Amazing things happen when you follow your bliss. One of the many wonderful things that have happened since starting this blog is reconnecting with an old school friend of mine, Cat Smiley.
I remember Cat being a real sporty spice at school, she was the first person I ever saw doing long distance walking races (it looks weird – all hips and heels) – she was always outside on a fitness mission. She became an extreme skier, becoming New Zealand Women’s Mogul Champion and an aerial and extreme skiing champion.
Fast forward 20 years and Cat is now recognised as one of Canada’s top fitness trainers. She lives in Whistler, running boot camps, weight loss retreats and vegetarian cooking classes in her stunning mountain ‘gym’. She has also written a book called The Planet Friendly Diet which shows people how to cook from home and go without eating meat for 21 days, while also taking a break from gluten, wheat and dairy.
I thought it would be cool to invite Cat to share some of her insights around fitness, nutrition and following your bliss…over to you Cat!
What do you love most about your job?
Being able to live my healthiest, happiest life while inspiring others to do the same. It sounds cliché, but as fitness educators we really do need to lead by example. My dog gets to hike every day while I’m on the job, which is a great time saver because it means I can go to the gym for my workout. The best thing about my job is that I feel really good about myself and the services that I’m rendering – it’s making a difference to my clients, and they are passing my message on to their family and friends.
What are your top 3 fitness tips?
1. Get a heart rate monitor and work at 80% of maximum heart rate.
2. Do 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups three times per week for the rest of your life. Modify them to match your ability, if you’re a beginner start push-ups against a wall.
3. Run. If you don’t like running, change your headspace and start liking it. Mammals were built to use their bodies this way. Get some music and good running shoes, then start slow.
What is your favourite piece of advice you give to your clients? Always pee clear.
When the going gets tough, how to you keep yourself centred and positive?
Working keeps me centred and positive. My job is to motivate, inspire and educate. So when I am going through a tough patch, working with people who are going through an even tougher patch than I am drives me to stay strong and get the job done. If things aren’t going well in my life, it usually doesn’t affect me until after work. I have good support from my family and friends, which is really valuable. However, I’ve always been a pretty upbeat motivated kind of person. Twelve years as a professional athlete taught me lots about staying strong emotionally.
Tell us about a time when following your bliss paid off?
When I first got qualified as a trainer in 2001, I played the safe route by scheduling clients around my full time (minimum wage) job. I was very happy in my job, living in a ski resort with lots of time on the mountain. But the decision to quit my job and make personal training my full time career was terrifying, challenging and liberating. There were lots of bills to pay, but I adjusted my spending patterns and learnt to save for slow business periods, which alleviated the stress that many trainers feel when trying to ‘make it’ at the beginning of their careers. My clients felt unpressured to continue working with me, and seemed to enjoy my balance between intensive workouts but not intensive sales pitches or business approach. This was accomplished because I knew that I could and would be happy with a very small income. Love your life xo
Cat Smiley is a leading body transformation expert and has been named Canada’s top trainer three times by the International Sports Science Association. She is the author of The Planet Friendly Diet, and owner of Canada’s premiere weight loss retreat for women, Whistler Fitness Vacations, located in Whistler, Canada.