When you just can’t even…….

So, as discussed in the past, I have issues :-)

The first step is admitting it you know……

It used to be that I had a severe issue with the word “can’t”. I thought of it as an excuse, a cop out, the grown up version of the dog eating your homework, etc. I am since coming to realize that if we don’t respect our bodies we actually CAN get to a point where we just can’t even….(insert Starbuck’s toting basic white girl here).

***NOTE*** This post is not saying you can get away with not believing in yourself, so don’ t go there.

that-awkward-moment-when-you-are-wearing-nike-and-just-can-t-do-it-genvieve-nnaji-quote-instagram-SOSnation_com_

Recently, I got sick. And by sick I mean multiple trips to the doctor and bed rest sick. I discovered a few key factors to myself that those closest know all too well, however I denied them for too long.

  1. I have a severely obsessive personality. For example: often when I immerse myself in yoga CE courses I will find myself veering towards becoming a yoga hippy on the run from modern society. In contrast, when preparing for my show I became OBSESSED with macros, food logging and rep counting.
  2. The above mentioned personality trait creates an environment for imbalance, thus making me feel off balanced every day.
  3. This lack of balance in life translates to lack of balance in health.

Last night I was talking to Alan (the man who should get an award for putting up with my particular brand of crazy) and told him that after brainstorming what I wanted life to look like one of my biggest physical goals was to just be HEALTHY. That is my main goal right now: radiant health.

It seems odd because to look at me you would think I am healthy right? Wrong. When the mind and body are in a chronic unbalanced state, something will give. In my case, my current ill-health seems to be a direct result of an unbalanced life.

So, what can you do to avoid this?

Honestly, we are never 100% in balance at any time, BUT we can walk towards balance in a few key steps:

  1. Brainstorm your GOALS. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and take TIME to think about what you want your life to look like. This is the starting point to creating a life with purpose….you need a roadmap.
  2. Take your eyes off the physical for a bit. For me personally, this means doing more low-impact work at home and allowing my body to heal.
  3. Decide what health means to you. Is it a great physical? Is it feeling good in your own skin? Is it waking with energy?
  4. Determine the steps needed to reach your goal. Once you find even 1 goal worth the effort, determine the necessary steps. If you really NEED to lose weight, then you will need to set aside the time to workout each day and become more educated in nutrition. If your goal is to have a healthier digestive system (a great goal for anybody), commit to keeping a record of your food and maybe even hiring a nutritionist to help. Whatever the goal, there are daily steps that will help you reach it.

Staying balanced shouldn’t be something that will upheave your whole life. It should actually make it better. Think about one word that will help you stay focused. My word of the moment is SIMPLIFY. I want to live a simpler, less complicated lifestyle. This means workout routines that are easily accomplished in my home, fewer supplements, a bit more yoga and a streamlined diet that focuses on nutrients.

Now it’s your turn. What changes will you make to achieve balance?

I’m listening :)

Michelle

BIG NEWS Week #1: Baytown Boot Camp

Disclaimer: if you don’t live in or near Baytown, keep coming back this week as I do have news for YOU as well! I’m also working hard on filming new videos for my YouTube channel :)

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Hey Baytownians! Boot Camp is coming back to your backyard this January! Read below for all the deets:

Basic Training Boot Camp

Start Date: Monday, January 5th, 2015

End Date: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Days: Monday through Thursday evenings

Time: 7:30-8:30 (I’m going to aim to close out class by 8:15 most nights, but leave extra time for questions/concerns)

Space: Bayway Cross Fit 7210 Bayway Drive, Baytown 77520

Contact: In order to sign up for this session you will need to email Asa at asa@baywaycrossfit.com

Cost: $250

What do you get?

Six weeks of back-to-basics training built around science. You will learn how to move your own body and get the results you want for life. You will also be lead by an industry expert, weight loss success story, figure competitor and sponsored athlete…AKA: me :)

Nutritional Support: You will have the option (free of charge) to receive a 6 week meal plan, complete snack list, food substitutions as well as grocery lists and recipes. All of this will help to expedite your results and keep your body on track.

What should you expect?

The first night will be measurements and biomechanics. We’ll go over proper form in some of the most highly utilized, yet wrongly executed, movements during boot camp. Your safety is of the utmost concern.

How do you snag a spot (they are LIMITED)? Email Asa to get on the list, but it is first paid, first in the line.

Questions:

Is this a Cross Fit Boot Camp?

No. This boot camp is designed primarily for body fat loss and lean muscle gain. I am not certified in Cross Fit and will not be taking you through any Cross Fit style workouts. IF you are interested in Cross Fit, the guys there will be happy to answer questions :)

Do I have to already be exercising?

Not really, but I will be honest and tell you that walking at the least will help to start your engines and get you ready.

Is it open to all levels of fitness?

Yep. I don’t discriminate on fitness levels OR on how much or little weight you want to lose. ALL movements can be modified to your current fitness level and I assure you that your safety, not your pants size, is my number one concern.

What about soreness?

We’ve all heard of people who go to a boot camp and can’t walk the next day. It is never my intention to render you fully useless! Different bodies hold soreness different ways and this will be addressed in 2 ways this camp. 1) There is a built in recovery workout each week. 2) We will discuss nutrition, supplementation and movement to aid in recovery of muscle tissue.

What will I need to bring?

Water, a towel, some aminos (we’ll discuss that the first week), etc. On Thursdays (recovery workout) you will need a yoga mat and you’ll thank yourself for bringing a yoga block as well.

What do I wear?

Comfortable clothing that you can move in works best. Make sure it breathes well! If you’re new to working out, please don’t wear sweats. You can overheat even on cold days. Ladies, make sure you have a bra that supports you during movement. I could care LESS how it looks, just make sure that you can move to the maximum amount of your ability and not be hindered by poor wardrobe choice…..you can look cute later.

Any other questions? Feel free to contact me through this site.

Want in?

Basic Training Boot Camp was already open to a private list and is about 1/3 full, so you’d better contact ASA now!

 

 

5 simple daily rituals to melt fat for good

Sometimes weight loss can seem to be a daunting task, with all the mixed messages out there and the contradicting thought points and the emerging plethora of new diets around. There is however a simple yet extremely effective routine that I personally use to keep in shape and for people who are starting out to drop some pounds, look good and regain their vitality. Now these steps aren’t new or are they incredibly complex. They are 6 daily rituals which at their essence are the most basic knowledge that literally everyone can do and perform everyday to some degree.

I’d like to tell you that there is a magic weight loss pill or some cutting edge diet that dissolves fat and changes your entire physique in 3 days – but I would be lying to you. There is no quick fix, no fancy pill or a new fancy weight loss diet. It’s a way of life, a few lifestyle changes that over the long-term will get fantastic results much better than getting on the new diet bandwagon and falling off it to regain not only the weight you have lost, and then some.

               1.       Goal Setting and Visualization

Goal Setting

Goal setting is so critical to useful endeavour. Without a goal it’s like steering a ship without a rudder. This is a critical first step whereby everyone should have written down a goal to achieve their desired weight loss. Here’s a simple way to set a goal in 5 minutes. Make the goal S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. There are hundreds of variations to SMART goals however they are all essentially the same.

If you are looking to lose weight here’s what a goal may look like:

I want to lose 10 pounds by Dec 31st 2014 at 5pm.

See how I have even inserted the time to the exact hour? This is so that you give your subconscious mind a time to work towards (more below).

Below this you would want to write out the steps you are going to take to achieve this goal. This could be:

-          Go for a 30 minute walk every morning

-          Eat vegetables with each meal (3 times a day)

-          Reduce the amount of processed food I eat by half

-          Drink 8 glasses of water a day

-          Do yoga 2 times a week

-          Lift weight 3 times a week

As you can see I have made each of the steps that accompany the goal with exact numbers this makes it far more specific and measurable, so that it allows you to track and measure your results.

If you are starting out PLEASE don’t try everything all at once. For example if you want to lose weight, start with one form of exercise first and set out to do this 3-4 times a week for half an hour. Try this for 2 weeks and when you feel comfortable, take another step forward and incorporate perhaps eating more greens into your list. Don’t try to take on everything at once, try one or two things at a time and test the waters until you are almost certain you can incorporate another step into your plan.

This is critical that you write down your goal before anything else you attempt, it will keep you motivated throughout the entire process. By setting a realistic goal, you are bound to hit it – no matter what!

Visualization

Now this may seem like a new idea or a bit woo woo, however there have been studies conducted on visualization and these studies have shown that when people hold their goals and aspirations in their mind’s eye for an extended period of time they start to ingrain the image into their subconscious. The subconscious mind has a difficult time in differentiating what’s real and not real and often accepts these images to be real and starts the process of changing thought processes to make your goals happen.

Here’s what to do:

Find an image of what you would love to look like or an image of what you used to look like, and hold it in front of you. Stare at this image for 30 seconds and then begin to alter your focus as if you were looking straight through the image. Do this every day so that this image sinks into your sub-conscious mind. Before you know it your sub-conscious mind will start to work on your goals and desires and you (without much notice) will start making the changes you need to get yourself closer to your goal!

        2.  Walking

Now this is so basic! Cardiovascular exercise is so important, it burns calories and most of all keeps your heart healthy. There is a huge array of different cardiovascular exercises out there including High Intensity Interval Training, however these types of exercises may not appeal to you and you are looking for something manageable without the risk of injury then walking is for you. Try walking in the morning just as soon as the sun is up – this way you are getting much needed vitamin D and also burning calories.

         3.       Yoga

Here’s a fantastic weight loss tool. Yoga may not seem that it burns calories, but it really does. Studies have shown that yoga with its many postures and positions engages a large number of muscles simultaneously. By contracting and holding muscles for short periods of time generates much of the same calorie burning mechanisms as cardiovascular exercises by increasing your bodies metabolic rate. Yoga is great for another reason: flexibility. Flexibility is often overlooked when it comes to overall wellness. Being flexible allows you to guard yourself from injury, lessening the effects of previous injuries while allowing greater flexibility throughout the body.

If you are time bound try starting with a 5-10 minute Yoga routine, do as much as you can with the limited time you have. You can easily access hundreds of different Yoga videos on YouTube. Check out Tara Stiles. Tara has a fantastic range of 10 minute easy to learn Yoga routines.

          4.       Detoxification and Hydration

Detoxification has become popular as of recent years. Detoxification is the process of expelling the build up of toxins from the body that has been accumulated through what you eat, drink and breathe. These toxins are often detrimental to vital organs and have a huge role to play in inflammation. Inflammation from eating say processed foods are caused by a whole host of bad oils, sugars, and chemical additives that leave organs such as the liver clogged up and working inefficiently. Inflammation in the gut leads to many side effects one of the most common is weight gain.

Here’s a simple but effective drink to increase metabolism and flush out toxins – drink more water! Chances are that you aren’t getting enough water in your day. The recommended daily intake of H2o is roughly 6 to 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Yes! 6-8. Water is so vital for our bodies and we just aren’t getting enough of the good stuff. The easiest way I found to keep me hydrated is to have a glass bottle or a mason jar filled with water sitting next to me no matter what! When I am at work I have a bottle sitting on my desk the same while I am at home. Fill up a mason jar and leave it on your bed side table before going to bed so if you do wake up thirsty you have quick and easy hydration. First thing in the morning you may want to consider drinking a litre of filtered water with some fresh lemon juice, this helps flush out nasty toxins that have built up in your body over night.

Another fantastic detoxification option is to drink a green juice or green smoothie in the morning. Juicing or blending allows you to get the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals into your body first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Juices and smoothies contain a huge about of nutrients which help assist in healing your gut, flushing toxins out of your liver, repairing damaged cells and giving you sustained energy throughout the day without having the peaks and crashes like coffee!

           5.       Remove refined and processed foods

These include any form of so called “food” that comes in a can, box, preserved or in a plastic bag. You know which food you are eating is absolute garbage, get rid of them! They are doing absolutely no good for you. These foods are making people fat, sick and nearly dead for the past 50 years and are continuing to do so at an even more rapid speed. This category also consists of refined oils such as canola, cotton seed and vegetable oils. Other foods would include any sort of refined white sugar, soft drinks, white breads, potato chips, deep fried foods of any kind, takeaway food from all of the major fast food “restaurants”, microwaveable foods and all forms pastry. Basically anything that you know has added chemicals or is made in a factory somewhere.

 

This all may seem like a monumental task, and you would be right. However, please don’t expect to start with every single tip on this list at the same time. Focus on one thing at a time and eventually add steps to move even closer to your goals.

I hope this information helps you in some way shape or form! If you would like more great insights, tips and guides please visit eatlivelife.com.

To your health and wellness!

BIO:

Merwin is the founder of Eat Live Life – a site where he draws on his experience in overcoming adversities with his own health. Eat Live Life aims to create a healthier and happier world. Merwin is a dedicated nutrition researcher, wellness advocate, writer, student, meditation practitioner and wannabe Yogi.

Website: http://www.eatlivelife.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eatlivelife?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/eatlivelifeblog

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/eatlivelife/

Merwin Davies Portrait (2)

Merwin runs the Eat Live Life site and I was fortunate enough to meet him and exchange posts a few weeks ago. Check out the post I did on his site HERE.

Peace, Love and Lunges,

Michelle

 

Product Review: Marika Magic Slimming Capri

Happy Monday Lovelies!

I have another product review for you, and this one is for the ladies :)

Marika, that FABULOUS yoga pants company (OK, they make MORE than yoga pants, but their yoga pants rock) has asked me to review their Magic Capris. UM, yeah! I love pants :)

marika capris

PSSSST!!!! Love these pants? Get them for 30% off with this code! MM30

So, let’s first get the dirty deets on this Magic Slimming pant:

These capri’s will keep you looking slim; features inner power mesh lining along the thigh area and contour seaming for a slender look. Coordinate with your favorite top or one of our tummy control tops for added support.

19″ Inseam
Fitted
4″ Flat waistband
Power mesh lining on thighs
Contour seaming for a slenderized look
Coolmax gusset
Body: 89% Cotton, 11% Spandex
Power Mesh: 86% Nylon, 14% Spandex
Gusset Lining: 47% Coolmax Polyester, 47% Polyester, 6% Spandex
Now that we have established the pant itself, how about a little opinion?
I have to be honest, when I first slid them on I was a bit concerned with the higher waist. Please note, I dig like sweat pant waists OK. It’s not that the waist is extremely high, it’s just my own personal issues.
After looking in the mirror, I forgave said higher waist though! Now, many who truly know me can attest to the fact that I probably don’t need a ton of slimming in my hips (don’t roll your eyes at me!) and that I have hardly any butt to speak of…so here’s what was so great: I had a butt! Glorious day, they are MAGIC pants! So, aside from a butt, what else?
These pants have panels to help create a streamlined effect to the hips/thighs/booty. Are you buying them yet? Cause you should just for that reason.
The fabric is cool (literally, it helps to keep you cool) and nice enough to wear in public. Meaning…you can’t see through it like some other pants (just make sure you get the right size people! Spandex can only stretch so far…). So, you can throw on a cute little top and take to the grocery store without looking like you didn’t even try to look nice. You look stylishly athletic….even if you don’t workout.
To top it all off, performance is great. I wore them for yoga, weight training and just walking about and they DID NOT MOVE. If you’re an avid “pants adjuster” you totally get why this is so important. No picking or adjusting needed, just straight up performance pants.
Marika has a WIDE variety of pants and other stylish goodies available HERE, so go check it out ;)
Happy Shopping!
Michelle
Don’t forget to take advantage of your 30% off code! MM30 Good through August 31,2014

The Struggle

Hey folks!

Welcome to near the end of the week (for most of us at least). Today I have one thing that I am truly trying to accomplish: BE REAL.

It has come to my attention that there truly isn’t enough real in the world today, especially the world of fitness. I’m attempting to change that and in the spirit of Ghandi….I’ll be the change I wish to see in the world :)

As many of you may know, I have a BRAND NEW project launching in just DAYS! Stress is becoming a daily part of my life and if I’m being real then you must be told that I don’t deal well with stress. This is real life people.

commercial prep

In the midst of filming for the launch of the new membership site (full deets next week…and it’s SUPER awesome), getting all the content done and trying to keep up with training clients, I had a few other things on my plate as well.

I am the mother of a 15-year-old driver. He is an excellent driver, but if I were to tell you that my heart doesn’t skip a beat thinking about all that is to come, I wouldn’t be very real. I celebrated my 16 year anniversary with the best gift God ever gave me, my sweet and supportive husband. School ended for my kids, which any mom can tell you means that the activities have only just begun. There was also a mission trip and ongoing missions in between all of that. Compiled with all of that, I began having major health issues that rendered me bed-ridden and about 15 pounds heavier than I was in May.

sick days

Why do you need to know any of this? Well, I think we can ALL fall into the false lie that people actually have it all together. I spent a lot of my sick time scrolling through Instagram (as Facebook just tends to upset me) and comparing my couch potato existence to the active lives of seemingly perfect and awesome people. One incredibly important note here is that I have overworked my body into a state of chronic inflammation (which I talk about often) and stress compiled through my overwhelming thoughts and feelings simply makes it worse.

So, what has been happening that has me down? I’ve been listening intently to the wrong voices in my head. I sat yesterday to create a cool little promo video for the new site and I automatically regretted that decision. I looked up pictures of myself just a few months ago and almost felt shame that I wasn’t “as good” as I was then. It’s a slippery slope to get caught up in, and I dove in like a cool pool of water on a hot Summer’s day! By now you would think I know better. I mean, I work in health and have counseled many people off the edge, but I still have very little patience with myself. I keep thinking my body should just comply….is that just too much to ask?

I started to lose who I was, as I think many of us do. I began to think “IF ONLY”. You know the thoughts I’m talking about:

  • If only I had more control over my body.
  • If only I could just get over it.
  • If only I could bring myself to work harder.
  • If only I could go back to where I was then.

The list can go on and on, but you get the point. It’s a pity party without any favors. While the inflammation makes its happy home in the nooks and crannies of my 36-year-old body, I feel swollen, fatigued, and flat-out washed out. So, I decided to take a break…. Now, I have taken breaks before, sometimes up to 3 days! Shocking. You see, I fall into the same assumptions many of you can be prey to as well. I think I have to do it all…or suffer the dire consequences. I have vowed that this break will be different. For starters, it will last MUCH longer. I’m kind of thinking all Summer long really. I want to drop all overbearing expectations of my body (I mean, I’m not competing and my 15-year-old son would be MORTIFIED if I wore a bikini anyways, so no time like the present!) and focus more on the ENJOYMENT factor of life. Who cares if I don’t have cellulite if I’m still NOT happy with what I do have people?????

So, what will this break look like?

  1. YOGA. Yep, every single day. Sometimes it will bust a sweat, sometimes I’ll just put my legs up a wall and breathe….either way, it works.
  2. Taking the time to thank my body for WHAT it does, not HOW it looks.
  3. Nourishing my body: no potions, powders or pills for the next few months…just whole foods and plenty of water.
  4. Weekly date nights. We can stay in our room or go out on the town, just so long as I reconnect him weekly away from work and future plans.
  5. New fitness adventures (but staying pretty safe). I want to face some fears (my bestie wants me to try roller derby…I’m thinking there is no time like the present!) and try some things I’ve put off (HOT YOGA) due to my social issues.
  6. Daily journaling. I still have quiet time everyday, but I want to take the time to journal and get some thoughts OUT of my head before they can take root and cause problems.
  7. PLAY. Whether it be in the kitchen with my kids or on the rink with my bestie, I need to bring an element of play back into my life.

date night

One great thing of being couch ridden is that you can take the needed to evaluate what it is you truly WANT to do (I fully encourage you to do this same thing, sans the sickness) and it has led to some changes for me. I have 2 things I not only love to do, but also fully and completely believe in: FOOD and YOGA. These 2 things can change a life. So, I’m going to be doing more of them during this off time.

What’s my challenge to you then?

  • Take a little time to re-evaluate your own life. Yes, it can be scary to think about, but it can also be very rewarding in the end.
  • Instead of adding more to your plate to try to make life better, try taking some away.
  • Sit in silence with just yourself for a little while and imagine the life you want to live and leave behind.
  • Try breathing deeply for 3-5 FULL minutes.
  • Let go of expectation and live in the now.
  • PLAY.

Life only comes around once. Some get a second chance through life altering circumstances such as illness or even the death of a loved one…the good news is you need not wait for a grand life-altering occasion; you can change your life for the better starting today.

Until next week,

Michelle

yoga glow

 

Throw Back: Flat abs and sculpted arms with YOGA

 

 

You are what you train for…

I have found in my life that wisdom can often be wasted on the young….mostly because they have more deductive reasoning than those of us who are set in our ways :) I was able to witness such wisdom just yesterday:

My daughter and I were in the office, she doing her school work and me passing the time watching yoga videos (hey, we all have our things). I was watching one such yoga video featuring the ever lovely and always lively Meghan Currie (I highly recommend her site) and in complete awe of the control and grace with which she moved. If you would take a little time to watch her, you’ll notice her back bends are quite enviable. I remarked to my daughter how I always wanted to conquer such poses, but alas they had eluded me. I expressed frustration over this fact since I have been a yoga teacher for nearly a decade (with specialities in human anatomy). I was met with an honest and eye-opening response…

“Well, that’s not what you train for….”

Wisdom came and smacked me across the face right then. My daughter had nailed down the fact that I indeed do not train for yoga or even to improve my yoga. I have always been the yogi that trains for other things (namely nice glutes and fit thighs, along with shapely arms and the ability to kick butt) and then throw yoga in as a preventative measure or, sadly, an afterthought at times. Before we move on, I must express my newest set of goals is to remedy this situation…

So, it begs the question then: WHAT DO YOU TRAIN FOR?

Do you have to constantly tell people you work out, or do they know because your lifestyle reflects it? Honestly, you don’t have to be ripped for people to notice, you just have to commit to a lifestyle. You can’t hit the gym 5 days per week, but party ALL weekend. Beer pong (if you don’t know what that is PLEASE don’t go searching. You’re all the better not knowing), ribs, fried foods, sweet binges and weekend cocktails can take the best of gym dedications and drive them into the ground. We all know the people who either talk about class (Take yoga, Pilates, barre, step, kickboxing) ALL the time, but their body never changes. What should that tell us? That hour is just another form of a social outlet, not a lifestyle. The same thing goes for those who hit the gym 5 days a week like it’s a job. If that dedication doesn’t bleed into the kitchen, nothing will ever change. This is why knowing your goals is so important! If my new goal is to accomplish a back bend sequence without wanting to cry (or hit somebody) then my training needs to reflect it. If I told you my new goal, but you saw me deadlifting 150 pounds 3 times per week, am I really training towards my goal? So, if you tell me your goal is to drop 20 pounds, but I see you posting about happy hours, nachos, chips, and mimosas….do I think you’re training towards your goal? Are we drilling this in enough?

How DO you train towards a goal?

Easy, know your GOAL. All too often we follow the latest fad or hit the gym just because other people do. God calls us sheep for a reason….we’re always looking for something or somebody to follow. If your goal has nothing to do with the gym, ditch the membership and actually work towards what you want. If your goal is to make $5000 more this year, don’t take extra days off from work. Your goal will ultimately determine WHAT you do. Your will determines how far you go…

Michelle (your soon to be back-bendy blogger)

Fun Friday: Happy National Yoga Month!

Happy Friday and Happy National Yoga Month to you! In all honesty, we have a month for EVERYthing :) September is for yoga, so we should do it some justice.

Meditation

I have been a registered yoga teacher for a decade now and it was truly my first introduction into the fitness world and the reason why I continue on with what I do. The interesting thing is that although now my skills span the gamut between boxing and MMA to weight training, core strength and barre…yoga still tends to be the most misunderstood. Yoga comes with a variety of preconceived notions as to what it actually is and what one may be able to do with it….assuming one figures it all out. In my personal opinion, we simply over think things. So, let’s clear a little clutter by stating what yoga isn’t shall we?

  • Yoga is not a religion. I get a lot of flack about teaching yoga for religious communities, but yoga in and of itself is not a religion. Is it a practice? Yes, and we’ll get to that. Many people feel as though yoga is a cultish religion requiring sheer devotion and relinquishing of all formal beliefs. The fact is that I have often felt more accepted in yoga classes than anywhere else. When yoga practitioners say they don’t judge…they mean it.
  • Yoga is not meditation. Yoga incorporates meditation in a variety of forms, sometimes formal and sometimes not, but it is not simply meditation. The style you choose will depend on what you want to accomplish and the teacher who resonates with your personality.
  • Yoga is not just stretching. Many clients come to me thinking yoga will be one big ball of stretchy goodness…..and it takes about 3 minutes to find the truth. Various styles of yoga can be more restorative, but all styles work upon basic physics principles to ensure greater results.
  • Yoga is not just for flexible people (or skinny people, or young people, etc.). In my opinion, yoga can be done by everybody. As a matter of fact, ALL of my clients do yoga in some form and may not even realize it. If you’re seeking the right form for you, KEEP LOOKING! It may take time, but you’ll find your match :)

yoga funny

So, that’s the short list of what yoga is NOT. I’d like to put a positive spin on things and list what it IS now.

  • Yoga is a practice. This means that you never really master it, and that is what makes it so great. Think about a gym class you take on a regular basis. I’m going to offer step as an example. If you took the same step class from the same instructor 3x per week every single week would you master it? Yes, because the variables never change. Yoga offers a path really. You can choose how far you want to go in any given class.
  • Yoga is a workout. Especially in the West, yoga can be deemed as a great way to get in shape. Vinyasa yoga, Bikram yoga (and hot yoga), Ashtanga yoga, Core Strength Vinyasa…all of these are styles that promote more muscular engagement, a larger calorie burn, body sculpting and the metabolism boosting benefits of yoga in one well-rounded class. And if you’re looking for a sleek midsection, it just rocks.
  • Yoga is essential for cross training. Athletes and weekend warriors alike need to make sure they are engaging the entire body from the inside out. Yoga makes us all more aware of each step we take and the way we move. It also helps to alleviate pressure on the joints and stiff muscles due to training.
  • Yoga can benefit anybody, any age. Children can find calm and focus with proper yoga instruction and elderly folks can find more mobility and greater range of motion. Yoga truly does span the generations and is complimentary to any fitness regime.
  • Yoga is a great tool for behaviour management. What do I mean by that? I use yoga in re-training the mind to think clearly. Often times our minds can be warped when it comes to how we see our bodies. Yoga enables us to look at what a miracle the human body actually is and be grateful for what we can do in any given moment.
  • Yoga can lessen the stress response. While yoga does not take away your stress, it does teach your physical body how to respond, thus eliminating the freak out response. The most challenging poses in yoga help to ground us in our center and help us let go of what we cannot control. A huge cause of stress is thinking we have control over everything when quite the opposite is true.

tara styles

So, whether you view yoga as your fountain of youth, your stress buster, or a great way to lose the junk in the trunk, try it out for yourself. Find a style, personality and even music that melds with you and let go of everything else….you’re not in control anyways ;)

Michelle

Yoga, Bikinis and Detox

As strange as it sounds, the 3 items above really to go together.  I have found that combining them is a sure-fire key to ultimate success :)

YOGA:

A lot of people shy away from yoga and for good reason I suppose. Yoga can be intimidating in the physicality alone and also the spiritual attributes that some people tie to it. Let me place your fears at rest: yoga is not a spiritual practice (although I do admit I find myself praying quite a bit during arm balances!) and the poses themselves are quite doable and safe if you know your limits. Yoga helps us each stay attuned to our own bodies and that is the main reason it is so popular amongst fitness freaks like myself. Without yoga, I tend to push myself far past my limits and end up with injury. Yoga also helps us handle stress better and decreases the release of cortisol—-a hormone that attributes to belly fat. For me personally, if I skip out on yoga for a while, the detoxing benefits are lost and I’ll gather up a bit of a pooch in my midsection…not attractive OR good for swimsuit season. To get the most out of yoga, think about the yoga you choose. I have a few fave teachers for sure :) First, Sadie Nardini is the creator and founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga and is an anatomy expert (plus she’s just super cool). CSV yoga focuses on dynamic movements from the core and has helped me shed unwanted pounds directly from my midsection! SCORE! Kathryn Budig is the founder of Aim True yoga and her approach to yoga is extremely fun and playful. Aim true makes even the hardest of poses doable and the least flexible feel a bit more like gumby. Tara Styles is fun and down to earth, offering up yoga cures for everything under the sun all in short, easy to digest sequences. The best part about these 3? They all have free yoga available on either YouTube or Yoga Journal.

Still not digging the yoga? We don’t judge here :) Give Pilates or Barre a try as they also help alleviate the stress response and tighten the tummy without adding more stress to the body. The best part about all 3 modalities of mind/body fitness is that they compliment just about any existing exercise regimen (you crazy runners can benefit from any of them!).

DETOX:

Detox has become a rich buzz word. The most elite of Hollywood participate in detox regularly. Here’s the real deal: detox is basically cutting out processed foods and giving your digestive system a break for a while! It’s really simple, the more leafy greens and vitamin/mineral filled foods you eat, the better you look and feel! Summer is a great time for detox since fruits and veggies are abundant and rich in vitamins and minerals. You don’t have to purchase fancy packages for detox (but if that’s your gig, I do like Dr. Junger’s work). You can simply eat more greens and drink more water. Cut out caffeine as much as those around you can stand and add in some cleansing herbal teas like dandelion and green tea. You’ll be feeling better, moving with less pain, and looking great in your bikini (or jeans and t-shirt) in no time.

Take what you need, do the best you can with what you are given, and give back every day!

Michelle

Guest Posting for Tosca Reno TODAY!

Hello Fit PEOPLE!!!!

Today is a very exciting day. First and foremost, I want to give a HUGE shout out to MY DAD: today is his birthday :) If it weren’t for him, you wouldn’t have me, so wish the man a HAPPY BIRTHDAY people :)

Appropriately, I am also a featured blogger on Tosca Reno’s personal page today! If you don’t know who she is, what’s wrong with you?!?!?! JOKING! Let me tell you:

Tosca Reno is an esteemed author of several best sellers, including The Eat Clean Diet and Eat Clean Diet Cookbooks.

clean

It is through her expert guidance and easy approach to nutrition that I was able to turn my life around. Once I was in the statistic range for developing diseases such as high blood pressure and even cancer, but thanks to her I am in the minority and helping others! Tosca is also the head of Robert Kennedy Publishing and the mastermind behind Clean Eating Magazine and the Eat Clean Diet Community. To say that I am honored is an understatement :)

My post for Tosca runs through my transformation, but it also comes with a challenge: what will you do with your fitness?

I am endeavoring to raise $50,000 to build a wellness center for victims of sex trafficking and human exploitation in Chisinau, Moldova. Fitness has a way of changing things. A regular fitness program has been shown to increase self-esteem , enhance self-discipline and decrease levels of depression. I can certainly attest to what fitness and eating clean have done in my life!

Check out the post HERE and at the VERY LEAST, share it :)

Want to be a part of an AMAZING change? you can donate to the wellness center HERE. I will be keeping you updated on the whole process AND you will even have an opportunity to visit Chisinau and check out what you’re a part of! Grab this chance to make a change in the world. The one sure-fire way to reach your goals is to look at the bigger picture: who can you help today?

LIVE LOUDER TODAY!

xoxo,

Michelle