Lost your Exercise Mojo?

Sometimes you just lose your exercise mojo. For whatever reason you just do not want to exercise at all. Those favorite activities become a chore and just something to go through the motions with or skip it completely. It happens, sometimes the exercise mojo just goes away. So what do you do when that happens?
 photo 23520d60-2dde-4055-9acd-e5a6e88729e0.jpg1. Take a rest week. Do not exercise and if you have been eating at a deficit eat at maintenance for this week. Its about long term health, sometimes losing the mojo is a sign we need to rest.

2. So you took the rest week and still don’t have any mojo. *raises hand* Dial it back. This is not the time to push your limits. Keep a minimum of activity going on formal or informal. I’m currently in a dial it back phase as my mojo is so fracking missing.

3. Do something different. Try a new class or exercise routine. If you love vinyasa yoga try relaxation yoga. That different thing might be more rest days if you already exercise consistently.

4.No judging or blaming yourself. Being stern with yourself is not going to help. Mojo loss is not the usual hemming and hawing about exercise, don’t yell at yourself. What would you tell a friend? I bet you would tell them to rest and dial it back.

5. Mojo loss is temporary. You will want to exercise again, don’t worry, it will come back. Not wanting to exercise at all means to me that my mind and body are trying to tell me something, especially when I finish a workout and still feel blah or tired.

When all exercise sounds awful listen to your body and mind. Taking some time to rest, de-load, or dial back is healthy and in the long run better than forcing yourself through mojo loss.

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Surviving the Holidays

Surviving the holidays can seem like a collision course. We are thrown together more often and not always with the folks we want to be with. There is food everywhere calling our name, sometimes with an aunt or friend urging us to have a bit of this and that with a third helping on top. It gets stressful navigating that collision course.

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Here are my top tips for making it through.

1. Breathe! Inhale, exhale, repeat. Long deep breathing has saved me so many times.

2. Eat what you love not what you think you should. That means when Auntie Alice is trying to make you take a huge portion of something you hate, you say no. Life is too short to eat food you hate. Eating carrots when all you really want is stuffing makes for a sorry existence and over eating. Eat what you love.

3. Keep exercising. Your normal schedule might be too much but keep active. It just will make you feel better and kickboxing can be a great way to release stress after repeatedly denying Auntie Alice.

4. When all else fails laugh. A co-worker at my first job used to say “I have to laugh or I would cry.” That has stuck with me. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the situation.

What do you do to survive the holiday season?

Just what is a Health Coach?

ZOMG your a health coach that’s so cool! Uh, so what do you do? I’ve had that response more than once. People think its really cool I’m a health coach but have no idea what I do. So just what does a health coach do?
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A health coach is a person who helps you figure out what you want in terms of your health goals and how to achieve them. If your health coach is holistic that will also entail looking at all aspects of your life, career, relationships, emotions, spirituality along with exercise and food. A good coach is going to help you figure it out, not give a list of stuff to do. Not that we don’t hand out homework but it is geared towards the goals my clients set.

As a coach I am not in the drivers seat, you are. One of my clients was trying to include more exercise into her life. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. During one of our conversations we started talking about she loved to go swimming and doing Pilates. Which ended up in a talking about her Dosha, she’s a kapha and how those two activities were perfect for her and her Dosha . She ended up trying out kundalini yoga and loved it. I guided her along but she made the end decision.

The goal is for someone to create a lifestyle that is sustainable for them. What you get is a collaborative effort to meet your goals. We want you to build up a tool kit you can take with you, of strategies that work and can be applied easily in real life. A health coach will challenge you at times. Whitney who used to coach me, challenged me to see my disordered eating a thing of beauty. Let me tell you that was a mind blower for me as I never ever even thought of it as a positive. I am still working on that one.

To sum it up a health coach is a person who helps you set goals, helps you discover what you need to do to get there, and empowers you. Hi. I’m Beth and I work with who feel confused about what is healthy and what is not. I help them work towards eating better, getting active, and recognizing the importance of relaxation. That’s what I do as a health coach.

Staying Active in Winter

Staying active during the winter can be challenging. It is cold out, there is weather, and less daylight. Working runners often end up running in the dark morning or evening, add in a nice warm house or bed. Who wants to get out and run. Heck who wants to go out to a cold car and drive to the gym. No one. Here’s how are my top 5 tips for staying active during winter.

I know I’ve used the Yoda picture before but he just nails it.
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1. Schedule your workouts. You wouldn’t skip a meeting or doctors appointment, would you? Think of your workouts the same way.

2. Have the right gear. If you are going to run through winter or do outside cold weather activities get the right clothes. Cotton holds sweat and will have you cold before you know it. I have wicking underwear for winter, how I survived before them I have no idea.

3. Do a Challenge. I did a squat challenge last year that was a lot of fun. Other years I did a cookie challenge. For each cookie I ate I did an extra minute of exercise. It really makes you think before you gobble a bunch of them up.

4.Keep it flexible, yeah I know I told you to schedule them but if time is short and you planned on an hour you don’t have, change your plan. Even 15 minutes of exercise is going to make you feel better.

5. Rest is important do not neglect it. If you feel under the weather or still beat up from your workout take a rest day. Should I workout while sick is a question that gets asked a lot and I respond that your workout is to get better if you are sick, rest if you are sick. Take the time to nurture yourself when you need it, it will pay off.

Be a Light Weight to be a Heavy Weight

Just lift heavy gets tossed around a lot and as beginner I didn’t really know what it meant or what to do. What they were telling me to lift was too heavy but I kept trying to lift that amount that was heavy, because that is what the magazine told me to do. I hated it. It didn’t make me feel strong or better about myself. I felt worse so I stopped lifting.

I didn’t lift for years. I did yoga and ran. Fast forward a couple of years and I was struggling with the fact that my body wasn’t changing at all. I felt like a blob who had an excellent aerobic base. What I was doing was not working and I was not happy with my progress.

Enter New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLW.) I committed to lifting weights for the six months it took to complete NROLW. What I did not do is start heavy. I started light even for me sometimes. Starting light did something that starting heavy never did and that was give me confidence. I could do it and it felt good.

What I realize now is that as a beginner form is where it is at. Actually form is always where it is at, good form is good. Starting out too heavy had me sacrificing form and that isn’t good. Build good habits when you start, unlearning bad habits is harder.

NROLW changed how my body looked drastically and I didn’t change my diet other than eating a bit more. The jiggly bits were no longer so jiggly. I no longer felt like a blob and everything in life was easier to do. Weight lifting wasn’t what I loved but it became a staple for what it did for me and to me.

Eventually I was hooked and weight lifting is one of the three things I really love to do. Lifting heavy will come with time and work, don’t force it. Sometimes you have to be a light weight to get to the heavy weights.

Loving Kindness

We don’t think about the impact we make on people very often. Most of the time we never know what that impact is, good or bad. Recently I have had the opportunity to find out what impact I did make on someone’s life. I had no idea of the impact I had on her life. I knew the effect she had on mine, it was good and is still good. It kind of blew me away.
 photo Threads-that-are-golden.jpgSee I had no idea, let’s call her Charlotte, no idea how she how viewed our friendship in the past. Its been years since we last talked before Charlotte and I reconnected on Facebook. We’ve been messaging for a couple of months, getting caught up on each others lives and getting to know each other again. Even with the gap, it feels normal to have Charlotte back in my life even if it is now long distance.

Charlotte and I met as teens. We were both on the outside looking in. Neither of us fit in for a variety of reasons. We connected on that aspect and became best friends. That friendship helped get me through some rough patches in high school. We lived across town from each other, there was a lot of telephoning.

This reconnection got me thinking of how we impact the lives of people we meet whether you know them or not. Think of how a stranger smiling at you can brighten your day. A minutes worth of conversation nudges your day into the good. It makes me want to strive to be a good friend in those short encounters. Imagine that impact of continuing in a friendship that can span decades. I chose to give hope and kindness to to my friends, family, and strangers.

I make that choice everyday, don’t get me wrong. I am not perfect, there are still arguments, but I choose how I react and handle it after the fact is what is important. Let those you love know and keep smiling at strangers. Let’s imbue the world with loving kindness.

Body Image, Pinterest, and Me.

As I peruse pinterest I am always amazed at the amount of sexualization of fitness and fitness photos. It gets to the point where it feels almost overwhelming and disheartening. There’s the squat butt camp, the thigh gap group, the you can do it just ignore pain, etc. The one thing the have in common is a picture of a woman with no head. She is just a breasts, bum, and thighs, even the Venus of Willendorf got a head.
 photo Venus_von_Willendorf_01.jpgThere came a point where I stopped looking at these and started dissecting them. What are they saying to me and others out there? If you do enough squats you will have a perfectly rounded bum, work hard enough you too can have a thigh gap, never mind the pain hurting yourself is good. Are these healthy? I ask myself this and I wonder who out there is damaging themselves to get something that just might be unattainable for them.

I have a butt, it doesn’t matter if I squat or not. I have a butt: skinny, fat, and in between its just there. It is a matter of genetics for me. A college study buddy worked very hard to get a small bum, she squatted and did heavy weights, she will never have a “squat butt.”
 photo eosbvffrt76ee6r.jpgAs teen Mademoiselle magazine was where I first encountered the thigh gap concept. The gist being you did not have a thigh gap you were, not thin. First thought was crap I don’t have one, I’m fat. The truth is to achieve a thigh gap, maybe, because I haven’t ever had one, and might never get one even at anorexic body fat levels. It would take a lot of starvation on my part to get me anywhere near a thigh gap. And if you feel pain while working out, please stop, that is called an injury. Yes, you might feel discomfort but pain, pain is not good. Pain is your body telling you to stop.

We need to celebrate our bodies and not some in the future potential us. What you look like right now is gorgeous, what you will look like tomorrow is beautiful. Celebrate who and what you are now, because the truth is you need to love yourself, just as you are.

Venus of Willendorf picture from Wikipedia.

Workouts and being Sick

Working out while sick, what to do? Do you push on through the workout or rest? My inclination is to tell you to rest or do something that is very easy. Regular exercise will help you fight off infection and help prevent disease. But once you are already sick it can be difficult to decide whether to proceed with a workout, modify or skip it.
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Keep in mind it is your immune system that goes to work after a hard workout. The immune system takes care of the muscles you stressed during that workout. Which means if you are sick the immune system is working to make you well. Put a hard workout on top of that and there is the potential to overload it and compromise your goals.

Recently my glands decided to swell. I was tired, my throat and head hurt, and I felt cruddy in general. I thought about exercising and said frack that. A few days later I tried to yoga and it made my headache worse. I stopped what I was doing and went back to reading. All in all I took about a week off of exercise. My current weight lifting program is challenging enough when I feel like superwoman, let alone when I all I want is some soup, lemonade, and to go back to bed.

Instead of overloading my immune system I took time off, eased back into exercising, and finished NROLS Basic Training 4 feeling awesome instead of tired and dead.

Opening Up With Yoga

Yoga can change your life. Sometimes you don’t even see it happening other times you do. That change is not on the schedule you might want it to be. But it is there, on the outside or lurking below the surface. The change can be the goal of taking a bad mood into a good mood. I used yoga to help me with overeating when I was working on not binging. But one of the most powerful transformations I have seen that stays with me and reminds me how power practicing yoga can be was when I was in college. This blog is about a young college student who went from being closed off to the world to being open and bright.

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I don’t remember her name but I can picture her in my mind. She was in one of Susan Ann’s yoga classes. Susan Ann taught general yoga at the University of Utah and was my first yoga teacher and inspiration, but this is not her story so enough on her. One girl in my college yoga class was very collapsed in on herself. Her shoulders slumped forward which put her head out of alignment, but most of all she was very closed off. She didn’t smile much and did not invite you to come talk to her. She looked like an interesting person but unapproachable. I remember thinking how uncomfortable it must be to have ones’ shoulders slumped forward and neck jutting out, like a vulture.

Over the course of the semester she started straightening out and not slumping forward She went from someone who did not engage, to talking with other students in the class. As the semester progressed she was brighter, more open and gained two inches in height by standing up correctly. How we hold ourselves directly applies to our life: how we see ourselves and how others see us. Someone who is folded up on themselves is perceived as closed off. It sounds corny when talking about yoga opening one up but it is true.

Yoga helped this young student move forward. She turned out to be a very interesting person who started chatting with a few of us who would talk briefly before and after class. She was excited about how she had changed and grown two inches. She will always have a place in my heart. Namaste.

Simple Lifestyle Changes Part 2

Making small change in your life is an easy way to start finding your healthy.  We had simple changes 1-5 a while back.  These are all changes I use or have used at one point in time and found they made a difference.  Here are Simple Lifestyle Changes 6 through 10.

 photo DSCF2047.jpg6. Ditch the soda.  No one needs extra sugar in their life and the diet sodas may not add calories but they sure don’t have any health benefits. I still struggle with my diet coke habit, I love that stuff.  The less I drink it the less I want one.  I used to have one a day and am now down to a couple a week.  It is a process.

7. 5 minutes of meditation can change your mood and mindset.  All you need to do is breathe deep and consciously for 5 minutes.  Try it and see what happens, don’t let your ego stop you when it tells you to quit, keep going and make yourself stronger.

8. Try a healthy food you think is weird.  A year ago I thought green smoothies were weird and gross and had never tried one.  I was hooked after my first one.

9. Smile at a stranger and pass happiness on. Sometimes all it takes is a smile from someone to make your day better.  If you make eye contact, flash them a smile, this has made my day more than once and turned a bad day good.

10. Walk more.  Is something two blocks away?  Walk there instead of driving.  Park at the back of the parking lot, this is one of my favorites.