HLbV Update – Yoga with V!

Join V on the mat at the following locations and times!

Tuesdays and Thursdays – All FMCU Employees at Gold Canyon – 530pm to 630pm

*Saturdays – 5 Points Local for Progressive Flow – 830am to 930am

*Every Sunday in February – The Vidorra Residents & Guests – 630pm to 730pm

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*Check websites regularly for updates to class schedules and new opportunities to join V on the mat!

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A Thought on Avoiding Injury in Fitness

Build a strong foundation by easing your way into any new activity…slowly, with consistency but also with sufficient periods of rest and recovery. Find that place between ease and effort. Challenge yourself to reach your edge but never push past it. Learn your body’s signals of over-exertion and pain and pull back, modify, adjust or stop as necessary. Learn from those of us who had to learn the hard way–do what you can to protect, love and care for the one body you have in this life. Keep it active, keep it fit and keep it safe allowing it to continue to support and care for you through all you continuously ask it to do.

~V~

Exploring Transitions

Exploring Transitions

Many of us spend most of our time completely focused on an event, a goal, a challenge or an accomplishment but how often do we pay attention to the time in between those experiences?  Staying focused on an event of any sort can certainly help you achieve your goals while in the process of them, but more often than not we are also holding on to those events long before they happen and long after they have come and gone.  With this habit we miss out on opportunities that are available in the present because we can’t let go of the past or we’re continuously worrying about the future.

On a smaller scale:  Exercise Habits

The next time you’re in a class, a training run or ride or in any sort of practice, consider the way in which you handle yourself in between reps or sets, intervals or postures.  Do you exhale dramatically and flop around like a fish, or do you try to stay composed and transition smoothly in and out of each one?  We all need to relax from time to time, but think about what happens to you mentally as well as physically when you release your composure so much so that you lose focus—your body is no longer fully engaged but neither is your mind.  These are the moments in which negative thoughts and frustration can creep in which can then make you convince yourself that you can’t keep going or you have nothing left.  If we take the time to work on graceful transitions we not only build additional strength by staying physically engaged, we stay focused on the bigger picture of improving our overall fitness or performance in the long term rather than a finite goal for one day.

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On a broader scale:  Life

How many times do we overlook our day-to-day experiences because we’re too busy analyzing events that have already passed or anticipating all the things that could go wrong in the future?  If that’s all we’re putting our energy into there’s no part of us focusing on what’s going on right now.  The only way we can appreciate what’s happening in the moment is to be in the moment.  The next time you find yourself complaining about the past or over thinking the future, take a minute to reset yourself and find something to either appreciate or learn from right then and there.  Sometimes it’s just about doing the best you can at everything you do.  Sometimes it’s about accepting the present just as it is in order to move on and move forward.  Other times it’s simply about realizing there actually is something to appreciate in your life.

Whether you’re working through a difficult time, a physical or emotional challenge or you just need to learn to enjoy life more, there’s so much potential in the transitions that we experience and we owe it to ourselves to explore them all.  It’s not just about the big events that come and go, it’s the smaller moments in between that can truly add to the quality of our daily life.

Love,

V

Commit with Awareness and Keep it Simple

Commit with Awareness and Keep it Simple

When we take a look at all of the different programs available on the market for healthy living, it can be seriously overwhelming.  There are so many different theories, some of which are contradictory, and with all of the promises out there, how do you know which methods to follow?  In my personal experience, the only techniques that really work are those that are simple and continue to keep the momentum slow and steady and therefore encourage long-term changes.

Most of the tips out there we’ve all heard before, especially if you follow this blog, but reminding ourselves of some of these really basic ideas will help it actually click for us one day.  It’s worth it to consistently surround yourself with motivating resources that encourage health and wellness because one day, you will be ready to make that change, and it will truly register for you once and for all.  Remember, we’re in this for life!  The only tips I’m willing to follow myself are realistic enough to at least try and maybe, one day, become a regular habit.  Join me in some of the commitments below and see which ones work best for you if not all of them.  This is your journey.  Explore every bit of it that you can.

I’m committed to making a change.  This sounds like I’m stating the obvious, right?  Well, not really.  Not when I still talk with people who say they want to make a change or live better or feel better or make better choices but they don’t.  Here’s the thing, whatever excuses we come up with, that’s all they are—excuses.  People make time to do what they really care about doing.  Whatever it is, what they invest their time in is their choice.  When you’re ready to make a change, you will, and with awareness you can start altering your lifestyle in the way that works best for you.

I commit to not eat anything after 7pm.  This is certainly easier on some days more than others and it also has to do with my particular schedule.  For the most part, we’re up around 6am every day (if not earlier) and in bed by 930pm so this works for me on nights we don’t go out.  There’s something about the way I personally eat or snack after this time of day.  By trying this simple tweak to my daily habits I found that any eating I did after this hour was more out of boredom or habit because this is when my husband and I typically wind down from the day together and just hang out on the couch.  Commit to learning your own habits and figure out what needs to be tweaked so you can start cutting out the mindless eating we all tend to do from time to time.

I commit to (at least) taking a 30 minute walk every day.  This is an easy one to tailor to your own lifestyle.  Simply put, if you’re currently sedentary, the least you could do is take 30 minutes off of the couch and go for a brisk easy walk outside or do a 30 minute workout video inside.  If you’re moderately active, try an hour-long class somewhere and try something new until you find something you love and will keep doing.  Take small, simple, easy steps to make physical activity a regular part of your lifestyle and your body will eventually begin to crave it.  Push too hard and you may end up quitting before it becomes a true habit.  Go too easy on yourself and you may not feel the benefits enough to be motivated to keep going.  Find the balance of what you can do and what you need to do to make exercise in one form or another part of your daily life.

I commit to drinking a glass of water before every meal or snack.  This is so important for everyone who still has to drink a glass of something other than water when feeling thirsty.  Here’s what helped me—feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that you need hydration.  The only thing that truly satisfies that is water.  So out of the desire to not dehydrate myself, I began to drink water anytime I felt thirsty and the more I did the more it was all I craved.  Drinking anything else when you’re not regularly hydrated just adds more calories, sugars or artificial junk that your body doesn’t truly need at all, ever.  Don’t even worry about how much you drink for now.  Just start drinking before you eat anything and your habits will begin to change over time.  This tip is an easy one to incorporate and the benefits really are endless.

Keep your focus steady and make your changes simple.  Don’t worry about the big, end results—you’re not working towards a goal here so much as you are improving your journey towards healthy living.  If you are focused on a big payout, an end result that’s going to suddenly be the end-all be-all of your current life and create your happily-ever-after, I would rethink your expectations.  What often happens with that mindset is more of a yo-yo effect:  super-charged up and ready to push hard and motivated by the “I’ll be happy when…” mentality and when you don’t reach your goal or you hit your plateau, you’re back to where you started and your old habits are current again.  Give yourself a chance to succeed and make these commitments now because you deserve it.  You always have.

Love,

V

Get Your MIND Right!

Get Your MIND Right!

This is a favorite saying at Octane Athletic Performance and is literally part of the writing on the wall when we come in for the challenge of each workout.  It’s the perfect reminder that in order to get the most out of anything we do in there, we have to have the right mindset from the start.  This practice is also very similar to the way your Yoga Instructor may ask you to set an intention for yourself at the beginning of a class.  If you have a certain goal, focus or approach in mind that you know will help you through any activity or obstacle, you increase your effectiveness and the greater your chances of overall success.  Let’s explore just a few more mantras and affirmations that can help us through the wonderful challenges that life has to offer so we can learn and grow and strengthen along the way.

I am stronger than ever!  This was my own personal mantra when I first started to work out and anything longer than 15 minutes on a treadmill was a serious achievement.  I was almost 40 lbs down from where I had been but was still more than 20 lbs heavier than where I am now.  I could have kept thoughts in mind that said “Oh, but I still have SO much farther to go…I’m so weak…This is embarrassing…I still have too much to lose…This is so tough…I hate this, I hate that…”  Those thoughts were a typical part of my day before I changed my lifestyle and it clearly didn’t do me any good at all.  So instead of focusing on excuses or activities I didn’t enjoy, I committed to trying as many things as I could and focused on what I could enjoy and could learn to love.  Eventually, it was much more effective to train myself to change my thoughts before I attempted to change my body.  When I started trying new fitness activities, this was the mantra I allowed to roll through my head and repeat whenever it felt like it was just “too much.”  No matter where I was physically, I knew I was healthier and stronger than I was even from the day before just by making a consistent effort and THAT is all that matters.

Your mind will give up long before your body will.  I love this one because I remember so clearly when I first heard it.  I was working my way towards the end of one of Octane’s strength and conditioning classes and I was really feeling it.  It must have shown on our faces because, as if he was reading our minds, Octane Trainer Mitchell Fischer encouragingly reminded us of this fact.  It actually made me pause and consider its meaning as I moved through the last couple of sets.  There I was, out of breath, struggling, feeling my muscles so tired that I was beginning to wonder if I could finish the set.  Then these words were exactly what I needed to make a clear choice to keep moving no matter what.  I was not going to let my body down because my mind thought I couldn’t handle the rest of the exercises.  It is a great reminder that no matter what you think you can’t handle, your mind has the ability to keep you going as long as you let it.

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My potential is limitless.  Making healthy choices, whether it be through nutritional habits, physical fitness or anything that improves our overall wellness, is much more manageable when we believe that we’re truly capable of anything and everything we hope to achieve.  Filling yourself with doubt about your own potential is the surest way to limit yourself and reduce your chances towards success.

Also keep in mind that if you waste your time focusing on what you think you can’t do but also let thoughts consume you with what and where you think you need to be, you set yourself up for a constant struggle.  Worrying about every aspect of your life and what your days should look like, what you should look like, what your relationships should look like is counterintuitive to believing your potential is limitless.  Your confidence that there is nothing you can’t do is most effective when you pair that belief with being completely open to whatever you’re meant to do and wherever you’re meant to be.

This week’s challenge is for you to identify which of your thoughts can be replaced with just one of the many mantras, mottos or sayings that can help you redirect your focus towards a healthy and accomplished lifestyle.  Once you’re able to adopt a few that really speak to you and your goals, begin a journal that you use to reinforce the idea that you create your own reality and write each one down at least twice daily—every morning and at night—and most importantly in present tense.  In a short matter of time, you will begin to see results that you never came close to before and more importantly, you will finally be able to adopt the mindset that will help you let go of what you think life is supposed to be for you and be open to your true potential.

Love,

V

Bring On the Holidays!

Bring On the Holidays!

We’re only a few weeks away from the Season of Eating and I’m beginning to hear the rumblings of those who already expect it to be a period of defeat!  As if our only option has been and always will be to succumb to the obligatory pressures of holiday parties and an overabundance of rich and decadent foods and libations which only result in one thing in regards to our healthy habits—FAILURE.  To translate this mentality, we work hard all year only to undo every bit of it for about 2-3 months and then start over again in the New Year.  I’m here to challenge all of us to turn this entire frame of mind around starting right now.  We have the opportunity to not only accomplish more than we ever have during this period of JOY but more importantly to set the stage for better habits in the future and even all year-long.

Now, before you stop reading don’t get me wrong.  I’m certainly not against the celebrations that accompany this beautiful time of year which we all know is really about Love, Generosity, Gratitude, Peace and Hope.  In fact, I encourage you to celebrate as much and as often as you can!  I’m simply not an advocate for deprivation and especially not so during the holidays when participation of (some) events is part of the joy that we share with one another.  My challenge for all of us (myself included!) is to incorporate the tips below to add to the festivities we choose to participate in from now and throughout the New Year celebrations.  This is such a special time for all of us for our own reasons, values and beliefs and I encourage, support and celebrate them all with you.  Let’s enjoy these next several weeks together and really get into the spirit of love and living well, for ourselves and each other.

Tip#1:  Avoid the NYR cycle and start a new fitness regimen now!  Don’t make the mistake of waiting for the New Year to set goals or begin a new activity, join a new gym, studio etc., etc.  Here’s what happens when you do:  If this is suddenly (or is typically) your New Year’s Resolution, you’re probably motivated by the guilt of whatever you did to yourself over the previous two months and are probably even carrying excess weight that you didn’t have on you before the holidays started.  These two factors already set yourself up for a more difficult time to make any progress and it will take you much longer to see any results.  Also, the NYR craze is the reason that the busiest time of year for any gym or studio is the first three months.  As a result, while you’re “trying” to develop new exercise habits for yourself, so is everyone else and now you also have to work around a crowded class or facility while probably feeling self-conscious about anyone noticing you.  Soon after you start your new routine, you begin to make one excuse after another to avoid the large groups of people and because you aren’t making the kind of progress you initially hoped for your resolution is suddenly in the past until it comes around again next January.  Am I right???

End the cycle now and commit to trying something new before the holidays instead of after.  First of all, you know full well to expect plenty of festivities so what better way to balance it out than to start an exercise regimen that helps to expend the additional intake?  Secondly, this is your BEST opportunity to develop new habits rather than trying to do so in the New Year when you’re typically trying to get back into your old routine.  We know these next several weeks will only uproot our usual weekly and weekend schedules.  Developing a new habit of physical activity now will not only help you manage the stress of the holidays, it will also be an easier adjustment because nothing will be a set routine for the next two months!  What better way to get your body used to something NEW that will help you feel better and help you manage all those extra calories we ALL want to enjoy???

Below are some of the best local spots in town to check out now or research new classes in your own area.  My challenge to you is to join me in trying at least one new fitness class at as many locations as possible before the end of this month AND (especially if you don’t go with a friend) commit to introducing yourself to as many people as you can including the instructor.  Ask questions and listen to testimonials.  Find out who loves it there and why!  I would be surprised if you didn’t get hooked on something new and it’s always so much easier and much more fun to get moving in a group where friendships develop which can be a great source of encouragement and accountability.

Tip#2: Turn every errand and casual get together into an opportunity to move!  Shopping for party supplies, heading to the grocery store, shopping for gifts at the mall or even meeting a friend for lunch—put on your walking shoes and wear clothes you can move in to find simple ways to burn a few extra calories.  I personally love to dress up and look cute whenever I can but it’s the holidays!  We have PLENTY of opportunities to dress up even if it means calling a friend to meet for dinner at a fancy new restaurant later in the evening.  I challenge you to make activities during the day part of your fat-burning schedule, whether you get an actual workout in or not!  It never hurts our bodies to move, that’s what they’re meant to do, so bring a friend to stay motivated and park in a safe place but as far away as you can, opt for stairs whenever possible and consider walking the perimeter of the entire shopping center, mall or store at a brisk pace before you begin to stop and actually shop—consider it window-shopping the sales before you commit to the buy and have fun getting that heart rate up!

Tip#3: Indulge mindfully.  Don’t over think things this year.  Learn to follow your instincts and if something beautiful and decadent calls you to try it, do so!  But I challenge you to keep the following in mind when you do.  You’ll never have to deprive yourself of anything and you’ll keep that extra fat and those empty calories in check.

1.    Only indulge in late-night eating and special holiday treats during social gatherings, parties and festivities.  The pressure is too great when you’re hosting get-togethers or out with friends and family.  Allow yourself that time to join in but when you’re at home on a regular night, commit to avoid those extra goodies and stop eating anything by 7pm.  This is something I’ve started doing recently and I’ve already noticed a difference in how I feel in the morning and overall.  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to indulge these next two months and many of them will last well into the night.  Save those extra calories for when you have a good excuse to really enjoy them!

2.    When you do choose to indulge, commit to eating no more than half a serving and then put it down.  Again, you’re going to have PLENTY of opportunities to treat yourself.  Think of how many options you’re going to be presented with at every gathering!  I don’t plan on saying “no” to anything that I’m really interested in trying myself, so let’s commit to keeping the quantity of our excess in check.  I challenge you to plan ahead and see if anyone is willing to split something with you or simply take half portions of everything.  Additionally, always wait at least 30-45 minutes after your last bite before going back for seconds of anything except for water.  Again, you’re not denying yourself anything so you shouldn’t feel deprived.  In fact, you’ll have a better chance of enjoying your night because you shouldn’t feel overly full which is absolutely unnecessary and quite unpleasant.

3.    Get an extra workout in the day after a night out.  This tip speaks for itself.  Don’t let the previous day’s extra calories just sit there.  I challenge you to commit to taking a class, workout using a video or at the very least go for a walk in your neighborhood.  You’ll certainly feel better physically and I guarantee you’ll feel better about yourself overall.

I’m so excited about this holiday season because of my new journey to help others incorporate the joys of healthy living.  The opportunities we have to celebrate are endless if we choose to embrace them and that’s what I hope to inspire.  If there’s anything the holidays can encourage us to do, it’s to learn to live with gratitude and I’m here to continue to motivate us all along the way.  I hope you’ll join me.

Love,

V