#76 - Caregiver Physical Health

special needs  podcast Betsy McNally

As caregivers, we want to be there for our loved ones and we want to be there for many years. Caregiver health is much more important and complicated both physically and emotionally than for the general population. How should we be approaching this important aspect of our role?

Today’s guest, Betsy McNally Laouar not only trains gold medal olympians but she is also an autism mom and has been Kim’s personal trainer for over a decade. In this episode Betsy and Kim talk about their complicated journeys toward health and the ways physical fitness is different, and necessary, for caregivers.

Mentioned in This Episode

  • Since 2001, Betsy McNally-Lauoar has been a coach in the fitness world. She is a personal trainer, sports nutritionist, former gymnastics coach, professional bodybuilder/fitness competitor, former high school teacher and best selling author of 2 books Binges and Balance Beams and the newly released Gymnachef. A graduate of Michigan State University and a certified personal trainer through the NSCA and sports nutritionist through Chicago State,  she specializes in working with gymnasts  but also works with regular moms, athletes and families in her online bootcamps, live training, and nutrition and training programs. She has worked with professional/elite athletes, Olympians, moms, dads too. She currently travels the country doing her "Betsy Bootcamps" and is available for in person, live or streaming webinars, nutritional programs and fitness programs. 

  • Functional health is balanced, not extreme, and with a mindset that is disciplined but not over the top.

    Many think you have to be in super great shape to be functional but that’s not true. 

  • Out bodies will not be able to do in our 40’s what they did in our 20’s but can still be fit. True physical fitness at any age means minds and bodies that are functional, balanced, active, and accepting of what our body can handle. Looking good is a by product of true physical fitness.

  • We can take better care of our loved ones when we our phyisical fitness is good. At minute 21:00 Betsy and Kim both give examples of how this is true in their caregiving own roles.

  • Betsy promotes the use of Intuitive training and intuitive eating with her clients so that they learn to know their bodies and have an understanding of what they need. This is especially important for caregivers who need high energy levels and who are doing a lot of physical lifting and manipulation. An example of how Kim has learned intuitive eating and uses it for IEP meetings is given at minute 23.

  • In a previous episode in the health series there was a discussion on obesity in the disability community. One thing that came out of the conversation was a lot of times it is the caregivers who are, for the most part, monitoring what food is being eaten. We have a responsibility to place an importance on physical health not just for ourself, but for our loved ones. We need to live the lifestyle we want for our children.

  • Kim and Betsy were both high level gymnastics coaches and taught how physical, mental, and emotional health was woven together and to preform at our best all three need to be strong. Betsy focuses on each of these with her clients. Kim gives an  examples of how Betsy has taught her to use exercise as an emotional and mental tool as well as intuitive training

    Betsy assigns her clients “me dates” to clear their heads with physical movement being a part of it. Kim gives her example of the “me date” assignment at minute 34.

  • Betsy stresses having expectations but not setting the bar so high you don’t do anything. Expectiations need to inspire and not dissuade. Balance is the most important thing to physical health with a mindset of forgiveness and just keep going. Jumping in gung ho is not a mindset that is sustainable.

  • If you can’t afford a trainer, read books on finding balance. Betsy’s books are a great examples. Binges and Balance Beams tells her journey of finding balance while living in France eating croissants. She also has a new book called Gymnachef which was a collaboration with her French Chef Husband.

Related Episodes:

Episode #74 - Caregiver Emotional and Mental Health

Episode #75 - Physical Fitness and the Special Needs Community