[family hiking trip in Waterville Valley, NH this past weekend]
As you know, I am an avid fan of running mostly due to it’s hidden benefits none of which include losing weight or getting “skinny.” Sure, these are extra perks that may come along with exercising, but they’re not the main reason I run. Rather, I run for clarity, creative sparks (i.e. coming up with a fabulous idea for a new project), getting outside and de-stressing.
I find that when you exercise for weight loss or to obtain that perfect celebrity bikini body it takes all the fun out. And well, when you take the fun out of something, what’s the point?
Exercise should be exciting, invigorating, motivational and even a little surprising. It should challenge you, make you sweat, make you laugh and even make you cry (in a good way like the tears that came when I ran my first half marathon with thousands of other women).
On the other hand, it should not make you feel bad about yourself, evoke jealousy, create anger and bring out insecurities. If a certain exercise is causing this negative impact, you may want to rethink it; most likely there is something out there for you that’ll better suit your needs and your body.
After all, everyone has their own exercise that does this, just as everyone has a certain diet or skin care regime that works best for you. This is an example of bio-individuality, something I learned through my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and incorporate in my health counseling practice every day. Basically, it means that everyone has their own personalized roadmap to health, and what may be one woman’s medicine could be another’s poison.
My “medicine” cabinet in the exercise realm includes running, hiking, skiing, long walks, core fusion, group fitness classes (particularly spinning, step and kickboxing) and Vinyasa yoga. I do not, however, enjoy Pilates, competitive sports, or extreme bootcamp style classes.
A few years ago, I read in a magazine that all the hot celebrities were doing Pilates to develop long and lean bodies, so I thought “I can do that too. I can become long and lean like them.” Well guess what, I hated it, and haven’t set food in a Pilates studio again. It doesn’t make Pilates “good” or “bad.” It doesn’t make me lame or a quitter. It simply wasn’t right for me, and so I moved on.
If you loathe running and never want to be a runner, fine. If you’d rather kayak or spin the day away than set foot in a yoga studio, have no shame. If something simply isn’t for you, it does not make you weak. In fact, it makes you unique. It makes you who you are.
So go ahead and explore different exercise routines to find what works best for you. What makes you feel good inside, fills you up and gives you the motivation to do it over and over again?
What types of exercise get your heart racing, and most importantly makes you feel your best self?
We all know exercise is beneficial not only for our body (who doesn’t love a little extra glute-toning), but for our mental health as well. Many women track hours at the gym, have a strict running routine, or even take several group fitness classes (such as core fusion) in one day. But what’s a girl to do when she’s simply not feeling it? Do we really need to be so strict on ourselves?
Let’s face it, we are only human. While many of us strive to be superwoman at times, even the fitness fanatics among us have their “off” days. And guess what? That’s totally OK and get this…normal.
I know what it’s like to feel guilt for skipping a workout. Heck, I even skipped my 6:15 a.m. Core Fusion Cardio class this morning because the gloomy weather was a huge turnoff, and well, my need for a good night’s sleep was much more important to me. I had a busy week, I was tired and I needed some good old-fashioned beauty rest. Old me would have beat myself up over this for days, but new me simply let’s it go. Now I don’t skip my workouts every day, but when I’m not feeling it I don’t force myself to go.
Anyway, I’ve got some good news for all of you guilt-prone ladies out there. There are little moves you can do that’ll help you to be a little less hard on yourself, while not feeling like a bump on a log.
1. Make it a Clean Day: Just because you’re skipping the gym doesn’t make you “fat” or “unhealthy” at all. If you’re letting this guilt get to you, why not make it a clean day in the kitchen? Eat a hearty breakfast filled with whole grains and protein, like rolled oats with flax seed, almond butter and sliced banana or peaches, or maybe a cage-free egg white omelet like this Vegetarian Farmer’s Omelet filled with sauteed veggies and a slice of Ezekiel bread.
Then drink lots of water throughout the day to flush your system of toxins, and get rid of any extra belly bloat. For the rest of the day, fill yourself up with lots of green leafy vegetables (think kale, spinach, or collard greens), healthy fats like olive oil or coconut oil for cooking,fresh fruit, and lean proteins like antibiotic-free natural chicken or fish. As I always say, the more real and simple the food is, the better so try to avoid anything that comes from a package especially items that have dozens of ingredients.
2. Move It Along: Just because you’ve made the decision to take a break from that whole working out thing doesn’t mean you have to sit around and eat pizza on the couch all afternoon, although we all have those kinds of days too and that’s completely OK.
If you’re feeling up for it, why not go for a walk with a friend around town? As you chat away, you won’t even realize you’ve walked nearly 3 miles around the city! If you’ve been running like a maniac lately and have really been feeling it in your knees, a local yoga class may be a good alternative for you. Maybe it’s just the weather is what’s keeping you from going to your favorite class. Whenever this happens, I chose to do an at-home workout DVD or On Demand exercise instead so I can still start the day on the right food, and get a mini sweat session in.
3. Relax Alright, so you took a day (or even a week) off from running and you’re feeling a little blue. Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe your body needs that break? Have you been to hard on yourself lately? Did you find yourself in a workout rut where you become angry instead of excited to take a class? These are all signs that maybe your body is craving a mini vacation from strenuous exercise.
When you find yourself feeling this way, it’s best to just take some time for yourself. Cuddle up after work with some peppermint herbal tea and a good book. Close your eyes for ten, even five minutes and just breathe. Meditate. Take a long bath or shower with some aromatherapy oils. Taking care of our mental self is just as important as taking care of our physical body, so try to give yourself a little leeway.
If you’re prone to guilt when you skip a workout, find it hard to relax and be at peace with yourself, or are looking for a way to revamp your diet without going on a diet, I may be able to help you. As a health coach, I work with women who are looking to get that “zest” back into their lives & escape a lifestyle of yo-yo dieting. To learn more you can visit my website here or schedule a FREE initial health consultation with me today.
Have a wonderful day,
I have a confession: I don’t stretch nearly as much as I need to. Scratch that. I barely stretch at all. Sometimes I’ll go for my long runs, and hit the shower before I even think to stretch out my hamstrings. Not good, not good at all. I know we hear this all of the time, but stretching is vital, especially for those who are physically active.
Not only does does stretching help prevent injuries, but if often improves our athletic performance along with many other benefits such as flexibility. Maybe that’s why I can barely touch my toes without bending my knees, and to think I used to be The Queen of sit-and-reach in gym class when I was younger. Hm, maybe it has a little something to do with the lack of stretching, don’t ya think?
The other day my hamstrings were so tight from running that I could barely lift my legs up during Core Fusion class, when the rest of the class made it seem like a piece of cake. I was ashamed, but tried not to get too down on myself. It’s simply a matter of fact: I need to stretch more. I need to make it part of my daily routine. If I have time to run & fuel my body with healthy eats, then I most definitely have time to stretch.
If you are a runner like myself, or exercise regularly, maybe you should rethink your stretching routine too. Here are some super stretches courtesy of Fitness Magazine, particularly for all of you runners out there. I also recommend getting more involved in classes such as yoga or core fusion, with naturally incorporate stretching in with the workout, thus increasing flexibility. Now stretch it out ladies!
Do you stretch enough? Do you do so before or after exercise? What are some of your top stretches?
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of Core Fusion DVDs. Once I became hooked on Core Fusion Body Sculpt (and made my obsession loud and clear), creator and mastermind behind Core Fusion Fred DeVito was nice enough to send me both Thighs & Glutes and Bootcamp as well. Just as expected, I fell in love with each and every workout I tried. I loved the variety, the intense toning benefits, and all the other physical changes I could see in my body.
So when Exhale Spa in Boston’s Back Bay invited me to take a live Core Fusion class, I jumped at the offer. A real, live Core Fusion class, for me? How could I possibly decline?
The minute I walked into Exhale, I felt like I was in another world…on some kind of serene spa getaway. “Wow, now I can see why people rave about this place,” I thought to myself. As I waited for the Director of Guest Experience to give me a personal tour, I was immediately offered a cup of hot tea and water to sip on. If that’s not customer service at its best, I don’t know what is.
As I toured the building, I “oohed” and “ahhed” my way through each step I took. Everything was just so…beautiful and I was loving every minute of it. The staff members were friendly, the studio space was bright and clean, and even the bathrooms were impressive. They were fully equipped with lockers, a Eucalyptus steam room, robes and slippers for guest comfort, showers, changing rooms, and pretty much any beauty essential you could think of. Yes, they even had shower caps, spray-on deodorant, RAZORS, and delectable lotions all for me (and you).
Then came the workout: a real live Core Fusion class. Let me tell you, it was not for the faint of heart. It was tough, and it was challenging, and my thighs were shaking 90% of the time, but I loved every minute of it because I pushed myself. At first I was intimidated by all the other perfectly-sculpted women in the room, but the instructor, Denise, made the class comfortable and fun. She energetically led the group through a series of arm, thigh, gluteus and abs workouts, all while correcting our form and pushing us to hold the poses a little longer, try a little harder. And that I did.
I must say, a live Core Fusion class was much more challenging than the DVDs, mostly because you get the benefits of having an instructor face-to-face to push you and correct your form. I was proud of myself for completing a full hour-long Core Fusion session, even though at times I wanted to give up. There’s no doubt about it that you get a full body workout, and that to me is worth the money.
After my sweat session, I robed up like a queen and hit the Eucalyptus steam room, followed by a nice, long shower. I then used every single beauty product I could get my hands on, and finished my spa experience with a cup of hot tea. I was in heaven.
I highly recommend taking a class at Exhale Spa to anyone who wants to challenge themselves, all while reaping the benefits of a blissful spa experience. I most definitely will be back, but in the meantime will continue to practice the Core Fusion DVDs at home. But I must admit: If it were up to me, I think I’d live at Exhale Spa. Any place that provides a full-body workout followed by pampering at the spa is golden to me.
Interested in trying Core Fusion yourself? Snag the Exhale: Core Fusion Collection for only $20.49 on Amazon. This includes the Body Sculpt (my favorite), Thighs & Glutes and Pilates Plus workouts.
Have you ever taken a class at Exhale Spa? What was your experience like? Have you tried any of the Core Fusion DVDs yet?
So I must say when I stepped on the scale this morning I was dazzled by my consistent 3 pound (plus some change) weight loss since two weeks ago. But not only did the number on the scale make me jump for joy, but I can feel it in my energy, my body and the way my clothes fit. I simply feel goooood, healthy and toned.
I must be doing something right. Go me! First things first, I haven’t been fussing or freaking over my weight. And I think that’s a huge mistake many women make. When you constantly worry about your weight, it’s not going anywhere but up. Since I’ve been too busy to think about trivial things such as the number on the scale, those stubborn little pounds are beginning to melt away on their own. I tell you: stress does nothing but make matters worse when it comes to a healthy weight loss.
However, to be realistic, I’m obviously doing something right to make for the sudden drop in poundage. It’s not magic, after all! So what is it? I must say most of my thank-yous go out to Core Fusion Body Sculpt (and Rachel Wilkerson for telling me about it). Ever since I started this last week, I’ve been feeling really good all over. While these classes may not leave you dripping in sweat, you can really feel the burn…literally. Like, thighs-shaking, abs-quivering true burn. It’s like I can feel my body gaining muscle, losing fat and revving up its metabolism by the end of the 50-minute segment. I seriously can not get enough of this workout, and recommend it to anyone who wants to tone up and torch fat all over!
I’ve also been eating super clean lately, cleaner than usual I’d have to say. Ever since I overdosed a bit on fall baked goods, I’ve been cutting back and trying to eat mindfully for my body and mind. Of course, I treat myself to dark chocolate and fried goodies here and there, but for the most part I’ve been eating, and craving, purely lean, clean wholesome eats! It’s what my body wants at the time, and I think it’s definitely thanking me for that (and it’s even starting to show!)
Oh, and I’ve recently started taking D vitamins because I read how important they are for women in their 20s. Can’t hurt to get a little extra sunshine in the system, eh? So, yeah, that’s pretty much my prescription right now for good health, or at least what’s been working for me. I’m ready to take on the holidays and look my leanest ever for this Thanksgiving’s feast!