Interview with Cassie Smith of Make Your Body Work
This is the lovely Cassie Smith, one of two people behind the online fitness coaching company Make Your Body Work.
Together with Dave Smith, Canada’s Top Fitness Professional by CanFitPro, they help create sustainable lifestyle habits that will lead to long-term fitness success.
What are you passionate about?
Although I could probably answer this question in many different ways, I think what I am most passionate about is living well and helping others to do the same. When I look at myself, others, and the world, I feel inspired by the collective potential that exists. We have these amazing bodies that are capable of incredible things, and it is exciting to me to nurture and invest in my body’s potential to be well – mentally, physically, and emotionally. I find the same joy and excitement in helping other people. Supporting another person in her ability to believe in herself and then watching her grow into that belief is really an amazing experience, at times it literally feels like my heart is going to explode with joy (I know, sounds cheesy but it is true)!
What are some of the biggest psychological issues women face when it comes to health and fitness?
The biggest obstacle people face when it comes to health and fitness is their mind. Our thoughts truly dictate our beliefs, emotions, and actions. Everything gets filtered through our own (usually distorted) perceptions of reality.
For women in particular, this filter is often clouded with images, stories, and messages coming from sources outside of ourselves that don’t have a vested interest in our well being. These messages communicate standards of how we “should” want to look, act, and feel in order for us to be happy. As women, our minds become poisonous when we start to accept these messages without critical examination. Marketing and advertising relies on women being dissatisfied with our bodies, and ourselves in general, in order to buy their products. What they (the advertisers) don’t want us to know is that the answer isn’t in their product, but that it’s actually in us, in you. If you can take control of your mind, you can tackle any other barrier that stands in your way.
Sometimes finding time for fitness can be challenging. What suggestions would you give to another woman facing this type of challenge.
When I was doing my internship to become as a Clinical Counselor, I was juggling a lot of things on my plate at once – working part-time, school-full time, my internship, buying a home, renovating, planning a wedding, and making frequent trips across the country for work. I remember something my Clinical Supervisor told me at the time, and it has always stayed with me. He said to remember that when you say “yes” to one thing, you are always saying “no” to something else, and vice versa. It struck me that I spent so much of my time saying “yes” to everyone else, that I was constantly saying “no” to myself. This was taking its toll on my health and well being.
My advice to other women would be to remember to say “yes” to yourself sometimes, which may involve saying “no to other people and demands. It’s okay. Ultimately you are of more value to others when you are caring for yourself. Think of it as an investment, an hour spent exercising and caring for yourself will increase the quality of the rest of your time. You will be more alert, energetic, and efficient.
Practically speaking, set some realistic goals and try to be consistent. When do you have an hour? Forty minutes? Half-an-hour? There are many awesome workouts you can do at home in this time with no equipment. You may have to wake-up an hour earlier, or sneak it in while your babe is napping, but just be sure you put it in your schedule as an appointment that’s equally as important as any other.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I’m not sure that I have a single person that inspires me, but probably more of a collective inspiration from many, many people. I try to look at the people I am surrounded by and appreciate their unique characteristics and talents, and then allow this to inspire the same in myself. I empathize with their situation and consider the world from their point of view, and then wonder how I might be motivated from this experience. Recently, I have been inspired by a book I read called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. This book is an incredible tale of running from the point of view of ultra-marathon runners, super athletes, and even a hidden tribes of runners. To be honest, I have never loved running, but ever since I picked up this book about 2 years ago, something was ignited in me. Now, I can’t stop running. It’s not only tolerable, but enjoyable, even exhilarating. Give it a read, perhaps you will find the same for yourself.
What advice would you give to a woman beginning her fitness journey?
If you are just starting your fitness journey, my advice would be to check in with your expectations and mental fitness first. Consider asking yourself questions such as: What is motivating me to get fit? Why do I want to do this? What are my goals? Are these achievable for me? What am I willing to sacrifice to get there? What sources of support do I have? What challenges do I expect to face?
Setting both long-term and short-term goals is very important. Keep your long-term goals tucked away, but keep your short-term goals vivid, do not discount or underestimate the value of small successes, for these are what will ultimately lead to big achievements. Also, remember that it is normal, even essential, to stumble and have setbacks. The tough part is picking yourself back up and carrying on, for this is the real training (the mental training) that will eventually make you strong and successful in achieving your goals. Believe that you can – and you will.
Read the full bio for Cassie Smith here.
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