In conversation with Kate Telge & Ciara Williams, both fitness trainers in Bangkok, Thailand. We speak to them on their shared purpose of empowering women through health, fitness & wellness – to be grateful for our bodies and embrace what we have.
With all the hashtags like #fitspo going on around social media, the perfect selfies and societal-defined models on how women in certain Asian cultures should look & behave, it is no surprise that women feel pressured to achieve what is portrayed as an ‘ideal’ body weight and look.
Each and every one of us are unique with a different genetic makeup, body shape, beliefs, and what is considered ‘ideal’ for one at this point in time, may not be possible for another, as well as the stage of life we are at.
Kate and Ciara are keen to share with you their thoughts on leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle, which includes being active, eating well, and perhaps, more importantly, building on your mental and emotional wellbeing with self-love, confidence, and pushing past limiting beliefs & constructs.
Kate is a Community Ambassador with The Busy Woman Project and a Personal Trainer at BASE Bangkok; Ciara is a leading rhythm cycling instructor from USA at Absolute Cycle.
How do you empower women within your role as a fitness trainer?
Kate ("K"): I encourage my clients to move past training solely for aesthetic goals and instead to think in terms of what their bodies can do. I may have a client who comes to me and says that they want to lose body fat. Great, we can work on that; but let’s reframe the intention of our time together towards completing say ten perfect push ups, or mastering that pull up you’ve always dreamed of, or maybe hitting a certain speed on your treadmill intervals.
I also love teaching my clients the basics of strength training. I make sure to show them how to set up their own weights, teach them the proper form, and go over the foundations of how to put together their own workouts. I want my clients to feel confident going into any gym, walking right past the boys, and setting up their squat rack.
This shifts the narrative away from weight and body fat percentages and towards achievement, which often leads to them feeling like a total badass. Win win.
Ciara ("C"): I completely agree with Kate here, I love being able to shift away from numbers and size to concentrate on what we can work on in the room. Holding sprints in the saddle for longer periods of time and even pushing against huge amounts of resistance are achievable goals that help us all feel strong and proud of what our bodies can do!
I also like to emphasize bigger goals outside what we can achieve together. Sure, we like to think about what 45 minutes can do for our bodies, but how can that translate outside of the room? Similar to yoga, I ask my riders to set an intention or even just a commitment for the practice that they can then take with them when they’re done.
Is there a thought or worry we can let go of RIGHT now that isn’t working or that’s standing in your way of holding a fast jog that might also be holding you back from larger life goals? Right here, right now, we have the opportunity to reset and make a change.
What is your message for women about body image?
K: Love your body, it’s the only one you’ve got! If you have curves, celebrate that! If you’re long and lanky, embrace that too! I see so many women fixate on getting to a certain body fat percentage or having a six pack in order to be “fit”. Fitness and health comes in many shapes and sizes and it isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
C: You are perfect, RIGHT NOW. Not when you reach that pant size, or can see your abs every day. My body shifts every single day, and I’m happy with it EVERY single day because it does everything that I ask of it - and usually way more!
What are your tips to leading a balanced life as a busy woman?
K: I encourage women to incorporate fitness and healthy eating into their lifestyle, but not to make it their life. Leave the guilt about missing a workout, the stress about eating a perfectly clean diet, and the negative self-talk at the door. Workout because it feels good. Do it for that post-workout I-Can-Do-Anything high. Eat healthy foods because they give you energy and fuel your day.
If you listen to and honor your body you can’t go wrong.
C: My advice for leading a balanced life? YOU TIME. Life as a busy woman can be challenging and therefore we have to make ourselves a priority. If we’re not standing tall and grounded, how can we be there for others? We have to be number one in order to get things done. So take that moment to sit with yourself, that extra 5 minutes to enjoy your almond milk latte, maybe just a huge second to breathe a little deeper and say, “I got this”, because you do.
Share with us some gender-related challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
K: It is an established fact that there is gender bias in medical research, and the same holds true for nutrition and fitness studies. Despite this, I find that the same nutrition advice is given to men and women alike in the fitness industry. Many well-intentioned trainers (male and female) don’t take into account the complexity of the female hormone cycle, the psychological and emotional differences between men and women, and the client's personal relationship with food when offering nutrition and diet advice. Some of the most popular diets and fitness trends out there can have disastrous effects on women’s hormonal balance and mental health that can lead to serious issues.
I'm currently studying to become a Mind Body Eating Coach through the Institute for the Psychology of Eating so that I can dive a layer deeper with my clients when giving fitness and nutrition advice and hopefully work against this gender bias in the industry.
C: When I first stepped into the fitness industry, I had this belief that men wouldn’t take me seriously. Thoughts about my size and even my personality had me feeling anxious and even intimidated when a man would walk into my class. I had already encountered a lot of these doubts while attending business school, and thankfully when entering this new industry, I had a huge support system, incredible training, and my own determination to not let those thoughts dictate my reality.
I worked very hard to become an elite fitness professional, and I wasn’t going to stand in my own way. I quickly realized that my bubbly exterior was a huge asset; I was able to not only able to motivate both my male and female clients, it also gave me the ability to coach them into pushing themselves further than they imagined.
Inspired by the passion & purpose that drive these two amazing ladies? Here's your chance to meet them in person! Catch Kate T. live on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 at The Busy Woman Project's event: Ignite Your Purpose. Move with purpose and get in a good sweat as Kate leads you through a 30/30 HIIT & Yoga Flow workout.
For any collaboration opportunities or feedback, kindly email: [email protected].