How I Train: Marcey Rader

Marcey Rader is a personal lifestyle trainer who specializes in fitness and productivity for mobile professionals. Her business grew out of her own experiences in learning to stay fit and sane while living out of cars, planes, airports and hotels. “Some say staying fit and productive requires self-discipline, commitment or willpower.”, Rader says on her web site. “I disagree. It requires knowledge and support.”

Rader provides that knowledge and support by offering coaching services, her blog, and in the community. Rader is a popular coach and author of the 25 in 25 December Fitness Challenge and 10 by 10 challenge. She shared her daily routine with us along with some of her best tips for habit change that works.

How do you start your own day? Do you have any daily rituals or routines?

I wake up and check my heart rate variability for three minutes, drink at least 8 ounces of water and then straight to exercise. Even if I have plans to exercise in the afternoon or evening, I still do something in the morning. Exercise is like brushing my teeth. I don’t feel like I can get on with my day without it. I feel more productive and energized. After, I meditate using or a mindfulness meditation for 2-20 minutes. Sometimes I’ll eat breakfast right away or I may wait until my husband wakes up, in which case I start on my most thought-intensive task for work. As many mornings as I can, I sit with my husband and have our bulletproof coffee before we go on with our day. It’s an important ritual that I miss when I can’t do it.

What are your eating habits like? Do you follow any specific program of eating?

I was a vegetarian for about 20 years. In January of 2014 I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, adrenal fatigue, leaky gut and hypothalamic amenorrhea. It was a gut-puncher but really changed the way I eat and view my health. Being a gluten-free, soy-free, almost bean-free vegetarian was more difficult than I wanted it to be, so I started eating some meat again. I eat maybe one serving of grass-fed beef, organic chicken, turkey or wild fish a day, but my diet is largely plant-based. I eat 1-2 servings a day of a grain, typically rice, quinoa, corn or buckwheat—but most of my carbs are from vegetables. I don’t eat a lot of dairy—mainly Greek yogurt and kefir. I eat a 40-50% fat diet with about 20% protein and 30% carbs. This is VERY different than what I used to eat, but works well for me with my Hashimoto’s disease and the amount of activity I do. What we (including me!) used to think about fat isn’t true! I even had my cholesterol checked recently and my already stellar levels were even better after 10 months of eating this way.

There’s so much research being done and advice being published, how do you tell what’s real and what’s fake? How do you decide what’s relevant and what isn’t?

Being diagnosed with these conditions led me to research so much more, from a scientific journal perspective and not just what was popular. It has really opened my eyes how much misinformation is out there and won’t seem to go away. I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and will be an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach by June 2015. By the time this article is published I will also have my National Academy of Sports Medicine Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certification as well. I now look at the research that is being cited, how large the sample is and what the flaws or bias is in the study. Having been a vegetarian, I know that I was biased towards that diet so it was easy for me to find only the positives. I think that it happens in research as well. Looking at the whole picture is important. Vegans will always reference the China Study but there were flaws in that study. Paleos will advocate their studies but there are flaws there too. You can be a horrible Vegan eating a bunch of processed soy products and you can be a horrible Paleo eating a bunch of hormone-filled bacon. You can also be great at either with careful and conscious planning. Bioindividuality is what’s important. One person’s potion is another person’s poison. What works for me may not work for you. In the end, there is always going to be a commonality between any healthy nutrition plan that works: no or little refined white flour, no or little sugar and lots of vegetables. If you move toward that, you will succeed!

Is there any current thinking about diet and fitness that needs to be challenged?

That there is one sure-fire way of eating that works best for everyone. That to train for endurance or ultra-endurance events, you have to do an insane amount of hours (which is what I used to do).

Is there anything new you’ve started doing recently, or anything you’ve quit?

I started drinking a tapered-down version of bulletproof coffee with only half the oil and butter. This is new for my husband and I. It is delicious and satiating. I rarely drink coffee in cafes anymore because I prefer our version at home. I quit eating gluten this year due to Hashimoto’s Disease. It was hard for about three weeks, but now it’s fine except at restaurants and when visiting my family. That takes more planning. I can’t go without doing research first or just taking my own food.

How do you make adjustments to your workout? It’a hard to know what to do when you’re tired or having a bad workout.

I’ve had to make a LOT of adjustments to my training this year. I used to compete in ultra-endurance events up to 30 hours. This year was a wash while figuring out my thyroid but I plan to be back in business in 2015 now that things are steady. I don’t know if I’ll ever compete at that level again but I’ll still compete. My biggest realization is that I can stay fit with a lot less hours. I’m taking a more ancestral approach to training which gives me much more time to work on growing my business. I’m also a lot more flexible with my workout schedule and change it up based on my heart rate variability. This was a game changer for me. I bought a heart rate monitor and check my HRV every morning using the Sweetbeat App. Heart rate variability is different than heart rate. It is a measurement of your autonomic nervous system. If my HRV is low, I need to do a lower intensity workout. If it’s high, I can get to movin’!

Can you share some of the specific things you notice your top clients doing differently than the average client?

Consistency is key. People will make excuses for everything. Finding a trigger is important. That trigger can be waking up (like mine) or anything that you do before you move or exercise. I coach my clients to think of exercise as opportunities instead of workouts. The word workout insinuates putting on specific clothes, going to a gym or some other kind of setting, and getting sweaty. I have a hairdresser for a client who I gave five minute opportunities—exercises she can do in a skirt without getting sweaty. After two months of just 1-2 opportunities a day she sent me a text telling me her butt was a little higher, just from opportunities! Now that’s the kind of text I love to get 🙂

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