The Mind-Body Connection: Phil Green of Bounce Personal Training weighs in on why good physical health equals improved mental health

30 Mar

One of the many things that makes Friends With Benefits for The Royal so special is the support we get from the Ottawa community. Each year we put out the call to local businesses for unique silent auction items.  It is because of the generosity of these businesses that we are able to raise so much money for The Jennie James Depression Research Fund.  

Leading up to this year’s Friends With Benefits Event we will profile one of our sponsors on the blog.  Here you will get a sneak peak at some of the great items up for grabs at this year’s auction.  You’ll also learn why they have chosen to donate their product or service to support mental health research.

Phil Green of Bounce Personal Training is a sponsor of this year’s silent auction.  Phil has been a trainer for several years and I had the opportunity to train with him for just under a year when I was living in Ottawa.  Not only is he one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, he is truly excited about helping his clients to achieve their health and fitness goals.  I have never felt as fit or as confident in my body as I did when I was working out with Phil.  Phil has donated one month of bootcamp classes ($180 value).  Through bootcamp training you will get a chance to train with Phil in a fun and dynamic group setting.  This is a great way to get the benefits of working with a trainer in an affordable way.  

We often hear about the mind-body connection and the positive benefits of exercise on our mental health.  Here is what Phil has to say about his work and the physical connection to good mental health:


FWB:  The Canadian Mental Health Association has identified the following linkages between physical health and mental health:

1. People with serious mental health conditions are at high risk of experiencing chronic physical conditions.
2. People with chronic physical conditions are at risk of developing poor mental health.
Do you see this correlation in your day to day work as a fitness professional? In your experience as a personal trainer, can you share some of the positive mental health benefits your clients have experienced as a result of regular exercise?

PG:  I’m a true believer that the mental and physical health of our bodies are incredibly intertwined. One can’t be optimally healthy without the other, and they both complement each other very well.

Although people generally see personal training as a way to improve physical health, the mental health aspect of my job is evident with almost all of my clients as well. For example, with one-on-one training, clients begin to develop a trusting relationship with me and often open up and talk about their insecurities, fears and frustrations whether they have to do with exercise or other aspects of their lives. I’ve had people talk to me about relationship problems, work problems, family problems – you name it. Exercise can be a great way to let out your concerns and at the same time, improve your mental well-being. If a client is having a particularly bad day, I’m there to listen but I’ll also use that energy to their benefit and get them to perform some high intensity exercises that really allow them to “let it out” instead of holding onto negative emotions. I find after something like that, people often say “thank you, I needed that” or “I’m glad I was able to let that out”. Speaking from my own personal experience, physical exertion can help to relieve mental stressors.

FWB:  Can you share a goal related to physical health that one of your clients worked for and achieved? How do you think that this impacted their confidence, outlook, etc.?

PG:  One of my clients has been really successful in her weight loss goals. She is a cancer survivor, is divorced and has dealt with weight issues her entire adult life, so she’s had some pretty rough mental and physical battles in her lifetime. At this point, she hasn’t weighed as little as she does now in 13 years. If you put yourself in the shoes of someone who has been through a lot and has achieved something for themselves by working really hard, it’s truly an amazing thing to see and be a part of. She gets excited about having to buy new clothes because her old ones don’t fit, she looks forward to to dressing up and looking good, she looks forward to her workouts, and she is more confident in her day to day life. With each pound she loses, she is more and more motivated to keep going.

FWB:  Some of the issues that many people struggling with their mental health face are a lack of energy, desire to connect with others and motivation to complete daily tasks. How can you help individuals overcome these obstacles as a trainer?

PG:  Even something as simple as the endorphins that are released when you exercise can make you feel good. As a trainer I can help individuals establish and meet exercise goals and challenges (things you thought you probably couldn’t do) which ultimately has a positive impact on self confidence. This is often enhanced further by the physical changes that my clients see in their appearance. A big part of what I do with group training is getting people socializing. Many of my bootcamp clients end up being friends outside of class. Basically exercise can give you that extra bit of “feel good” and drive to push past the lack of energy, motivation and disconnect from daily life. Studies have demonstrated that regular exercise actually increases energy. When your body is strong and working efficiently you have more energy, drive, and motivation to get out and enjoy life!

There have been lots of studies done that have measured the effectiveness of regular exercise as a treatment for depression in comparison to anti-depressant drugs and they find that exercise is as effective, if not more effective than taking costly medications.

FWB:  Do you have any tips for getting yourself to the gym if you are lacking the energy/motivation to do so?

PG:  There are tons of things you can do to motivate yourself to get to the gym. Here’s a few:

  • Have a workout buddy. You are WAY more likely to make it to the gym if you have a friend who is also counting on you for motivation.
  • Reward yourself. Tell yourself that you can’t have a certain treat or reward until you’ve gone to the gym. After your workout, you can have your favourite latte or whatever.
  • Schedule it. If you’re someone who schedules everything, why not schedule your workouts? Set out an hour or two in your day and treat it like any other appointment that can’t be missed.
  • Track it. Many people are motivated by seeing their results improve. Compete against yourself and try to surpass your most recent achievements.
  • Get some good tunes. Make yourself a playlist specific to your workout. Find music that is motivating, fun and is something to look forward to.
  • Group training. Working out in a group can be incredibly motivating. Being around others with a positive attitude towards exercise can impact your outlook. You might also find solace in knowing your aren’t the only once suffering from exertion too!
  • Be realistic. If you’re just getting back into exercise, don’t try to be a hero and go to the gym 7 days a week. Start slow with once or twice and work up slowly from there.
  • Find an exercise that you enjoy. The gym isn’t everyone favourite place to be, maybe cycling, walking, swimming or team sports are better suited to you. You have to like what you’re doing in order to keep doing it.

FWB:  You do a lot of group training. Do you feel that bootcamp style classes have a positive impact on the motivation and well-being of the participants? How so?

PG:  I love teaching groups. There is always a great energy in my bootcamp classes because while everyone is working really hard and sweating, we are also making jokes and laughing a lot. The light atmosphere seems to make it more comfortable for those who might not be as outgoing as others. Many people who do my bootcamp love coming because of the motivation they gain from the rest of the group. Everyone is incredibly supportive of one another. Some people like to compete with their neighbour while others just like that they can get a good workout without all the attention on them 100% of the time. Whatever the reason people are coming, the social aspect of exercise can be incredibly powerful in helping people with their mental well-being.

FWB:  You are a sponsor of Friends With Benefits 2014 silent auction. Why did you get involved? Why is supporting mental health services in the Ottawa Community important to you?

PG:  As I said earlier, I very strongly believe that mental and physical health are incredibly interrelated. I’ve personally experienced bouts of depression and anxiety and getting involved in fitness has helped me become happier and more confident. If there are people out there who are suffering with depression or other mental health issues, I want them to know that physical fitness is a potentially life changing option for them. Image

To learn more about Bounce Personal Training and Phil’s work, follow Phil here:


One Response to “The Mind-Body Connection: Phil Green of Bounce Personal Training weighs in on why good physical health equals improved mental health”

  1. Phil Green March 31, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    Thanks again, Laura! Was happy to answer the questions 🙂

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