Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Saturday, 8 May 2010

A Relationship Problem?

One of the things I love to do with someone's issue is to do 'reframing’, helping someone see things in a different way. You can often get profound and instant changes with a simple sentence, helping someone get new insights and learnings – and instantly change the way they think around that subject.

And if you change the way they think, you change their physiology.

And if you change the way they think, and their physiology, you change their state.

And as state drives behaviour, and behaviour drives results – you can see that by just one statement, one sentence, you can help someone act and achieve completely different things.

I had the opportunity last week to reframe an issue with a military client of mine. It was at the end of the session, and he let slip he’d had a row with his girlfriend the previous night, and he’d returned home rather than staying the night.

Apparently she had been asking about military life, and how if they were together the constant movement of location and periods when he would be away would be a burden. Having grown up adjacent to this military environment I know this to be a major issue with military families, a source of hardship and also of burden on relationships.

My client took this to mean that she was looking for a way out of the relationship. This frustrated him, as he really liked her, and said he’d have to work at it a bit harder.

Then the reframe.

“Hold on,” I said. “If she’s talking to you about the movement and periods when you are being away – then she’s talking about a future life with you. And she’s thinking it through realistically. Isn’t the very fact that she’s actually thinking about a future with you a positive thing?”

Then I had the look that many hypnotherapists get – that lovely confused look in a client when they think about something from a different angle.

“Damn, I hadn’t thought about it that way!” He said, a smile breaking out on his face. “She did look annoyed when I started to leave, like she wanted me to stay. I’d better give her a call straight away!”

Ah, the joys of seeing something from another side.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Casting A Spell

Have you ever wondered what is actually going on inside your head when you are communicating? That every time you speak to someone you are actually painting pictures, sounds, feelings, even tastes and smells, inside their mind? Have you considered that every time you communicate you are trying to influence them?

In our minds we can only make representations in terms of the five senses – that’s all we’ve got. Even self talk is an internal sound. So when we are speaking we are ‘casting a spell’ in the other person’s mind, creating a representation from the five senses.

Even the origins of the word ‘spelling’ come from magic, that you are ‘casting a spell’.

So if I ask you to think of a freshly cut lemon, I’m sure you have an image. And that image will have qualities, like the size of the image, its location, the angle you are viewing it from, whether it’s a movie or a still, how focused it is, and so on. And some of you may have feelings, and even tastes and smells attached to the thought too. Maybe even some sounds come through, or a little self talk too. If you vividly imagine a freshly cut lemon, with all its juice, its taste and smells, the sharpness on the tongue – then I may even have influenced you into salivating.

Every time we speak this is what we are doing – creating representations in peoples minds. And you can’t help but do this. So think about what you saying, and how it will be represented.

Think about a negative, such as ‘don’t think of a tennis ball’. You have to think of a tennis ball in order to not think of a tennis ball. This has particular relevance in teaching, coaching and leadership and I’ll blog on this, and its effects at a later date. Do you actually want to create a negative representation in that person’s head?

On a forum I recently was told that the poster ‘wasn’t trying to influence me’. I chuckled to myself, because that is what we are doing every time we communicate, whether in the written words, the way we the words, and our physical body language.

So the next time you speak – what spells are you casting?

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Injury Prevention continued...

My good friend Dave Garrett, a leading injury rehabilitation specialist (as well as a whole lot more!) has posted a lovely comment on my last blog post. I think it is so worthy that I have given it a full blog post - so we can all learn!

It is the work and knowledge of trusted friends like Dave on which I base my practice. And where my knowledge only goes so far, I know where to go for the complete picture!

Thanks Dave, you've completed a great day's learning for me.

"Great post Gary with some sound advice.

It is commonly the case that people stick to what they are good at and overlook (or out right avoid) the exercises they find difficult, boring or just dont know about. This can create muscle imbalances or biomechanical faults that put competitors in a position where injury is inevitable... not just a risk.

From a musculoskeletal rehabilitation perspective the common biomechanical areas which need to be addressed in our patients are:

Muscle tightness

When muscles become stonger, they grow. When they grow, they become tighter, when they become tighter they then pull our joints out of alignment. If our joints are out of alignment the workload of complex functional movements becomes inefficient and leads to the body working against itself which in turn can lead to injuries regardless of the sporting environment.

Muscle weakness

On the other side of the spectrum are weak muscles. If a muscle is weak then it may not be capable of producing the movements it is designed for. Since the body will naturally find a way to perform a required movement anyway, often the wrong muscles become involved which again causes imbalances.

Joint stability

Each joint has a group of muscles which stabilise it and a set of muscles designed to move it. Some examples of the stability muscles are the core stabilisers (which stabilise the lubar spine) and the rotator cuff (which dynamically stabilise the shoulder joint). To train the stability muscles a low load approach is required as these muscles are generally slow twitch. By having good control of the stability muscles the risk of joint injuries is lessened.

Balance and Propriocetion.

Balance describes the ability to keep the body in equilibrium, proprioception is the system which provides sensory information to the brain where the body is in space (an example of this system is experienced when you almost twist your ankle whilst running but manage to save it). When these systems are firing muscles work more efficiently and the risk of injury is reduced. Training these systems can take pressure off of an existing injury.

As for muscle cramps there are many different theories on why they occur, nutrition can be a factor, specifically dehydration in endurance type activites.

Vigourous activity is often related to muscle cramps... if frequently occuring in a specific muscle, maybe there is a biomechanical imbalance causing that muscle to overwork.

Dave Garrett"

Injury Prevention Is Better Than Cure

In sport I believe there is one thing that should come before everything else in training, and that is injury prevention. I mean, what good are you if you are injured? You can’t train effectively, and if you do train you will not be working optimally or will even be building in bad habits or imbalances as you compensate for the injury.

This is not about managing an injury – it’s about not getting one in the first place.

You will not realise your potential if you are constantly getting injured, and you may shorten any sporting career as a result.

This applies to all sports, whether something relatively passive like golf through to the more violent contact sports that I participate in. And it needs to be said that football players are some of the most regularly injured, especially to the legs with the knee and ankle joints often suffering. Being tackled is a great source of traumatic injury in football, when your body is taken out of its usual plane of motion violently. Even if you don’t participate in a sport, just keeping in shape at the gym, it’s just as important to remain injury free. Or your life may depend on you being in optimum shape such as front line service personnel.

So at the start of any training phase I always emphasise a good element of specific training for injury prevention. I pay particular attention to strengthening all of the joints, working the tendons and ligaments, the connective tissues, and the stabilisation of these joints. I work on weak points in the soft tissue, especially the weak points in sport specific moves. I work on mobilisation and freedom of movement – this is different to flexibility – removing any blockages from poor technique. It is always the weakest point that breaks first, so I look for an overall ‘robustness’ in my athletes.

And once the level of robustness is achieved I revisit it often, whatever training phase my client is in, to ensure that they are maintaining the required conditioning.

After training your body to withstand training, it is important to look at how you are practising and participating in your sport. The first thing is obviously an appropriate warm up, making sure the body is mobilised and at the right working temperature, the muscles as relaxed as they need to be for your sport.

During all supporting training such as resistance work have a look at your form. ‘Gym monkeys’ heaving weights around without concern to proper form is definitely a future blog post! Think of the purpose of your supporting training, and check that your actions support that purpose, and that you are keeping good form throughout all exercises.

I compete in the contact sports and here injury prevention is of paramount importance. Sparring is a massive part of my training but even here, where we are trading blows, injury prevention comes first. I always use the right protective equipment including head guards to minimise injuries. I ensure that egos are left at the door, and that the aim of sparring is not to beat your partner up, but instead to achieve your goals for the session. Sparring is carried out constructively with the appropriate level of contact and with compassion – if you know a shot is going to hit hard – pull it!

For my sparring I use several methods. I do a lot of body boxing, without head contact. I use touch-to-light sparring for highly constructive and technical sparring. I use general light-to-medium sparring for skills development and testing. And I only use hard sparring when appropriate, and only with sparring partners whom I know will pull any shots they consider may cause an injury. Its not about ‘showing’ you’re the best – its about being your best.

So my question to you then is your training setting you up for injuries, or are you planning for optimum performance?

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Sports Performance Experts

I often work with a colleague of mine, Trix Wheeler, in delivering to our Sports Performance clients. We each have skills that compliment each other and contacts to be shared across our networks. Recently we were asked by a top level Strength and Conditioning Coach exactly what we do, how we do it and why we call ourselves experts. I produced a quick explanation, and here it is below. It is of use for anyone wondering the same, and also for any athlete or performer (media, stage, business or life!) to see possibilities and perhaps understand themselves better.

Of course, should you want to book in, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

“What stops you from being the best you can be? Gary and Trix work to help you remove any problems from your performances therefore helping you achieve your goals – ‘remedial’ work. This work centres on preparation, the event itself, through to post performance issues all as appropriate for the person. And in the same token we apply the same to elements of your game you want to improve – the ‘generative’ work – taking something that works, and helping you improve upon it.

You will not achieve any goals unless they are set appropriately, and you know the correct path to take in order to achieve it. Gary and Trix work with clients to ensure that they are setting the correct goals and making them ‘well formed’, and assisting the client to know every step they need to take to achieve it. In this way their client’s mind can ‘lock on’ to achieving that goal – coaching ‘empowers’ people to perform.

By helping you overcome problems, helping you do what you already do well but better, and by setting and helping achieve goals Gary and Trix work to ensure that you can become the best that you can be.

Of course, a whole lot more can be worked on, from core values, motivation, beliefs, personalities, team and leadership skills – Gary and Trix can work with individuals or teams to give the mental assistance to ensure optimum performance.


- Setting the goals and helping you move towards them, checking you’ve covered everything you need to – and if not, helping you get it in place!
- Correct planning and stages in preparing for an event.
(Coaching is not mentoring – with coaching you make the decisions, I give you the framework to ensure the right decisions and steps are taken. Obviously we are well placed to understand the choices that you are making too, making the coaching even more effective)

Remedial (‘problems’) – working on:

- Limiting beliefs
- Negative self talk
- Negative ties to past events
- Negative emotions
- Stress, performance nerves and anxiety
- Injury management
And more…

Generative (‘improvements’) – working on:

- Preparation for the event
- State management for optimum performance
- Efficient technical ability
- Behavioural change for application of techniques, optimum performance issues, overall performance
- Removing conscious reactions and allowing the far quicker unconscious reactions to come to the fore
- Maximise flexibility of the application of techniques – helping you perform the correct move at the correct time
- Increased sensory awareness
- Time distortion (speeds yours up so you see things and react quicker – think Neo from the Matrix – hard to grasp for most people until they try it!)
- Sticking to strategy
- Performing without hindrance from emotions, and correct utilisation of emotions for motivation
- Trusting your conditioning
- Listening and reacting to coaching
And more…

How do we do it?

What do you want to call it? Coaching? Therapy? Personal Change Specialists? Hypnotherapists? NLP Master Practitioners? Master Time Line Therapy? The choice is yours. We personally prefer the term ‘Sports Performance Experts’, as that is what we are – experts in performance in sport.

The techniques we use come from the fields of hypnosis and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), as well as skills from other areas. Gary and Trix work by utilising the correct tools from their toolbox as appropriate, at the right times, for the clients they are working with.

Hypnosis may be used covertly, conversationally, or in the traditional ‘relaxatherapy’ method you may be more familiar with. It is a tool we use to help talk directly with the unconscious part of the mind using this to help achieve the changes required at a deep level.

NLP is a system of modelling which has left behind a trail of techniques. By modelling excellence in someone finding out the ‘how, why and what they do’ that makes them successful we can replicate this in others. On a simple level hypnosis with NLP are the tools used by people like Paul McKenna and Anthony Robbins to assist people in change.

Linguistics is used heavily in our sessions utilising ‘transformational linguistics’, gently and covertly guiding our clients into their improved performances.

A high degree of change management is utilised in our sessions working from cognitive, humanistic, and psychodynamic approaches with individuals. This is complemented by a full understanding of teams, their development, and their effectiveness – and how to guide teams to the best performance through good leadership.

Gary and Trix also have an understanding of neurology and understand how they are lighting up the brains of their clients, guiding them to the performance they desire.

Of course, there’s always a simple explanation. One such explanation is to say that we have a strategy for everything that we do. Think of this strategy like a recipe for baking a cake. Follow that recipe the same way, you get the same cake. But if you change that recipe, you can improve upon it, make it different – or if required, not get a cake at all! So you can think of us like helping people bake the cakes they really want.

What makes us experts?

Gary and Trix are experienced at working with top performing athletes. Currently they are working with British Judo Team players, a former England goal-keeper, professional boxers, kickboxers, Mixed Martial Artists (MMA), wrestlers, golfers and mountain bikers and many more besides.

Trix has ‘modelled’ Gary, working out how he operates in order to perform at the highest level. Getting ‘inside’ Gary’s mind and processes has enabled Trix to understand at a core level how Gary has done what he has done, in return feeding it back to Gary for greater improvement. For Gary has literally practised what he preaches, having achieved thirteen World Titles as well as numerous other accolades. Gary has been World Champion at kickboxing, Thai boxing, and Sport Ju-Jitsu. He has been in British Teams for Judo, kickboxing and Sport Ju-jitsu. Gary still competes as a Mixed Martial Artist, kickboxer, and Thai boxer. Gary is a very experienced international competitor and in MMA has headlined two shows at Wembley Arena.

Gary also has a deeper understanding of performance having worked closely with key military personnel for the last few years. Gary was one of the Subject Matter Experts for the recent re-writing of the Combat Conditioning rolled out across the British Army. Gary regularly works and trains with personnel from the Army School of Physical Training and enjoyed a sharing of knowledge from this source. Gary has also enjoyed close ties with the British Army Boxing Team and the British Army Judo Team. Military personnel are regular clients for Gary, reporting issues for resolution from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through to confidence and leadership issues.

Trix’s modelling of Gary has enabled her to have a key understanding of athletes and she continues to model her clients during sessions. Trix working together with Gary is a great partnership as they can now look from both inside the client’s mind, and from outside, all with a deep understanding of exactly how an athlete operates.

So it is this element of understanding exactly the requirements of top performing athletes, and having a background as one, which enables Gary and Trix to work as ‘experts’ in their field – helping athletes, teams and coaches perform to their very best.”

Body Language

Do you really understand body language? Studies have shown that 55% of all of our communication comes from our body language. All the movements, gestures, postures and emotional displays, from the largest movement down to the very smallest micro-movement convey our thoughts, moods and meaning.

Imagine what it would be like if you could know what someone is thinking about? When someone is getting uncomfortable with what you are saying? Or even how well a relationship is between two people walking past?

As a therapist I have to constantly observe a client’s body language to understand the true meaning of their communication, down to the smallest physiological change like the thinning of the lips, a slight change in skin tone, and the dilation of the pupils. I also teach this to my business clients as necessary, such as when I’m delivering sales training. In sales and negotiation body language is very important to understand how the processes are going. If you haven’t had appropriate training in physical communication and body language, you can always contact me to discuss further.

I actually keep getting funny moments with clients, where I read their body language and communicate it back to them with just as much emphasis as if they’re talking to me. I quite often get ‘how did you know I was thinking that?’ It’s just because I’m reading the 55% of their communication, from their body, and placing it in the context of that moment.

The way that you hold yourself, your posture, your gestures, your expressions all convey to me what is going on inside your mind. Your thoughts are linked to your physicality, and vice-versa.

So let’s look at a small example of body language – arms crossed over the chest. Now, many of you will see this as a blocking, defensive posture, protecting the body. But does it? It has to be viewed in context. It could just be that the person is more comfortable with the arms folded; maybe if female she is aware her top is a little low, or the person could be a little cold. So without context the meaning of that posture is missing – it becomes a mind read, or in other words, a bit of a guess.

However, what if you are in a negotiation meeting and you put something forward, and then the other person folds their arms across their chest? Especially if accompanied by other physical cues such as colour shifts, skin tonal shifts, facial musculature change, pupil dilation and the biggest give away – leaning back away from you. What would this mean?

It is most likely that you have induced a discomfort in this person. As he feels the discomfort he has leaned away from the source of the discomfort (danger increases with proximity, so to reduce ‘threat’ you distance yourself), and the arms folding across his chest are signs of closing off his ventral sides – the parts of the body most at risk to a threat.

Why does he feel discomfort? Is it because you have him on the back foot? For that, you need to place the body language into the context of the overall negotiation. But the fact that he is feeling discomfort from what you have said can be of great leverage in your negotiation.

This behaviour is learned through our history, it’s a very part of who we are, and without training it is very hard to completely hide your reactions. In fact, I had the ‘pleasure’ of catching out one of my army friends, who trains in counter-interrogation. He thought he’d try and catch me out, but it is just about impossible to fully hide what is an integral part of who you are. I spotted incongruence in his body language and took great delight in ‘outing’ him, making jokes that he’d been caught out by a ‘Civvie’.

Of course, you can train someone to do things such as display confidence when speaking, even if they don’t actually believe a word they are saying. Wouldn’t it be good to communicate effectively that you are an expert in your field, emphasising every point with your physical communication exactly how you want your point to be received? This is taking you into the realms of presenting skills, where every movement you make, even down to where you stand and where you place your props is carried out for the greatest effect.

Whether you see someone walking down the street, politicians talking on the television, or are in a business meeting – or indeed just in any social situation – isn’t it worth studying the 55% of the communication you may have been missing out on?

Personal Trainers

My personal training clients have to give a big thanks to my boxing coach, Steve Fox. Every, and yes, every time I step into my gym to give a personal training session his words are echoing in my ears:

“Remember Gary, it may be your last session of the day, but it’s your client’s first.”

This came from watching various corporate personal trainers in gyms around our area going through the motions. It was almost as though they were rolling out a standard product, in a bored manner, portraying poor physical appearance, slouching, and generally not looking up for the job. They just didn’t appear like they wanted to be there, let alone giving the right attention to their clients. One day Steve and I had finished our session, and were watching this lack of activity going on. And then he said that line. And it rang so true, I carry it with me for all my clients to benefit from.

Now, I also have witnessed and learned from some very good personal trainers in my area. But unfortunately they are few and far between, and I think their clients, and ultimately they, lose out.

Most of my clients are fighters, and I do an awful lot of padwork. Sometimes I have seven intensive padwork sessions in a row – I’m literally holding the pads for seven hours straight. It can be really fatiguing! Yet before every session, as I step into my gym, I hear Steve’s voice in my ears, and I lift myself into my role as trainer.

Sometimes it’s helped by a healthy dose of coffee to pick me up, but I always endeavour to give the best training I can. Because that’s what I’m being paid to do, and that’s what I take pride in.

So thanks Foxy, from me and my clients!

Negative Self Talk

All of us, even the most positive people (myself included!) suffer from negative self talk. You know that little niggling voice you have, inside, telling you that you can’t do something, or it’ll go bad, or any of a host of other negative little thoughts. It could be to do with your sport, your business, something important you have to do or just parts of life in general.

Have a think – when do you have negative self talk?

The negative self talk often sits within the strategy of having a stimulus (such as being asked to do a presentation), then the self talk comes in (I can’t do it!), and this is followed by a feeling, such as anxiety or even panic. The stimuli will always happen – but you don’t need to have the feeling, as you can change the strategy by changing the self talk.

Some of us can overcome this negativity and some can’t. If you find that you can’t, then have a little chat with me, it’s something that is usually easily sorted through my hypnotherapy. But first give this a go.

Recognise a time when you have the self talk. And when you do, immediately STOP! And then breathe, and then think carefully about the positive resources that you have to achieve in the context of the stimulus. Notice what happens to the feelings – I bet any feelings of anxiousness fade away, or don’t come in the first place.

This works as a pattern interrupt in your strategy. You change the self talk, and therefore change the feeling as a result.

The more times you go through the stimulus and change your negative self talk into a positive one, the easier it becomes, and its worth remembering that the mind learns quickly. After just a few times where you have stopped, breathed and thought more positively you will automatically start to not have the negative self talk – it will have been replaced by the positives.

Oh, and it is worth pointing out that this is a different process to just using affirmations. This is positive self talk within a strategy following a stimulus response – it’s much more powerful, and more appropriate for achieving better results.

Imagine how good it would be to have a positive buzz and be ready to succeed rather than feeling stress, nerves, anxiety or panic?

Monday, 3 May 2010


As a Sports Performance Expert I am constantly amazed at the amount of sportspersons who don’t utilise visualisation. This is a very important tool for any athlete and one that must be considered in your training – ALL top performers use visualisation.

The mind can’t determine between vividly imagined and ‘reality’. So every time you vividly imagine something the mind acts as though it is real. The neurology lights up and reacts in exactly the same way that you would in actually carrying out the act.

Examples of people using visualisation in sport are Johnny Wilkinson experiencing his goal kick, Tiger Woods seeing exactly where the shot will go, and bobsleigh drivers seeing the course and acting ‘as if’ they are driving a course prior to taking the sleigh down. How many more examples of this can you think of?

Now, the more times you repeat something the smoother and more efficient the neurology becomes. That is why in sport you practice the same move again and again, and this is where my 4P’s come into use – Perfect Practice makes Permanent Perfection.
So each time you operate a move the neurology becomes more efficient and the action moves towards unconscious competence – you just react in the perfect way without thinking.

In sport there are only so many opportunities or times that you can carry out the action that you want to improve. You may need a training partner, or equipment. Or your body can only perform a limited number of actions due to the exertions it receives. Or even the circumstances just don’t happen that often. All this can be overcome by visualisation.

As a vividly imagined event is considered by the mind no different to a real event, visualisation should become part of the core of your training. You don’t need equipment, don’t need people, and place no stress on your body. Perfect. No excuses then!

You can take the execution of a move or technique, a route or course, or even how you want to behave to the opposition. Anything you do within your sport from preparation and training, through to the actual event, and how you feel and act after that event can be used for visualisation. And down to the most minute detail too.

In order to utilise visualisation you need to totally immerse yourself in the experience. See what you would see, hear what you would hear, and totally experience the feelings that you would have on the outside and on the inside. There’s a methodology for effective visualisation and this will include associated (through your own eyes) and dissociated (through another person’s) rehearsals. The more vivid you can make the experience, and the more times you repeat it, the more you are training your neurology for how to react.

Visualisation is just a tiny part of the work I do with my sports performance work. I can teach people how to visualise effectively, and often utilise hypnosis as with this I can help my client completely become that experience. I can teach self hypnosis to maximise the effects of visualisation and am developing a range of hypnosis MP3’s for various sports to assist people in this process.

It is also worth noting that it is not just a tool for sports performance – visualisation is an important tool whether in business or any aspect of personal life too.

So now you know possibly a bit more about visualisation, ask yourself, I am utilising this important skill in becoming the best I can be?


As a hypnotherapist I commonly come across mis-conceptions as to what ‘hypnosis’ actually is. This blog post will address some of these issues.

Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state that we are in and out of every day. I would explain it simply as when we hand our conscious part over to our unconscious. The first time you were in this state today was that point this morning, where you weren’t quite sure if you were awake or still sleeping. Those of you that drive must have got to the end of a stretch of road once or more and thought ‘damn, I don’t remember driving that part!’ Films are great for hypnotic trance states – notice how you don’t recognise your hunger being satisfied as you continue to shovel the popcorn in – you are caught in the ‘escapism’. Tube trains are a brilliant source of hypnosis as people focus at a spot to avoid eye contact and the rhythmic noise of the train on the rails helps induce a lovely state of hypnosis. Any time where you give yourself over to your unconscious part of the mind is a hypnosis state. And this state is now possible to be seen scientifically thanks to the EEG machines and other brain scanning devices, seeing the changes in electrical activity in the brain.

Of course, the most common way of experiencing hypnosis is to imagine something, to create pictures in your head, have a daydream or a fantasy. This is all hypnosis.

All a hypnotist will do is guide you down into that hypnosis state. He doesn’t hypnotise you, you hypnotise yourself by following the commands. In hypnosis as a generalisation your ‘critical faculty’ is suspended and a hypnotist is communicating directly with your unconscious part of the mind – and that is where all true change in a person happens. So a hypnotherapist would use hypnosis as a tool to creating true change for their client.

Hypnosis can be induced in a person in several ways, whether covertly, conversationally, through pattern interrupts, or the classic ‘relaxation’ methods. Everyone can be hypnotised, as I’ve said it’s a state we are in every day. In fact, I often use conversational hypnosis in assisting my clients in making their changes, its much more ‘permissive’, covert, and allows a great state for interaction.

Hypnosis is also a very safe state – you can’t be made to do something you don’t want to do, or that is against your very core principles. You can’t get ‘stuck’ in hypnosis, and your senses are usually heightened, so you can still look after yourself should you be concerned! Stage hypnosis uses the same methods of hypnosis as in hypnotherapy, however whereas a stage hypnotist is looking for the most suggestible extrovert people to create a show, a hypnotherapist is using it for the personal change the client wants.

Another mis-conception is that a person goes to ‘sleep’ during hypnosis. The brain activity is actually far different and as I’ve said hypnosis can be induced conversationally or covertly with a client fully in the waking state – and, this is often preferable as it is often important to interact with a client.

People can also be hypnotised anywhere. I tested myself the other night in a busy pub, the music was too loud, could hardly hear myself think! After gaining permission I used a rapid induction on my friend and took him into hypnosis nearly instantly. Within a minute I had him in a nice deep state, carried out a quick couple of depth tests to confirm, gave him a couple of ‘feel good’ suggestions and brought him back bright and refreshed.

Now, hypnosis is a tool that I use, it is the vehicle but not the content. I don’t just hypnotise people and then all is well. Hypnosis just gets my client to a state where I can assist them with their unconscious change, and to do this I use numerous ‘interventions’ and methodologies within the state of hypnosis. The key skill of a hypnotherapist is not how good a hypnotist he is but instead the understanding of the processes going on within his client’s neurology, how they’ve created and perpetuated their problem, and how to change that strategy to get a different result.

And that’s the bit I love about my job – seeing my clients make the changes they desire. I often have clients come to me in the depths of despair. Some clients come to me with issues that have hindered them for years, such as twenty years of bulimia, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Seeing them leave without these problems, helping them make the changes, it’s incredibly satisfying and rewarding for me. And of course at the same time it’s incredibly rewarding for my client to look forward to a brighter future.

What diet should I use?

Having studied diets in quite some detail with particular relevance to weight loss I am quite often asked the question by athletes, and ‘regular’ people – which diet should they eat? And they then seem to put forward various diet ‘products’ for discussion, so I’ll quickly run over some thoughts on them.

A common diet I come across, and a popular one amongst the less informed is the Supplement Diet, where real foods seem to be set aside as secondary to the supplements. Whilst these people still eat some regular meals they put supplements down their throats like there is no tomorrow, often getting quite anxious that they need the right amount at the right time of the day. These people seem to believe the advertising, which (and trust me on this) is worded and associated to seem like success is a given.

It is my observation that there is often an image created around supplements by the people using these, like they are a prop, an extension of their personalities, that they are getting somewhere by using supplements.

Supplements are just that – supplementary to diet. They should not be relied upon instead of food. It is possible to get everything you need from your food – if you plan accordingly. Now, it might be that you aren’t eating the right amounts of the right foods, or need a meal and didn’t have time to prepare – and this is where supplements are of use.

Though too many people I talk to rely on supplements of the be-all and end-all of diets. These people could save their money, work less hours as a result, and spend that time planning and preparing real food which will be far better for them. And don’t get me started on the people who take supplements but still eat rubbish at the same time!

Then there are things like Weight-watchers, Slimfast, and other such diets. These aren’t what I would term a healthy lifestyle diet, but instead a way of teaching Calorie control. They also get you to buy into a product, and the marketing is set up for you to rely on that product in order to get the results you want. Now, don’t get me wrong, many people have great success on these diets, and they do work well. These companies have a good product and use it well. Though if you remove the prop of the product, and let these people stand on their own, I wonder how many maintain the condition they’ve worked hard for. Not many I think.

Athletes are a funny bunch, we always are looking at what is new to give us the ‘edge’ and often run from one theory to another without studying it, often following peer pressure or through role models. It is in this bracket that I think we can put diets like the Warrior Diet, Paleo, Metabolic Typing, Intermittent Fasting, Eat for your Blood Type, the Zone Diet and so on.

Now, these all have some evidence in science. But, why are they all so different? They all claim to be the ‘right’ way for eating. And yet at the same time tell us we should all be eating different foods, different quantities, and different times of the day and so on. They can’t all be right. Can they?

The science principles behind them all stand up at first, but when you look into them in more depth; there are just too many variables that haven’t been accounted for. They all have good basis, but none of them stand up as being truly right over all the others.

But there is one thing that I like about this last list of diets. And that is they get you eating a healthy, clean, natural mix of foods. They shy away from processed foods, chemicals, and stick with healthy foods that give the right nutrients. Now, I may not be a believer in the vehicle of the diets themselves, but their content of eating healthily I totally subscribe to. So if you don’t know what to do with a diet, I would suggest that you could follow the Warrior, Paleo, or the others on the list. Find the one that fits your lifestyle best, and then let it teach you how to eat healthily.

Alternatively, listen to your body, and just eat healthily. Look for natural foods, stay away from processing and additives. Learn to cook food properly for the optimum nutritional intake. (For example, you get more goodness from lightly cooked carrots than raw carrots – the cooking breaks down the enzymes in order for us to absorb all of the nutrition.) Eat a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Don’t shy away from saturated fat either – it’s not the beast that many think. Eat a good variety of foods, different colour vegetables, a variety of fruits and berries. And drink lots of water.

And listen to your body – it has evolved at being very adept at telling you what you need and when to eat it. So start to pay attention and you will find it knows exactly what nutrients it requires. It will tell you when you are actually hungry and when to eat. It will tell you what and how much too. You just have to start listening.

So what diet is right? I would say the healthy diet that gives you the right nutrients. And with every person being an individual, looking at different goals, the only diet to have is the right one for you.



I'm Gary 'Smiler' Turner, and welcome to my blog!

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