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24| Changing the Way We Approach Fitness in Tough Times

Speaker: Gillian Goerzen

What if instead of going into the holiday season and seeing it as a time where your fitness falls apart and the new year as the time to restart, you looked at fitness as a variable that ebbs and flows with every season? What if instead of counting calories and tracking miles run, you made a goal of being able to carry up your groceries alone or bend down and pick up your child without any pain? It’s a different way of looking at fitness, and our guest today explains why it’s more sustainable in the long-run.

About the Guests


Gillian Goerzen is an author, a dynamic speaker, an engaging coach and a powerful body positive fitness advocate. She has a strong and engaging voice and a powerful presence with an education backed philosophy that is relatable and realistic! She has been featured on blogs, interviewed for numerous podcasts and used as a source for many publications.

Her book, The Elephant in the Gym, it a response to the fitness and diet industries that have really done a number on us. It sounds the alarm and shines a light on what isn’t working so we can gain clarity and a firm footing on this previously rocky road.

About the Host

Morgan Berna is the host of Olympia Benefits’ podcast, The Small Business Mastermind. Her background is in marketing, journalism, and broadcasting. Passionate about small business, she aims to create content that inspires and educates listeners.


Gillian Goerzen: There is meant to be body diversity on this planet of ours and that we are not all meant to conform to what happens to be right now a very narrow idealized aesthetic.


Episode 23 - Keeping Your Email Safe, Handling Remote Work & Debunking Cyber Security Myths




Morgan Berna: You’re listening to The Small Business Mastermind. A podcast created to help small businesses juggle business, finance, health and wellness. I’m your host, Morgan Berna. To subscribe to the podcast visit

The Small Business Mastermind is brought to you by Olympia Benefits Inc. To learn how you can save on your health and dental costs visit

[music ends]

Morgan: Okay, okay… I know fitness is probably the last thing you want to be thinking about right now. But I promise this is not your typical fitness episode.


What if instead of going into the holiday season and seeing it as a time where your fitness falls apart and the new year as the time where you have to restart from scratch all over again, you looked at fitness as a variable that ebbs and flows with every season? What if instead of counting calories and tracking miles run, you made the goal of being able to carry up your groceries alone or bend down and pick up your child without any pain? It’s a different way of looking at fitness and our guest today explains why it is more sustainable in the long run.

On this episode, Gillian Goerzen explains her body positive approach to fitness, and why using what she calls "Health Zones" is a better way to improve your mood and productivity while stabilizing your fitness year-round. We talk enjoying the holidays without fitness or diet guilt, especially this year when things are already so stressful, and how to handle gym closures or not enjoying working out at the gym altogether. We talked realistic fitness goals and how this all ties into how we perform at work.

I promise this episode will leave you feeling excited and energized instead of worrying about those dreaded New Year's resolutions. So, with that let’s jump right into the interview and I will be talking to you again at the end of the episode.


[interview begins]

Morgan: Welcome Gillian. I am so excited to have you here with us today on our second last episode for the year! I cannot believe we are almost at the end of 2020. So, thank you so much.

Gillian: Well, I am so glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

Morgan: Gillian is an author, a dynamic speaker, an engaging coach and a powerful body positive fitness advocate. She has a strong and engaging voice and a powerful presence with an education backed philosophy that is relatable and realistic. She has been featured on blogs. Interviewed for numerous podcasts and used as a source for many publications. Her book, The Elephant in The Gym, is her response to the fitness and diet industries that have really done a number on us. It sounds the alarm and shines a light on what is not working so we can gain clarity and firm footing on this previously rocky road. Very lucky to have Gillian with us here today.


Fantastic. So, today we are going to be talking all about fitness, but from the perspective of, having a bit of grace with yourself and how to stay fit. While also having enjoyment with it. Having some self love with it and all that sort of thing. So, I wanted to first start out with your journey with fitness. What got you interested? Was this a lifelong thing? Yes. Tell us a bit about that.

Gillian: Well, I think the assumption is often that I have been fit my whole life and that is actually not my case at all. I actually was kind of a chubby kid that hated PE and really did not like moving her body. It was not till I was about 19 that I met some colleagues in a work environment that were all runners. They ran not to win the race, but they ran to just for the pure enjoyment of running. I thought, "Well, that is kind of a novel concept." So, I decided to try on this running thing and absolutely fell in love with running and running at my own pace. So, that was kind of my entry into fitness.

At the time I was actually registered in the Kinesiology program at Simon Fraser in beautiful Burnaby, BC. I thought I was going to become a physio. That was kind of my long-term goal. But, as I became more in love with fitness and started to learn more about the human body. I was like, "Wow. This could be a thing. Like I could actually spend my career helping people move their bodies. How cool would that be?" So, I kind of transitioned my intentions in the Kines program into health and fitness and becoming a health and fitness professional.

Morgan: It is a good point, too. That a lot of the way we are introduced to fitness growing up is through a competitive lens or-

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: -or through sort of that PE lens where you are comparing and you are kind of forced to do it. But-

Gillian: Or being yelled at. For not, for walking on the block run. That was one of my experiences and sadly growing up. So, it was very early on I developed this kind of exercise as punishment.

Morgan: Uh-huh.

Gillian: My parents did their best trying to introduce me to different things. They exposed me to lots of different things. Swimming and gymnastics and even some dance, but none of it really, I never felt like I belonged. Because-

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: Especially because I was in a bigger body at the time. I was very much ostracized for that. Similar to how things are shifting thankfully. But, definitely when I was growing up I was bullied for being in the body I was in. "So, you want me to move that body that is not according to society standards' good enough? No. Thanks. I will just go sit over here. Thanks."


Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: Uh-hmm.

Morgan: Yes. I do not remember there being a lot of flexibility in the way it was taught.

Gillian: No.

Morgan: I do not know how much it has changed. I grew up doing competitive swimming outside of school. So, when I would go to gym class, I would typically be sort of goofing off-

Gillian: Right.

Morgan: -and just trying to have fun in it.

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: It was not. It was not reciprocated. [laughs]

Gillian: No. Smarten up. [laughs]


Morgan: Yes. Absolutely.

Gillian: Yes. I think growing up, I grew up in the era of the oh, gosh, what was those badges called? The Canadian Excellence Standards or whatever they were that test that we had to do every year.

Morgan: Oh, yes.

Gillian: The flexed-arm hang and the sit-ups and the run. I always, always, always got the participation badge which really just felt like a slap in the face.

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: You are not good enough. You genuinely do not measure up. It is not necessarily the most supportive of us having a positive relationship with our bodies for sure.

Morgan: Uh-hmm. Can you touch on what you are now doing professionally with fitness?

Gillian: Yes. I really, I mean, I have been in the industry for 20 plus years now and as a kinesiologist and as a health professional, I really kind of have moved out of, the kind of one-to-one personal training and really transitioned my focus of my practice of helping people. To really helping people figure out what makes them inspired.

So, I tend to do is what I would consider more health and fitness coaching now. As opposed to the kind of, what I found was, people know what they need to do most of the time. Sometimes we need to unravel some of the things that they think they should do. But, they have a sense of what it means to be healthy, to move their bodies. But, where they get stuck is in the practice like, "How do I actually transition that into something I can do?" So, what I do now more than ever is coach either one-to-one or in small groups with this frame of body positivity. With this frame of, your body is not broken. Your body is awesome. Let us find the ways that you like to move that bring you joy. Let us find the ways that you can nourish your body that feel good in your body. That is not based on this set of rules that you need to follow or this strict program or plan that you need to adhere to in your fitness. But, instead let us find the ways to be healthy that really work for you and your life.

Morgan: And I love them as [inaudible] especially going into this time of year. We are going to get into all that but let us touch a bit on your personal philosophy. So,-

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: You say your anti-diet. You do not like to talk diets. You do not like to talk weight loss. Can you explain why and how you apply this to your work?

Gillian: Yes. So, this classification of myself as quite clearly anti-diet is relatively new. I would say in the last two, three years, it has really become clear that diets do not work. The research is quite abundant actually that diets, really strict regimented diets, "Eat This Not That," they just do not work long-term. They do not have any long-term data. And the data matters to me. I mean, also anecdotally they do not work. I have worked with lots and lots of people over the years. The bottom line is that, trying to change our bodies not only does it make our health endeavors not that much fun, it actually does not give us the outcomes we seek. We do not tend to see positive health outcomes when we focus primarily on losing weight or changing the shape of our bodies.

There is lots of correlations with people being in bigger bodies and having all these health consequences. But when we actually look at the research, what we see is that these are correlations not causations. So, what we see, is that the increased incidence of lifestyle-related diseases that we see in people amongst people in bigger bodies is actually more related to the yo-yo dieting that they are doing. Which is actually a result of being stigmatized for their body and all the stress we deal with from being stigmatized.

Morgan: Absolutely.

Gillian: It is the stigma that costs us way more in our health than actually just being in a bigger body. I adhere to this philosophy that there is meant to be body diversity on this planet of ours. That we are not all meant to conform to what happens to be right now a very narrow idealized aesthetic. Which is primarily thin and kind of muscular at the moment.

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: But that is changing, too. It is an ever moving target. Which is yet another reason we need to kind of, throw it out the window as a philosophy.

Morgan: Yes. It felt like we were moving away from it. Then I have sort of been seeing it coming back a bit more again on social media.

Gillian: I know. Yes. I think it has been interesting actually with the pandemic. I have actually noticed there seems to be kind of a rebound of diet mentality.

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: I am not entirely sure what that was about. I suspect it has something to do with our desire to control something in our lives. That is just my thought. My internal rumblings.

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: I do not have any bearings for that.

Morgan: No, I could absolutely see that because it is one of the few things this year that we have been able to really-

Gillian: Absolutely.

Morgan: -in a way control and then in a lot of ways not control. So-

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: -something we are aware of. And then sort of on the opposite of this, then, do you believe people should be setting goals with their fitness? And if so, what would you tie those goals to?

Gillian: Yes. I think that goals are good. They work really well for some people. But I think where we can get in trouble with goals is that, we get quite black and white. So, we have a bit of a binary relationship. So, if I achieve this goal, I am good. If I do not achieve this goal, I am somehow a failure. So, I think for some people, if you are too binary in your thinking, achieving goals can be risky. But, I do think we need to have an overarching vision for what we want to achieve and how we want to feel in our bodies. I tend to try to frame it into the realm of, "What would you like to be able to do with your body? How would you like to feel doing those things?" Let’s work you toward that as opposed to this black and white goal of, "I want to be able to run 5k or I want to be able to-"

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: "-do a push up." For me, it is not that there is anything wrong with those goals. If that works for you and that inspires you and keeps you out getting out for your runs. Great. But, for some people that is going to be potentially kind of triggering because there is this, "What if I don't achieve it? Then what happens? How do I feel about that?"

Morgan: Uh-hmm. When I was living on my own, I had made the goal just that I want to be able to carry up all my groceries.

Gillian: Yes. I love that working[?]. That is so-

Morgan: I felt so strong that I could do it. I was like, "Yes!"

Gillian: That is it. That is brilliant example of... You can, health has kind of taken on this life of its own health and fitness where we get really, narrowed in on this idea of wanting to be able to do things that are kind of not related to our overall health and well-being and our livelihood at all. I think having a goal of being able to carry your groceries. That is beautiful. Often when I deal with, I work primarily with women of all ages. I have a lot of grandmas I work with who will be like, "I want to be able to get down on the floor and play with my grandkids and get back up and not feel like I cannot move my body to do that."

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: That is a really tangible, really life-affirming goal.

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: And so when it is things like that, I am like all over the goals. But, I would say they kind of, I tend of frame it in the realm of more of a vision as opposed to a detailed goal.

Morgan: I really like that because, yes, doing a push-up does not necessarily change your life.

Gillian: Yes. So you can do a push up. Yes.

Morgan: I am not. I am not doing that ever.

Gillian: But, I mean here is the thing, if you can do push-ups, that strength is going to transfer into maybe being able to kind of, I do not know lift a kayak up over your head.

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: So you can get your kayak on your car. Things like that. So there is, it is not saying that we should not do those things. But, let us make sure they have relevance to the things we want to be able to do that would actually impact our lives.

Morgan: Absolutely. Okay. So, our next topic is talking about fitness and work performance. Do you do you see a correlation? Do you believe there is correlation? Yes. What are your thoughts there?

Gillian: Absolutely. I think one of the things, of course we cannot come back to that kind of a bad example of I want to be able to do the push-ups so I can lift the kayak up over my roof. We are especially for an office job. We are in a physical job. There is obvious correlations. But if you are sitting at a desk job, there is actually a huge value to making sure that you are moving your body enough. So that we actually can be able to focus and perform. Then the other pieces in terms of relevance to performance is, we actually know that our brain needs rest to perform and be innovative and creative and the example I often say is, "You know, you have been thinking about a project all day at work. You are trying to come up and with this creative idea or this new marketing campaign or whatever it is that you are doing. You kind of stuck in it. You cannot really think of it so you leave work for the day and you are driving home. You are driving home doing something different with your body and your mind is just kind of wandering and, lo and behold the idea comes to you."

Morgan: Uh-hmm.

Gillian: Fitness is one of the ways we can do that. So, it is taking that 10-minute, 15-minute, 20-minute break in the middle of your day. Going for a walk gives your brain the opportunity to actually process and come up with innovative ideas so we can actually perform better. We also know that taking breaks is really, really helpful to having good performance. Our brains just simply do not focus for a seated eight hours in a stint. That is not how our brains work. We need those breaks. So, if we want to think about performing well at work, fitness is a great tool in the toolkit for sure.

Morgan: I often find, along lines of what you have just been saying, ideas come to me usually after my brain’s felt more inactive for a while.

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: And then suddenly maybe I am relaxed. I am like, "Oh, there is the solution, there is how I can do that."

Gillian: Totally.

Morgan: Yes. Definitely something I think we are aware of, but it can be very underrated.

Gillian: Yes. Absolutely.

Morgan: Lots of hustle culture.

Gillian: Right? This is the thing. I mean, this is the cost of kind of our hustle, grit kind of culture is that we do not ever give ourselves time to slow down and do some quieter activities. One of the big pieces I talked about in when I am coaching clients, is it is not just about your physical body. Let us talk about the bigger, broader, more holistic view of health. Where it is the health of your physical body, as well as the health of your mind and the health of your spirit.
So, not all of what we need to do to be healthy is get out there and do the hard work out. But it is also, "Can I take this time to slow my brain down and do some practices of self-care?" Maybe some journaling. Maybe some gratitude. Maybe some meditation. Whether some of the spiritual pieces of the puzzle that really helped me feel engaged with my life and feel like my bucket is full. That all contributes to our performance as well. If we feel happy and fulfilled in our lives, we are going to be more effective at work.

Morgan: Absolutely. So with this year, I mean, it has been difficult on so many levels for people. Do you see some collective struggles? I think you touched a little bit on sort of a refocus on kind of the look of our body. But are there some common struggles you have seen that we are facing with this year to keep up with fitness and just our general health?

Gillian: Yes. I mean, I think one of the things I keep reminding my clients of is, "Oh, have you been through a pandemic before? Oh, right. No. No, you have not. You are in a completely new realm. We are in a time that is completely unprecedented for us. We have not experienced this and it is very stressful." We need to acknowledge that the routines that we had before pre-pandemic are not necessarily going to be the same routine.

So, I hear a lot of people being really hard on themselves because, "I have not been able to keep up with the gym or my gyms are now closed and I cannot go there or the gym I wanted to go to, they have closed. They did not make it or the things I have always done, they just do not inspire me right now. I just do not have the energy." So, I am talking to a lot of people about giving yourself permission to do different. It is okay. You have not been through a pandemic before. This is a completely big giant game changer. Right? So, we are in a completely different set of circumstances now. We cannot just try to insert our old lifestyle into these new circumstances. It might just not jive and that is okay. Actually that might be great. I have had a lot of clients that are like, "You know, if it were not for the pandemic I totally would not have started exercising at home. And now I love exercising at home. It is so much more convenient for me and I really love it. Great."

So, you might actually find that if you give yourself permission to not try to keep hammering doing the things that are not working, it tends to be what we try to do. “I will just keep trying to do the same plan over and over and over again, but I keep not doing it. But I am making it mean that I am somehow a failure.” No. It is just that is not the plan for you. Maybe just not the plan for you right now. And that is okay. Can we find a different way of approaching this that still serves you as an individual?

Morgan: Uh-hmm.

Gillian: So, I think the kind of doing, trying to do the same thing that you used to do is one of the big struggles that I keep seeing and not giving yourself permission to change. I would say the other big struggle that I hear people doing is this very all-or-none. I am either all in or I am all out.

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: I always call that it is the wagon talk. The wagon talk is hefty when we get to this time of the year. A lot of people will say like, "Ah, I am off the wagon, but I will just start fresh in January." And I would tell people, “Do not start fresh in January. Every moment is a clean slate. Can you find some strategies that you can do right now?"

Maybe they are not the full most robust version of what you would like to be doing. That is okay. Can you find some sort of new ground here that feels like you are still moving forward or maybe you are holding status quo. You feel pretty good about it. As opposed to feeling kind of crappy because we all know what happens when we say, we throw in the towel and say, "I will just start fresh in, you know on Monday or-"

Morgan: Uh-hmm.

Gillian: "-next month or next year." That is the next duration of time whatever that ends up being and sometimes it is upwards of a month. Well, just everything goes, it goes out the window when we do all the things and not necessarily in the best way for our health. So, can we lean in with doing what we can do and focus on what we can do? Not on all the things we are not doing.

Morgan: Absolutely.

Gillian: So that was kind of a doubleheader that, the all-or-none thinking and then, if we can shift that into really focusing on what we can do as opposed to focusing with our good old negativity bias on the things we are not doing.

Morgan: Yes. I like your comment about allowing ourselves to accept the change. Doing something different because I mean, this might be me projecting but I felt this sense lately that there is an expectation that we are acting "normal again". I have been seeing articles saying how, "Oh, yep. We are kind of getting back to normal and workforces are going back to normal." And I am like, it is not the case but-

Gillian: No.

Morgan: And yeah, like you said things are still closed. We still have a complete different, everything is different. So-

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: Giving that permission to be like, "Okay, it is not the way it used to be."

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: "What can I do now?"

Gillian: Yes. Actually viewing that is, that might be a stretch for some people depending on your circumstances. But viewing it as an opportunity like, "Oh. I get to explore in a different way. This could actually be kind of cool if I actually give myself permission to explore without judgment."

Morgan: Uh-hmm. Absolutely. You touched on that we are having a lot of stress. What impact does this stress have on our bodies?

Gillian: Well, I mean, it is huge. Actually just reading a book called Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski, that I am only part way through it, but I am already recommending it to everybody. I know it is definitely catered to women, but I am sure that any man would get benefit from it, but they talked a lot about stress and the cause of stress. What we know about stress is that, chronic stress is absolutely detrimental to our overall health. Absolutely, much bigger of a deal to our overall health and well-being then say, whether we are exercising regularly or whether we are eating a nutritionally balanced diet. Stress is huge. It is kind of the big one that we just do not talk about. As a culture we actually kind of put stress up on this weird pedestal. We have this weird-

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: We have this weird relationship with stress. It is like we are, we idealize busy and push and grit and grind but then we also like, "Oh. Take time for you and-"

Morgan: “Just make it productive.”

Gillian: "Have a bubble bath." That self-care stuff. What I like about the way that they frame it in Burnout is they talked about the stress cycle. They actually get into the science of which, be still my geeky heart, they talk about the stress cycle. They talked about how stress has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And what happens in chronic states of stress is we do not resolve our stress very well. Once the stressor has been, the stressor is gone. That does not mean stress in our bodies is gone. So, we work hard. For example, we work hard to get to a deadline. We push, push, push to get to that end of that deadline. Then the deadlines met but we still have the internal rumblings of stress happening in our bodies. The deadline is done. Check mark the box. But we still have a stress response happening in our body. We need a way to resolve that stress.

What I love about the book is that they talk about the very best way to help us resolve the stress cycle is moving our bodies.

Morgan: Uh-huh.

Gillian: So, I think we anecdotally know this, most of us that, if we are dealing with a peak stress stitch situation, a lot of people will say like, "I like to go for a run or I like to dance it out in my living room or go for a walk with a friend." Those are all ways to help complete the stress cycle and tell our bodies and our minds we are okay. That we are done the stress cycle. So, yes. Stress has a huge impact on our health and our overall well-being. Fitness can be a part of the solution.

Morgan: We keep changing what is happening this year.

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: So, I like your comments about giving yourself a little bit of grace because the stress, if you keep trying to stick to something so regimented right now, I think you are going to have a lot of "disappointments" or-

Gillian: Absolutely.

Morgan: Or you’ll see yourself as failing and it’s just not the case.

Gillian: Well, if we look at kind of the internal dialogue that starts to happen when we perceive something as a failure. For most people that inner dialogue, that self-critic, will start to fire on out like, that internal dialogue that you hear, that inner bully. Sometimes that kind of pops up when you feel like you are not meeting your goals. What we know about self-criticism is that it is counterproductive to actually being successful. It is inversely correlated with self-efficacy, which is our belief in our capability of being successful. We have this internal dialogue and we actually have when self-criticism rises an internal stress response that is happening. Triggered by the fact that we are attacking ourselves. So, there is a lot of stress that is related to this. How we are responding to and how we are relating to what we are doing or not doing. So, again, that is where that permission and grace and I talked a lot about self-compassion. Like, how can we be kind to ourselves? The other side of self-compassion, this Yang side of self-compassion. How can we also be an inner coach for ourselves? Like, "Okay. You got this. You can do this. Like you are capable of this or you know, Oh, this is happening. You are having a hard moment hand on heart. This is difficult, but you are going to get through this.” How can we meet ourselves with grace?

Morgan: Yes. Part of why we wanted to do this episode now was, I am sure a lot of people might see “fitness” or the introduction and go, "Oh no, that is the last thing I want to think about right now."

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: "I am going into the holidays. This is where I am going to, everything is going to fall apart for me. I am completely backpedaling my work." How do you suggest we reframe this thinking? Because like you said it can be quite harmful to say, "Oh next month I will do this. Right now I am off the wagon."

Gillian: Right. [Inaudible]

Morgan: Yes. How would you refrain that?

Gillian: Yes. One of the strategies I use with my clients around this kind of all-or-none thinking is something I call “The Health Zone.” It is a framework that I developed in my book. I talked about instead of having these black-and-white ideas of what it is we think we should be doing and I will say, "Do not should yourself because should tends to be led from shame." You know what? Instead of kind of thinking in terms of black and white, what is the range of behaviors that you could set up for yourself? Where you at the very bottom of the range you have these non-negotiable habits.


When I say non-negotiable, I mean like they can happen no matter what is going down. I am talking things like, brushing your teeth, drinking a certain amount of water but, like not gallons or not talking about meeting your "quota". But you know, what are the base level things going for a 10-minute walk? Taking a five-minute movement break in the middle of your work day. Really simplistic things. Really simplistic health and wellness behaviors that you can make happen. Even when I say, "The poop is hitting the fan."

Then on the other end of your Health Zone, you have got the behaviors and routines and habits that you would like, that would maybe stretch you a little bit. That would maybe challenge you. I often say like, as we are heading into say a holiday season. Whether that is the winter holidays. Whether that is summer holidays. Or if maybe you are heading on vacation. That is a little bit different right now, but in theory thinking kind of more globally about the idea. Can you redefine your Health Zone for that period you are entering? So, as we are heading into the holidays, can you think of this next phase of next month? Whatever it is for you. Think about what are some non-negotiable health habits you could maintain no matter what. Know that if you fall anywhere between that lower limit of the Health Zone that non-negotiable, and the upper limit, that upper end, that stretching you, you are being successful. So, you are not thinking in this black and white frame. But you are actually are giving yourself more room to be successful.

Morgan: And overall, it sounds like that would help reduce the stress?

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: And that like you were saying-

Gillian: And self-criticism.

Morgan: -some of the most important things.

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: Yes. We do not need to start the New Year upset at ourselves. It is last thing we need.

Gillian: Well, and so this is the thing we tend to get all hopeful as we head into the New Year and hope to beautiful thing. It is a wonderful feeling. It gives us all sorts of energy. But, it is we feel like we are starting 10 steps back from where we could be. There is just kind of pre-emptive deflating that we have and instead can we, if we lean into the things we can do through the holiday season. Think about where you will be starving in January. If you start to kind of then, really address your health zone again in January and be like, "Okay. Now, I am into the new month. A new year. What could this help them look like shifted forward?"

Morgan: You mentioned your book there. I just want to see If you could just give us the title.

Gillian: Yes. Of course. It is called, The Elephant in The Gym and the subtitle is, Your Body Positive Guide to Writing Your Own Health And Fitness Story.

Morgan: I like that. I will make sure that that is in the podcast description for anyone.

Gillian: Awesome.

Morgan: As well. So, for folks who hate going to the gym or hate having that sort of traditional exercise model you have to go and do this much time on the treadmill and then go to these weights and, and so on. What are your suggestions for finding enjoyable ways to workout?

Gillian: Yes. I think the first thing I always love clearing up is that there is no health requirement to do formal exercise.

Morgan: Uh-hmm.

Gillian: And people are like, "Pardon me? What was that?" The joke, I just like to say is like, "You do not have to hit the gym or do HIIT to be healthy.” You do need to move your body. So here is the distinction I love to make. In Canada the guidelines are that over the course of the week, we see a positive effect when we see a cumulative amount about 150 minutes per week over the course of the week. So, what does that mean? A hundred and fifty minutes and it can be chunked out in as small of chunks as you want. Five minutes here, 10 minutes there, 20 minutes here, 30 minutes here, and it is really just getting your body into a movement pattern that moves your heart rate up and your breathing rate up. Something that would be classified as moderate to vigorous, but you do not have to do vigorous. But moderate physical activity. So, that might be dancing in your living room. That might be going for a walk around the block. That might be gardening. That might be cleaning. Yes. You can get chores done. Move your body and check a box of getting some [inaudible].

Morgan: Cleaning is tough.

Gillian: Cleaning is sweaty work. I always joke. I tried to like try to squeeze a little cleaning in here and there. Then and I am all sweaty and I am like, "Why do I let do that to myself?" I think definitely we love to see if we can incorporate a couple of times a week. The guidelines for Canadians actually were just updated in the last few months. So, really if you want to kind of check them out, you can go to CSAP, their website, or on participaction. They have them available there. But, the new guidelines are for 24-hour periods looking at what adults should be doing in terms of movement and really the focus is on reduction of sedentary behaviors. So, just moving your body up more. Standing up. Getting your body moving on a regular basis.

Making sure you are getting enough sleep is one of the guidelines. Monitoring screen time. Again, so that we are moving our bodies more just generally speaking. Then that 150 minutes done over the course of the week. If we can integrate in strength building, two activities per week that really challenge the strength and endurance of our bodies. So, you know-

Morgan: Uh-hmm.

Gillian: But that is like, if you are cleaning and you are squatting down to do something. That is a strength exercise. So, sometimes we get stuck on, "I have to go lift weights to get strength activities." Not true at all. If you like Pilates or yoga those are both great strength builders. If you like to dance or do some sort of class, also great. If you just want to move your body in space in your home, also great. You do not have to do "formal" exercise to be healthy.

Morgan: I like that clarification on strength because a thing I hear often is people not wanting to lift weights-

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: -because they do not want to get “bulky.”

Gillian: Oh gosh, and you know, Morgan that is one of my like biggest pet peeves is people are so scared of weights. I mean, it is one thing if you are avoiding me because you just do not love them. Like absolutely. If you do not enjoy lifting weights, I would say that there is a lots of different ways to lift weights that can be, different and shake it up. I think it has everything to do with how you are taught to do it. If you really do not enjoy it that is one thing. But if you are not doing it because you are scared of how it is going to change your body, I would just invite people like, "Who says our bodies are not allowed to have muscle mass? Where is this coming from? And why is it that we all feel that we need to conform to this very narrow aesthetic?

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: Again, can we get back to form and function? Like, "What do I want to be able to do with my body? I do not know what you but like when I am 80 then 90. I want to be able to, be living independently. I want to be able to pick up my grandkids and give them a hug and swing them around." I would loved my vision is that when I am 80, I want to be running 5Ks with my grandkids and doing super fun active things getting out in nature. So, in order for me to do that, I know that right now I need to do some, moving our bodies through space and doing the strength building is going to especially for women. But, for everybody it is going to help strengthen our bones. It strengthens, gives us our muscle mass. We need to maintain our muscle mass because as we are aging and naturally there is a loss in muscle mass. There is an an atrophy that happens just naturally without us doing anything. So we need to counteract that by doing some strength building activities.

Morgan: Absolutely. And then for the people who are typically on the more vigorous side of exercise. They love going to the gym. But, those things have been cut off for them this year, closed. What would you suggest for those people?

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: Maybe they are feeling some frustration.

Gillian: Yes. Totally. What if this was an opportunity? That is, I would say take it as an opportunity to reframe. What if this is an opportunity to try something new? To discover a sport or something that you completely never even knew you loved. Or come back to a sport. I actually went through, I am doing some work with a pelvic floor physio right now because of some pelvic floor dysfunction and she said to me she is like, "You know, I would really like you to back off running." At that time I was training for a half marathon and I was like, what I felt like the rug had been taken out from under me because a lot of what I do is actually teach people how to run. Virtually right now, but not in person in general, are in person in a general. So, you know for me to be told I you cannot run was like a bit of a sideswipe I was not expecting.

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: So, what is cool about it though has been that I rediscovered my love of road riding. Getting on my mountain bike and hiking. I hiked more this past summer and this fall then I have in years and it brought me so much joy. So, sometimes we get forced into these changes and we may not love it. But the resistance to that change is not going to make the change any easier. It is just going to make it harder. So, instead of like resisting the change and being kind of upset about that. We cannot do the things we always wanted to do. Can we reframe it and look at it as an opportunity to try something new?

Morgan: And with you saying, you know what the guidelines are for our health numbers or the amount of activity there?

Gillian: Uh-hmm.

Morgan: I wonder if maybe it is worthwhile to think about why sometimes we feel like we need to be so intense sometimes.

Gillian: Oh, I love that you said that, Morgan. I think it is really important to look at that. Like what is in it for you? Like some people love that feeling in their body. A vigorous hard effort. I am with you.

Morgan: I like that.

Gillian: I love a good sweat fest.

Morgan: Yes.

Gillian: I love spinning. I love hard HIITs. lt just makes me happy. Whether call it the endorphins. Call it the runner's high or the exercise high that we get from some of these exercises. But you know when you are so regimented and so stuck in the way that you have to do things. I always think it is like an opportunity to look at. Why are you so stuck in that and can you find your way to the other side of that and give yourself a bit more grace? Could you shake things up? I always think it is important to look at what is driving the behavior? What is driving us to do the things? What is behind that is a desire to change our bodies which is the case for a lot of people who are really deeply invested in doing things in a certain way in a very regimented matter. Then I always invite people think, what is driving that? Who says your body needs to be a certain way and can you know find more freedom and more positivity with your body and more acceptance of your body as is? And recognize that your body is actually awesome the way it is.

Morgan: Super awesome.

Gillian: Without any changes required. Super awesome. Yes.

Morgan: I like that.

Gillian: Yes.

Morgan: That is a fantastic note to kind a- and my group of questions here on but I wanted to see if there was something else anything you wanted to touch on? Anything we have missed?

Gillian: Yes. I mean, I think, the biggest thing I hoped that listeners are getting from this is that as we are heading into this holiday season, just generous helping of grace and space for yourself. A lot of self-compassion, as the hiccups of the season will come. This is going to be a different holiday season than we have had in the past. Give yourself a lot of kindness and extend that kindness to others. Lean into offering yourself a more holistic approach to your health. That includes not just how do we maintain our physical health but how do we also maintain our mental and spiritual health. How can you take care of those pieces over this next period of time?

Morgan: That is fantastic and I am going to be linking all your information below. But before we close out, could you just share where people can find you online?

Gillian: Yes. For sure.

Morgan: How people can reach out to you?

Gillian: Fantastic. They can check out my website at, that is my main website that has all of the different things I do. I also have an online studio which is where people can exercise with me. They can be part of my online studio crew. That is Just to be confusing one is a .com, one is a .ca and you can find me on all the socials on Facebook. I am superyoufit and on Instagram, I am just @gilliangoerzen, all one word.

Morgan: Thank you so much, Gillian. This is a fantastic mindset to put ourselves into this time of year. And I hope for everyone listening that this has been helpful.

Gillian: Awesome. Thanks for having me.



Morgan: Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Small Business Mastermind and an extra special thank you to Gillian, for sharing so much wonderful advice with us. A reminder that her book and details will all be linked in the podcast description. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving it a rating and review on Apple podcasts, following on Spotify or visiting to join our special notifications list. We have one more episode coming before the end of 2020. I personally cannot believe this year is almost over. So, stay tuned for that and I will be talking to you again, very soon.