If hope were a season, it would be Spring. Flowers are budding, bees are buzzing, trees are leafing and birds are building nests. Life picks up its paintbrush and makes a splash across Nature’s canvas. Its message:
“No matter where you are today,
Something new is on its way.”
While Spring gives evidence in the world around us, life flows just as hopefully within us. We usually relate to our physical world as solid and fixed. But it is not — it is alive, active and changing at every level, seen and unseen. Science now demonstrates that everything is energy, particles dancing with each other all the time. And I have learned this lesson in my bones.
One afternoon three years ago, in the fullness of Spring, I went out to buy groceries, stepped up onto a sidewalk and fell. I did not take another step for four months. Unable to stand, as I waited on the curb for the ambulance, I kept my mind focused on the desirable outcome. But I knew the truth. Even in those first five minutes, something in me responded, “Okay. If this is what’s next, let’s go.”
With only two more weeks left in our Better Body, More Energy challenge, I hope a lot of exciting things have started happening for you! Maybe you’re experiencing abundant energy (or at least more energy), a new outlook on health, or a brand new consciousness about your body. Maybe your day starts with a glass of water instead of caffeinated soda, and even if that is the change you take away from all of this, then I am happy you have made that progress!
By the time Week 8 rolls around, many of my clients already feel a sense of achievement. At this point my hope is that I have guided you to more mindfulness — whether it is just moving your body, replenishing water and nutrition or giving yourself permission to breathe and recover when you need it. What an act of love and respect to actually set aside time and put effort into healing, nurturing and creating the best you!
You’ve likely heard that interval training is effective for your body in many ways. The increases and decreases in heart rate make the body work harder and burn more calories per minute, and the increased energy output requires more fuel, which revs up your metabolism. In this phase you will also work on your explosive muscle strength, which the body needs but doesn’t get much of during steady-state exercises such as swimming, walking and regular strength training.
Hope, expectation, anticipation, the desire for a certain outcome. Hope is what moves us forward, motivates us and keeps our faith strong during the hard times. Hope is essential for our existence; yet there are times — when the world seems to be in a state of chaos — when it is easy to wonder where hope is.
In thinking about hope and how to find it in our world, I realized that for me, hope comes from my yoga practice and my kids, as both remind me on a constant basis that hope dwells within us, not outside of ourselves, and that in order to tap into that wellspring of hope, it is essential to find the peace within to let hope blossom.
When I demand that my clients incorporate rest into their intense workout schedule, I’m always met by googly eyes and a surprised “You want me to do nothing?!” But it’s a matter of fact that no workout plan works to its fullest potential if you don’t rest properly.
As with everything else in life, there are huge benefits to finding the right balance between active exercise and recovery. During the rest and recovery time (which of course includes enough hours of sleep every night), cells heal, your body re-boots and energy stores replenish. That’s why it is extremely important to let the body heal for one or even two days per week so you can reap the benefits of all your hard work. And if you are on a plan that has you working out almost every day of the week, that’s never going to happen!
Summer is coming and this week I would like to invite you to put your focus on water. Whether that water is on the inside or outside of your body — it’s going to do you tons of good.
It’s time to hit the weights!
A few days ago, a dear friend of mine called me up with a worried voice. She told me that since she started weight training with her trainer six weeks ago, she was actually feeling bigger and had experienced no significant weight loss. “Am I doing the right thing?” she asked. “Why is this not working?”
That experience of a period of bloating and weight gain is something I hear from many women I train with, but it’s only temporary!
Love is one of the most powerful forces on Earth. Unfortunately, I find that women who are most critical of their bodies are missing a degree of self-love. Do you find yourself looking in the mirror and having negative thoughts about certain parts of your body? Do you find yourself saying things like, “If only my thighs were slimmer,” or “I wish my butt wasn’t so flat”?
When I teach my fitness classes, I often invite my students to do some of the exercises with their eyes closed in order to really feel the movement. On a neuromuscular level, training the body while creating positive thoughts and making that positive connection is scientifically proven to be one of the most powerful ways to create and reinforce a positive body image. And, on a non-scientific level, it just feels good!
Okay, so Emily Welsh, a Master Instructor for The FIRM, was actually far from “healthless” in her 20s. But one look at her answers to health and fitness questions will tell you Emily — now in her 30s — is now in an even healthier, happier place.
A while back, I had a client who was struggling with his weight. Unfortunately, he felt about as excited about exercising as he did about doing laundry. We dug into his athletic past and found that he had been discouraged by his physical abilities, which had turned into a near fear of moving his body.
We both knew that he would have to exercise to achieve his weight-loss goals, so I encouraged him to think about what physical activities he had enjoyed as a child, before the fears started building. After all, all children like to play.