Saturday 22 July, 2017

Want that 'Crop Over body'? Take a holistic approach to wellness

Dominique Marshall, personal trainer and lifestyle/weight management consultant with Club Fitness.

Dominique Marshall, personal trainer and lifestyle/weight management consultant with Club Fitness.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Crop Over - when Barbadians pay more attention to health – or rather size.

The gyms, large and small, see an increase in membership, joggers and walkers can be seen in groups or alone across the island’s roads, even health shops see a rise in sales as people ‘get ready’ for Crop Over. Those who are regular gym members step up their activity in order to be in ‘peak’ condition, while those who have avoided the scale for the year, often look to weight loss supplements and fast diets to get them in shape for Kadooment Day. 

Even with recent attention being placed on a healthier Barbados, many still see fitness as a phase. This way of thinking is something that Dominique Marshall, personal trainer and lifestyle/weight management consultant with Club Fitness located at the Villages in Coverley, strongly discourages. For Marshall, a holistic approach to fitness is essential, not only to losing weight but to improving overall health and quality of life.

Marshall notes holistic fitness goes beyond that six-pack or the ability to tone and build muscle definition; it includes the physical, emotional and mental well-being of the individual. It’s much more than just fitness, it’s how people sleep and eat, their stress levels - their general approach to life.

She notes that becoming fit and healthy won’t happen overnight; it requires dedication and a focus on overall lifestyle changes and not crash diets and other publicised easy fixes. Marshall said individuals need to adopt a program which encompasses cardio, weights, nutrition as well as massage therapy.

While noting that improved fitness and health can be achieved outside of a gym, Dominque says a fitness centre is a great catalyst to jump-start the journey. She noted the more popular workout programs during the Crop Over season are the spin classes, Mobility & Stretch, Extreme Fat Burn and Rhythm & Moves. She recommended that individuals be assessed and goals discussed before starting a programme. She also recommended signing up with a friend or family member, as they tend to motivate and push each other.

Any focus on regaining, building or improving health and wellness is a long-term commitment, therefore the fitness professional encourages working with a nutritionist to discuss a meal plan, set portion sizes and ensure that individuals consume the correct quantities of each food group.

She encourages individuals to ask questions after classes about their fitness routines or if they have any concerns about how to use the equipment. Marshall says making that initial change towards a more holistic approach to wellness takes time, but the benefits can be life changing.

Here are some final tips that are essential for the journey to a healthier lifestyle:

- Stay away from crash diets – eating healthy does not mean avoiding certain food groups. It simply means learning the types of food that can help you on your road to fitness.

- Don’t watch the scale. Your body can be going through several beneficial changes that are not immediately reflected in weight loss. Ask yourself, ‘do my clothes fit better, looser? Do I feel more energized?’ These are signs that your plan is working.

- Sleep is important. The body needs time to heal.

- Find exercise routines that you enjoy. Shake it up a little – don’t do the same classes as your body becomes accustomed and your progress may plateau.