Why Blessing a Meal Matters

Ever wonder why so many spiritual traditions have a ritual designed around blessing the food you consume? Although they are different, many serve the same purpose. To get you to a place of parasympathetic response before you eat. Thus upping the chance that you will get the nutrition you need and be better prepared to survive.

This is the nervous system state you are in when you are calm, feeling centered, connected, and safe. It is often called the “rest & digest” state. In this state your neuro-chemistry is working in your favor to help decrease the stress load on the body. Food items are chemicals that must be broken down to be useful. For the body optimal digestion happens when the body can focus on this task (not stressful events and vigilance) and work to give you the nutrients you need.

If you are stressed when you eat, the body cannot focus on breaking down your food well. It has to maintain vigilance to survive your environment. Events like driving your car, fights with family/friends, office politics, watching the news, worrying about household tasks to complete – can be stressful events your body is attempting to manage instead of focused digestion.

What is physically happening when you are stressed

When your body is stressed you are activating your hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis). This is the circuit that manages your stress chemicals. When it is active the body has to attend to the adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones because they are being pumped into the system for a reason. The body knows the “fight & flight” feelings they create are about keeping you alive aka … are important. So the response to them dominates the rest and digest option.

When you are working to digest food under a high stress feelings, the body holds calories (often depositing them around your middle). This is because it is concerned that it may need these extra sources of energy for escape. You might truly feel like you need to escape from the office board room during your working lunch, however you probably do not want the calories you are consuming during it contributing to your muffin top.

Reasons to say a blessing over your food

To optimize our food choices we must be in a state of calm when we eat. Saying a prayer, blessing, thank you, or even just taking a deep breath before you eat helps the nervous system calm down and be better prepared to digest and use the food you are about to take in.

Try this little experiment on yourself. Next time you eat find a comfortable spot that you enjoy being in, sit down, spread your food in front of you so you can examine its textures, colors, smells. Take a deep breath and say a small blessing (can be as simple as thank you) before you eat. Acknowledge how you are feeding yourself to take care of you and then enjoy. Pay attention to your level of fullness as you eat and take a break or stop eating when you begin to feel full. Enjoy the space you are in and notice the colors, sounds, why you like it, what makes it interesting and unique to you. After 5 or 10 minutes decide if you would like to continue eating and what you would like to add to your meal. Then enjoy. Note your experience of the food while you ate and how you feel for a few hours and/or days after.

Contrast this experience with the rushed, harried, absentminded, and overwhelmed experiences you have had or had since the experiment above. Which meal nourished you?

You might find, practicing a nourishing meal experience more often may be the key to successful weight loss, positive mood states, and overall better life balance.

Share your experiences with us by commenting on this post in our FB community. I think you’ll find a common experience and support to continue to feed yourself well even when it is not an easy task.

Metabolic Core

Ready to get your ab workout on. This one will exhaust your core and leave you feeling strong – ready for any challenges you might face.

Workout Basics and Warm Up

To plan your workouts think about doing something focused 3-6 times a week and taking 1-3 days of what’s called active rest (clean house, walk the golf course, go for a hike, take the dog for a long walk, do squats throughout the day – link it to every time you go to the bathroom for example.

This movement is important for recovery and allows your body to do something active for fun, wellness, blood flow to the sore spots from your focused workout, etc. This keeps the body oriented toward energy flow and movement.

Making sure to get a weekend workout in is a great way to make sure your active rest days are not consecutive. Consecutive days off can make it harder to return to your focused workouts on Monday.

Make sure to warm up. Spend 5-10minutes doing easy movement, stretching, and allow the muscles you are going to work to “wake up”. Work to include all the big joints and major muscle groups. It’s a great time to get your music right, your shoes tightened or loosened, or make sure you hair is out of your way. By fixing these things now, you are more likely to stay focused on the work.

When you complete the round, give yourself a pat on the back, a fist pump, something that celebrates your accomplishment. This is a big deal for helping habits stick, and helps you be realistic about all the hard work you are doing.

If you are unclear about a movement, look it up. There are lots of resources online that allow you to make sure you have good form. Always work up to adding weight or making a movement less stable. Good form comes first.

Metabolic Core

Do 2 sets of 15 reps for each exercise below. I have included video clips of each since the names alone can be confusing.

  • Egg Rolls
  • Ninja Get Up
  • Side Lying V Up
  • Prone Knee to Elbow (Wide)
  • Forward / Backward Crawl
  • Suicide Press Ups
  • Plank Toe Rolls – 1 set of 15 each
    • Double Legs – 15 total
    • Single Legs – 15 for each leg

Finish Strong

YOU DID IT!! Now that you have finished the “work” portion, it is time for flexibility training. Spend some time stretching all the muscles you worked – in this workout, it’s full body so give all your major muscles a good stretch. Then grab a good post workout snack. Together these get your muscles ready for tomorrow’s movement and make sure you are ready to meet your goals.

Words of Caution …

Please make sure to follow your body. Do not push through pain. Discomfort/Challenge are different than pain. We want to challenge ourselves we do not want to hurt ourselves. Find the level that is right for you and move at that level. Make sure to choose weight and stances that support your body style – if you have to use the wall to do your push ups do that, if you need a chair or a bench use those. Make sure you are doing what you need to do for your body type and current personal level of fitness.

As always have a fun living in your body today!

Food and Mood

Ever noticed that you feel different after eating different foods? In the past the links between food and mood may have been considered pseudoscience as food is just fuel, right? Not anymore. In today’s world we know the quality of that fuel (food) matters.

Over a decade ago Wallin and Rissanen (1994) were discussing the impacts of food and food cravings on psychiatric diagnoses. Today we are studying how the gut microbiota are impacted by diet choices and influence behavior (Jørgensen, 2014). There is lots of research linking how well children do in the classroom to meals eaten throughout the day, how strong our workouts will be to when and how we eat, and shows us how our focus and concentration fluctuate with what additives and ingredients were packaged in that meal you ate. Today, consider how you are eating for your brain.

For many of us we eat a routine set of items. In these items we often find the same things we ate and were exposed to as children. As a result we are fueling similar to our biology and culture. This used to be a good thing, as more research is showing us how ethnicity impacts ability to digest particular food items. However, with such diversity in our food system, easy access to all sorts of new foods, and things like GMOs, additives, colors, and preservatives many of us do not feel as good as we used to when we eat the same foods from our past. We have moved away from those family, cultural, and ethically focused meal plans and begun to source our food miles and miles from our homes.

As you eat this week, notice how you feel before you eat. What is your emotional state? Are you really hungry? Are you just bored? Do you feel sad, happy, angry? How did you feel yesterday? Many times our food choices are based on energy levels from yesterday. Then notice the same about how you feel when you get done eating. Did that meal satisfy you? If not why not? What is the emotion set you are feeling as you finish eating?

Next notice your thoughts. As a personal trainer and former fitness center owner, people around me often say things like: “I know I shouldn’t eat this … but” as they take a huge bite of something. This is not the way to help your mind create an experience of health or your body feel good about what you are eating. If you want that piece of cake, eat it, but be careful how you think about it. If you are saying “I shouldn’t” then have a smaller piece and say “I am so grateful I have the opportunity to sample this sweetness, I am also grateful that I only need a little to feel satisfied”. Then eat the item mindfully and enjoy it fully. As you swallow tell your belly, “We are enjoying the sweetness of life in this moment”. Do the same when you eat salad and fruit and vegetables, and drink water. As you eat, tell yourself how great these items are for your cells, your gut flora, and your brain.

The connection between what we think and what we manifest is well known. You will cultivate what you what you put your attention on. Use the power of your attention to focus on what you want, not what you don’t. As you tell yourself you are making healthy choices and you are caring for your body well, you begin to manifest increased healthy behaviors. Don’t believe me? Begin to think about something you like, focus on it, Just do not think about pink elephants. How many of you saw a pink elephant in your mind?

The subconscious works in pictures. When you give it a subject, like pink elephants, “bad” food, things you hate, it puts resources toward creating the experience of noticing pink elephants (or other items). If it is this easy to see pink elephants in your mind, imagine how easy it will be to see your body working exactly as it should, humming along, doing just what is needed in each moment to fully function. Think about how easy it will be to take a food, tell yourself the food is helping your body, and create a healthy pattern of engagement between food that is good for you, feeding yourself well, and generating positive moods as a result.

As you increase the healthy foods, your mood improves, your sleep gets better, and it’s easier to manage stress in your life. Your body has the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to make the neurotransmitters you need to feel happy, content, and connected. All of which help you feel regulated and grounded. Want more ideas to help yourself stay on track? Check out an easier post: Eat Well, Feel Well

As you feed yourself today, say something positive and thankful over your food. You will be surprised how that shifts your focus and brings a different experience to your eating … Here’s to happy eating, enjoy!

References

Jørgensen, B.P., Hansen, J. T., Krych, L., Larsen, C., Klein, A.B., Nielsen, D. S., Josefsen, K., Hansen, A. K., Sørensen, D. B. (2014). A possible link between food and mood: Dietary impact on gut microbiota and behavior in BALB/c mice. PLOS ONE, 9(8), e103398 1-15.

Wallin M.S., Rissanen A.M. (1994). Food and mood: relationship between food, serotonin and affective disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 377, 36-40.

Sleep Is Spiritual

In our quest for good sleep and our worry that we won’t find it, we often overlook our spiritual resource

Have you ever thought of using your sleep to help your spiritual growth? Sleep is a time when our conscious minds turn off, at least the time when we are really asleep. However, our subconscious does not sleep in the same way. It keeps going under the surface and continues to find, organize, categorize, and set us up for the next day. With this powerful tool, it’s time to use your sleep to program your best life ever.

Before going to bed tonight … ask for guidance. You can ask from whatever you believe in. Believe it’s all biology, then ask your own cellular wisdom to direct you. Ask for guidance without need to figure anything out, solve the problem, or create a plan. Ask for guidance to sleep deep and restful, then give thanks for the deep restful sleep you are about to have. Give thanks as though you have already had a great night’s sleep. As you say thanks feel how great you are going to feel in the morning, the ease of clarity you are going to have, and the peace you experience just because you slept well. As you begin to drift off dream about the things you want to accomplish in your life. See yourself having them, participating with them, and feel how good it feels to have gotten them.

All of this sets your subconscious mind up to tap the deeper resources you have and help you take one more step in the direction you want to go on your personal path.

Dream well.

Saturday Weekend Warrior Workout – Slow to Fast

Ready for your weekend? It’s time to get moving with this super slow and speed drill full body workout.

Workout Basics and Warm Up

To plan your workouts think about doing something focused 3-6 times a week and taking 1-3 days of what’s called active rest (clean house, walk the golf course, go for a hike, take the dog for a long walk, do squats throughout the day – link it to every time you go to the bathroom for example.

This movement is important for recovery and allows your body to do something active for fun, wellness, blood flow to the sore spots from your focused workout, etc. This keeps the body oriented toward energy flow and movement.

Making sure to get a weekend workout in is a great way to make sure your active rest days are not consecutive. Consecutive days off can make it harder to return to your focused workouts on Monday.

Make sure to warm up. Spend 5-10minutes doing easy movement, stretching, and allow the muscles you are going to work to “wake up”. Work to include all the big joints and major muscle groups. It’s a great time to get your music right, your shoes tightened or loosened, or make sure you hair is out of your way. By fixing these things now, you are more likely to stay focused on the work.

When you complete the round, give yourself a pat on the back, a fist pump, something that celebrates your accomplishment. This is a big deal for helping habits stick, and helps you be realistic about all the hard work you are doing.

If you are unclear about a movement, look it up. There are lots of resources online that allow you to make sure you have good form. Always work up to adding weight or making a movement less stable. Good form comes first.

Super Slow 1

the following three movements are done super slow, to the count of 10 up, 10 down. Focus on your balance and stability. Pull the belly button in and up and keep the spine supported with the contraction. Practice using good form – form always comes before speed. 

  • 10 Kick through right leg lunge without weight, challenge your ability to balance, but hold on as needed. Front knee should remain behind the ankle throughout the movement. Shoulders should center over the hips. Step back into the lunge and up into the front kick
  • 30 Crunches
  • 10 Pushups – do on your knees or standing against the wall if you do not have the core strength to maintain form through your lower back. Your back should not “sway” toward the floor.
  • 10 Kick through left leg lunge without weight, challenge your ability to balance, but hold on as needed. Front knee should remain behind the ankle throughout the movement. Shoulders should center over the hips. Step back into the lunge and up into the front kick

Speed Drill 1

Do each movement below for 30 seconds: hold on as needed, but challenge your balance. Use good form. Go only as fast as you can maintain your form.

  • Kick through right leg lunge without weight
  • 180 Jumps
  • Push Ups
  • Butt Drops
  • Kick through left leg lunge without weight.

Super Slow 2

The following three movements are done super slow, to the count of 10 up, 10 down. Focus on your balance and stability. Pull the belly button in and up and keep the spine supported with the contraction. Practice using good form – form always comes before speed.

  • 10 Squat to balance toe raise begin with feet shoulder width apart, squat back (think music festival porta potty and you aren’t going to touch anything while you go, and will not soil your clothes), knees behind toes and over ankles. Lower as far as you can and maintain a flat lower back, if it rounds you’ve gone too low. As you come up continue to rise until you are balancing on your toes.
  • 10 Frontal Arm Raise – you can use weight or not, maintain good form and do not rise above shoulder height. Can do arms together or single, maintain symmetrical balance for body on single
  • 10 Medicine Ball / Weight Russian Twists – each side
  • 10 Alternating Diagonal Shaking Hand Planks – each side

Speed Drill 2

Do each movement below for 30 seconds: hold on as needed, but challenge your balance. Use good form. Go only as fast as you can maintain your form.

  • Squat to toe raise
  • Power Burpee
  • Medicine ball / weight Russian Twists
  • Rocket Girls – Plyometeric Split Lunges

Finish Strong

YOU DID IT!! Now that you have finished the “work” portion, it is time for flexibility training. Spend some time stretching all the muscles you worked – in this workout, it’s full body so give all your major muscles a good stretch. Then grab a good post workout snack. Together these get your muscles ready for tomorrow’s movement and make sure you are ready to meet your goals.

Words of Caution …

Please make sure to follow your body. Do not push through pain. Discomfort/Challenge are different than pain. We want to challenge ourselves we do not want to hurt ourselves. Find the level that is right for you and move at that level. Make sure to choose weight and stances that support your body style – if you have to use the wall to do your push ups do that, if you need a chair or a bench use those. Make sure you are doing what you need to do for your body type and current personal level of fitness.

As always have a fun living in your body today!


Ready for Bed …

Have trouble getting to sleep? Be kind to yourself even if you are worried about it. Part of getting ready to relax is allowing for the discomfort of the unknown. Know you are working on new habits and that effort pays off.

Have you been working to shift your bedtime routine to support your quality of sleep. This is one of the hardest skills my clients struggle with. It is such a fearful time because “what if I don’t get enough tonight?” or “will I even get to sleep?” the thoughts begin to plague us before we hit the pillow.

Your job … is to believe that you can shift old patterns and that you are patient enough to work through the effort it takes to make a change in your life. This is hard work. New behaviors take 20-40 days to get set up. Sleep is one of those that takes a while, and often we’ve conditioned ourselves to worry about it.

Tonight, as you go to bed, have grace with yourself and say “I am going to sleep well. I have been working hard to get back on track and shift my system, step by step. I am doing the work and I sleep well as a result”. If it does not go great, just remind yourself that you are working on it and step by step shifting old patterns. Have compassion for the work you are doing and know that each night you give it effort you help make those changes possible.

Little by little … step by step … Sleep Tight.

Easy Breakfast Salad – Whole and Hearty

If you are like me – you like breakfast. And you like it to be full of protein, fat, and nutrients to start your day off well. Here’s an easy breakfast salad that will fill you up and and get you through your morning with lots of energy.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Share the Knowledge: 
“Maintaining a healthy weight has always been touted as an issue of calories in and calories out. But it’s clear that 100 calories of candy is not the same as 100 calories of vegetables; it’s just not that simple. One of the many ways mindfulness can help our relationship to food is through conscious and empowered decision making”. – Dr Mark Hyman

I eat eggs everyday. I have most of my life. If you are like me, you don’t like to get bored and I’ve lived long enough to need some extra creativity when eating eggs for breakfast daily.

Breakfast Salad!

  • Rip up some kale, enough to fill your plate or bowl.
  • Fry 2 eggs in the fat of your choice – I like real butter or bacon grease. I also like to salt and pepper in the pan – I think it tastes better when they are hot.
  • Drizzle olive oil on your kale. I also like to salt and pepper my kale.
  • Place eggs on top.
  • Done.

*Extras: sometimes I like to add sliced tomatoes or avocados on top of my eggs. If I’m in a hurry I scramble the eggs and lop some salsa on top. You can also add a breakfast meat or sunflower seeds for a little crunch.

If you don’t have kale, use whatever greens you have. Sometimes I add cabbage, because I like it the contrast.

Sleep Better Tonight

 Let’s talk about sleep. According to the CDC one third of the US population struggles to get enough sleep. take medication to get and stay asleep. Our work, technology, and movement needs have changed throughout the years. As a result more of us have trouble falling and staying asleep. A good number of us turn to sleep aids – pharmaceuticals, alcohol, falling asleep with the TV on, doing more and more so we are “really tired”. However, these aids are often short sighted and do not help us access the deep sleep we really need. Read on to review key areas where you can shift your behavior and take control of your sleep cycle again. 

Many people struggle with sleep because they negate its benefits. In our individualistic action oriented culture many people see the value of doing more over taking a break. Thus, they short their sleep in favor of getting one more item graded, one more report done, one more idea mapped out, one more treat made. In the long run this is a recipe for disaster. Your mind keeps racing with ideas as it gets trained to do more and those ideas sometimes become worries. Before we know it we’ve lost precious sleep time to thoughts, fears, and anxieties. 

There are some key strategies you can do to end the cycle of not enough sleep, self medication with caffeine all day, and then being too wired to sleep well. Inevitability starting the cycle all over again. 

Time

Let’s start with the first and one of the most easy places to intervene: Time. Research shows that for the average adult 7-9 hours of shut-eye is best. That being said there are some exceptions – most of us are not those exceptions. Instead, most of us who get less than 7 hours or more than 9 have adapted to habits. Our bodies are amazing adaptions machines.

This does not mean it’s always adapting to optimal – it adapts to survival. As we shorten the time we sleep we impact the Hypothalamus – Pituitary – Adrenal axis. The body’s stress system. This impacts cortisol levels and fluctuates things like weight gain, inflammation rates, joint problems, pain levels, disease states, immunity, ability to concentrate and be productive, our ability to connect and play well with others, and energy balance needs (creating more carbohydrate cravings) to name a few. Today commit to making changes to get at least 7 up to 9 hours of sleep per night. 

Below we will discuss how to do that. As I know some of you are like “WHAAAAT!?!?! How the hell am I supposed to do that?!?!?!”

One of my favorite tools to get and stay asleep, I love this ladie’s voice! Works to get to sleep and when I wake up in the middle of the night and have to get back to sleep. Jen Piercy, Yoga Nidra for Sleep – Powerful Guided meditation to fall asleep fast –

Diet

Next let’s talk about diet. What you eat all day matters. When your nutrition is depleted by poor food choices your body can not make the neurotransmitters and hormones it needs to restore itself to optimal health at night. By eating for your bio-individuality you give your system what it needs. Then during the night your body helps itself recover and prepare for your day ahead. In turn this keeps you from reaching for “crutch” foods to maintain your energy balance – sugar, caffeine, alcohol, quick carbohydrate.

These “crutch” foods can be ones that deplete the system, increase stress and inflammation on the body systems, and actually do not provide you with maintained focus and clarity you are really looking for throughout the day. Instead picking dense nutritious foods provides you with the sustainable energy while also giving your body what it needs to prepare for a good night’s sleep. When you choose foods that give you sustainable energy you are creating a positive cycle that supports your system rather than tearing it down. If you need help knowing where to start. See a dietitian or nutritionist to help you find your bio-individually meal plan. 

Light and Sound

Now let’s talk about light and sound. Our physical bodies were made to respond to fluctuations in light. As the sun rises so does our cortisol helping us wake up. As the moon rises so does our melatonin helping us prepare for sleep. This system is often disrupted by things like electricity, sounds, and screens. Many of us keep our home lights on full force during the evening to help us preform tasks of daily living in today’s society. As we use this technology we have to manage it well. Start lowering your lights, shut off bright ones, close curtains, lower music, TV, other sounds. This allows us to work with the natural systems rather than fight against them leading to that “2nd wind” many of us have experienced. 

In addition, screens are tough on sleep. They emit a blue light that signals cortisol and “wake up” like morning light. Plus the pixels move even when they look steady to our eyes. This keeps our brains awake and paying attention. Start turning screens off about an hour before your bed time, keep them out of your bedroom, and use a blue light filter if you do need to look at them prior to bed. This time frame gives you space to build a solid bedtime routine, which prepares your body and your mind to rest. 

Movement

Finally let’s talk about the body. Our bodies ere made to move. Allowing them this pleasure helps them metabolize stress chemicals, focus the brain, and just plain get tired. This prepares us for sleep. Most of us do well to do harder workouts at least 2 hours before bed time and a simple easy stretching routine 10-15 min right before bed. This helps slow the mind by lowering the breath rate, signaling the heart rate to slow, and the brain to signal time to relax to the rest of our systems. Things like a warm bath, shower, tea, cozy clothing, weighted blankets, relaxing smells, all help us get into the physical system and shift it toward sleep. Plan to spend the hour before bed winding down with these activities helping yourself crawl into bed ready to rest. 

Developing a New Sleep Hygiene Routine

Routines take time to develop. Here are some ways you can build your sleep routine to help you get to sleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed and ready for your day – no matter what’s on your agenda or when the coffee’s coming.  

  1. Complete all strenuous physical activity 2 hours before bed. 
  2. Have a list where you can place all items you are thinking about right now. Shift your focus to getting ready for bed and being done with today. Anything on this list will be addressed tomorrow morning, so you can rest assured knowing you will take care of it. Place the list by your bed to capture any ideas, thoughts, worries that wake you up in the middle of the night, remind yourself you will deal with the list in the morning. 
  3. Begin shutting down lights, closing curtains, decreasing sounds, and light 1 hour before bed
  4. Turn off screens. Shut off the TV in favor of paper reading items, turn off your facebook, instagram, and email. If you must look at screens, turn on your night filter to eliminate blue light. 
  5. Spray your pillow, bed sheets, room etc with a relaxing scent like lavender or chamomile. 
  6. Brew yourself a sleepy time tea, settle in with blankets and soft clothing to enjoy it. 
  7. Take a warm bath, shower, or wash your face, hands, feet with warm water to signal the brain to begin slowing down. It helps if you use essential oil to help your brain really relax. 
  8. 15 min before bed time, do a simple stretching routine. It could be moon salutations from yoga, or easy movements that feel good to your body, stretching all the ones you used today. As you stretch focus on the physical sensations of letting go and resting. Use props, blankets, pillows, your bed, etc. to help your body release any tension and really let go without worry. 
  9. Walk through the house, prepare to end the day – lock doors, straighten papers, shoes, etc so you can rest well. Nothing big here, just gentle reminders that you are done for today and ready to rest. Tomorrow you can finish the dishes or wipe the floor under the wet shoes. Crawl into bed, set your alarm, and turn off any soft lighting still on.
  10. If needed use a guided sleep meditation or soft music to help you adjust and drift off to sleep. These can be helpful if you wake up in the middle of the night, too. 

If you do wake up – do not panic. Just note, I am awake right now. Write any racing thoughts, ideas, worries, on your list, remembering to remind yourself you will deal with this tomorrow and by sleeping now you are better prepared to solve those problems. Use scents, mediations, etc as needed. If you do have to get up – say to pee – keep lights low or off and move slowly. Do not even open your eyes if you do not need to. Again reminding yourself it is time to sleep now.  

In the event you cannot fall back to sleep. Get up and move to another room – keep lights low/off and movements slow. Curl up and get cozy. If you have to read use paper materials and low lighting. Maybe fix a sleep tea to help your system calm. The more you worry about being awake the worse it gets as anxiety sets in and you struggle to rest. Need more ideas here’s another article with 10 ideas for getting and staying asleep.

Self Compassion with Sleep Changes

In the end … Remember it takes time to build a new routine. If you have created habits around not sleeping or getting up throughout the night it takes some time for the body to shift. About 21-30 days. By practicing your new routines without judgment toward yourself you are setting yourself up for success. Many times, just shifting how you view your routine can be helpful. Move away from negative talk and toward what is working. Start by:

  1. Shifting your sleep time by 15 min per week toward your ultimate goal. 
  2. If the list above is overwhelming, take on one change a week
  3. If you wake up – DO NOT panic. Just go with the flow and remind yourself you are working in a positive direction. Be gentle with yourself and your environment. 
  4. If you find too much light (if you can see your hand move in front of your eyes with them closed after lights out) or too much noise, help yourself out and get a sleep mask, ear plugs, and/or a white noise machine. 
  5. Limit all distractions – pets in your bed, kids in your bed, partners. Sometimes a good pillow or separate blankets between ya’ll is enough. 

CDC resources for sleep –https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/resources.html

Saturday’s Weekend Warrior Workout

To plan your workouts think about doing something focused 3-6 times a week and taking 1-3 days of what’s called active rest (clean house, walk the golf course, go for a hike, take the dog for a long walk, do squats throughout the day – link it to every time you go to the bathroom for example.

This movement is important for recovery and allows your body to do something active for fun, wellness, blood flow to the sore spots from your focused workout, etc. This keeps the body oriented toward energy flow and movement.

Making sure to get a weekend workout in is a great way to make sure your active rest days are not consecutive. Consecutive days off can make it harder to return to your focused workouts on Monday.

Make sure to warm up. Spend 5-10minutes doing easy movement, stretching, and allow the muscles you are going to work to “wake up”. Work to include all the big joints and major muscle groups. It’s a great time to get your music right, your shoes tightened or loosened, or make sure you hair is out of your way. By fixing these things now, you are more likely to stay focused on the work.

When you complete the round, give yourself a pat on the back, a fist pump, something that celebrates your accomplishment. This is a big deal for helping habits stick, and helps you be realistic about all the hard work you are doing.

10’s For Strength

Do 10 reps of each exercise below. Make sure you have good form before you make any movement harder. Form before function or you won’t have function (you’ll hurt yourself instead).

Round 1

  • Backward lunges
  • Elbows Wide Push ups
  • Side Lunges
  • Elbow-In Low Row (to make weighted use dumbbell, bands, canned goods, full/semi full milk jug, your kid – be creative & make sure it feels good to lift, some items do not)
  • Forward lunges. (if you have problems keeping your knee over your ankle here, do another set of backward lunges)
  • Elbow-Out High Row (see above for weight)

Round 2

  • Narrow Squats (put a block, small ball, or towel between your inner thighs for this one to help focus on those muscle groups)
  • Supine Overhead Lat Row (lay on your back on the floor or a bench, feet flat on the floor, knees bent, with 1 weighted item in hands. Move that item from chest level over your head and return pulling down toward the stomach area. Do not move lower than the floor/top of the head, and keep the arms straight throughout the movement. If low back lifts shorten the range of the movement. And make sure you do not drop the weight on yourself)
  • Pile Squats
  • Elbows in Push Ups

Round 3

  • Single Leg Squats – 10 to each side
  • Shoulder Lateral Raises
  • Cherry Pickers
  • Bicep Curls
  • Curtsy Squats
  • Tricep Overhead Press

YOU DID IT!! Now that you have finished the “work” portion, it is time for flexibility training. Spend some time stretching all the muscles you worked – in this workout, it’s full body so give all your major muscles a good stretch. Then grab a good post workout snack. Together these get your muscles ready for tomorrow’s movement and make sure you are ready to meet your goals.

Words of Caution …

Please make sure to follow your body. Do not push through pain. Discomfort/Challenge are different than pain. We want to challenge ourselves we do not want to hurt ourselves. Find the level that is right for you and move at that level. Make sure to choose weight and stances that support your body style – if you have to use the wall to do your push ups do that, if you need a chair or a bench use those. Make sure you are doing what you need to do for your body type and current personal level of fitness.

As always have a fun living in your body today!