Ski Fitness: Getting Fit For Winter Sports

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As the weather cools down I know many of you are getting excited for winter sports. I know I am and since I live near Aspen Colorado there are plenty of winter activities to be excited about. Skiing, snowboarding, cross country and many other winter sports are so much fun, but we all have to be careful… There is a higher risk of injury if we don’t condition and train properly.

Everyone regardless of age, fitness, or experience will greatly benefit from strengthening the following muscles groups in preparation for fun and exciting winter activities.

  • Core Muscles: Responsible for balance, stability and dynamic movement.

  • Quadriceps: Flex the hip and extend the knee.

  • Gluteal Muscles: Extend the hip, abduct (pull) the leg away from the center of the body, and stabilize the knee in the extended position.

  • Hamstrings: Involved in flexing the knee and absorbing shock.

Here are 3 great workouts you can do at home to get stronger for winter sports and avoid injury. Beginners, start slow and work your way up to more advanced workouts after 2 weeks.

You can print the PDF of each workout, or view them on your phone, computer or ipad.

Start training 6 weeks before hitting the slopes and train 2-3 times per week.

Beginners: Are you new to exercise or have not exercised regularly for 6 weeks?

Start here: Core Strength and Stretch For Skiers

Intermediate: Do you exercise regularly…..30 minutes or more daily of walking, biking, hiking, or yoga, but you are new to regular resistance training or sport specific training?

Start here: Full Body Winter Workout

Advanced: Are you a more seasoned fitness fan who has been doing resistance training 2-3 times a week for at least 6 weeks?

Start here: Ski Fit Training

Are you interested in a more personalized approach? Have really specific goals? Working around injuries and want some extra help working out safely?

I've got you covered!

Work with me privately to get the support and guidance you need to achieve all of your health and wellness goals.

Let’s Connect!

Core Workout For Home

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When life gets busy, it can be challenging to find time for exercise. I get it.....Driving to the gym, working out for an hour and driving back home just isn’t always possible. But instead of skipping exercise altogether, take 10 minutes out of your day to do an effective workout that will help you feel your best and stay strong even on your busiest days.

If you want a lean and strong midsection, spend those 10 minutes targeting your core with this workout that strengthens your abs from every angle. It requires zero equipment so you can do this at home, at the gym or in your hotel room while you’re on vacation!

  • The Basic Abdominal Crunch
  • Russian Twist *
  • Toe Touch
  • Forearm Plank Pose
  • Cat Cow
  • Bridge To Plank *
  • Quad Superman
  • Superman
  • Low Back Extension *

This routine is simple and effective for strengthening the core and improving low back health.   AND.....It can be accomplished in just 10 minutes! 

Note:  Advanced exercises are marked with an (*)....So work up to those if you are a beginner!

Beginners start with 1 set of 10-20 reps of each exercise.  More advanced exercisers do the entire routine 2-3 times.

Click here for your Core Workout For Home, includes instructions, tips and video. 

Tips For Exercising In The Heat

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Fresh air, sunshine, and mountain trails with gorgeous scenery are the perfect motivation for outdoor workouts - but can exercising in the hot temperatures be bad for your health?

As long as you take some precautions, there is no reason to skip your workout  because of the heat.  Here’s how you can keep enjoy your workouts even on those super hot days!

The time of day is important

Avoid exercising 10 am- 3 pm - it's the hottest time of the day.  Reduce overheating by doing outdoor workouts either early in the morning or in the evening. Avoid the sun when the UV exposure and the heat are highest.

Stay hydrated

Hydration is important for your health, and it’s important to drink even more water than usual during hot weather. Even mild dehydration can make you feel sick, causing headaches and extreme fatigue. Before you go out, drink two glasses of water. Carry a bottle of water or a hydration pack like Camelbak. Take a drink every 15 minutes, even when you're not thirsty. When you're done with your workout, have a few more glasses of water.

Replenish your electrolyte and salt intake while exercising. I like SKRATCH- small, simple packs of sodium and electrolytes that will keep your system in balance. Avoid sugary sports drinks that are filled with artificial flavoring and color.

Sunscreen:  Make a healthy choice

Even on cloudy days, protect your skin from UV damage when you’re out exercising. Use SPF 30 all over to give yourself adequate sun protection.  Avoid sunscreens that contain harmful chemicals like oxybenzone.  Choose non-nano zinc oxide products instead. 

Click here for my favorite:  SAFE SUNSCREEN

A hat and sunglasses also give you extra protection from sun damage. If you can, choose shaded trails or pathways that keep you out of the sun.

Listen to your body

Even if you take all of these precautions, you can still be at risk of overheating. ALWAYS listen to your body. If you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded, nauseated or you are having trouble breathing, stop exercising immediately.

Use your best judgement — if the temp is too high, it might be best to workout indoors.

Joyful Joints

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Did you know that 30% of people over the age of 18 in the USA complain of joint pain?  Study

Are you one of them?

Joints are the junction where your bones come together and are connected by cartilage and connective tissues.  Common areas of pain in the joints are the sacrum, spine (low back, mid back and neck), hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrist, fingers, toes and jaw.

Joint pain, whether it stems from an old injury, accident or an inflammatory conditions like arthritis is common, but there is much you can do to avoid living with constant joint pain by focusing on proper exercise, nutrition and hydration. 

Stretching (also yoga) is one of the best exercises that can be healing and beneficial for your joints. It can keep your tissues hydrated, muscles long and lean, and your joints fully moveable.....referred to as full range of motion. When any of your joints gets restricted, through injury, lack of movement, or inflammation, then the whole body can be thrown off balance.

Here is what you can do to keep keep your joints heath and happy no matter what age you are:

  • Keep Moving.  Exercise daily or simply take a walk to stay active.
  • Nourish your body with a whole foods diet.  Include plenty of healthy fats (avocado, olives, olive oil, fish -especially salmon, nuts and seeds)
  • Take a high quality fish oil supplement
  • Stay Hydrated.  Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily.
  • Stretch or Do Yoga

Here is a Stretch Routine that will keep you fit and keep your joints happier all at the same time!

Enjoy!
Lisa C

 

The Deck Of Cards Workout

    



 

Deck of cards workouts are a fun way to switch it up! Each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number tells you how many reps to do. Flip over one card at a time until you've gone through the entire deck.

I love this type of workout because you never know what exercise is coming next and you’re never doing one thing for very long!  This workout combines four strength training moves that work your legs, arms and core along with four cardio movements to keep your heart rate up! Each exercise has a quick video linked to it if you need to check for form. 

All you’ll need for this workout is a deck of cards. There are also smartphone apps for deck of cards workouts you can download if you want to take this to the gym.

Full Body Deck of Cards Workout

Every suit in the deck of cards represents a different exercise and the card value equals the number of reps:

  •     Spades: Squats  Video
  •     Hearts: Push-ups  Video
  •     Clubs: Lunge Twist  Video
  •     Diamonds: Bench Dips  Video

Example: You flip over a 10 of hearts… you do 10 push-ups.

All face cards represent a high intensity cardio move and you do 20 reps of each.

  •     Jacks: 20 jumping jacks  Video
  •     Queens: 20 plank jacks  Video
  •     Kings: 20 squat jumps  Video
  •     Aces: 20 mountain climbers  Video

Example: You flip over a king of any suit… you do 20 jump squats.

As with all workouts, make sure to warm up for 5-10 minutes beforehand.

Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley - Gwenyth Paltrow

This recipe is one of my faves.

Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley

Recipe from It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow Serves 4

  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried
  • 1 head of cauliflower, outer leaves removed and discarded, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard (i.e., grainy mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set the rack in the middle. Toss chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together mustards, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

WHY I LOVE THIS.

Cauliflower is packed with Vitamin C – and the more of that we consume from foods, the less likely we are to be overweight, according to research from Arizona State University. It also packs fiber and anti-inflammatory effects into this dish, which accompany a lean protein beautifully. The dijon adds great flavor with few calories.  Warning! This side dish may take center plate and overshadow everything it is paired with . . . it is that good!

4 Minute Plank Workout: Tabata

4 Minute Plank Workout:  Tabata

Wondering how on earth you can get a workout done in 4 minutes flat?  The answer is simple:  TABATA.  It’s an interval workout of 20 seconds of maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for 8 cycles.  The result:  A quick, super intense workout in just minutes!

This Tabata workout is made up of 4 different plank exercises.  Complete each set of 4 exercises twice.  During the 10 seconds of rest, you can either rest in "child's pose" or hold a plank

The best way to do Tabata is with exercises that target your whole body – which is why I love these 4 plank moves.  They are perfect for firing up all of your muscles, especially your core.

Tabata: 20 Seconds Work | 10 Seconds Rest X 8 from lisacohenfitness.com

 

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Legs Legs Legs

Want a good way to tone your legs and strengthen your core without having to lift heavy weights?

Photo by kaspiic/iStock / Getty Images

This week I put together this dynamic workout for my clients, and although it was hard, it was also fun, fast moving and extremely effective.

This workout combines a high intensity interval component, one superset and one giant set.  A superset is when you perform 2 exercises back-to-back, a giant set is 3 exercises back-to-back.  This is a great way to build muscle, prevent boredom and save time. Because the exercises are performed without rest, they also keep your heart rate up giving you both an aerobic and anaerobic workout.


HIIT

Box Jumps X 10   VIDEO

 

Repeat for 2-3 sets, Rest 1 minute between sets


Superset

Prisoner Squat X 10   VIDEO

Leg curl on Swiss ball X 20   VIDEO

 

Repeat for 2-3 sets, 1 minute rest between sets, no rest between exercises


Giant Set

Alternating Split Lunge Jump X 20   VIDEO

Hip Adduction X 20   VIDEO

Plank for 45 seconds  VIDEO

 

Repeat for 2-3 sets, 1 minute rest between sets, no rest between exercises


Yoga For Busy People

It is well known that there are many benefits to having a regular yoga practice. Many of my clients have the best intentions for fitting yoga into their day, but sometimes a busy life can get in the way. We are all in different phases of life, whether juggling work, school, kids, errands or household responsibilities and sometimes, yoga is the last thing we have time for.

However, there are still ways to get your daily practice in, even if you only have 5 minutes.

1.   Practice deep breathing.  Place your hand on your lower stomach so you can connect deeper to your own breath and body, close your eyes and take deep breaths through the nose and into the belly. Breathe deeply.  You can practice deep breathing virtually anywhere; on road trips, commutes to and from work, on the airplane, bus or train.

2. Start small.  Start by incorporating a few poses at the end of your workout as part of your cool-down routine, just like you would stretching. Here are some great yoga poses for after workout. Hold each pose for 3-5 breaths.

 Click to zoom

Click to zoom

3. Sun salutations.  A great way to incorporate yoga into your day is to move through a few rounds of Sun Salutation. Sun Salutations awaken the energy in your body. This is an easy sequence of poses and is a great way to get out of your head and start to link mind, body and breath.

 Click to zoom + full workout

Click to zoom + full workout

4. Online classes.  Online classes have come a long way over the years and are an excellent resource. There are videos ranging from 15 minutes to 90 minutes – perfect to fit your individual needs or fitness level.  I love Yogaglo.  They have a wonderful line up of teachers and a huge variety of classes.

5.  Make it a priority.  As with anything, if you really want to do it, you have to make time for it. You have to make it a priority. If you are like me,  you might find it challenging to balance family life, career and health.  However, I make it a priority to practice yoga by carving out little chunks of time every day.  It is not all about the physical practice in my favorite yoga studio, (although that is a big part of it). It’s also taking time for myself and practicing mindfulness every day.

No Gym Required!

 Go Summers Go!

Go Summers, Go!

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble working out indoors this time of the year.  Machines, barbells, treadmills and barre class are all great for staying fit, but sometimes it's nice to take a break from the gym.

Lately my clients and I have been training in the great outdoors.  Not only do we get a great sweat session, but being outside means breathing in the fresh mountain air, enjoying a beautiful change in scenery and getting a healthy dose of vitamin D.

Plus, a study from The University of Essex shows that "Green Exercise" (engaging in physical activity whilst being exposed to nature) improves self esteem and mood.

My client and dear friend, Summers has been on a "Kick To Get Fit" this summer.  Her fitness plan is brilliant in its simplicity!   She loves going for a long walk or bike ride in the morning, followed by quick and efficient weight training sessions.  

She does not love the gym.....exercising among other sweaty gym goers just isn’t for everyone.

Here is her workout from this week.  It’s all upper body and core work so she can save those legs for hiking and biking outdoors.

Quick Upper Body and Core Workout

Equipment we used:

This workout takes 20 minutes.  You’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds before moving immediately on to the next (no breaks in between exercises). Once you’ve gone through the whole circuit, rest for 60 seconds. Repeat twice more for a total of 3 times through the exercises.

Download this workout in PDF format here

Core Workout - The Gravedigger

One of my favorites!

This is a great exercise for improving core strength, posture, and stabilizing the scapula.

Start in a very strong plank pose with all of the core muscles locked in.  As you pull the elbow up, you are isolating the postural muscles that stabilize the scapula in your upper back.  You are also working on balance, coordination as well as strengthening all of the muscles associated with core strength.

  • Level 1 - Demonstrated with elbow bending
  • Level 2 - Demonstrated with a straight arm

Do 2 sets of 20 repetitions

Filmed by Jillian Livingston  http://www.aspenreallife.com

Staying Fit and Fab

Yesterday I turned 49.

As I near the end of my 40s, I find myself thinking a lot about the idea of aging gracefully.   The word “graceful” makes it sound so elegant and effortless, right?  As it turns out, aging gracefully takes more work and dedication than one would think. It requires a healthy diet, juicing, blending, stretching and foam rolling, a lot of water, sleep, stress reduction, and a generous dose of self-love!

It also takes a good amount of SWEAT.

I don’t know about you, but I want to look and feel great in my 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. I want to hike mountains, do a handstand, go on adventurous trips with my husband, and dare I say it – still wear a bikini!  So, I have to stay 100% committed to my daily workout routine.

What about you?  Do you have a consistent exercise plan or could you use some inspiration and motivation to get back on track?

If you have worked out with me in the past, you know that I am a big fan of circuit-style workouts.  I love how they move quickly and fight boredom, but mostly I love how they kick my booty!

Below you will find some of my favorite workouts that can be done at home, in a hotel room, or outside in 30 minutes or less.  No fancy equipment, gym or weights required!


Day 1:

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workout-day1

Day 2:

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workout-day2

Day 3:

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workout-day3

For a great yoga class right in your living room try  Yogaglo.com.  For $18 a month, you will have access to unlimited online yoga classes taught by some of the most renowned yoga teachers in the world. Classes are categorized by teacher, level, style and duration. You can find a class that’s perfect for you at any time!

Of course, check with your physician before embarking on a new fitness routine.  If you are a new to exercise or if you are interested in a more individualized program, contact me for a 1:1 fitness assessment.  I would love to help!

Sleep Better

We all know that sleep is important.  In fact, in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, getting enough restful sleep is the most important thing we can do for our overall health.  Proper sleep can help fight infection, promote good mood, support your metabolism to help prevent weight gain, as well as jump-start your energy and vitality.  

Getting a great night’s sleep is one of the keys to looking and feeling your best, yet 70% of Americans report being chronically sleep deprived.  If you fall into this demographic of not getting enough restful sleep, it may be time to analyze your bedtime habits.  Here are some thoughts to consider in order to get your bedtime routine on track for your best rest:

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

If you are having trouble sleeping, you want to stay away from caffeine after noon.  And while alcohol may help you relax and fall asleep, it can disrupt the deep REM sleep your body needs to function at it’s highest level.  If you are going to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer, try to do it a few hours before you go to bed to ensure a great night's rest.

In the evening, enjoy a hot beverage like chamomile or peppermint tea.  They both have a calming affect on the body.  A good Magnesium supplement promotes muscle relaxation and can promote sleep.  I like CALM Magnesium powder.  Put 1-2 teaspoons in a cup of hot water before bed.

Valerian, passion flower, lemon balm and chamomile work synergistically with key hormones and amino acids to relax the body - so you can get a good night's sleep. Without the side effects of prescription drugs.  Take a look at this great product, containing all of these sleep inducing ingredients: Best Rest Supplement

Find a Relaxing Activity(That Doesn't Involve a Screen):

Bright screens like those  on your TV or computer emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin, the hormone that encourages your body to sleep.  Try instead to read a real paper book or use an e-reader (without the blue screen) like the Kindle.  Turn off your phone, computer and iPad at least one hour before bed for best results.

In addition to the tea, you may want to try the following Nighttime Stretch Routine.  Stretching at night can help relax your muscles and prepare your body for your best sleep.  When performed correctly, stretching at night as part of your wind-down ritual can help you fall asleep faster, and have a more restful slumber.

View PDF complete with instructions and links to video of each step in the routine.

Start a bedtime meditation practice:

This is a great meditation to do before sleep.  The goal of this breathing exercise is to incrementally relax yourself, in steps.

Here is how it works:

  1. Inhale normally and as you exhale, relax your muscles.  With each breath out, visualize your body becoming slightly more relaxed.  The goal is to become more and more relaxed with each exhale than before you began.
  1. Be aware of your tension areas:  
  • Face
  • Jaw
  • Shoulders
  • Hands
  • Legs
  • Feet
  • Abdomen
  1. On your next exhale, relax your face.  Imagine all of the stress and tension leaving that area.  
  1. Alternate targeting the tension areas with each exhale, until your entire body feels relaxed.

I hope these tips help you achieve better deeper more relaxing sleep.

Sweet dreams!

The Scoop On Protein Powders

five plastic measuring cups of different superfood supplement powders (form bottom clockwise: wheatgrass, maca root, whey protein, hemp seed protein, psyllium husk) on grunge wood background

I get a lot of questions about the different types protein powders from my clients, so I thought I would address those questions on my blog today! 

First of all:

Protein is an essential nutrient that your body needs to grow, repair itself, and keep you strong. It can help you manage your weight, as well as improve immune function and exercise recovery. Protein is also important for making enzymes, hormones, and other important chemicals that your body needs. Protein is known to be an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

If you choose to use a protein powder supplement, remember you get what you pay for. Choosing a “cheap” protein powder likely means that you are getting higher amounts of artificial ingredients, fillers, sugar, and other additives. Always read the label carefully.

Choosing the best protein powder for you:

Whey Protein Whey is one of the most popular protein powders on the market today.    Whey protein comes from dairy food sources.  It is a complete protein and contains all nine essential amino acids.    Whey is also one of the greatest foods for boosting cysteine and glutathione, potent antioxidants that help to protect the body from toxins.   Whey protein is a significant source of branched chain amino acids (BCAA). BCAA’s have been proven to increase muscle mass and strength, while promoting body fat loss.

When purchasing a whey protein, the best choice is Whey Protein Isolate (WPI).  This form of whey has a protein content of about 90-95%, with minimal lactose and fat, and is the least processed form of whey protein.   Avoid Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC), as it is highly processed, and can contain impurities.

Check out my favorite product here.  Protein Powder

Soy Protein

Soy protein is made from soybeans, and is one of the few plant-­based protein powders that contain all nine essential amino acids. Soy protein powders are made after whole soybeans have been hulled, dried, and then turned into soy flour. Soy protein is rich in high amounts of beneficial amino acids. However, it is also controversial as soy products are often genetically modified. Choose a soy protein powder that is clearly labeled Non­GMO.

Pea Protein

This is a good protein choice for both vegetarians and vegans. This type of protein usually doesn’t have many additives or artificial ingredients, so it’s one of the few protein powders that is as close to the whole food source as possible. It is also free from soy, gluten and lactose, so it is a great choice for people with food allergies. Your body can absorb pea protein quite easily and it has a high amount of protein content for a plant-based protein, making it a good choice for those wanting to stay away from animal products.

Rice Protein

As its name suggests, rice protein comes from rice, commonly brown rice. While it does contain protein, the fact that rice is a grain means that it has a higher carbohydrate content in comparison to other protein powders. However, it is a suitable choice for vegans and vegetarians.

Unlike whey and soy, pea and rice proteins do not contain all nine essential amino acids. If you are vegan and planning on using either of these as supplements, you will need to incorporate other protein­-rich foods to make sure you are meeting all of your body’s needs. This also illustrates why protein powders should not be used to replace whole foods, but only to compliment a healthy diet.

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Beat The Winter Blues

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This photo taken from my back door this morning!

Another foot of snow drifted down in our mountain town today, which makes the skiers and school children VERY HAPPY. (School is cancelled today!) There are many of us who just love winter and there are also those amongst us who struggle during the long wintery months.

The cold weather can drag our spirits down, and the lack of warm sunshine can really do a number on the mood. Be it a slight case of the winter blues, or the more serious Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the symptoms tend to leave some of us feeling low energy and depressed. Luckily the good news is that there are healthy ways to fight back the winter blues. Here are a few ideas on how to keep the blues at bay, and feel happier and more balanced this winter:

Exercise Outdoors: ­ Exercise might seem like the last thing you want to do when you are depressed or feeling down. However, once you get moving exercise can make a huge difference on your mood and energy level. Exercise helps boost serotonin levels (the mood regulator that fights depression and controls hunger). So, keeping those levels up can help you feel good and keep your weight in check. If you can get outside to exercise, even better....You will also benefit from the extra dose of sunshine and fresh air!

Treat Yourself Well: Winter is a good time to gift your body with a little extra pampering, so engage in health­ promoting activities that make your body feel good. Go to your favorite yoga class. Bring home some flowers from the local market. Take a sauna, book a massage, spend some time in a hot tub, or curl up with a great book on the couch.

Eat wisely: Avoid sugar, processed foods and alcohol. Focus on foods that boost your mood and brain chemistry like dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and swiss chard. These foods are hands down the most nutrient ­dense choices to eat every day. Include lots of plant based fats like avocado and walnuts daily. These foods contain all of the healthy omega­3 fats and oleic acid that your brain needs in order to run smoothly.

A few high quality supplements can really help keep your spirits high during the winter months.

Here are my favorite blues ­busters:

  • Vitamin D:  Known as the “sunshine vitamin” many people who live in wintery climates do not get enough vitamin D. There is growing evidence to suggest a link between SAD and low vitamin D levels.
  • Fish Oils play a role in the synthesis of serotonin, and are thought to elevate mood and decrease depression. Eat fish 2­3 times a week during winter months and take a fish oil supplement.
  • Melatonin: 2-3 mg of melatonin at bedtime can be helpful in relieving symptoms in some SAD suffers. Melatonin levels in the brain tend to drop as we age, making it harder to get a good night’s rest.
  • MagnesiumLow levels of magnesium can compound SAD symptoms by decreasing the production of mood-stabilizing serotonin and melatonin.  400-600mg of magnesium taken at bedtime works well for most people and promotes relaxation.

Click here to see all of the supplements we offer:  Supplements

Real Life Resolutions

Start on January 1 I am often talking to my clients about fitness and healthy living as they relate to “REAL LIFE”

Real Life does not exist in a bubble where everything is peaceful, calm, and totally in our control at all times. In the real world our lives can be quite messy and unpredictable.

Real life looks more like this………..

  • The kids are sick, and you’re getting no sleep…
  • A friend is going through cancer treatment and you visit daily…
  • It’s Christmas/Thanksgiving/Passover or the long weekend…
  • You’ve got a tight deadline at work…
  • Your lower back is acting up…..

So here is the important question to ask this year as you make your resolutions.......

What does a renewed commitment to health and fitness look like for YOU — in the context of your unique and busy life?

  1. How could you make things “a little bit better” this year? Remember, it’s not about perfection. It’s about progress.  Don’t get frustrated if you eat an unhealthy meal, or miss a workout. Remember the great work you have done and commit to doing better tomorrow.
  2. What challenges do you anticipate might interfere with the progress you want to make?  Identify your “crucial moments”.  These are the moments when a specific temptation or situation distracts you from your goal. Consider how you can change your behavior in these moments in advance.
  3. What is one little thing you could do today to meet your goals?  Start small. Maybe it’s researching a healthy meal delivery service, downloading a relaxing meditation, or booking a babysitter one evening a week.

Need some help?  I am offering 50% off my Breakthrough Consultations in January!

Tips For Kicking Anxiety To The Curb!

Meditating Santa girl

 

Here are my best tips for kicking stress and anxiety to the curb this holiday and every day!

1.   Be Present

The simple act of being present can immediately dissolve worry and anxiety.  Easier said than done.

I recently learned a technique for staying in the present moment from meditation teacher and expert Tara Brach. When you find yourself feeling anxious or you notice that your mind is racing and distracted, place your hand over your heart and quietly say to yourself, “Please, be here now.” You can do this practice as many times throughout the day as you like.   Try it the next time you feel distracted and unfocused.

2.  Meditate.

If your goal is to move through your day with ease, grace and contentment meditation will get you there.

Try a guided meditation, or just spend time focusing on your breath.  Start with 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night, and then increase your time if it feels right.

Try this simple exercise to get you started:

Find a comfortable sitting position, keeping your spine tall and supported.  Close your eyes, relax your shoulders and breathe deeply into your belly.  Feel your belly rise and fall with each breath.

Breathe in for 5 counts. Hold your breath for 2 counts. Breathe out for 5 counts. Repeat

3.  Move your body

Exercise releases endorphins, which help to increase happiness and reduce cortisol.   As soon as you start to feel anxiety come on, go for a walk in nature, do yoga, or take a dance class …  any activity that you enjoy and gets your body moving will help!

Exercise has an immediate effect on anxiety. Even better, REGULAR exercise will decrease the amount of anxiety you feel overall, so make sure you stick with it!  Try to move your body every day for an hour. Or aim for 10,000 steps a day by using a fitness tracker, like Fitbit.

4.  Eat Healthy Fats!
You may notice that every time you’re stressed you crave sugar and junk food.  Cravings are your brain's way of tricking you into thinking that you’ll feel better after eating these foods. We all know how we feel after that pint of ice cream though…not so good.
Instead, take a handful of raw almonds.  Eat a banana with peanut butter. Try an avocado on toast.   Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce surges of the harmful stress hormone cortisol and boost levels of serotonin, which stimulate a feeling of calmness and happiness.  By the way.....Dark chocolate has the same effect.