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Calm the Crazy

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Are you a walker? I’m not in the least. It’s not like I don’t walk, but I just don’t love it, or even like it as a form of exercise.

I am willing to park far away or walk to stores and events, but I have never been an exercise walker. Walking with girlfriends is fun because we get to chat and I enjoy the scenery of a hike, but walking (or even hiking) for the sake of exercise kills me. My mind races escape me from the dread moments on a walk. I always think, “If I just ran it would be faster and I would be done sooner”; therefore, I have always taken to running more than walking (which has its own kind of crazy).

Early this year I had some injuries and health issues that prevented me from running, so I had to begin walking to keep from going crazy and keep up some form of cardio. As soon as I could run again, though, I started it up and left walking in the dust…until now.

Just recently, I came down with a cold and realized I couldn’t exercise hard or I would make it worse rather than better…. So, I started walking again. Feeling sorry for myself, I begrudgingly walked the last several days.

This morning, I was just getting started at work and I realized how calm I felt. I thought it was odd because being sick makes me anxious since I can’t move more. Then I relished in the thoughts of calm and thought about why I had so much peace, and it struck me: Walking is calming

Walking calmed my crazy!

Mental health benefits of walking for a highly stressed mind and body can be significantly more powerful than a high intensity workout or run because exercise is a form of stress on the body. Generally, that form of stress reaps positive rewards for the body. However, when there is an already taxed system from illness or a prolonged stressful life situation, a higher stress workout like running or HIIT can be detrimental to healing.

After recognizing the change in my mental state, I walked with enthusiasm for the peace it would bring. Now to share with you from a hard-headed runner and all-out, balls-to-the-wall exerciser, I am writing this blog about why you should walk (even if you’re a runner)!  

Here are 5 of my favorite psychological and physiological benefits of walking:

1- Walking is calming to the nervous system, reducing stress and increasing brain activity.

2- Walking at a moderate pace for 45-60 minutes 4 times a week will increase your cardio capacity, decrease your resting heart rate and blood pressure, and help maintain a healthy weight.

3- Walking can include a social element during a walk n’ talk, which provides a mental health benefits of bonding and reducing stress while feeling socially connected and supported.

4- Walking improved balance and coordination (although that second is still an issue for me). Think about it, walking is the act of falling forward and catching yourself again.

5- Walking increases bone density without supplying too much pressure to the joints. Basically, most of us will be able to walk much longer than we will be able to run. Even if you’re a runner, add a day of walking to prolong your running years.

My epiphany of walking versus my running comes at an fortunate time to release this blog. We recently launched our community walking groups! They are free and open to the public. We meeting Mondays at 8AM & 5PM. Please look at our website for details. There’s no need to sign up, so show up and join the fun!

Happy Walking Trails to You!

Additional Blogs about benefits of walking (and running)
1- 5 ways walking is better than running  
2- The physical and psychological benefits of walking  
3- Go for a walk  
4- Walking can lift your mood

 

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How do they do that?!

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Have you ever been watching someone accomplish something and you say or think, “How do they do that? There’s no way I could do that!”

I know I have!

When I am in those moments I begin to contemplate the number of hours it probably took to complete that task well. It is said that 10,000 hours of something is the expert mark. That is a HUGE commitment to something. That is 416 and 2/3 days of work or 1250 days of 8 hours every day- so for 3 and a half years straight, including weekends and holidays, you would practice 8 hours a day.

Like I said, HUGE commitment!

If you are an expert at anything or even really close to an expert at something, do you remember what it was like when you first tried that skill? Was it awkward and uncomfortable? Or did you feel like an expert out the gate?

My guess is that you were awkward and looked a little ridiculous trying. Yes? No?

For those who don’t know, I was a high-level bassoonist in a past life. I had a full scholarship to go to a music conservatory (of my choice) and chose to enlist as a Marine musician instead.

When I started playing an instrument in fourth grade, I was THE WORST clarinet player. Not just because I was in fourth grade, I was bad for a fourth grader. Something just didn’t click for me, and I don’t come from a long line of musicians (we are few and far between in my very large family).

I stuck out elementary school band and decided to play again in sixth grade when I moved up to junior high. I remember the first day of sixth grade band like it was yesterday. Mr. Hicksaw stood up in front of the students sitting at the cafeteria tables (because that was our band room), and told us about all the instruments we needed to fill out our more mature junior high band.

I took one look at the oboe (yes oboe), and thought “I can play that. It looks like a clarinet.” (Remember I could barely play the clarinet, but I was always up for a new adventure).

After he introduced the instruments, I went up and asked to play the oboe. Mr. Hicksaw only had one oboe and my more petite friend, Amy, wanted to play it too. Well, I was born 5’7” so he decided which of us would play which instrument based on my ability to carry the bassoon.

He said, “Amy, you can play the oboe. And L.J., you can play the big brother, the bassoon.” I said OK and he proceeded to show me how to put it together and teach me what the pieces were called.

In true L.J. fashion, I went home that night and told my mom I was playing a new instrument. When she asked what it was, I replied, “The bah? The bah-something, and it’s really big.”

The next day I went to class and couldn’t remember how to put it together.

I tell you that ridiculous story because I went from that in sixth grade to a paid musician by ninth grade and pretty much a pick of music conservatories (not Juliard, but still pretty good) by time I was in my senior year. The tremendous growth was based in opportunity, and that opportunity yielded more practice which helped me become an expert.

Had I given up on the bassoon when I didn’t remember how to put it together or didn’t show up for my first audition because I didn’t know how to play the audition piece (true story), I would have never had the opportunity to become an expert.

My bassoon expertise didn’t come over night. It took seven years, and when I “arrived” at that level, I needed to practice more to keep up with those around me and to continue to grow to another level.  My expertise brought me to an audition for the Marine Band and making the best decision of my life.

That decision is still a part of my life every day because that decision introduced me to my ex-husband, and we had an amazing son together. The Marine Corps taught me so much over the 19 years I experienced with the Marine Corps as a Marine, a spouse, and a civilian employee.

If it hadn’t been for being an expert bassoonist, the Marine Corps may have never found me, and my life would be incomplete.

I encourage you to try that thing when your brain says, “There’s no way I could do that!”, to try anyway. Maybe you’re right, you can’t do it. And honestly, you probably are right to start with, so just expect that. And maybe you don’t ever want to try again. But more likely, you can’t do it but you’re willing to try again until you find if you truly enjoy it.

In the studio, we have people tell us all the time “I don’t (fill in the blank).” What they are really saying is “I’m afraid to try (fill in the blank) because I may:

·         Look silly

·         Be bad at it

·         Not enjoy it

·         Find that it’s hard

·         Leave my comfort zone

Trust me, we ALL look silly from time to time. You should have seen me when I started yoga or golf…come to think of it, you can still see it when I play golf.

Trying something new will do more good than it can hurt your ego. Trying something new increases brain activity and introduces new neuropathways which makes you younger. Trying new things provides perspective and gives you an opportunity to focus in a way you never have before. If nothing else, trying something new gives you a good story to tell your friends over wine.

What is something you have been impressed with that you thought you could “never” do?

Go do that! Everyone starts somewhere….

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Long, hard look

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You may or may not know of my current situation, but I am almost a year into my marital separation. It's amicable, but that doesn't make things easy. We just went to court for the final hearing, and now we wait for the decree in the mail.

I sit here baffled that our almost 15 year relationship is ending. Throughout this divorce journey, I have had to face more of my demons than ever before. Facing those demons isn’t easy, but it has always been worth it.

After the hearing, my ex and I went to eat and discussed the ups and downs of the marriage, sharing some more pain from the past and hope for the future. We both had moments of emotion, but mostly there was an air of uncertainty as we awkwardly navigated our budding new normal.

It was extremely difficult to sit across the table from him as he shared his new life. A life without me. A life where my opinion doesn’t count, or at least doesn’t have to count. A life where I let go and let him be him in a way I was never capable during our marriage.

We were 22 and 23 when we married and we were still those ages when we had Kiddo who is now fourteen. We barely knew ourselves and knew each other even less.

Life without each other is a brief moment compared to life with each other. I have more years of memory in a family with my ex than I have years of conscious memories in my family life growing up. Whether we were best for each other or not, that’s a lot of time to spend with someone.

As I drove to pick up my son to spend the night with me, I thought about the conversations between my ex and me over the last year. I thought about the times in my marriage I dug in deep to be everything to everyone and the times I skated. I am and always have been imperfect and have always struggled with my imperfection.

Fortunately, during this twenty-five minute ride, I experienced a new tape being played in my head. Not one of accepting imperfection, rather one of “I gave it my all, damn it!”

The pain I had experienced as my ex told me of the things he was now doing which I begged him to do for years, began to turn to strength. I suddenly felt empowered. I began saying aloud, “I was worth it. I AM worth it.” 

I know it sounds unlikely, but the change felt instant. Suddenly I felt an emotional healing that physically lifted my posture, strengthen my spirit, and softened my heart. In the blink of an eye driving north on the 163, my usual self-talk tapes of defeat, failure and guilt turned to strength, power, and love...for me.

I didn’t know what to do with the feelings or how to process the information that changed so suddenly, so I decided to drive to work to do a couple of things to gather my thoughts. As the thoughts gathered, I realized the only way for me to solidify this tape change was to share this with my ex.

I drove to pick up my son, and when I arrived, I asked him to go to the car so I could talk to Dad. When my son was out of ear shot, I told my ex that I had to share something important for my own sense of closure. I said, “I hurt because you wouldn’t do the things I was asking for and now that I am gone, you are. I am happy for you, but I hurt because I am worth it. I am worth the work and I always was. I am worth it, and I need you to know that. Its not all your fault. I didn’t know I was worth it, so I didn’t ask for it. But I am and was worth it.”

He apologized, I cried, we hugged, and I left. No grandeur.

When I got in the car to take my son and his friend home, we chatted and laughed a bit. Nothing like two teenage boys to provide some comic relief from the heaviness of the day. I am and will forever be grateful my ex and I had that moment together, and I am grateful it was brief. 

Since we have been back home, I have been trying to write this blog. I want to write it because it is a hugely defining moment in my life that I believe needs to be shared, but I also want to be careful not to vilify my ex or expose the intimacies of our situation.

Since writing this blog (and I have been doing it for at least two hours), I realized something more important than finally believing I am worth it…In case that wasn’t enough…

I realized that I have waited my whole life for someone to show me I am worth it, but I have never tried to treat myself with that same respect. I have constantly measured my worth and value by the yard stick others use for my life. That's not how I want to live any longer. 

This divorce has taught me so much about me. The more I am willing to take long hard looks in the mirror, the more I can confront. The more I confront, the more beauty and depth I see in the woman before me. I’m elated and terrified that this is just the beginning…

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I believe...

I’ve been working a lot on creating clear succinct marketing messages at Infinitely Fit as we get ready to roll into the new year.  My best thinking happens when I listen to music or podcasts and I am nowhere near my desk….Just like what happened this morning. I was sitting in a coffee shop with a paper and pen, no computer and my phone on “do not disturb”. My ADHD behaviors run strong, so I need to find a way to remain focused. 

This morning, I sat with my music playing in my ears and jotting down all thoughts that came to my head. I had some specifics I was trying to get out, but free writing is the best way to start making sense of the chaos in my brain. As my free writing continued, I got so excited! I literally jumped out of my seat, grabbed my stuff and quickly exited the coffee shop. There were a few funny looks as I did it, but who cares?! 

I am so excited to share with you what I came up with because it is the heart of Infinitely Fit, it is my heart. It is not succinct and it is not a nice neat little marketing slogan, tagline or USP, but it is the truth and the life blood of Infinitely Fit. 

I believe whole-heartedly in shifting the cultural norms surround health and wellness, and most importantly body image from the inside out of everyone in America. 

I believe we are all hiding ourselves under many layers of what we think we “should be” rather than walking in the glory of who we uniquely are. 

I believe in future generations filled with a sense of worth that isn’t tied to actions, aesthetics or talent, rather it’s tied to an intrinsic value that allows withstand the worst of bullying and hatred regardless of deed.

I believe our world will be a place of love and acceptance for everyone once we all practice self-acceptance. 

I believe the path to self-worth is paved by self-acceptance.

I believe we don’t just deserve to but we are obligated to treat ourselves better than we ever have so we can then treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve. 

I believe the only way for our world to begin thriving is by taking responsibility and ownership of who we are and our actions. 

I believe if we keep hiding under the layers of who we believe we should be, we will never unlock the power within us. And the world needs each of us to fulfill our unique purpose with power. 

This is what burns inside me every day! Helping people helps me grow, the more I grow, the more I want to help. I am not perfect and I don’t have all the answers, but I know this much, we have gone too long hiding under the layers. Shying back from whom we were created to be and fulfilling our purposes.

Infinitely Fit was created as a solution for a healthy lifestyle, and that has held true since 2012- how we go about a healthy lifestyle continues to evolve as we learn about life…not about science. The science is of course a part of what we do and we learn from it, but there are many abstracts science cannot capture that we feel and live every day at Infinitely Fit.  

If you believe in what we stand for, join us in any capacity that makes sense. Follow us and share our content on social media, email us or call us with your thoughts and ideas of how we can help, join us for special events, join our community by taking classes with us, volunteer with us when we are out in the San Diego community. 

It’s time for change, folks! Do you accept who you are? 

 

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'Tis the Season

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It’s always a season.

Every moment of our lives is part of one season or another. Some seasons are longer than others and some seem indefinite, but we can always count on the fact that whatever season we are in will eventually change. And every aspect of our lives has seasons: we have seasons with our kids depending on their ages and stages, we have seasons with our friends where people come and go, we have seasons where we are flourishing and most things fall into place, and we have seasons that bring us to our knees because everything seems hard.

It’s difficult to remember that all seasons are and always will be temporary; nothing lasts forever. We get stuck on the idea of the good seasons, wanting them to never end because we feel entitled to the good season- that’s where life should stay. We think when things are good, we’re good, we’re OK. Which in turn means, if things are bad then we’re bad; then why would we want to let go of the good seasons? As I am certain we all know the truth on some level:

All seasons come with good AND bad, and we perform well AND horribly in all those seasons.

We live in dichotomy but there is something about the human brain that wants to choose one or the other. The brain is unsettled dealing with both sides of life simultaneously.

The dichotomy we live means we’re always performing well and poorly in different aspects of our lives in a single season. Sometimes there’s more good than bad, and sometimes it’s the opposite. Regardless, both good moments and bad moments are present in every season of life regardless of how one sided it seems.

The question then is how to we learn to live in this dichotomy?

For what it’s worth, here’s my advice from my time contemplating this truth.

Acceptance: Accept that there is always good and bad in all seasons and situations. We live in dichotomy and that is OK!

Awareness: Be aware of the soundtrack of our own minds when things seem one sided. Pay attention to our tendency to overplay the stronger feeling so frequently that we seem to be holding on tight to the season. This does happen in both good and bad. During the good we don’t want to let go of good, during the bad, we don’t trust things to get better. The longer we’ve been in a season, the truer this rings.

Gratitude: Be grateful for the good things happening even if they seem few and far between. Also, spend time being thankful for the hard times because you will grow more from those bad moments and hard times than the good moments. Ironically it’s harder to be grateful for the bad things during good times than during the bad times. However, it will do more for a balanced perspective in the good times so we don’t get too married to those good times.

Be present: Be present and allow yourself to experience the good moments and the bad moments fully! And during some seasons that all happens within seconds. Laugh until you cry or scream until you smile, but experience every feeling, every emotion. The more of life that is experienced in the present moment, the more quickly you learn and move through the season.

Set limits: When things get hard or bad, it can feel like the season is indefinite and may, in fact, never end. If you feel this way, it’s time to set a limit. Make a pact with yourself by saying “I am going to give myself a month to fumble through this season. After a month it’s over or I am reassessing.” In a month, if it is not over, reassess where you are compared to where you started and set another limit. Our brains handle finite periods of distress better than indefinite periods. And the limit can be an hour or a day if a month is too long. Just choose what you need to get through that time.

Remember: Like our four seasons (or a kidney stone), this too shall pass….

Relish is the good moments so you don’t lose sight of all you have to be grateful for, and accept the bad moments as life’s classroom.

Enjoy this crazy ride we call life, people. We just never know which season will be our last! 

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The #1 Reason You’re Unsuccessful & How to Change It

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The #1 Reason You’re Unsuccessful & How to Change It

Success comes in all forms. Only an individual can define success for him or herself, but somewhere along the way, our American culture decided to streamline what success is for all of us. What were we all told when we were young? “Get good grades so you can go to college, so you can get a good job, find a good spouse, buy a nice house and car, have 2.5 kids, own a dog, and be happy.”

Although we may have been the few blessed with good parents who saw the world a little more well rounded, the truth is that the rest of the world’s message held more weight. I never knew I had an option to do anything but go to college after high school until I was recruited by the Marine Corps for my music skills. Wait! What? I can be a US Marine AND play music! WHAT?! I’m sure my mom told me that I had other options of what I could do after high school, but they never felt like options because the information never even stuck in my brain…PEOPLE! The only reason I became a US Marine was my mother convincing me that I could do all the things she knew I wanted to do and didn’t have to go to school right away.

I had turmoil in my decision making process, but not for long. I am a “balls to wall” decision making person at my core, so I don’t sit on decisions too long. (Obviously, I was destined for the Corps.)

My point remains the same. How do we define success? Well “we” collectively cannot determine success for any one person. We have a unique journey to fulfill and there are no duplicates in the world.

So why have we bought into this one picture of how life is supposed to work? Of how success should be measured?

The reason you’re unsuccessful in life pursuits is most likely because you’re trying to pursue some fake life of success.

Who said you have to go to college to be successful? I don’t think anyone is doubting the success of people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Sophia Amoruso, David Neeleman, Paul Allen, and Larry Ellison.

Who said you had to get married to be successful? There are many unsuccessful married and unmarried folk.

Who said the big house with the white picket fence is what makes you happy? I have an uncle who can buy a dream home in any city in the country and he chooses to rent a small 3-bedroom house because he wants to move when he’s ready to move, and he has no need for extra space to fill with extra stuff. He’s a guy who loves experiences, not things.

Who said….OK. I think you get my point, and if not….The #1 reason you are unsuccessful is because you are allowing society to define success. Only you can define your own success.

You will never be successful trying to live someone else’s version of success.

And to that point: How many people consciously want that life for you? If you ask most of your friends and family, they will probably say, I just want you to be happy. Well good news! It’s easy to please them! Just choose to be happy, and if you find that difficult, it’s probably because you’re attempting to live someone else’s life.

So today, instead of trying to choose happiness in a life that isn’t meant for you, choose you. Choose what you want out of life. Maybe that means you choose to go back to school so you can eventually leave a job only your parents wanted for you. Or maybe you choose to leave school to experience the world the way you always wanted to experience it.

If you don’t know who you are at your core, you’re not going to be able to choose wisely. And all of the personality assessments in the world won’t be able to decide for you. They couldn’t possibly supply enough questions to determine the infinite possibilities of who you could be.

The good news? You can work to know yourself better and define your own version of success. Success that only you can define. In order to get to know yourself, you have to be purposeful and intentional about understanding your ins and outs. And here are a couple of activities that can help you with that.

Question it. Even if you think you know how you define success, there may be more you haven’t figured out. So spend a little time asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you know what makes you happy?
  • And what makes you sad?
  • Do you have a fire that feels like an inferno every time you hear of or see a particular situation?
  •  When do you feel energized, like you’re on top of the world?
  • When do you feel completely drained?
  • Do you know any things at which you seem especially gifted? You’re a natural _________
  • Can you describe yourself in 4 words?

Another great way to know how you would define success is to write your own eulogy. I did this exercise once with my business coach, and L-O-V-E-D it! You know why? Because my life isn’t over yet! I can make all of those things real – until the day I die, I have that chance.

What is it you want people to say about you when you’re gone? If you can write that down, you’re on your way to redefining your own success and setting your path on the right trajectory. Don’t be hard on yourself, nothing is written in stone…yet. Until the day we're buried 6 feet under, we still have a chance to make our dreams a reality.

And let’s be honest. I’m sitting here writing this as a 36-year-old woman, a mother of a 13-year-old, running a business, and on the verge of some big changes in my life – I expect my eulogy and my definition of success to change and grow as I change and grow. Don’t be so married to this picture of success that you aren’t allowed to change your mind. You always have that right, so be kind and forgiving to yourself.

If this is something you're interested in discovering more about, but you're not sure how to proceed, you may consider signing up for a complimentary 30 minute health and wellness coaching consultation. Our coach will help you pin point some of the areas that you may be holding yourself back from being your authentic self. We'd love to walk with you on your journey, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Visit our homepage, fill out the form, and our health coach will contact you to set an appointment time. 

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"I'm proud of you"

I'm proud of you. I don't know about you, but those four little words strung together can make an impact like few others in my life. 

Just today I received a phone call from my big sis. She really amazes me sometimes with her perspective of me and my journey to my business. (She also has a sixth sense and always knows things before I tell her, but that's a different topic all together.) When she called me kind of out of the blue, it was just to catch up. She went on to tell me that she was just talking about me and how she believes a friend of hers can be successful in her similar business because I am successful in mine.

It stopped me in my tracks filled with humility and uncertainty. Rather than being appreciative of the comment, I was almost argumentative with my sister saying that it sounds like this person is even more successful than me.

You're probably reading this thinking: But you ARE successful. You're in business, your doors are open and things are growing; how many people have that?

The truth is she's right and you're right! I have success in my business and my life. I see it when I pay attention, but day-to-day it's easy to forget the journey at which I've already succeeded and the little steps along the way. 

In early years on this journey the thought that someone else was more successful would have gotten stuck in my head. I would have decided that since they are more successful, I am a failure (now that's a blog for another day). I would have allowed it to eat me alive, defeating my future attempts at the next milestone of success on my journey ahead. 

This time was different. I heard the words my sister said, almost immediately tuning them out. I felt and heard the loud and negative bitch in my head telling me I am not successful- I've failed. But then I heard my sisters words again. She was trying to tell me that she was proud of me, and a couple sentences later, that's exactly what she said. Had I allowed the loud negative thoughts to plague me, I never would have heard the most important words my sister had for me today. 

She would have said those positive words, but I never would have received them as the gift she intended. If I hadn't opened my mind to receive those words, when things get harder during this journey (and they will), I wouldn't have that gift to lean on. 

I'm eternally grateful to my sister for her words of encouragement, and not just for the content of her being proud of me, or for the future memory of that moment. I'm also grateful that her moment of kindness unlocked awareness of strength inside me and gratitude for my journey, completed and incomplete.

The healing and growth I have had over the last few years is not only palatable, but it is being put into action even without conscious effort. If this sounds a little like a self-kudos moment-- IT IS! I'm proud of me for numerous reasons right now! 

Thanks to my big sis for always being my cheerleader and supporter, and for helping me see an accurate reflection of my journey in this moment.  

I hope this encourages you to keep working towards a healthy mindset and emotional health. You are worthy of believing in yourself. Until you believe that about yourself, I'm here to remind you!

I'm proud of you for every bit of effort you have put into you, for making every hard decision that allowed you to step into a better version of yourself, and for just showing up, reading a blog, getting out of bed, or saying a prayer when it was hard to even exist. You're valuable to this world just because you are you!

Please feel free to comment below, share with friends and family or email me personally. lj@infinitely-fit.com. 

LJ Eastmead

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8 Ways to Get More Movement Without Exercising

With the health and fitness industry blowing up, there are small boutique fitness facilities popping up everywhere. In San Diego County, you can find small group fitness training (like us), boxing gyms, MMA training facilities, any form of martial arts you’d like, surfing groups, cycling groups, hiking teams, kayaking lessons, dance lessons of all kinds (even pole dancing), and anything else you can think of that is fitness related. You can also find all of them on Groupon or Living Social for a killer deal. Honestly, you can jump from place to place every month paying a fraction of the cost for high level fitness using those sites. But sometimes, even the Groupon rates are too much or you just want ways to get your exercise in on your own schedule or in your own space.

Often times, when we’re ready to start or improve our fitness routines, we tend to think about getting our daily exercise through traditional platforms or gyms, classes, running, swimming, etc. But what if I told you that movement is movement is movement. Working out in a great community of people like we have at Infinitely Fit is fantastic! It’s a great way to make friends, stay accountable and care for your body. However, if you’re anything like me, you need something else that fills you. Something that makes you feel alive and helps you to stay healthy.

Here are the top ways I like to get some movement in my day without actually exercising in the traditional sense.

1.       Summer Concerts in the Park = DANCING!

All over San Diego County (and in many parts of the country), communities host a free summer concert series for the public. There is usually no cost unless you decide to donate to the series. My best friend and I grab the husbands (when they are willing) and teens (because we make them) and trek our way to Coronado almost every Sunday evening in the summer. We set up our food and wine and chat while we people watch. Then, my niece begs me (for like 2 seconds because I’m ready) to go dance with her. We kick off our shoes and dance for easily 30 minutes or more. Now, I am no professional dancer, and I am extremely aware that we are the subjects of other people’s people watching entertainment. Since I am who I am that just fuels the fire of the ridiculous gyrations I call dancing. Depending how hard I am working, I can burn 300-500 calories…an extra glass of wine anyone? Obviously, you don’t have to go anywhere to dance if you have a phone and Pandora. Turn it up and get down!

2.       Exploring the seas

I don’t go often, so I am no pro, but I do like going out and kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. They are fun activities that allow me to not only get some exercise, but also to see the city from a different perspective. I am a city girl, and I love city skylines. Being in the San Diego Bay looking back at the skyline can take me to a different world. These activities can certainly be considered a more traditional form of exercise, but I think if you’re doing it right, it’s just being outside exploring and connecting with nature.

3.       Camping games

When I think camping, I think hanging outside playing games. I’m all about a good game of softball or stickball, but I mean more like corn hole and horseshoes. They are simple games that keep you on your feet and active. You aren’t burning calories at a record burning pace, but it sure as heck beats the calorie burning going on when your greatest ass-et is on the couch.

4.       Physical Challenges

Sometimes my son and I will take out some stability exercise balls and challenge each other to a pose or position. I tend to win because I am overly competitive…don’t feel too sorry for him, he’s 13 and taller than me (and I’m not short!). But you can do anything: Have a long jump competition, play HORSE, balance like a flamingo and try to knock each other over, relay races…the more ridiculous the better because you’ll be laughing and getting a great ab workout.

5.       Balloon play

Along the lines of the Physical challenges, balloon games are a blast and a great way to get your heart rate up. Blow up a few balloons and try to keep them in the air. If that’s too easy, don’t use your hands to keep it afloat. You can use your arms, legs, feet, face, head; just not your hands. If you’re playing with others, each person can only hit it once. If it hits the ground, start the count over. How many times can you hit it without dropping it? Or have two groups and compete. Whatever makes it fun for you- do it!

6.       Anything ball

So I have to give credit to some friends for this one. We met up with my son’s best friend and his family one evening. They are a family of 5, all of the kids are boys. Then the uncle’s family came with 2 more boys, then us. So we have 3 moms and the rest dads and boys. Well, I was the only mom willing to play that day.  I think it’s because it was such a novelty to me and the other 2 have lived with it for years and don’t find it nearly as engaging as my competitive spirit. Here’s how it works: Gather whatever kinds of balls and Frisbees you have and as many people as you’d like. As safely as you possibly can, start kicking, passing and throwing any of the balls or Frisbees that come to you. OK, so it’s a little dangerous. There’s a lot of yelling names and “head up” that happen, but man is it fun. Of course if you’re playing with a bunch of young boys, wrestling matches happen too. There will be no shortage of movement in this ridiculous game.

7.       Recreational League/Pickup Game

Join a recreational league or sign up for a pickup game of a sport you love. With Meet Up, I find all sorts of things to do and try. I play soccer in recreational leagues, but there are also pickup games here and there. Start one yourself if you really want to play something. You don’t even have to be good. Get a kickball game started and invite people out to the park, or even the people hanging around the park. Or go to the beach and ask someone to kick around a soccer ball, play volleyball or throw a Frisbee.

8.       Stretching

I’m not talking a yoga class here. If you take yoga and want to do that on your own- go for it. I am just talking about spending time on your floor while the TV is on and stretching out your joints. Just sitting with your legs wide could be enough. Or maybe you want to stretch those glutes and hamstrings to alleviate low back pain. May you’re sadistic like me and have a foam roller you torture yourself on regularly as you watch your favorite shows.

The point is, exercise doesn’t have to be the mundane, the traditionally prescribed programs we usually picture when we think exercise. It can be exciting without being intense. It will open your mind to moving your body and understanding how it likes to move, and trust me, it LIKES to move!

If you continue to do the same activities repetitively without changing things up some, you put too much wear and tear on your joints (that goes for our kids too). So try something new and different and fun for you. Maybe you find you like it and maybe you find you don’t. Either way, you tried and you now know.  

We’d love to know what it is you decide to do from our list or your own ways to get movement outside of a traditional exercise platform. Leave a comment or send a message!

Happy moving!

-L.J.

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The Dirt Behind the Fairytale

It’s time to free myself of the fear of someone “finding out the truth”, so today I stop hiding behind my weight loss success story and divulge more dirt behind the fairytale. And in order to get the full effect of the present, you have to know the history of my journey...

Most of my teen and adult years prior to my significant weight loss journey, I weighed approximately 160-165 and wore a size twelve. I was probably a sophomore in high school when that weight settled onto my body staying put until I was thirty-one years old. On occasion those pounds would find extra friends to cuddle up with in my hip, thigh and butt areas pushing my weight higher and my pants tighter, eventually needing a size fourteen. I even spent time near 200 pounds (without being pregnant) and squeezed into a size fourteen, but I was honestly more of a size sixteen to eighteen.

The last few years, I have spent most of my energy struggling to maintain a healthy weight and not get obsessive and lose too much weight. I have over-trained my body and tried to recover from its effects while the fear of “getting fat” stalking me like a bad ex-boyfriend.

The pressure is immense in the health and wellness industry, but mostly from my own thoughts. My clients and the average Joe or Jane still think I look fit and healthy and some even desire to look “as good” as me. Day in and day out, I stress over every pound I have gained….and, trust me, pounds I have gained. This time around, it’s more than pounds, it’s inches and pants sizes too.

After a couple years of a highly stressful life kicking me around, I’m back up to my fighting weight range around 161-163 most days. My thighs jiggle more, my tummy is soft and pouchy, and “Baby got back!” On the bright side, I did start filling out some bras. With all the extra fluff and jiggle, no one has said a word to me. Obviously some people have noticed, but most politely say I still look great or really just haven’t noticed.

The reason they have yet to notice is that I may have gained weight and size, but I didn’t gain so much weight and size that I am back up to a size twelve. When I was ten to fifteen pounds lighter, I was wearing a size four, which I never dreamed was even possible! Now I wear a size six or eight depending on the cut and style of the clothing. So the weight has increased more than the size, especially when I consider my past of weighing the same and wearing two to three sizes larger clothing.

You’re probably waiting on me to get on with my point, so here it is…I am clearly a much healthier 162-ish than I ever was in my teens and twenties. My body isn’t completely unhealthy; I am just carrying some extra weight.

Without boring you with all the nitty gritty details, I have earned every pound gained. My life has been stressful, and I am a stress eater. I also need more socializing than the average person to keep my mind healthy, and my social life has wine involved at least 60% of the time. In addition to the stress eating, I was eating extra because I wasn’t sleeping. And when we don’t sleep, our hormones are off and we tend to think the sleepiness is hunger. So again, more eating.

Now here I am, feeling the pressure of looking the part as a trainer while holding true to my principles and values as a trainer and coach. I believe that people,including me, need to take time to lose weight by caring for their bodies when things have been out of whack.

I could choose to go on some restrictive diet losing ten pounds so I am comfortable with the number on the scale and the one stitched into my clothes.  There are ton of diets to choose from- paleo, vegan, low carb, cleanses, etc. But I know better and really believe my own advice. I believe it’s more important to live a balanced life caring for myself as a human being, not as a fitness model whose worth is found in others coveting my body. My obsessive trainer wants to diet and take extreme measures, but my true coach knows that will only make things worse.

This is probably the hardest form of getting comfortable in the uncomfortable I have yet to experience. I want to lose a few pounds, probably five to eight and I want to comfortably fit into a size six no matter where I shop. And I am going to slowly work towards those goals by first and foremost, RESTING!

It’s counterintuitive to my core, but I speak the truth. I need to be kind to my body by getting good sleep. And to get good sleep, I need to exercise a healthy amount and eat well (not perfectly), create clear boundaries at work and home, and spend time doing things I enjoy and are relaxing for me. As these habits become more regular again, the deeper rest will come and the next level of mental, physical and spiritual healing will be complete.

Sweet dreams!

 

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When to push...

Our last blog was all about the no pain, no gain mentality and how it can be physically and emotionally destructive. While pain is not an indicator of a good workout, there are times when it’s necessary to push yourself past comfortable limits to grow stronger, fitter and healthier.

I like to think of this concept as finding your training sweet spot or, as science would call it, the principal of progressive overload. This principal states that your workouts should be just a tiny bit more challenging than what you’re capable of so your body is forced to create adaptations (increase the size of muscle fibers, utilize fat for fuel, etc.).

Constantly overloading your system with high intensity exercise doesn’t allow sufficient time for these adaptations to occur. But never overloading your muscles and cardiovascular system doesn’t allow for the stimulus that produces these adaptations.

If this idea leaves you with a big question mark over when to push forward and when to pull back, welcome to the club.

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone as to how much, how hard or how often you should exercise to reap maximum benefits and avoid overtraining. Every body is different, with a different set of genes and experiences, and will respond to training differently. Beyond that, every person is different everyday.

I live in a world where I love things to be black or white. Healthy or unhealthy, beneficial or detrimental, good or bad. For years I tried to fit exercise into these categories, believing “intense exercise is best” and “light exercise and rest are a waste of time.”

Not only is that not true in a general sense (light exercise is awesome), it is different on any given day of the week. What works for my body today is not the same as yesterday. And it won’t be the same tomorrow, next week or next year.

While figuring out when to “go hard” and when to “go home” (or just ease back a little) is an individual learning process, there are a few easy tips that can help you find that sweet spot where you achieve maximum results and avoid overtraining.

Tips and Tricks:

  •  Intensity and duration are inversely related. High intensity exercise can be a great way to provoke physiological changes, but when done too much, it’s also a great way to overtrain. If the exercise you’re performing is of sufficiently high intensity, you actually can’t do it for a long time. So keep the high intensity stuff short but, you know… intense.
  • Follow hard days with easy days. To allow your body time to recover and reap the most benefit from highly intense or strenuous exercise sessions, follow with lighter days. Light is different from one person to another (I do not find a jog to be light exercise, but a highly trained runner would). Focus on exercise that leaves you feeling refreshed and energized, like yoga, walking, or gentle biking or running.
  • Keep it moving. Easy days are easy days, not off days. Finding some movement on the days that you don’t have strenuous workouts may help you recover and will help you stick to your exercise regimen.
  • Aim to honor and care for your body rather than fix it. When you care for someone, you want what’s best for them, regardless of whether it is what’s easiest. Sometimes what’s best is challenging and tough; sometimes it’s gentle and encouraging. If you approach your workouts from this perspective, you will be better able to understand what your body needs each day and better equipped to respond to those needs.

Learning when to push forward and when to pull back isn’t something that will happen overnight (Seriously, it’s taken me 5 years to come up with a reasonable sense of it). But it is a worthy endeavor in the pursuit of lifelong physical and mental health and happiness.

 

 

 

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Train to fail

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Train to fail

Let’s be honest, it’s not fun to fail. It reveals weaknesses. It exposes us in a place we probably already feel vulnerable. When we fear failure, we believe that if people see us fail, they will think less of us.

This year, #lean2016; I train to fail. I train to fail in my own fitness training and for others, I train to fail in life pushing the boundaries and every self-imposed limit I can find! 

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Stress & Exercise

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Stress & Exercise

In our fast paced, 21st century world stress is ubiquitous; everyone experiences it.

3,000 years ago, our ancestors dealt with stress, but the sources of their stress were very different than they are today. While being chased by a lion or having to run after your own dinner sounds pretty stressful, these were immediate stressors that were quickly resolved.

Once they were safe and their dinner was caught, our ancestors didn’t worry about impending deadlines, rush-hour traffic, mortgage payments or getting the kids to school on time. These stressors that you deal with every day are more chronic in nature – and they’re slowly causing your physical and mental health to deteriorate.

Physiological Response to Stress

Your body has a pretty incredible stress response. When you step out in front of a car your brain immediately receives a distress signal. It increases your heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. It tells your liver to dump glucose into your blood stream, causing blood sugar to skyrocket. It releases cortisol, the “gas” that keeps your stress response revving.

In the event of a lion chasing you, this response is incredibly adaptive. It allows you to mobilize your energy stores and react as efficiently as possible.

In the face of chronic stressors, this response becomes maladaptive and downright harmful. Chronically high rates of cortisol can have disastrous effects on your physical and mental health. 

Consequences of Long-Term Stress

Chronic stress is akin to your body believing that a lion is chasing after you all the time. Prolonged stress can wreak havoc on all of your body’s systems. Some of the effects include:

  • Cardiovascular complications

  • Psychological disorders including anxiety and depression

  • Digestive issues and headaches

  • Muscle tension and tightness

  • Weight gain

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Concentration and memory problems

When you’re feeling overburdened the last thing you want to do is add another activity to your to-do list. But exercise should be the one activity you make time to pencil in.

While exercise will take some time out of your day, it has clear stress-reduction benefits make it a no-brainer when battling chronic stress.

How Exercise Helps

There are a variety of ways exercise can be helpful in reducing stress levels. Specifically exercise:

Exercise can be a powerful, natural aid in the reduction of stress. However, a principle I’ve been working to better understand and practice is “your body cannot differentiate stressors.”

What does that mean?

Whether you’re cramming for a midterm, giving a presentation at work, running sprints at your local track or being chased by a lion, your body doesn’t know the difference and frankly, it doesn’t care.

This means that as much as exercise can help with stress, it can also hurt. In fact, long-term over exercise has symptoms very similar to chronic stress.

How to use Exercise to your Advantage

If exercise can improve and worsen stress, how do you ensure that you are exercising in a beneficial way? When you’re feeling burnt out, focus on these exercise tips to ensure your getting the most stress busting bang for your buck.

  • Low-moderate intensity. When stressed, you don’t want to exercise in a way that puts a ton of additional strain on your body. Include gentler forms of exercise like walking, jogging, yoga, and light cycling or strength training. Not sure what light to moderate means? Use the talk test. If you can still manage to hold a conversation you’re doing it right

  • Frequency>intensity or duration. The effects of an exercise session on stress are immediate. The more often you can incorporate exercise the more likely it is to have an accumulative effect on your overall stress levels

  • Include Deep breathing – Take deep, steady breaths at the beginning, end and periodically throughout your exercise sessions, focusing on the sensation of feeling your lungs expand and contract with air.

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation This technique is best done at the end of a session (and can be done when not exercising) and includes contracting then releasing each major muscle, working from your head down.

  • Finish Strong. I’m not talking about eking out one more set of push-ups or stair sprints, here. I’m referring to finishing strong with your mind. End your session with a few deep breaths and a quick stretch. This is a great way to ensure you leave your exercise session feeling refreshed and relaxed, instead of more wound up.

While stress is an inevitable part of modern life, exercise can help reduce the havoc it wreaks on your body and mind. If you’ve been avoiding exercise because you feel you’re simply too busy, commit to including some of these practices 2-3 days a week. Incorporating physical activity will help you de-stress and improve your health, happiness and peace of mind.

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LIES VS TRUTH

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LIES VS TRUTH

After much lamenting over what to write, I realized that many of the things I am tired of or don’t want to do are because there is a possibility of a “should” being placed in front. We should exercise, we should eat well, we should be grateful, we should be disciplined, we should be diligent with money, we should be kind to ourselves and others. Again, like a teenager, I’m rebelling against all responsibility. It doesn’t matter right now that these are things I enjoy and have benefits. The rebellion is all in the should!

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You're worth more than leftovers....

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You're worth more than leftovers....

I believe modeling good self-care is as important as engaging with our kids. We need to take care of our own needs so we’re not just giving our loved ones leftovers. It’s a hard concept to practice, but completely worth it for you and your loved ones.

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Exercise to Fight Depression

By Kelsey Brown

It’s 6:00 am. Your alarm is blaring, beckoning you to begin your day. You roll over and hit the snooze button, unable to sleep but not yet ready to summon the strength to get out of bed. Your low back throbs and you hardly slept all night.     

You lie there, contemplating whether or not you should even get out of bed at all. You have a good job and a wonderful family and yet, you can’t figure out why you are so unhappy. So tired. So unsatisfied.

Depression is a debilitating disease affecting at least 6.7% of the U.S. population.

It is associated with low self-esteem, pervasive feelings of guilt and worthlessness and a loss of interest and pleasure. Depression, with its multiple contributing factors, can sneak up on you when your life is going horribly wrong or when it’s going perfectly well.

If you’ve ever experienced a bout of depression, you know how crushing the disease can be. It is as if your whole life, your every action, is being weighed down by a boulder that is built entirely of your own misery.  

Depression comes with other negative side effects such as physical pain, poor sleep, weight gain, social withdrawal and higher risks of substance abuse and chronic disease. Thus depression is cyclical and self-promoting; its symptoms serve to deepen the disease.  

So what does exercise have to do with this? We know that exercise is impactful in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease and Diabetes, but what can it do for depression?

As it turns out, quite a lot.

Research has found that individuals who report the lowest levels of activity have the highest levels of depression. Other research reveals that as societal levels of physical activity have decreased, rates of depression have gone up and multiple studies using exercise as a treatment for depression have shown promising results.

How Exercise Helps

There are a few key explanations for how exercise helps to prevent and reduce depression.

  • Exercise increases feel-good hormones called endorphins that may be low in people suffering from depression. This is the idea behind the famous “runners high.”

  • Exercise has been shown to boost self-esteem, something that is characteristically low in depression sufferers.

  • Exercise can improve sleep, which can help to break the cycle of depression.

  • Exercise can serve as a coping or distraction strategy.

  • Exercise can be a great way to allow for social interaction in individuals whose disease may limit this.

And the benefits of exercise exist independent of changes in fitness. That means you don’t have to lose 20 pounds or run a sub 7-minute mile to experience the mood-enhancing benefits.

However, there’s one little problem with this whole exercise to beat the blues idea...

When you’re depressed you don’t really want to get out of bed, let alone lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement.

How then, can you find ways to use exercise to help you overcome depression?

Practical Strategies for using Exercise to Beat Depression: 

  • Start small. Build exercise into your daily regimen slowly. 5-10 minutes at a time is a great starting point.  

  • Anything counts. You don’t have to run 5 miles or enroll at your nearest Cross Fit.  Any movement, be it walking, dancing, roller blading or even gardening will do. Focus on finding activities that you enjoy instead of forcing yourself to exercise in ways you think you should.

  • Frequency > intensity. Exercise that is comfortable and enjoyable is most likely to yield results. Low to moderate intensity exercise done daily is better than high intensity exercise done a few times a week (don’t discount walking – it has a ton of mental and physical health benefits)

  • Exercise with others. This is a great way to increase your social interaction and build feelings of camaraderie and support

  • Exercise the body and mind. Work mindfulness practices into your exercise sessions to reap maximum benefits. This can include deep breathing, and stretching. I love to finish my exercise sessions with a few minutes of deep breathing and checking in to see how my body feels.

  • Reflect. Exercise can be especially powerful in treating depression when you reflect on your experience and accomplishments after each exercise session. This can be done in your head or written down 

  • Combine with other forms of treatment. In many cases, exercise cannot act as a stand-alone treatment for depression. Consider combining exercise with CBT or antidepressant therapy. You can even look into alternative treatments such as vitamins and supplements or acupuncture.

There have been times in my own life where I struggled through periods of deep depression. Exercise was, and is, an integral part of my healing process.

Committing to taking action towards overcoming your pain can be a powerful strengthening process. Exercise is an excellent step that you can take today. It requires no money (beyond the cost of a pair of shoes) or resources and delivers immediate and cumulative benefits.  

If you’re struggling with depression, begin building small increments of exercise into your daily schedule (remember – walking counts!). This small habit, when repeated consistently, can have a profound effect on your happiness and quality of life.

 

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Celebrate! Good Times! Come on! It's a celebration!

What was the last accomplishment you celebrated? I ask because I know, that in my own life, I have a hard time celebrating small accomplishments.

As I continue to bring awareness to my own thoughts and habits, I have taken notice of how unwilling I am to be content. I am regularly unkind and unforgiving to myself because I feel if I give an inch to contentment, I will become lazy and unmotivated forever. Why is that? Why do I believe feeling content or proud of a small accomplishment is somehow succumbing to the idea that I am settling for less than my best?

 

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How to Build a Better Body (Image)

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How to Build a Better Body (Image)

In a society obsessed with thinness and beauty, it can be difficult not to be hyper aware of your weight and beat yourself up over how you look. Whether you’re not skinny enough, pretty enough, tall enough or strong enough, there are a million reasons you can find to feel negatively about yourself. 

Negative body image is a real issue with real consequences. It is associated with feelings of shame, self-consciousness and anxiety about one’s body and oneself. Those with negative body image are at a greater risk for developing eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem. Possessing a negative body image is also linked to things like smoking, alcohol abuse, early onset of sexual activity and obesity.

While it is tempting to believe that fixing your body will fix your body image blues, a negative body image is a product of disordered thinking, not a disordered body.  

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The Other 23

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The Other 23

When people come to me for their initial assessments, we always discuss their fitness habits and goals. That of course, leads into a discussion about their nutrition habits- undoubtably the most uncomfortable aspect of personal health for people to share. After we work through the initial thought stream of why they came, we talk about the other 23 hours of their days. I ask questions like, but not limited to:

·         How do you sleep?

·         How long is your commute?

·         How many hours are you seated behind a desk?

·         Where do you eat your lunch?

These questions are thought provoking and educational because most don't fully think through the concept that the one hour they workout is just that- 1 hour. We have an additional 23 hours that make up the majority of our day, and we tend to forget about adding in healthy habits to those hours as well. We assume that if we workout and eat relatively well, we should have the healthy bodies we desire. Have you ever come to a point of making positive health changes in your life, remaining consistent in your diet and your exercise regime, yet you don't lose weight or you plateau quickly? If you're eating well, and exercising 6 days a week, why can't you lose weight? There are a multitude of reasons, but most assume they have a medical condition or they are under-training. Truthfully, those reasons make up maybe 10% of the situations. The rest of the people I see, need to add healthy habits in to the other 23 hours of their days. People resist this idea because it seems so simple, but it is the simple truth.

I am sharing this from a place of remembering what it's like to work hard and still struggle…This concept of the Other 23 is how I initially lost my weight, and it's how I keep it off. Back in September, I suffered a pretty bad concussion and whiplash playing goalie for a soccer game in my women's 30+ rec league. It was a fluke, and I paid dearly. From September 2014-April 2015, I slowed my workout routine from 6-7 days a week working out with 2 days steady state cardio, 2 days soccer, and 3-4 days HIIT (Yes- I had a little over train going on), to maybe 4 days a week of walking, weight lifting or yoga (each week varied on how often I did each activity). Recently, as a family, we decided to get UP Bands by Jawbone. I am so competitive that I have to exceed steps of anyone on my team daily. Keeping track of my steps, I realized something profound-- I am not practicing what I am preaching! I work from my home so I have 10 steps to get to the bathroom, 15 to get to my kitchen and 20 to my studio. I don't go anywhere that requires many steps, so if I want to practice what I preach, I need to be intentional about moving my body! Since getting the band, I get up and walk my dog a few times a day, make more excuses to park further way, and I even find time to walk to stores to pick up a handful of items instead of driving. Adding back in these healthy habits also stops me from snacking frequently and are helping my stress level. I use my walking time to listen to podcasts and sermons to widen my mind and maximize the return on time invested. On occasion, I even just take in the beauty of nature around me, which is just another form of meditation and appreciation. Being intentional in my Other 23 in a short 2 week period has decreased my bloating & my weight, improved my sleeping, improved my nutrition, and even gotten me excited about my workouts.

If you are one of those people out there not seeing results or seeing plateauing results, I encourage you to start implementing one new healthy habit into your Other 23 each week.  Here are a few to add in your day, and increase results, and increase your joy:

·         Drink (at a minimum) 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily

·         Get up and walk around/pace for 2-5 minutes every 30 minutes

·         Turn off all electronics 30min-1 hour before bed

·         Create a bed time routine to trigger the rest response in your body

·         Have a dance party with your kids to take a break from school work every afternoon

·         Stretch during commercial breaks

·         Read instead of watch TV

·         Take a walk after dinner (it may even stop you from having dessert)

Keep movin'!

LJ Eastmead

ACE Personal Trainer
AFAA Group Fitness Instructor

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Who Comes First… Family or Me?

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Who Comes First… Family or Me?

When I think of family, I think of my loved ones. My parents who would drive me from one sports practice to the other, the memories of my brother, sister and I running around outside breathing in the fresh air then walking into my house smelling this immaculate home cooked meal that my mother prepared. Family is crucial for celebrating the successes in life, to learn to be self-less and maybe a little selfish, and to be taught things intentionally and even unintentionally. One thing that many parents teach children is how to view what is important in life. If a parent view is focused on working out, eating healthy and spending quality family time as a priority, your child will generally think the same.  Teaching your children to be active and to be able to eat healthy at a young age is crucial and simpler to accomplish at a younger ages, so start as early as you can. In doing so, this sets the stage for the children to want to be healthier across their whole life. This creates a domino effect for everyone you surround yourself with as well. Your best friend sees that you are full of energy and have a glow to your skin asks, “What you have been doing different?” After you tell her your glorious not-so-secret changes, she will start changing her lifestyle, and before you know it she has more energy and a skip to her step too.

In order to help your family and friends, you must be selfish enough to take care of yourself first. I see a lot of parents feeding their children apples while they eat sodium packed high fat frozen microwaveable meal. Even though the child is getting the better nutritional option, they still see what their parents are doing to find what is and is not acceptable to eat. Here are some ways to make sure that you become healthier, which helps your family to follow in the right direction.

First, drink your water! This not only helps with digestion, skin and hair but it helps with not having the need to crave sugar or processed foods.

Second, take out a calendar and schedule days and times when you exercise. When you look on your calendar, you are able to see where you have free time to be able to exercise instead of skipping out.  

Third, sleep at least eight hours a night. Sleeping is crucial for hormones, when there is a lack of sleep you are more likely to over eat and choose unhealthy foods. 

Fourth, make more home cooked meals. When meals are home cooked you are able to know how much of salt and fat you are putting into your meals. Plus, it will be fresh and not processed.

Lastly, make time for you. Meditate, go out with the girlfriends for a girls night or just stay at home wrapped up with a new book.

If you are motivated and believe these steps are going to help you get the life and body you always wanted, but you don't know where to start- please contact us (fitness at infinitely-fit dot com) about our Waist Wars Program. It's the accountability you need to get this right!

As discussed, family is what makes life worth living. Might as well enjoy life feeling great and being the best you that you can be. 

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Written by Kelli Starr

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What Causes You to Commit? The Value of an Accountability Partner

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What Causes You to Commit? The Value of an Accountability Partner

Chances are you know the formula for getting from Point A to Point B. Whether your goal is to lose 5 pounds or to get 8 hours of sleep per night or to learn how to do a handstand, you probably already know what it's going to take to get there. You can probably write it down:

Attend Health Defense class 3xs a week and replace afternoon cookies with fresh veggies. Walk for 30 minutes on other 4 days of the week.
 

Get into bed no later than 10 pm. Eliminate mindlessly watching TV after putting kids to bed.

If knowing how to accomplish something is so simple why aren't we checking new goals off our list every day? Well, knowing the formula is the easy part. It's committing to the change required for the formula; that's the tough part.

...Unless you have an Accountability Partner. Someone you know and trust, who understands and shares your goals and somehow who is going to hold you responsible for what you've said you would do. 

Think of it this way: you plan to go to Health Defense at 5:30 AM tomorrow. Your alarm goes off at 5 - it's cold out, your bed is warm, you're tired. You make endless excuses to yourself, turn off your alarm, and roll over. No biggie, right?  But what if you had an Accountability Partner? You texted each other last night and both of you committed to attend this morning's class. You may be hesitant to get up when your alarm goes off but there's no way you're missing class because you promised you would go. You don't want to let your friend down. 

Your Accountability Partner does not have to share every goal you have, but they should understand your goals and have similar ones. For example, your partner may not be looking to replace their afternoon cookies with fresh veggies. But if you are, they should be encouraging and check in with you to make sure you met your goal. Your partner should not be afraid to hold you accountable either. The idea is not for them to punish you if you don't meet every goal, but simply to help you in the most difficult element of getting where you want to be: committed. 

Find that person. Hold each other accountable. Commit. Succeed.

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Cathleen Lavelle
AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor

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