Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Seeking Wellness in Coffee

Like most people I adore December. I love Christmas, the magic, the memories and the excitement. However, even though I welcome hustle, the parties, the decorating and the traditions, I also find myself falling into stress easily. In my very unscientific poll I've taken over the last four days it's become really clear that so many of us freak out a little bit during the holidays for SO many different reasons. One of my co-workers even told me today that Thanksgiving has a track record of people filing for divorce. That's some seriously bad turkey!

So here we are on only December 1st and I already admitted I need help. (Working in the wellness field has so many advantages and one of them is that we health coaches are super keen to our own needs.) One of the best things that we can do is verbalize our needs and women, we are so much better at this then men. Sorry guys but it's true. So today I shot a good buddy a text about seeking wellness in coffee. She even dropped her house cleaning on her day off work to help so she's obviously a keeper. We spent an hour together sharing. An hour of tearing up, laughing and keeping it real (we sound like SUCH women!!). An hour and then back to the real world of work, family, issues, and laundry.

One hour is all you need with a friend that acts as a sounding board, perhaps offers some sage advice or maybe just a smile to help get those neurotransmitters back on the right path and to aid in the wellness process. One hour with a friend to validate your feelings, thoughts, look at things a new'll be so much better off.
Oh yeah, and maybe a little coffee will help, too. ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Saving the Pits One Swipe at a Time

Hey gals (and guys!) that sweat... what are you putting on your pits? I know you already know this but I'm throwing it out there again. Our armpits share space with our lymph nodes which are small, roundish little clumps of tissue that are part of our lymphatic system. Our immune system works in conjunction with the lymphatic system to stop bacteria, viruses and disease from spreading throughout our bodies. The problem is that we sweaty beasts often don't think about the fact that we are putting toxic substances right at those sites so that we do not offend others around us at the gym. 

For years I have been dabbling with the name brand deodorants as well as the more "natural" brands as well. I have spent oodles of time standing at the store and smelling which one I liked best. Which one would make me smell like a fresh meadow whilst running on the treadmill? Or maybe like rain in the meadow while pushing weights over my head. All this vanity to smell good sweating and never really understanding what I was doing to my internal functions. 

Now that I'm older and wiser and dialed in to my health a bit more, I am on a mission to remove as much junk from my environment as possible. (Working really hard on healing thyroid issues!) My sister in law introduced me to a roll on and I'm here to say it works. Naturally Fresh fights off odor with it's mineral salts. It is hypoallergenic for us sensitive folk, paraben/pg free and fragrance free. It's extremely cost effective and easy to find at many stores. Keep in mind it will not keep you from sweating which is ok- that is our body's way of cooling down and we don't want to plug up our pores with antiperspirant! 

Note that the product definitely keeps those pits from smelling fowl but does take some time to dry before putting on a shirt! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Breaking Free From the Pack. Me, Myself and I

I am a total socialholic. Is that a word? No?! It should be.

I am energized by people, sweat, motivation, and camaraderie. But sometimes it's good to head out by yourself and breathe, think, pray, meditate- whatever it is that your soul needs. Plus one of the benefits of going solo is that you can stop and snap pics and admire all the beauty around you without making someone have to pause their Garmin. :)

And while definitely not a pro at going out by myself fully in zen mode (I listen to fitness/health podcasts- a whole separate blog post to come!), I'm working my way there. Today I'm headed out for a short run and will go without the headphones and spend some possibly uncomfortable miles in my head alone. Decompression, people. We all need it. Namaste.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dry What!? My New Obsession With Needles

I have been on a warpath to get rid of pain in upper left back for the past two and half months. No big deal really- it only hurt to breathe, run, lift, sleep and move. You get my point. Certain I broke a rib, the x-ray showed differently. I had massages. I had an adjustment from my chiropractor and manipulations from a D.O. I took way too much ibuprofen. I took natural anti-inflammatories that cost a fortune. Heat, ice, arnica, I did it all. And then I met the needle man.

On my way in to see a new physical therapist, I really didn't expect much. I knew they would say that I had movement issues. I knew being in a boot for weeks threw me out of whack. I thought they would give me some fascia release exercises and send me on my way. 

Now for the good part- my PT evaluated all of the above and then recommended that we try dry needling. A method used for the management of musculoskeletal pain. Sure, can't hurt (ha ha) so we started. The thin filament needle goes in unnoticeably and stimulates a healing process of of soft tissues (fascia, muscle trigger points, tendons and ligaments) which will lead to pain relief and a healthier physiology overall.

Three or so needles in I was like "I can barely feel it" and then some trigger point spots revealed a whole new freaky leaping source of wow. When I had enough of the achy, crampy feeling, we stopped. The pain was instantly better where the needles had gone and a sneeze shortly thereafter proved it. I didn't wince or tear up like I had for months. I went on with my day and could feel pain in the spots that hadn't been touched. I couldn't wait to go back for more and finish it off. The following week I went in for round 2 and now I'm a junkie. Hooked. A believer! 

Many people have asked what the difference between dry needling and acupuncture is. My PT explains it as acupuncture is designed to work with meridians in the body based off of Chinese medicine whereas in dry needling a similar method is used to aid the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Singing it's praises, I couldn't be more thankful to have relief! I would love to hear how this has helped other athletes overcome both injury and plain old chronic pain. If you have tried it, please share! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

On the Road Again

This weekend marked my break up with my hairline fracture.  This relationship with injury is OVER. And to celebrate this kicking the boot to the curb, I laced up and hit the road.

Now I'm kind of a maniac about many things I do so this was important that I truly do it right. The smart way to make a comeback is slowly. I say this mostly for myself because I give great, sound advice but I don't always follow that protocol. When we runners come back after taking time off, we have to do a solid warm up and then a run/walk combo. If you have a device that you can set to let you know when it's time to walk, it makes things a lot easier. Otherwise, ten minutes will fly by and you'll be thinking "I feel so good, I can keep going". And that mentality is seriously a trap! Make a simple plan, set your length of time and enjoy easing back in. (Should I say that again??) Repeat this method for the first 3-4 runs before adding time and speed back in.

If you are a garmin/running toy kind of person like me, you need to only use it to measure your length of time or set distance. DO NOT focus on the total time it takes to reach that set distance. Speed will come back in with patience and smart thinking. Promise! 

Stay positive, my wounded warrior running friends and I'll see you out there.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Those Aren't Chia Seeds

Last month I read a post from one of my faves, the Food Babe.  (If you don't know her yet, you should!) I thought it was pretty creepy and then moved on with my day. Now you need to know that I am a huge clean mouth lunatic. I floss numerous times a day and even use a little scraper to fend off any yucky thing in the mouth. I pride myself on that constant 'just came from the dentist look and feel'. Last week at the dentist my hygienist asked me what kind of toothpaste I used. This, I told her.

And then she showed me what she found way up in my gum. It looked just like this. They are most likely chia seeds, I told her. She reassured me it was blue and plastic bead. And if you read closely you'll see that these beads are made from the same substance as plastic bags. How toxic that these are lodged for who knows how long in our mouths. Better yet, I.HAD.NO.CLUE.

Do some research people and you'll see that these beads actually don't have any benefit. Another product that you think is giving you more bang with it's special features but can actually be quite harmful. These microscrubbers are going promptly into the garbage. Learning something new everyday, I am!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Down But Not Out- How To Maintain Your Fitness And Health When The Going Gets Tough

I am thrilled for my husband. Really, thrilled. He has been a volunteer firefighter for the past five years and just got hired on as a career firefighter. Leaving the corporate world, he gave his suits to goodwill and cleared out his closet with a happy heart. And then he went to fire academy.

Fire academy for those that don't know is like Marine Boot Camp for THREE MONTHS. That means for three months I am the parent in charge to our three children, owner of a home training studio, part time group exercise director at a large health club, chauffeur, cook, accountant, maid, blah blah blah. You know, all those things moms do (seriously, single moms, I am forever praising you) but while working and did I mention injured?

This post truly isn't an open invite to the pity party. I am here to say that things can be R O U G H but we still have to focus in on health. We must! I'm just trying to convey that the chips are down and the stress is high but it's going to be okay. If I were to just throw in the towel here, my cortisol levels would skyrocket, I'd gain a bajillion pounds and I'd never sleep a wink.'s the game plan.

This was a one of my kids
b-day before we went out
for dinner.
I got a quick set in
cause you know
there would be cake!

Whether it's time, injury, space... you need to throw the excuse out the window because you can do this! There is ample research these days as to just how much time is needed for a beneficial workout. The good news is that with so many Hiit classes (High Intensity Interval Training), you can get a full body workout done in as little as 20 minutes. And this is coming from someone who willingly runs and bikes for hours on end! :) Research also indicates that it's truly the intensity of the workout, not the duration. Everyone can set aside that or incorporate it into their favorite TV show, while helping with homework (don't laugh, I've done it), or even the dreaded set the alarm a smidge earlier. So the time excuse is out.

Foam rolling helps injuries heal
but also helps ward them
 off from happening!
What about injury, you ask? Chances are if your top is broken, the bottom works and vice versa. In my dumb boot, I have gained some great upper body strength. Maybe it's a core focus or flexibility gains with yoga. Whatever is not in optimal health on the body just lends to the opportunity to focus elsewhere. And lastly the space. I am blessed to have a home gym but I've also lived in houses that have nada as far as space. That's the time the coffee table gets pushed out of the way and you welcome burpees, squats, push ups, planks, high knees...the list could go on and on.

I'm so excited to one day have my honey back and be able to run and see fabulous sights but in the meantime, I am going to stay Positive, with a capital P because I mean it. I am going to eat nourishing food, hang out with uplifting people, sleep as much as I can, work when & what I'm able to and wish the same for all out Titanics out there. I may be down but surely not out.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Four Letter Word

Time. We are all short on it and wishing we had more. As a trainer and health coach, it's the number one obstacle for healthy meal prep and for exercising that I hear. Unless that's an excuse for "I don't want to do it", there are simple tricks for the lack of time that will become habit in a few short days.

*30 minutes. Set your clock one half hour earlier to get in a work out 3-4x per week. By the end of the week, your natural rhythms will be used to it and it will sink in. Even if it's just walking, get yourself up and go. Your body and brain will thank you at the end of the day.

*Thoughtful prep. Most of our schedules are just plain nuts, right? We bring on way too much and then sacrifice our health for it. Carving out planning and prep time is key to success. Being organized and following a plan sets us up for success. So... #1 pick a time over the weekend to write out the list of meals for the week. Get on Pinterest for ideas- it may give you great inspiration! # 2 Next step is the shopping. Read the labels and choose wisely. #3 Last step is washing, chopping and storing all the veggies and produce that will help you make those good choices when your brain is soup and your blood sugar is crashing. Steer clear of the scary pantry- there is minimal nutrient value in there!

*Write it down. How many times have you heard that? It works guys, tried and true. Put the workout times and planning/shopping/prep on your calendar. Schedule it. Stick to it. You can do this. You can do this for your health.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Do you know what that is? I have it, I have FOMO...Fear of Missing Out. I have always struggled with this. I remembered days in high school feeling like the world was going to end if I wasn't out with friends on a weekend night. In college, it continued. As a big ole grown up living in a tech world, it strikes me even harder and understandably so.

Along with the FOMO, I struggle with GSS- Gold Star Syndrome. (Ok, I made that one up)! GSS is the constant need for that star, the approval from others that what I do is validated, good and important. I know I'm not alone in this so I wanted to put it out there. The combo of FOMO/GSS is exacerbated greatly by our access to social media. The spiral spins out of control quickly for us seekers to constantly check in on our Instagram accounts, Facebook and whatever else we use.

A few nights ago while on a run I was listening to a podcast (because if I'm not multi tasking, I'm wasting time, right?) Two things struck me through this podcast. I am a teacher of health but I am not the best student. Head down plowing ahead, I had gone for five miles without once looking up at the beauty that surrounds me. I live in a forest of green, tall giants and my eyes have been fixated on the ground. Aha! Secondly, this GSS really only exists in my mind. My kids and husband love me not for what I accomplish each and every day, but unconditionally. So why can't I love myself that way? And for the FOMO, well that is just something that I need to work through. I had big plans for this weekend and instead ended up with the stomach flu and on my back in bed. I missed celebrating a friend's birthday, teaching my TRX class, running errands, getting the house clean and organized and filling up my Polar Loop so I could get an "active day". But I lived. It's going to be okay.

So here is what I have come up with. I need parameters of social media self control. Facebook and Instagram will get my attention at set times of the day. Email will be checked and replied to in the same fashion. I'm going to focus on lifting up my gaze and taking in my surroundings. I will practice being happy with life the way it is. So starting now, I'm signing off and getting to self care. Peace.