for a BIG lunch as we were starving and had an afternoon of rest and massages. I chose not to have a massage as I needed sleep but apparently the girls experienced the best massages they have ever had!
At 5.30pm we met for a stretch session and had a 6.30pm dinner, before saying goodnight. At this stage of the retreat we were all pretty exhausted and some emotional but in a good way, we were all here for different things. Everyone had become friends and supportive of each other. It was nice.

THURSDAY 29TH AUGUST
Today we got up early once again for our running group. We were hitting the pavement by 6.15am. everyone found the hills easier today and we managed to finish in 30 minutes (knocking 4 minutes off our time!). we then had an hour bootcamp session- static squats, running around the property with coconuts in our hands, circuits, core work etc etc. once again we finished up drenched in sweat and ran off the get ready for our day long bike tour. Breakfast and lunch were included in the tour and we ate some great places with amazing views. The bike tour was fun, with a bit of stopping and being ‘tourists’ but all up riding 2 k’s through the hills and rice paddocks of Bali. By the time we got back to the village it was around 4.30pm and everyone was ready for some ‘quiet time’. We showered and lay around on our balconies reading our books and catching some sun. at 7pm we met for our last dinner ‘celebration dinner!’. The staff put on an awesome feast for us and sat around playing music for us while their daughters danced. We got up and had a dance and sat around chatting and laughing. We joked around saying we needed a ‘quote book’ from the week as there were some delirious moments and many ‘not so smart’ or ‘accidental’ comments that would have us all laughing hysterically. We went to bed at 9pm (our latest night yet!) ready for our last run/bootcamp session the next day.

FRIDAY 30TH AUGUST (OUR LAST DAY)
Once again we were hitting the pavement by 6.15am! our run was easier and faster again today and everyone was noticing a difference in their fitness levels. Not only that everyone was noticing their clothes were looser and some looked far smaller and tighter in just 5 days! We did a long bootcamp session, a mix of everything we had done over the last 5 days. No one complained, everyone just got to it- obviously knowing it was the last time they would have to hear my bossy voice for a while. We then had a healthy breakfast of fruit and vegetable filled omeletes, packed up our stuff and said our goodbyes to Karen and the village staff- who had been so amazing!! Everyone thanked me saying they had an amazing week with everyone wanting to do it again despite how daunting and challenging it had been at times. We all planned to meet each other fir a catch up in Seminyak the following night and I had no doubt we would all stay in contact. I am so proud of everyone and what they achieved this week, and I was so lucky to have such an amazing group of girls on this retreat.

Hayley x

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