When we are chronically ill, exercise and movement can be one of the first things to disappear from our regular schedule.
In today’s episode of The Healthy Gut podcast, Rebecca chats to Shaun Seymour and Sam Roberts, both qualified nutritionists and personal trainers, about the role movement has in our journey to recovery.
In Episode 14 of The Healthy Gut Podcast, we discuss:
✓ The importance of movement and exercise on the digestive system
✓ How to bring movement back into your daily life
✓ The importance of tailoring your exercise to your current health state
✓ Why too much exercise can be a bad thing when treating a chronic illness
✓ Why the combination of movement and digestion affect our sleep patterns, and how with the right combination we can improve our sleep quality
✓ Stress and exercise: the positives and negatives of both
✓ Easy tips to find the right type of exercise for you
✓ How to find the right personal trainer for you
✓ Not all pain is created equal. How to listen to your body and understand what it is telling you
✓ Ensuring that your body is getting the right nutrition when you exercise
Shaun Seymour is a qualified nutritionist and personal trainer who specialises in working with women in their 30’s and is known for helping them feel fit, healthy and happy. He has worked with over 500 clients in the past 6 years. Through his successful 4-step program, he takes his clients from feeling unsatisfied with life to feeling like they have a whole new lease on life. He teaches them to distinguish the crap from fact in the media about fitness and nutrition and develop a fit and healthy body. Ultimately he helps people feel educated and proud of their body.
Connect with Shaun at www.everyday-athletes.com.au.
Sam Roberts is the co-owner of Everyday Athletes, has a nutrition degree, is a qualified personal trainer, has trained over 500 clients and has 6 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. He’s known for helping people integrate health, nutrition, exercise and movement into their lifestyle long term.
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Rebecca Coomes is an author, entrepreneur, passionate foodie and intrepid traveller. She transformed her health after a lifetime of chronic illness, and today guides others on their own path to wellness. She is the founder of The Healthy Gut, a platform where people can learn about gut health and how it is important for a healthy mind and body and coaches people on how to live well with SIBO. Rebecca is the author of the world’s first cookbooks for people treating Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and the host of the SIBO cooking show and The Healthy Gut podcast.
REBECCA: Welcome to the show Sean and Sam. It’s great to have you here.
Shaun: Thanks for having us this week. Excited to be here.
REBECCA: so I actually have known Sean and Sam for some time. Sean is my personal trainer. So it’s really great to have him come on to the healthy gut podcast to talk about movement today and the importance of movement. And gosh two years ago, maybe a bit longer than 2 years ago when I decided I needed to focus on my health once and for all, I found Sean and I remember turning up in this studio and saying, “I am really weak and I am really not feeling very good. I need you to help me but I am not in a good place and we need to start from the start. And we did, didn’t we Sean?
S: Very much so. It was basics to begin with.
REBECCA: Yeah. So. And that’s been my journey just slowly building and I’ve had quite a few setbacks with my back playing up over the last two years. But I keep persevering and I still move my body every day. So Sean, I’d love to start with you in terms of how you became a qualified nutritionist and personal trainer and what bought you to do what you do today?
Shaun: Well it’s kind of about that point in life when I was trying to make a career decision for myself and I knew that I wanted to work with food. So I was kind of making a decision. I was tossing up between becoming a chef or staying in nutrition. A bit of research and you realize that chefs really don’t live that much of a glamorous life as what it looks on TV. So I decided to study nutrition as I have always been very passionate about health and fitness. Did my studies. Once I finished my studies, I thought I would get involve with personal training as well because it really gave me the type of nutrition work that I like doing. It helps me work one on one with people. I like to work with people, get to know them and change goals, try to change lives. It’s very fun.
REBECCA: Wonderful. Sam, how about you? You’ve got your own really interesting story as to how you have come to be a really great personal trainer and nutritionist today.
Sam: Yeah. Thanks Bec. It was about 10, 11 years ago and I was actually 23 kilos heavier than I am today actually. I was…myself and Sean, played rugby all our lives and then at the end of school I stopped playing and started working and I was just living an incredibly unhealthy life. And within about 18 months I put on close to 20 to 23 kilos and yeah I was really unhappy at that time. I was really unfit and just… yeah I was in a bad place and through the help of Sean and a couple of others I just decide one day I’ve had enough and dropped the weight and that took close to 12 months.
Yeah and that was just an interesting journey itself and after doing that myself and Sean decided that we would go and study and he chose nutrition and I chose nutrition and we’ve never looked back from there. It was in learning how hard it was that I thought if I could help even just one person not have to go through the sort of the same problems, issues and just how hard it was and how sort of alone you feel, that would be worthwhile. So yeah, that’s my story.
REBECCA: and for so many people that have experienced SIBO, weight gain is a really common symptom and it’s definitely have been something that I have struggled with. What were some of your insights when you started looking at how to lose those 23 kilos that you learned about weight loss?
[3:49] Sam: where do I start? I actually just had no idea where to start. I just was I supposed running and just being active at the first one, the second was I joined the gym. When I got to the gym I had no idea what to do. So I think for the first 6 months I was doing anything I though which would be literally just moving. But I was doing it all wrong. I was training all too long and it wasn’t until some mates got aboard and really helped me out, get me to the direction that it really sort of fell into place. And I didn’t really feel comfortable asking people as well. I kind of just maybe I was a bit embarrassed or just couldn’t quite reach out at that time as well which was probably a bigger problem as any. When they would have by all mean taught me up from the start.
[4:38] REBECCA: and that can often be quite a common thing I’d imagine that when you are feeling overweight, when you are overweight you can often feel quite embarrassed. You don’t want to ask for help because you feel ashamed at what you weigh. I know that I have never loved carrying the extra kilos and you think, “I can just do it on my own, how hard can it be?” But particularly when you’ve got digestive issues such as those of us that have SIBO it adds just a whole lot of complication to losing weight and it’s not just cutting calories and exercising more often. There is a whole bunch of other things that you need to.
[5:21] Sam: Yea, hit the nail on the head. Shaun and I, we probably weekly hear people say, “Oh I want to come in and see you guys. I’m just going to get fit first.” Which as great as that sounds is the biggest mistake you can make because if they just come and see us and they’ll make a plan with any personal trainer for that matter or any fitness specialist, the plan will get made. You will be on the right track and you will be fitter whatever your goal I s a lot quicker. But it’s just that I don’t want you to see me how I am therefore they don’t come in and lay it down on the line for us which is totally understandable and I know exactly what they are talking about but not the best approach.
[5:59] REBECCA: yeah. Definitely. And if I took that approach when I first set training with Shaun well I wouldn’t have started and I remember when we did my initial assessment, I literally ached for days afterwards and the initial assessment was so light on as I thought because I previously trained for triathlon. So I was previously really fit and strong and then there was struggling after doing three squats. But working with the right person for you and finding your right team, your health care dream team can help you move forward and not be stagnant.
So I would love to talk around movement and why it is so important for our bodies and why someone that is experiencing a chronic illness like SIBO should be thinking about how they can movement into their day?
[6:54] Sam: That’s a good question Bec. Really movement is fundamental to our human life. Everyone gets right now this paleo principle and dieting going on massively. If you want to do paleo in its true form you got to move. It’s what we have done for eons. You got movement contribute massively to good health.
[7:12] REBECCA: it does contribute to good health. Do you have some tips on what people can do if they are feeling really quite unwell today and how they can start to look at how they can start moving?
[7:25] Sam: It really depends on where you are starting from. I think it is really important that you determine where you are starting from at a real barebones basic low. If the movement you can handle that at least gets you doing something is just walking, do it. If that’s what it takes, start there. You can really work your way up. Now you’ll progress into body weight movement from there , you might just do some body weight squats, maybe some push-ups on your knees. You might even just do a simple plank. But just finding out what your body can tolerate and what your digestive system can tolerate is really important. That gives you the starting point and then it’s just about progress from there.
[8:00] REBECCA: Why is movement so important for the support and the health of our digestive system?
Sam: Basically your digestive system relies on blood flow. Like all functioning systems in your body, now movement promotes blood flow. You get blood flowing around your body, you stimulate that muscular activity, you also stimulate your digestive system.
[8:22] REBECCA: and one of the things that I have noticed with myself is when I move regularly, then so does my digestive system that I am more likely to be going to the toilet regularly. And something that someone said to me once was that there is a reason why a dog does it’s poop every time it goes for a walk because it is moving and it is doing what it is supposed to do. And I think that particularly with SIBO we feel so chronically unwell. We can feel really bloated, we can be in quite a lot of pain and we can feel really fatigued. So should we be walking quickly, walking slowly? Shall be walking for 5 minutes, and hour? What are your views? Sam, what would you say to someone that is listening?
[9:09] Sam: I would just elaborate on what Shaun has said. It’s just moving to how you think your body can cope with it if that makes sense. You might start light. See how that affects your body. If you feel great either while doing it after or a day or two after that then great you can keep to that level. Or you can maybe step it up a little bit and you just keep slowly progressing and that’s all you have to do. In no time you will be doing full lapse of a block if not full kilometers. That’s how I found it for myself when I was first trying to lose weight. I mean the first run I did was about 250 meters. I was down on all four and I thought that I was going to have a heart attack. I was up on my feet and I thought, “How did I ever run kilometers.” It was literally 250 meters and then I made the goal. Each time I run I was going to make it to the next letter box which is 5 meters away and I just kept doing that. Next thing I know I ran my whole street and people can do the exact same thing. You just start small changes over time and you will make your way through.
[10:12] REBECCA: I think that is a good advice and if anyone listening wants to start adding movement into their day that perhaps if they are feeling particularly unwell they could perhaps just go outside and walk to the corner and come back and then it might be doing one block and coming back and then building up to a bigger block and then perhaps going to a park and walking around the park and then doing two laps of the park and five laps of the park. And I personally know that I never fee worst for going for a walk, getting on the walk can often be my biggest challenge because there are many reasons why I can convince myself not to do it. but once I am on the walk that I feel great. Can you talk around why we feel good when we are exercising?
[11:01] Sam: It all comes down to endorphins Bec basically. Exercise stimulates blood flow that we spoke about before and it causes a chemical reaction in the brain that releases what a lot of people have heard of called endorphins. Basically little feel good kicks.
[11:14] REBECCA: so they kind of making you feel good because you have moved your body.
Sam: Spot on.
[11:20] REBECCA: Fair enough. And I think that’s a really wonderful side effect of exercise. Now I have been one of those people that in the past was full blown triathlon obsessive person. I was training 7 days a week, running, cycling, and swimming and loved it. And then had quite a bad, a very silly but very painful and quite damaging bike accident but I completely destroyed my quad muscle and I was on rehab for 12 weeks. It really knocked the wind up of my sails. These days I focused on walking and some light training with you Shaun but also yoga. So my exercises changed traumatically but I actually feel more invigorated by it. Can you talk to me what happens in terms of…? How do you know what is the right exercise for you and if there are any signals that you can look for that your body gives you to say that that’s perhaps the wrong thing to do?
[12:24] Sam: Yeah, really good question Bec. We get quite a lot. One clear cut sign that exercise is no good for you is short sharp pains. And that can be anywhere in the body. Backs and knees and any muscles and even your nervous system will tell you. And that’s a clear indication that either A) exercise isn’t good for you or B) you are doing a good exercise you are not just quite doing it correctly. And the things you work on all the time in the gym for sure.
[12:55] REBECCA: What about your energy level, should you be looking at how you feel energetically once you have exercised as an indicator as to whether that’s the right exercise for you?
[13:05] Sam: Yeap. 100%. If you find you are always just really tired and you say, “ah I am just so tired all the time.” or, you are not getting enough sleep or you are getting enough sleep and you are still waking up not feeling fresh and invigorated and ready to attack the day, there could be a case of… even though you are doing the right exercises and you are doing them well, you are just doing them too much, too often, and throughout the week. As you were saying, you were at a rather vigorous triathlon training. Just training too much, just over training as they call it. and again we see that quite a lot and it is all about finding the right balance of not only how long you train and what you do while you are training but the types of training. So changing from your yogas and your Pilates and finding the balance that works for you.
[13:52] Shaun: Just want to add on that. I think that is a really good point. Sammy says spot on. I mean it’s really important for listeners to understand that exercise is stress and we all carry around so much stress this day and age. We have busy lives. Work is tough. Family lives are going on. But exercise, while it is beneficial it comes to a point, you can’t just train repetitively over the top. It does come to a point when it is too much and hit that point when you start training too much it does have detrimental effects on your health.
[14:19] REBECCA: And why does that happen? Why do we get a stress response from exercise?
[14:27] Shaun: Because to have exercise be effective, we need to challenge ourselves. So to change your body, to force it to burn fat, you are trying to urn or grow your muscles bigger or whatever it is you are trying to achieve, you have to challenge your body. Anything that does challenge your body is going to cause stress. So while it’s not stress like the way you imagine it, pulling your hair out, running around a million things in your mind, it is stress to your body and it has the same effects.
[14:51] REBECCA: and chronic illness like SIBO also causes stress. So as I understand what you are saying that having a chronic illness and then exercising perhaps too much or the intensity perhaps is too high for you at that point then it’s like stress layering upon stress. What can be some of the outcomes or the downsides of not listening to your body and pushing too hard and causing all of that stress to occur?
[15:20] Shaun: basically recovery just halts. Like anything, you put too much stress on, hands go in the air and someone just goes, “Nope, can’t do this. Too hard.” Your body is no different. So you are constantly in a recovery mode. You are trying to recover your digestive system. Your body is trying to help recover your muscle. Your body is trying to help recover from the mental stress that you are going through day to day. And this just keeps piling it on, piling it on, piling it on. There comes a point in time that your body goes, “nope, too much, can’t handle it.” and this is when things like glandular fever, chronic fatigue start creeping in with people.
[15:56] REBECCA: Yeah. That’s really quite interesting. And I think back to the years before I knew that I had SIBO. I knew I had irritable bowel syndrome IBS and I decided that I was going to be a runner. I am not a natural runner. It’s like my body does not have the genes for running. It’s like I run backwards. I run slowly and I would put myself under all this pressure to run and feel really stressed by it psychologically and it was really exhausting and I was getting sick a lot. I think I was getting sick a lot as well because my gut was in a really bad state. But I was also really pushing my body at an exercise level and I was young, I was in my twenties and I wasn’t getting great sleep. And I was partying pretty hard and I was drinking alcohol and perhaps not eating the best foods. Definitely not eating the best food with SIBO. So I can imagine that I was in this very stressed state at a physical level.
[17:02] Shaun: Yeah. 100% just constant stresses through the body and all that does is just lead to serious case of inflammation in every way. You mentioned drinking, makes your liver overworked and the lack of sleep much dictates everything. It’s just not allowing your body to un-inflame itself and distress and it is trying to deal with too many things at once and really you just needed to focus on your digestive system and get that sorted before it starts worrying about pretty much everything else.
[17:37] REBECCA: let’s talk about sleep and the role that sleep plays with movement and how interlinked they are. So again I always refer to myself as my own little case study of one. But I know if I am exercising or just moving, I sleep better and therefore I am more inclined to exercise. When I am not sleeping well and Shaun had some texts from me very late at night when I am up an di try to get to bed early mostly but when I am working on my new cook book, then I’ll often be working very late in the evening and I might have to postpone our training session the next day and then that’s a really vicious cycle were lack of sleep means lack of movement. Lack of sleep means lack of movement. So talk to me a little bit around the impact that sleep has on our bodies and our ability to move and move well.
[18:32] Shaun: it has a huge impact on basically all facets of health sleep. Really like what you were explaining there, it’s what we call snowball effect. Positive outcomes lead to more positive outcomes and vice versa. So you get good sleep. You wake up while you are feeling good. Eat really good food. You met your training session. You are feeling good. You train hard. You go home feeling well. Those endorphins we spoke about earlier pumping. You want to eat well again because you have just done a good training session. You don’t want to ruin it. And then after a big day, you had a very good productive day because you have been feeling good all day. You get at the night time, you are tired. You sleep well again. And the exact opposite can occur.
You don’t sleep well, you wake up. You are feeling sluggish. You feel like something easy. You do eat something not so healthy. You are again feeling sluggish. You don’t feel like going to the training session. You don’t make the session. You start beating yourself up because you didn’t make the session. And it’s just that vicious cycle like you said Bec. It really creeps in. that vicious cycle can be a very positive cycle if you just make sure you put those little steps to get the positive cycle flowing.
[19:34] REBECCA: What are some tips that you have for people that perhaps are… insomnia is quite a common symptom of SIBO. What are some tips that you have for people whose digestive systems are causing them disrupted sleep and how can they do things today to help them sleep better to then allow for better movement?
[19:57] Shaun: A question I am glad you asked. I have suffered insomnia through the last 20 years and I tell you it’s only in the last 2 to 3 years that I have really feel that I have got control of my insomnia. The biggest piece of advice I can give on that is just coming to terms that you have insomnia. It’s not a bad thing. You are not a bad person and as frustrating as it is to be awake at night. As soon as that frustration kicks and I am sure everyone listening to this who knows about this, who can relate to this. As soon as that frustration kicks in you got no chance of getting sleep. Just come into terms with it. Deep breathing is a great tactic that you can use trying and calm yourself down.
If you need to, try and do something productive. Read a book. There is a great one I find called Occupying the Mind. It’s the forward process that just goes on, just spin around in circles but once that has started you really are not going to get any sleep. So come to terms with it, accept it. Try and be calm about it. Try to do something with the time. If you don’t feel that you are just lying there wasting time, there is nothing worst just staring at the roof. And yeah, try and find things that help you relax. Don’t just accept I’ve got insomnia. That’s it. There is nothing that can help me. I am this way. There are things out there. Meditation helps. Reading books helps. Calming music helps. There are all kinds of ways that you can calm yourself and get sleep. It just takes a little bit of work like anything that is worth doing.
[21:19] REBECCA: I really love what you said there Shaun about not being angry about having insomnia. And I think that when we have these conditions we can often feel guilt and shame and anger and all of these negative emotions that can really wreak havoc on us psychologically. And I have had bouts of insomnia over my lifetime and gosh that really resonated with me were you talked about when the mind kicks in. and I literally feel like a switch turns on and then my brain can be racing and it’s going a million miles an hour and I can feel my heart rate increases and then my breathing gets more shallow. And something that I have done is I have a series of meditation apps that I have on my phone and I always have my little earphones next to bed so that if I do wake up in the night time I’ll put meditation app on and I will listen to that. And there has only been one time in all the times I have used my meditation app that I haven’t been asleep by the end of it. I found them really really beneficial to me.
You have talked a little bit about breathing. What do you mean by breathing and how does someone breathe because we are all breathing every day. So what does that mean Shaun?
[22:34] Shaun: It’s an amazing tool, breathing. How powerful breathing is and how you can actually use breathing to control your mood is amazing. What I mean by that is really focusing on taking some deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. You want to do this level of breathing so deep that if someone was sitting next to you they could hear you. Ok so just doing that may be 10 breaths and then slowing breathing, bring it down and just really focusing. Think about the breath. What we were talking about before as that go crazy, you can find something that occupies your thoughts. It will help you sleep. And if your thoughts have channeled towards your breathing it makes a big difference.
[23:14] REBECCA: And do you recommend that people count on the inhalation and exhalation. Like I could breathe deeply but I could it really quickly and that might speed up my heart rate. So what is your advice about how many seconds whatever that you have to breathe in? Do you get people to hold breath and then release it? What’s the literal step by step…. Ah I’d have to do that.
[23:38] Shaun: three to four second inhalation and then an equivalent exhalation. I wouldn’t say a set number because not everyone has the same lung capacity as everyone. Some people will find that a really good breath is going to leave them short of air. Basically as long as you are in control of your breath is the important thing. You are slow. You have a tempo. You control the breath in and it goes as deep as you possibly can. And then you control it out until you feel you have expelled all of the air. That’s how I recommend you do it.
[24:08] REBECCA: and how quickly do you find that that can actually calm the mind and allow yourself Shaun to get back to sleep if you have worked up and you haven’t been able to sleep with insomnia?
[24:21] Shaun: Personally, no more than 10 minutes. It’s quite fast for me. I would go through a little process where i would look at the roof. I relax. I take that first deep breath in and then from there I just start counting. I would take a breath in. I would count my breath. On eon the inhalation. Two on the exhalation. When I get to ten I start again. No more than ten minutes and I am pretty much out like a lot.
[24:45] REBECCA: It’s really great advice. I am going to try that next time I am struggling to get to sleep and the brain is racing. There’s always a million ideas going off in my head. What recipes am I going to develop that are going to help the SIBO community?
Pain. Now pain is something that SIBOers are really familiar with. We deal with it every single day. Our guts are bloated. We feel like we are really distended. We can have really intense cramping. I mean some people can end up in the hospital because the cramping is so overwhelming that they are worried that something else is happening, we can have pain from constipation, pain from diarrhea, pain from heart burn. Like we are literally so attuned to pain that we are ready for pain. And sometimes exercise can be painful. So can we have too much pain happening in our body?
[25:42] Shaun: yeah, actually you can Bec. It’s a really fine line to be honest. Even with people that have no SIBO or any GI issues themselves. It’s still the fine line. Those who obviously have SIBO or usually GI been going on, that’s where it gets a little tricky. It’s a one, I would say, issue – definitely exercise. My second thing would be the next time you exercise that’s where it differs. So just as you were saying, starting lightly, seeing how that feels and then waiting couple of days because you don’t want to be exercising. When you cramp, when you are bloated, when your gut is feeling irritated, if your bowel is not feeling great, if you are feeling the effects of heart burn I would say take the day off. I would say have a rest and let your body do what it needs to do in terms of recovery. And then just say the next day you are up for it then go for it and then really see what can happen.
If you are feeling really sore on the muscles or in the joints or your ligaments or anything like that after two days, it’s a little too much pain. That’s the last thing you want. You don’t want your body to go through that sore that long. You should be helping your body and not making it worst.
[26:59] REBECCA: I have done training sessions and things in the past were 3,4,5, days out of the training I can still be feeling really sore and I don’t know if my listeners have ever experienced this but I call it the “toilet test” were whether you can sit down on the toilet unaided, whether you’ve got to throw yourself back on to the seat because your legs are so stiff and sore that they just don’t have any give. To me that is too much pain. And that’s not the kind of sensation that I like and I actually… I don’t like to get that stiff and sore from a training these days and I think that that’s probably what you are referring to Sam. Something interesting though for the listeners is that i think particularly with bloating… look this is my personal experience, it won’t work for everybody but on the days that i would get really bloated a gentle walk, and I am not talking about power walking and doing a really long walk. Literally just going for a long walk around the block could just slowly and practicing on my breathing could often really help alleviate my bloating. Life and cells being propelled long by the gases I was able to release and I think moving was really helping get some of that trapped gas out.
So I think that doing something that can work like that can be quite beneficial. What about, I don’t know if you guys have a view point on rubbing your tummy or some massage to support building or support your journey through movement and whether you feel that there is a role for having regular massage or muscular treatments to help you as you are getting stronger and perhaps alleviating some of the pain that you might have… not pain, stiffness that you might get form having worked muscles that might be a little weaker.
[28:54] Shaun: Yeah definitely. A regular massage makes a big difference. Personally, I get one rub a week and it makes a huge difference. You get a little trapped tension within your muscles. Your muscles get stiff, they are sore. They don’t move the way they are meant to. So having someone work on those spots particularly those spots too and that’s one piece of advice I would give to all listeners. If you are seeing someone, make sure you communicate properly with them. Tell them what is sore. Tell them what you are feeling because then they can do their job properly. I get a lot of clients I have, they go in, they just lie down. They basically treat it as a relaxation period which is great. Of course it is. It is enjoyable. But if you get your professional and you should have a professional, working on what is actually causing you grief and it makes a big difference. You can actually relieve the muscles that are causing your tension, causing you stress and stopping you from being able to exercise as effectively as you possibly can.
[29:49] REBECCA: Not to mention that it can also just feel really nice to have some tight and stiff areas of your body work. What about you Sam, do you regularly have a massage or muscle treatment.
[30:02] Sam: Yeah, I am in the same boat as Shaun. Maybe not once a week. Once a fortnight for myself but I do a lot of that kind of stuff as well on my own and now we’ve got a few tools in the gym and a few balls I would like to get into a nice tight spots. I wouldn’t say it is the most enjoyable experience but it definitely helps. And for some people it might be a grueling gym work. And for others it could just be as you were saying a walk around the block. For each person you get tired of a different level of intensity and exercise. So those were the things with the weekly fortnightly, however often you feel the need to will make a massive difference.
[30:45] Shaun: I just wanted to add one thing on what has been said about the listeners, I think it is really important for listeners to determine why they are training. If your SIBO is so bad and that all you wanted in life is to get on top of your SIBO, your approach to training would be very different for someone who like Bec for example, she is doing well on top of her SIBO now. It’s an ongoing journey but she is able to challenge herself to a high level. So when you really are in control of your SIBO, your focus will shift more towards weight loss or toning up or other goals but you really need to know where you are at on your SIBO journey because if your sure focus, if all you want from everything that you are doing is to improve your SIBO because it is affecting your life that bad, your exercise should be very light. You don’t want to do exercise to a level of intensity that is going to take away from your body’s ability to repair your stomach. As you progress and heal your stomach, you will find that you are able to try and focus on other things. But yeah like I said, it is really important that you know where you are on that journey.
[31:47] REBECCA: I just found out, just technical that we are healing our small intestine rather than the stomach. But our stomachs can often have issues as well. Our digestive system and all of the SIBO to occur, something has gone wrong with our digestive system. And that is from mouth to anus and I think that whilst yes we’ve got SIBO, I am pretty convinced that we’ve got things going wrong elsewhere. But me just being technical. But I really love that Shaun because it is so much about doing things that are right for your journey at your journey’s point in time. so where you are today isn’t where you will be in the future. Where I am today with my health isn’t where I was in the past and it isn’t where I will be in the future because I am always looking forward.
Talk to me about goal setting. I think goal setting is really important looking forward rather than looking back. How do you work with your clients around setting goals and helping them to get to a point in the future that they are wanting to achieve?
[32:51] Sam: We sit down with our clients every 6 weeks. So every 6 weeks we formulate a new plan and a plan of attack and all that kind of stuff. But initially we just sit there and have good, honest conversation with them and all sorts of questions. What’s going on with their life, work, business, family and just really get a good picture of where they health and fitness-wise and just get to know them. And that sort of allows us to go, “Ok, let’s make a plan that’s going to suit you not just…” I feel a lot of people make the plan but haven’t really thought it out. Just want to be able to walk around the block. They want to drop 5 kilos off. Anything like that but what you really need to do is go, “What do I really want to do?” and you got to really figure it out and just have an honest chat about it. And we say, “Cool, you want to do that? Why do you want to do it?” And that allows us to go, delve a little deeper. It gives us an honest response.
Instead of they want to drop 5 kilos, they want to be more energetic for their kids and that’s going to get them not only into the gym but allows us to give the best plan of attack for them.
[34:03] REBECCA: how do you break down those steps? So let’s say someone is saying that I want to lose 5 kilos that is roughly 10 pounds. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it is a lot at the same time. So how do you go from where you are today? Or it could conversely be gaining that because SIBO we are either underweight or overweight. It doesn’t seem to be common that we are at a healthy range with SIBO. How do we break down today to 5 kilos, 10 pounds on or off?
[34:33] Shaun: It’s good to know your outcome goals which is what we have kind of spoken about just now. Lose the 5 kilos ten pounds and understanding the why. Just like Sam give you the motivator. What you are asking there Bec is making sure you have the behaviors in place to reach those outcome goals. So you might say, “I want to lose 5 kilos.” Now it’s not just going to happen. There are certain behaviors that you need to put in place to make that goal happen. It’s what we call them behavior goals. You might implement three new behaviors. One might be you are going to go for a walk every single day. You are going to drink X amount of liters of water every single day and you are going to make sure you get to bed at a decent hour. There’s a whole range of things you can implement those behavior goals and they all contribute to your outcome goals.
But it is really important that you don’t just write the outcomes down. You must make sure you specify the behaviors that you are going to put in place to make those outcomes happen.
[35:28] REBECCA: it’s really like drawing a bit of a roadmap isn’t it? So you’ve got your start and then your end and then you’re plotting the journey and the road that you are going to take. So I recently did the Dr. Michael Mosley 8 week blood sugar diet challenge. I wanted to see what impact that had on my body because I really struggled to lose the excess weight that I have been carrying. And it was really actually very good. And I didn’t drop 5 kilos or 10 pounds through the 8 weeks which was very exciting. But I used that time as well to really focus on some of my other behavioral goals. So sleep was a big thing. I really set a goal of being in bed before midnight which is pretty big for me because I am a natural night owl. I had to set the goals around the food that I was eating and I chose to not drink alcohol during that time. I chose to exercise every day. And like you say Shaun, all of those things that I put in place contributed to me losing 5 kilos or 10 pounds from that program. So I think that’s a really sound advice on how to get there.
And we can apply that for SIBO as well and I think that whilst we might not have all of the answers as to how we get well, we can put things in place and stress and anxiety can be really common with this condition because we can feel quite overwhelmed that we are sick and we can’t get well. And so perhaps one of those behavioral goals that we could aim towards is to focus on our breathing because when you are focusing on your breathing it’s very difficult to stay in a very anxious state when you switch your mindset to focusing on your breath.
What are some other things, some behavioral goals that you commonly see that people need to adopt when they are setting some goals that support movement?
[37:31] Sam: I think the first one we see or that we are trying to make is just being realistic as well because we get as amazing as it is… ‘I just want to be her every day, morning and night and just giving it my all’. It’s figuring out what your lifestyle is and then just therefore choosing a couple of times a week if that is possible. So then go about it and each week you will be hitting it, feeling motivated, feeling positive and then you can always increase it from then. It’s all about finding it, being realistic and then launching from there really.
[38:03] REBECCA: Sam I love that. Like I have said many times I am all or nothing. And I am that person when I start training like, “I am going to be here 7 days a week. And I am going to train twice a day and I am going to be competing in an Iron Man competition in 6 months because I will be so buff and fit. And then I do a week and then I am really sorry then I fall away. And actually one of my goals and one of my behavioral goals has been about moderation interestingly. So it’s me. It’s not me. It’s actually me trying to pull myself back and not saying, “I’ll exercise 7 days a week.” But it’s me saying, “I will exercise consistently 4 times a week.” Once I have got the 4 times a week down then I will build from there.
One of the things that i have had to do is get support. So I see you guys twice a week which is great. I train two mornings a week. But I needed to find support outside of that. And I have really rallied the support of my partner to help me get up and walking. And I have got a friend that I like to do yoga with.
How do you advice your clients around getting support to exercise when they are not working with you as personal trainers?
[39:20] Sam: That is a good question. A supportive social network is so important to any health and fitness goal. Obviously the people around you influence your reality. So you really need to get the ones you love and the people who love you on board with whatever you are trying to achieve. Now, don’t under estimate this because this can be really hard. People don’t like to see change in a lot of people. People are resistant to change. So it really could come down to an important conversation where you actually need to sit your friends down, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, wife, husband whoever it is or even your boss. I just have a chat around explaining to them why what you are trying to do is important to you and how much of an influence and impact they have on your life and how much it would mean to them if they could be supportive. Because I don’t mean to not be supportive. It’s just you are doing things differently and it’s taken them by surprise.
Usually someone just needs to hear exactly why and how important it is and you will get the support from them.
[40:17] REBECCA: That’s really valid with particularly with SIBO because so much of your life changes with SIBO particularly around your food. And I think having that clear conversation with people around, this is what I am doing, this is the support I need from you and this is why it is important to me that I have. your support can be a very beneficial conversation because not only for you as the person with SIBO or GI issues but also for the friends and family to have a better understanding of what you are actually going through. I think that can be really beneficial. What do you see Sam with your clients?
[40:58] Sam: 100%. I think as Shaun had said, it’s just all underestimated. People just have assumed knowledge of what is going on but they just need to hear, ”Hey this is what is happening with me. This is how it makes me feel. This is what I need from you guys because maybe I am having a bit of a rough time at the moment with SIBO and coming to terms with that. And all of that is affecting you health wise or whether it is trying to lose weight and how that is affecting you emotionally.” Just having you on this conversation of “Guys this is where I am at. This is the sort of help I am looking for.” And the support is there.
[41:38] REBECCA: I had that conversation with my partner were I sat him down and said, “I need your help. I am asking for your help and I need your help to keep me motivated. I am feeling really lacking in motivation and I need you to help get me up and out.” And so he has been I got to say he has been really amazing at getting me out. There are times when it has been long day and I have been really busy and I quite tired and my natural inclination might be just to chill out and he will say, “Come on let’s go and do a lap of the botanical gardens which we live quite close to here in Melbourne.” And it’s a beautiful walk. It’s a nice hour walk from start to finish from out place. And it’s great and I never feel bad by doing it. But he has been my real cheerleader at helping get me out and I think that that’s… it’s really great when you can ask people for help.
What if people feel that they don’t have anyone to ask for help? Are there other ways that people can find support?
[42:42] Sam: Certainly is Bec. You just need to look for it. Someone like yourself is definitely providing channels for people to look. The SIBO community is growing. If that is exactly what you are going through, you feel like people aren’t around you and unsupportive, look elsewhere in your current geography I suppose I would say. Go online. We are all connected these days. And just talk to people online. You will find people who share similar interests who are going through the same pain that you are going through. And just keep reaching out until you find people who you can connect with and who can give you the support that you really need. Don’t give up.
[43:15] REBECCA: there are so many wonderful online communities for SIBO. There is a really big Facebook group for SIBO, its global which is I delved into that one when I first got my diagnosis. And it’s a really great way of connecting with other people. But there are also local communities, local Facebook groups for SIBO were you might be able to find people in your own are that perhaps you could meet to go for a walk or even go and catch up and just meet someone that knows exactly what you are going through.
You guys are quite interesting as personal trainers because you got the nutrition qualifications and experience as well as personal trainers. Before we finish I would just like to ask you about how important you think nutrition is in us getting well again?
[44:04] Sam: it’s just as crucial as… your nutrition influences every system in your body. Everyone has heard the term you are what you eat. It’s very true and it’s particularly true for SIBO sufferers. Now the bacteria in your small intestine that are causing the grief thrive on certain nutrients. So if you are starving those bacteria, that nutrient it can help heal your small intestine.
[44:31] REBECCA: really is our life source. So I think nutrition is key and good nutrition, I think the quality of our food not just whether we are eating food but the quality of the food is important.
Now I am really lucky that I just kind of stumbled across you guys and you have been working with me now for the last 2 years. What I s your advice on how someone listening can find a personal trainer in their local area and find someone that is right for them because there are a lot of personal trainers. And here ins Australia in particular, we seem to be a personal trainer factory. We have personal trainer courses coming out of our ears and surely not every one of them is going to be a good personal trainer because there are just so many flooding the market. So what is your advise on how to find someone that is suitable for you?
[45:24] Shaun: Ah yes that is very true Bec. We are living in an area with a flooded market for the personal trainers. My advice on finding a personal trainer that is good and worth your while is trying to find someone that is willing to listen to you and understand not only what you want, what you are trying to achieve but where you are at. It is very common for preconceived ideas to exist in a lot of PTs. They tend to think they know the way to do things and that is the way. It’s the only way that they do it. So like I said you’ll know but if they are willing to listen. Do they listen to you? Do they take on board your injuries? What our SIBO does to you? How to fix your energy levels? Do they accommodate for this or do they more make you try and do things the way that they think you should be doing and be aware of.
[46:16] REBECCA: That’s obviously a great advise for when someone started working with someone. Do you have any advice on how to find them in the first instance?
[46:24] Shaun: Obviously online is the quickest and easiest source. But then spending some time and actually browsing through their page, see what is on there. See what they are about. See certain things that they do and whether it really resonates with what you want to do and if you feel comfortable sort of contacting them. That would be the first one that you would do and the second one even just calling, calling and having a chat and trying to chat with the manager or the person chatting with you that may be servicing you and see if there is a bit of a connection and rapport with them as well because they are going to be fairly important person in your life for the short if not long term and you are going to be seeing them a lot. Probably more than we see a lot of our clients more than we see they partners. So if you don’t have a good rapport from them then it’s going to make you such a difficult time and it will probably end up not a waste of your time but money if not both and you have to go on a search again anyway.
We actually have a checklist and a guide to show people how to find a PT and work well with them.
REBECCA: That’s really great. So I’ve got that in the show notes. So if anybody wants to see the guide on how you at home, you listening can find a personal trainer that is right for you then you can head to the show notes and download that link.
Shaun and Sam it has been really great having you on the show today talking all things nutrition and movement. So I would really like to thank you for joining us on the Healthy Gut Podcast.
Shaun: Not a problem. Thanks for having us Bec.