Candice Briggs is a health, fitness and lifestyle coach. When she’s not whipping people into shape at Byron Bay Boot Camp and My Own Gym, she’s motivating people online with her “Feel your best in 30 Days” paleo challenge program.
I love this girl because she lives and breathes what she preaches, she really cares about her clients, and she genuinely loves her job! I’m always inspired and motivated by those who have found their calling, especially if it involves helping others, so I decided to ask her a few questions…
How did you get into personal training?
As a child I had quite severe asthma and was always in and out of hospital & on heavy steroid medication. Mum moved us to Byron when I was four in the hope that living by the ocean and out of the smoggy city would help with my breathing problems.. When we moved here, mum enrolled me in to swimming school as recommended by my doctor. I began swimming twice a week, which turned in to 5 days and began swimming competitively. I loved training and was naturally very interested in how to support that through the food I ate.
Growing up in Byron Bay with a mother that worked in a health food shop was a very easy introduction to the world of health and wellbeing for me… I feel very blessed that I have always known what field of work I want to be in, once you start learning, there is an endless well of tools and knowledge to learn & share. I really love seeing the fulfillment people get out of having greater awareness of their health & fitness.
What do you love most about group training sessions? And about 1-on-1 training sessions?
I have been a trainer for Byron Bay Bootcamp for the past 3 years, teaching groups of up to 50 people at a time, the energy that comes from a group that large is incredible and an ongoing inspiration. It is the best ways you could ask for to start your day!! I really love being up before the sun. I have also, up until recently taken group fitness at the well know Health Retreat “Gaia Resort & Spa” which is an entirely different gig to taking a group of hungry bootcampers.. Working in such a dynamic field has allowed me the skills where I can be the militant commando, or I can deliver a passive & more restorative session.. I think this is a really important quality to have as a fitness coach. You are able to read peoples bodies when they walk in the door for their session & can guage what they need to get the most out of their work out for the day. Not everyone needs to be smashed every single time they come in to their session especially if they have had a big day at work or a sleepless night with children.
In your opinion, what are the perfect pre-training and post-training meals/snacks?
I think people really underestimate the effects their diet plays on fitness levels and performance in the gym or training environment. Boiled eggs & protein smoothies are always at the top of my list when it comes to pre & post work out snacks… Some people train best on an empty stomach, and others need some pre work out fuel. I recommend having a small piece of fruit about 30mins before training and allowing at least 2 hours if you have had a big meal before stepping into your lycra. Let your body focus on one thing at a time, rather than trying to digest a big heavy meal as well as supply blood to your working muscles… I always reccommend training first thing in the morning if you are able to. It sets you up feeling more in your body and releasing endorphins before putting your “work head” on allows you a huge advantage when dealing with the every day pressures in your work environment.
Tell me about the paleo diet and why it works for you and your clients.
I work very closely with my one on one clients on maximising their energy through diet. I advise the majority of my clients to follow a wholefoods/paleolithic approach to the food they eat. It is simple, by removing processed foods and encouraging food in its most natural state, incredible health benefits can follow. It makes sense and it is a clean, simple, fuss free “sustainable” eating. I have incredible success with clients who are looking to shed unwanted excess body fat, increase the efficiency of their metabolism, reverse aging, and improve their digestion to feel the best they have felt in years.
Tell me about your own journey to health and wellbeing.
Growing up with asthma and food allergies, I have always been acutely aware of my body and what does and doesn’t work for me. I was vegetarian for 12 years and really struggled with allergies and digestive issues in this time… I then did a stint of healing through ayurveda, to which I didn’t have great success with.. and in the recent years have converted back to eating meat & taking on a more paleolithic, low sugar approach, to which I have experienced great success and feel the best I have felt in years – my digestive issues have significantly dissipated. The majority of my clients have had a really positive and rewarding experience by taking on this approach also, which is why I decided to create an on-line “supportive” 30 Day Program where anyone can join in and be guided along the way.
What are your top tips for weight loss?
1. Eliminate bread from your diet
2. Do HIIT (High Intesity Interval Training) 3-4 times per week… Think multi joint exercises like burpees.
3. Keep Cortisol levels at bay… by having small protein meals regularly throughout the day & eliminating or minimising sugar in your diet..
4. Eat smaller meals, eat until you are 3/4 full… not bursting at the seams.
5. Get to bed early, Rise early.
6. Do what you enjoy. Find a fitness buddy to hold each other accountable to sticking to a routine.
What would be your best piece of advice for someone starting a fitness regime?
I constantly see people joining the gym and having no idea what they should be doing… As a result they either injure themselves, end up fluffing around on the gym floor as they are a bit lost, and don’t get the results they are looking for… If you want to maximise your experience in a gym environment, invest in booking one or two sessions with a professional who can show you the best exercises for what ever goals you are working towards and their proper techniques (essential if you want to avoid pulling a muscle). Resistance training is not a one size fits all kind of deal, what we all have in common is that we want to look & feel good.. but how we get there isn’t going to be the same for everyone. I would also say, don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself, set the bar high if you want to by all means, but focus on small steps that build towards a bigger goal.. build in increments.
What’s your favourite quote/mantra at the moment and why do you love it?
I am a huge Lao Tzu fan… Anything out of Tao Te Jing is a keeper, and I refer back to often. One that really resonates with me is:
“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”
Another I quote often is: “we first make habits & then out habits make us” by John Dryden
Finish this sentence: “I love my job because…”
I get to help people find their own version of fit… We all deserve to feel and look the way we desire to, but we often need a little guidance or encouragement to help us get there.. I love helping clients find new habits that support the way they want to feel… it is amazing what other changes come about when you undergo a physical transformation.
What is the most awesome thing about living in Byron Bay?
Waking up and diving in to the ocean (any time of the year) before I start work never gets old.. Also the access we have to all of the incredible fresh produce in and around the area, there are some really talented people putting this to good use, and we get to reap the benefits by consuming all of it. It often isn’t until you step out of Byron that you realise just how spoilt we are here in Byron. I feel very blessed.
Candice has ongoing challenges running. To find out more about her next 30 Day Supported Challenge, go to http://candicebriggs.com/feel-your-best-in-just-30-days/
Worried About Adrenal Fatigue?
Follow me here for more awesome healthy stuff...