What is Intuition?


"the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.”


...and the definition of Living :


is the course of an individual's life, especially when viewed as the sum of personal choices contributing to one's personal identity.


Intuitive Living


In the same way that we have a digestive system, a cardiovascular system and a sensory system, we all have intuition. It is a tool that we are born with and is no different from any other of our senses. It’s a natural part of who we are. Some of us are born with stronger connection to our gut intuition, while for others it takes a little more work.


Intuition is the communication tool you have between you and your spirit, or soul. Just like you may concentrate on the gut for healthy digestion, you should be focusing on establishing connection to your intuition in order to find true health and alignment.


One of the easiest ways to get to know your intuition is to rewind and look at the times when you have ignored it. Hindsight can be useful to help us interpret the signs intuition is giving us and how we can work to trust it more in future.


Messages from your intuition tend to be quiet, so spending time in silence will help you to hear and interpret them. Meditation allows us to connect to a higher state of consciousness, and communication between the conscious mind and the physical body is dramatically enhanced. Meditation is a simple and effective way to tap into you inner dialogue. It slows the mind, calms the breath and relaxes the body. Meditation also teaches you how to slow down your fast paced mind and live in the present moment. When you are free from the burden of fear, worry, stress and uncertainty you can then reach the place where your intuition grows and evolves.


Many of us live in a fear based culture that is obsessed with trying to control life. We’re terrified of uncertainty, so we are constantly anticipating everything that might go wrong and doing everything within our power to guard ourselves against inevitable disaster. But in doing so we aren’t allowing life to just flow. You don’t need fear to protect you, you have your intuition a potent, trustworthy compass that will guide you to your true path.


Intuition continuously guides you to play at higher and higher levels. And as you do, you will walk away from what you thought your life was towards a life that has yet to fully manifest. In the meantime, you learn to trust the unknown and become comfortable with not having all the details. It is here that irrational optimism is a useful mindset. You can view your life as being an empty shell of what it used to be, or you can see it as being prepared for new, with exciting arrivals that only Life can see.


Honouring your intuition, honoring your true Self, takes great courage. It may not be easy in the short term to act on your intuition, but what price do you pay by not listening to it? Trust that nothing is revealed to you intuitively if it is not in your highest interest, even if that means making some tough choices (or easy choices) in your life. However your intuition guides you, it is always in service of your well-being.


“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”  ~ Howard Thurman

The Lovely Tricia Murray from Edinburgh Birth and baby Academy recently interviewed me for her audience of mums. It was a lovely way for me to reflect and discuss what I offer as a personal trainer and what got me to where I am in the first place.


Heres the full interview for you to read, if you feel inspired to come along and try it out. Head to the CONTACT page and drop me an email.


Tell me a little bit more around you?


I am a mum, I have a sweet natured little girl called Bow. My husband and I both work from home, Adam runs a Design Collective and I run my PT business. A few years ago, we both decided to reshaped our work life in order to spend quality time together as a family.

We love the outdoors, camping, cycling being by the waves and bonfires. We are really fortunate to live in an idyllic woodland setting so we don’t have to go far to have to have a woodland adventure and be connected to nature. Which for me is food for the soul.


I’d love to hear how you got into PT


I went through IVF to fall pregnant with our daughter. Before embarking on that journey, I was extremely strict with my fitness and health routine. I wanted to give us the best possible chance. I was commuting by bicycle in and out of the city 5 days a week and going to the gym at least 3! I felt so strong in my body and mind, it made me very resilient and I felt better able to handle the emotional rollercoaster I was on. 

I had to slow down through the treatment and allow my body to rest completely. We were extremely lucky to fall pregnant on our first attempt. During my pregnancy I kept active but I was always itching to get back to a more regular fitness routine, not for any other reason than the clarity it gave me in my mind, getting a strong body back was the bonus.

I noticed very quickly the link between exercise and my mental and physical wellbeing. For me it was my medicine, it kept the negative chatter at bay, it stopped the anxiety creeping in and it made me feel empowered. I have always loved meditation and yoga, so combining this with strength training felt like my secret weapon! 

I love knowing my body and what makes it function most effectively, the moment I head of course - the cracks start to appear! 

I decided that for me, health and fitness was about a new way of life, not something to dabble in, but something I believed in and could do everyday to make myself feel good and in turn be better with my relationships and my job as a mum. 

Sharing what I have learned along the way is what lead me to become a PT, I love connecting with new people, it’s a rewarding job when you get to see people shift their energy and their focus for the better. I think it is really important to encourage people to re connect with themselves and take time to feel better. It doesn’t have to be about hours in a gym pounding the treadmill - its about finding what you enjoy and steadily introducing new habits a little at a time.


Why would people come to see you?


What I offer is fairly unique in the sense that it is a combination of strength training, yoga and relaxation. The idea being that you build yourself up brick by brick in body and in mind. As I said before I don’t believe in hours of heavy lifting or crazy cardio. It’s about finding what you enjoy and shaping the hour we have together to focus on that. 

Which can mean more stretching and meditation or weight based exercises and woodland jogs, it depends entirely on what your end goals are. I try to encourage my clients to think more about the body - mind connection, about reconnecting to themselves, taking time to hear what their body needs, becoming intuitive in the way they live. Through gaining this connection its more likely that new habits can be formed and sustained. I find weight driven goals can be counter productive, I encourage my clients to focus on self love and we work from there. More often that not, weight loss comes along for the ride! 


Can you tell me about some of the clients you work with?


I work with a lot of mums, some that are taking their first steps back into fitness following birth, some that are burnt out, exhausted, lost in themselves or suffering with stress and anxiety - whilst trying to juggle all the things life throws their way! 

Most of my clients are looking for ‘ME’ time, someone who can support them in forming new habits, getting an exercise program that suits their individual needs and most importantly allows them to re-connect with themselves. 


What would you advise mums to do to get started with exercise?


I think mums can underestimate how physical their days already are, thats why I think it is important when choosing to start exercise, firstly you find something that you enjoy.  Something that gives you a ‘whole’ sense of well being, that way its more likely to become a part of everyday life. It could be going to the beach for a brisk walk, start of gently and over time increase the speed and distance. 

Being by the sea can help focus the mind, it can make you more present. More focused on the senses than on the exercise itself, the result being you get caught up in the peace of the present moment, and you may find you have walked further than you thought you could. 

I find when my clients exercise outdoors, they are able to endure more challenging exercises and for longer. 

Also, I think it is good to start with a micro goal so that it doesn’t overwhelm you, you feel less resistance if you know it is achievable. And once you achieve it theres a sense of satisfaction that will make you want to do it again. 


We know all the main reasons why we should exercise but what are the ways that exercise can improve our lives?


I promote exercise as an opportunity to re connect with yourself, to get to know your own body again. I think we are all so far from knowing what our bodies really need as we very rarely take the time to listen to them. I believe that exercise is like a medicine for your body, when done in a sympathetic way and lead by your needs it can support everything in your life.

We have so much information on the benefits of exercise, but it can feel daunting and not everyone wants to reach straight for the dumb bells! Exercise is about moving, nourishing your body with blood flow, flooding your brain with good hormones, lubricating your joints and flushing out toxins, its about a whole sense of wellbeing not just in your body, but in your mind too. 


Our mums are overloaded and often feeling quite stressed.  Some of the factors might be time, mummy guilt, energy etc.  What advice would you give them and how would you encourage them to exercise?


‘Apply your own oxygen mask first’ best piece of advice I have ever been given. It is impossible to support your family and those around you if you are not looking after yourself first. I understand that it doesn’t always seem straight forward but I encourage you to make it a priority. Take 5 mins to check in with yourself, by that I mean, acknowledge what you have achieved, thank yourself for showing up and getting shit done! The sooner you realise that what you do matters, and you deserve to take time for yourself the easier it will become.

 Prioritise you, leave the washing in a pile - go outside for a ten minute walk - notice how it helps you! 

Allow yourself the time to re connect with your needs and what feels good for you. Set small goals for yourself, listen to your body.



The male and female bodies may both be ruled by hormones, but its only us women who have to cope with radical hormonal changes throughout our lives: puberty and starting our periods, pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, peri-menopause, and the grand finale, menopause. A lot of the time these changes go hand in hand with uncomfortable issues and persistent symptoms that need to be addressed, ideally through understanding and rectifying the underlying cause.

Consider your hormones like a symphony, conducted by the endocrine system, which is made up of a number of glands and organs. These include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid, pancreas, adrenal glands and the ovaries (in females) , and the testes (in males). They may seem unrelated, but together they communicate and work together, the way different instruments make up an orchestra.

Your glands control important physiological functions by releasing powerful chemical messengers (hormones) in to the blood. The word hormone comes from the Greek word hormon, meaning ‘set in motion’, and thats precisely what your hormones do: they trigger activity in different organs and body parts.


The six main hormones are:


Insulin - The Storage CEO

Progesterone - The Zen Master

Testosterone - The King of Va Va Voom

Oestrogen - The Awkward Triplets

Cortisol - The Life Saver

Thyroid - The Metabolism Queen


So what happens if your hormones are not in balance? All sorts of symptoms can result, her are just a few examples:


- Low progesterone can lead to irregular menstrual cycle, irritability, infertility, miscarriage, insomnia and PMS

- Low testosterone can lead to low self esteem, weight gain, low libido and moodiness

- High testosterone can lead to irritability, weight gain, infertility, anger, facial hair and acne

- Low oestrogen can lead to headaches, panic attacks, low mood and libido, bone loss, vaginal dryness and belly fat

- High oestrogen can cause breast tenderness, PMS, heavy periods, fibroids, endometriosis, cysts and even breast cancer

- Low cortisol makes you feel burnt - out, exhausted and drained, tearful, PMS, taking you from superhero to super cranky

- High cortisol causes that tired, but weird feeling, anxiety, insomnia and belly fat

- Low thyroid can cause brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, constipation, cold hands and feet, thinning hair and miscarriage

- Elevated insulin can lead to that dreaded muffin top, PMS, constant hunger, excess testosterone, elevated cortisol, insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.


OUR MONTHLY HORMONAL DANCE

When balanced our hormones can create a beautiful, synchronised dance, like a graceful Viennese Waltz. But for many of us, that monthly dance is more like the hokey cokey, using the wrong feet! The purpose of this dance is for our body to prepare itself for possible pregnancy each and every cycle.


The three phases of the cycle look like this:


1. Follicular Phase - Menstruation and the pre-ovulatory phase.


Noticeable Changes include - feeling a relief as menstruation begins, possibly followed by irritability, especially if you experience cramps, dips in energy.


2. Ovulatory Phase - the big event of the cycle! Our follicles produce more oestrogen, preparing the womb lining.


Noticeable Changes include - Energy levels are distinctly higher, and the rise of testosterone enhances sex drive and zest for life. You may feel a dull or sharp pain in your lower abdomen, known as ovulatory pain. Your temperature increases slightly with ovulation.


3. Luteal Phase - The Luteal Phase (post-ovulatory phase) is the longest and usually lasts 12 to 14days


Noticeable Changes include - Progesterone causes our body temperature to remain slightly elevated. In the second half of this phase you may notice a drop in energy, due to the calming effects of progesterone. Unfortunately, this phase often also comes with PMS symptoms such as bloating, sore breasts, insomnia and cravings.


TOXINS


Our modern diet of fast foods full of refined carbohydrates, sugar, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose syrups, caffeine and trans fats places an extra burden on our detoxification pathways, even more so if food has been smothered with pesticides and insecticides. The non-organic meat products we eat come with most of the added extras, such as synthetic hormones and antibiotics.

Eating has become a gratifying pursuit, and cooking merely a hobby. So often, we don’t have time to cook real food. We grab something to microwave (in plastic), a processed, convenience food. But our bodies don’t care how busy we are, they’re still hard wired for food as nature intended:


CLEAN, UNPROCESSED AND WHOLE.


FOODS TO SUPPORT YOUR HORMONES


Follicular Phase

Fresh, vibrant, light foods make you feel more energised during this phase, when all hormones are at their lowest. Pressed salads, kimchi and sauerkraut, plenty of veggies, lean proteins, sprouted beans and seeds, and dense, energy - sustaining grains.


VEG - Artichoke, Broccoli, Carrot, Courgette, Parsley, Rhubarb

FRUIT - Avocado, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Plum, Pomegranate

GRAINS - Barley, Oat, Rye,Wheat

SEAFOOD - Fresh water clams, soft shell crab, trout

MEAT - Chicken, Eggs

OTHER - Nut Butter, Olives, Pickles, Sauerkraut, Vinegar


Ovulatory Phase

Go easy on carbohydrates and stick to lighter grains such as corn and quinoa, fill up on veggies and fruit.


VEG - Aubergine, Asparagus, Pepper, Brussel Sprouts, Chard, Endive, Spinach, Spring Onion

FRUIT - Apricots, Cantaloupe, Coconut, Fig, Raspberry, Strawberry

GRAINS - Corn, Quinoa

SEAFOOD - Salmon, Shrimp, Tuna

MEAT - Lamb

OTHER - Chocolate, Coffee, Turmeric


Luteal Phase

Choose foods rich in B Vitamins, calcium, magnesium and fibre. They types of foods stave off sugar cravings, leafy greens are essential for mitigating the effects of water retention which can be so problematic for women at this phase. Healthy Natural sugars help with the dip in oestrogen that occurs in the second half of the luteal phase and that can make you feel irritable. One of the best ways to achieve this is by roasting or baking veggies, which increases the concentration of those sugars so the veggies taste sweeter. Complex carbohydrates help stabilise serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain and help prevent mood swings.


VEG - Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Garlic, Ginger, Leek, Onion, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Squash

FRUIT- Apple, Date, Peach, Pear, Raisin

GRAINS - Brown Rice, Millet

SEAFOOD - Cod, Halibut

MEAT - Beef, Turkey

OTHER - Miso, Salt, Tamari