How to balance fitness and life – with Frances McGill

Frances is a woman I met on Instagram and before this interview, I didn’t really know her very well. I thought she looked like an interesting person, especially because she is a fitness instructor, so I decided to interview her.  We talk about balancing life, journaling, what to eat when you still live with your parents…

Can you tell us something more about yourself?

I am 29 years old and I am a fitness instructor and online coach. I’ve always wanted to work in the fitness industry but I had a well paid managerial job. I was a registered manager of a care home. I think it took me a long time to take the plunge because I was wary of the financial implications of leaving that job and do something in fitness. Just over a year ago I realized that if I didn’t do it now, I would never do it. I really wanted to be involved in the fitness industry. I quit my job and I trained to be a fitness instructor. I started gathering work experience in the gym. I built on from there. I didn’t want to carry on just scrolling through Instagram and looking to all these people who were doing my dream job and who had taken the plunge and faced the fear and done it anyways. If it’s something that you want that badly, then you need to take the chance and just do it and I did. I am much happier now. I feel fulfilled and I am doing the right thing.

What do you love about being a fitness instructor?

I really enjoy helping people. It’s important that people know it’s not about aesthetics, it’s about how you feel. Of course you will start to look different and you will start loving yourself more but I prefer people saying ‘I’ve got so much energy’ or ‘I didn’t know I could feel this good’ or ‘my body feels better than it used to’. These are little non-scale victories. I also love that I can connect with people I never met. I love coaching people from the other part of the world. I coach people from America. I would never have connected with these people if I didn’t do online coaching. I love how much people I am able to help.

Aren’t there a lot of people who come to you wanting to lose weight?

The majority of people that come to me for coaching are looking to lose weight. If losing weight is your only goal, it will be hard to incorporate fitness and health into your lifestyle. There are so many short, fast, quick fix diets out there that will help you lose weight. I try to make people see the long term benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I make sure they create daily healthy habits. Feeling good, not getting ill… is way more amazing than just losing weight. 

What to do when you still live at home and your parents don’t eat healthy?

I would sometimes offer to cook dinner when I was a student. I think being healthy shouldn’t take over your life. Family time is still important. I used to get so stressed because I didn’t prep my meals but when you look back, family time is way more important and it is something you will remember.

Do you think it’s important to journal?

I do one paragraph a day. I just write down how I am feeling. This diary changed my life. When I looked back, I saw I was unhappy about everything. That’s why I decided to change my career. Journaling is a simple way to track our progress. My journal is way more positive now. Using that diary is what made me change my life.

What do you think about the quote ‘good things come to those who wait?’

I think good things come to those who work hard. In this quote, it seems like you don’t have to do anything to reach your goals. I don’t think just waiting is going to get you anywhere. You do need to have patience though. 

Do you think it’s important to take progress pictures?

Yes. It’s a good way to celebrate your achievements and it’s good to see you made progress even if you didn’t think you did. The before picture is always hard to take. You don’t like the way you look or feel. I think it’s worth it when you can see how far you’ve come. 

Do you think it’s necessary to work out 6 times a week for more than an hour a day?

No. You just need to push yourself but you don’t need to work out that much. Some people don’t have time to go to the gym this much and it’s not realistic. If it’s not realistic for you, you will end up doing nothing.

What do you think is the best time to start working out?

Today. Just do it. Even if you just start by going for a walk. Your body is made to move. Your glutes are not made to sit on all day. You are never too old to start. It’s your journey and you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people. If you want to do something, just start. Imagine you keep waiting and a year later, you regret not having started a year ago. Imagine where you could have been if you started when you first thought about it. Some people don’t feel like working out because they had a bad day at work but I think those are the moments you should go. You will always feel better after moving your body. 

What are your best tips for students to balance studying, free time and health?

Be realistic about how much you can fit in. Your studies are your priority so you might not be able to work out two hours a day. Your health is always important but overwhelming yourself is never a good idea. I think nowadays, people are trying to compete about being the most busy. Taking care of yourself is so important. If you get sick because you are pushing yourself too hard, your fitness is going to suffer, your school is going to suffer… Maybe you can’t fit in 1-2 hours a day but maybe you can fit in a 30 minute home workout and it’s going to help you study. Be smart with your time. Be as productive as you can, not as busy as you can. It’s not the same. 

I am very happy I got to know Frances a little bit more trought this interview. I especially loved her view on journaling and balancing things out. Do you want to take a look at Frances’s Instagram profile? Then click here. She also has her own blog which you can find if you click here.

Love,

Jana

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