Personal trainer and nutritional health coach Nathalie Lennon shares raw truths about herself and her journey within the fitness industry.
Although it was not an easy journey, Lennon said she was able to reframe her relationship with fitness and food through her personal growth.
“It has taken me a long time to come to this place with my relationship with fitness and food, for it to be so fun and enjoyable,” Lennon said.
When Lennon was young, she was very active. She played outside and enjoyed dancing. As she got older, her outlets for physical activity changed.
When she finished her undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences, physical activity became a way for her to cope with stress.
“When you move, when you exercise, you get that feel-good feeling, and I guess I was missing that,” Lennon said.
Lennon decided to become a fitness and nutrition coach when she saw that what people on their fitness journey tend to struggle with is overall balance.
“I realised the whole balance - nutrition, fitness and lifestyle - was more so where people were struggling than just physical transformations,” Lennon said.
Nathalie shared how navigating social media and the fitness industry weighed heavily on her body dysmorphia and eventually led to an eating disorder. She explained how Instagram played a major role in her career as she tried to gain clients as a personal trainer.
“Your body was your asset, your business, your potential way to get in clients. If they saw your body and believed that was something you could help them achieve, then you think that is going to get you more business. But it was never about health. It was always about your body.”
The fitness industry is notorious for marketing off body image above all else. Lennon said she eventually lost her menstrual cycle and was diagnosed with an eating disorder.
“When I started social media, my Instagram was purely my own fitness journey, which was purely about physical change,” Lennon said.
The initial diagnosis confused her because she said she was not anorexic or bulimic. However, the majority of eating disorders are unnamed. Her’s had to do primarily with her overall health and mental wellbeing.
“We joke about it on TikTok,” Lennon said. “We joke about going to the gym because of body dysmorphia, we joke about going to the gym because we are too anxious to miss it. We joke about always having our protein oats because we don’t like anything else. But I think we need to start treating body image way more seriously.”
Lennon said during the first COVID-19 lockdown she modified her training in order to prioritise her health and get her cycle back. She worked on both her mindset and attitude towards fitness.
By doing so, Lennon said she changed her entire relationship with fitness and movement.
“I got mental health counselling, recently,” Lennon said. “That’s not something we should be afraid to talk about.”
Some ways Lennon keeps balance in her day-to-day routine is by prioritising staple rituals in the mornings and evenings. She shared that in the mornings she loves to take her time getting ready for the day and journaling about her plans.
Lennon’s go to supplements are from Revive Active. She specifically takes Zest Active in the mornings which is a daily super supplement to support her immune system, whilst she also takes Joint Complex in the afternoon, which helps support her bones and joints.
“I take my Zest Active, my daily super supplement. It keeps my immune system and energy strong and supported,” Lennon said.
In the evening, she makes sure to spend time in nature, even if it is just 15 minutes a day.
“I have never been enjoying life as much as I have these days because I’ve worked through it all,” Lennon said.
For herself, Lennon found that leaving her comfort zone allowed her to grow both inside and outside the gym.
“Doing things on your own is hard, but the more you do it the more self-confidence you build…and the more self-love you build…Anytime you do something on your own that scares you, it is probably a sign that you should do it,” Lennon said.
Lennon encourages others to participate in activities on their own, whether that is going out for a meal or signing up for a workout class.
Growing through acts of independence can help change attitudes and mindsets when it comes to stepping outside of the comfort zone.
Lennon explains that if people are struggling to find motivation or enjoyment in their workout routines or day-to-day schedule, they may need a change in environment. This change can be anything from physical locations to people.
“...if a flower doesn’t bloom, you don’t blame the flower, you blame its environment…stop blaming yourself because it may not be your fault, but it’s the environment you’re surrounded by,” Lennon said.
Lennon said she advises anyone who is looking to get active again to start small and start differently.
“For anyone struggling with body image, know that there is so much more to life out the other side. You can get through those struggles, but you just are not meant to do it alone...know that there is so much more to you than just your body. You are not just a body. You are a soul within that body…Life is for living not for obsessing over what you look like when you’re living it.”