Class Review – August 2018

This year, one of the things I wanted to do is try new things in the fitness world.  I am always reading and researching and learning from the other therapists and trainers at my studio.  I also try to soak up as much knowledge as I can when talking to the great practitioners in my network, but I haven’t actually been out there to try what the other guys are doing in a while.

So I have committed to trying something new each month and to write a review about it.  By no means do I pretend that these are objective reviews.  Think of this as more my opinion as a fitness expert (it does say opinionated fitness guru in the title).  Also, there may be things I don’t like that you do.  I am not here to debate, just stating my thoughts because my name is in the url.

Yoga Loft, Gunbarrel – Avita Yoga

I have known for a while now that the folks over at Yoga Loft are almost as obsessed with alignment and good form as we are at my studio, Koa Fit.  A lot of my private clients also attend classes at Yoga Loft, so I have been hearing about this studio and its staple class, Avita (formerly Kaiut) for a couple of years.  In full disclosure, I did take the Kaiut class at the Yoga Loft in Boulder about a year ago, but since that time, they have change a things up a bit, opened a 2nd location, and renamed the class Avita.

Since their 2nd location and newest studio is a only about a mile from where I live, I figured it was the perfect place for me to start taking some yoga classes.  I dabble with a yoga practice.  I have an online membership with Gaia and like to start some of my mornings with their shorter classes, but I have never regularly practiced.  I like the idea of “live” classes.  It is nice to be in a space built for the purpose of yoga instead of pushing furniture aside to make room for your mat.

The new location is, of course, new and beautiful.  It is bright and full of light when you enter.  Our check-in process was a little bumpy.  It seems our instructor wasn’t totally familiar with the software and it took a while to get everything processed through.  Even though this was a bit unorganized, everyone who helped did so with a good attitude and a smile.

The actual yoga studio has a great, soft floor.  For the Avita class, you do not bring your own mat, they provide the mat and additional props.  Everything is set up prior to you walking in, you just have to choose your spot.  The atmosphere is quiet and calming, really nice after a full day of work.   I immediately laid down on my back, propped my head up with a bolster, and fully relaxed.

Our instructor started the class on our stomachs, with our heads turned to one side.  We spent a few minutes at each side, allowing our necks to relax into the rotation.  We then flipped onto our back and proceeded to add some shoulder opening to the neck rotation.  We moved our way from head-to-toe, coming into a standing balance pose as our last “work” pose.  Each pose built upon the last one and was precise and well-cued.

The class moves very slow (I affectionately call the class “Laying Around Yoga”).  It moves slower than any other yoga I have ever done – yes, slower than a Yin class.  I enjoy the slowness both for what it does for my mental state and because it allows me to soften into the position we are holding.  However, I know there are people out there where this would not work.  In my class, I could tell there were a few people who came ready to move and were a little stunned at the pace of the class.

I am a defender of the slow.  Even in my training I am always slowing people down.  When you are looking to break down compensation patterns and retrain your movements, slow is where it is at.  It allows you to make micro movements and adjust your regular compensation as you move through so you can train your body how to move correctly.  Also, sometimes your body doesn’t want to “let go” when you move fast, making it hard for you to perform a movement correctly.

Summary:

Pros: A great class to unwind the body and the mind.  Allows you to “feel” your body and slowly move into certain spaces.

Cons: The new studio’s schedule is a bit limited with the availability of classes and the instructor/front desk people seem to need a little more training on the software.  My guess is both things will improve as the studio matures.

Save Time and Stack Your Life

Recently, a client of mine came in for a session and just looked beat-down.  I asked him what was going on and he explained that deadlines at work had caused him and his team to work long hours, miss summer vacations and weekend trips, and basically rescheduled their lives.  He felt overwhelmed and stuck.  There was no time to exercise or take care of his personal life.  His energy was so low that by the time he did get home, he had nothing left to give to his family.

It seems most of us are having a hard time squeezing in all we want to do in the short 24 hours we get each day, myself included.  There just isn’t enough time to get it all done, so we end up prioritizing and letting things slip to the back-burner while we feel a lack of accomplishment at the end of the day.  This can’t be the best way to go through life, but what are the options?  Let me introduce you to the idea of Stacking.

“I aspire to achieve the efficiency of a worker honeybee.  A worker honeybee has one of those jobs with all-day movement packaged in.  The work necessary to meet it’s personal needs for food and movement and to perform it’s particular job on behalf of its community are happening simultaneously.” – Katy Bowman

I was first introduced to the idea of Stacking when I read Katy Bowman’s book, Movement Matters.  She describes, much better than I can, how we humans have lost our natural way and started to separate and segment our lives.  At one point in our existence we needed to forage for food (exercise + grocery shopping), build shelters (learning + problem solving), and we usually did these things with a community or tribe (socialization + babysitting).  In our modern world, all of these needed parts of our lives have been divided out, leaving us with no time to spare.

While it is unrealistic for a lot of us to start growing or foraging our food by tomorrow, we can apply the principles of Stacking to our everyday lives.  In the simplest of terms, we can find a way to accomplish two things at once.  I am not talking about checking your emails while you are eating breakfast.  I am talking about changing your mindset so that you are actually doing less but fulfilling your needs more.

“Multi-tasking involves trying to accomplish many discrete tasks at once.  Stacking your life involves the search for fewer tasks that meet multiple needs, which often requires that you’re clear on what your needs actually are.” – Katy Bowman

Assuming we already have shelter and sleeping pretty much requires that you are only sleeping, let’s look at some of our other basic daily needs:

  • Food
  • Exercise
  • Transportation
  • Family/Friend Time – Childcare, dog care, parent care, etc.
  • Employment
  • Play

Now, I am a person that always goes for the low-hanging fruit first.  I am a believer that small accomplishments are the only step-stools that will get you to the large accomplishments in life.  So let’s start easy…

Let’s look at the idea of a “play-date”.  It is the epitome of Stacking.  Parent’s socializing, children playing.  However, what if we could also do a play-date on our bikes?  Or at the park?  Now we have stacked socialization, childcare, and exercise in one.  Now, why don’t you all bike down to the local fruit stand?  OMG – Socialization, childcare, exercise, transportation, and grocery shopping all in one!

Now, I know this is not as easy as it sounds, but you will be surprised at how many options there are to Stack your life if you just start getting into the mindset.  Opportunities will arise without a lot of work.  Let’s go back to my client that I mentioned at the beginning…

During our session, this same client mentioned he would be traveling to California on business and he was even more overwhelmed by the idea that he would lose more time to work.  I mentioned to him to look for ways he could make his day better.  So, I asked him what CA had that CO does not.  Easy answer – the Ocean.  We decided he could rent a bike to get him from his hotel to his work each day, taking a longer way home that would go by the beach.  Just the thought of getting a little play and exercise into his day, seemed to relieve some tension in his shoulders.

One little adjustment in our days can completely change our attitude.  That change in attitude has an exponential effect on our perspective, our approach to our lives and our interactions with others.  Bottom line, stop getting less and doing more and get more by doing less.

“Thinking differently is a process not so distinct from learning to move your arm or leg in a particular way to get a muscle to grow; your thoughts shape your choices.” – Katy Bowman

 

Bike Retreat in the San Juan Islands

Every year, I have the fortunate opportunity to take people from all over the country to play in my home state.  I spend a week biking, hiking, and kayaking all around the San Juan Islands with the most amazing, interesting, and strong women.  It is an annual tradition that reminds me that we are stronger when we lift each other up than when we tear each other down.

This year, I had the added pleasure of having 4 people from my studio join me.  To have people on the trip that our close friends and clients, gave the trip an extra special feeling.  It warmed my heart to see these women out of the gym and in nature, challenging themselves, and allowing themselves to have new experiences.  I believe it takes a lot of guts to head to a destination you have never been, with a group of almost all strangers, and attempt things that are unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone.  I also believe that it is in these spaces and experiences that we grow and surprise ourselves.

To say that this trip is just a biking trip, would not be complete.  Yes, we bike.  We bike everyday, but that is just a catalyst to the magic that actually happens.  If you are a cyclist, you have already experienced the intimacy you feel when you discover a place on two wheels.  On a bicycle, you experience everything.  The change in temperature, the smells, the mist on your face, the sounds of the birds, the sunshine and the shadows.  You see the landscape at a slower pace so that you notice painted mailboxes, a small metal statue, old-growth forests, and in the case of Orcas Island, faces on trees. Riding a bike gives you the feeling of being a kid and the independence to move at your own pace.  This feeling creates the foundation for the retreat, a space that is about your feelings in the present, the amazing qualities of the people that surround you, and the joy that can be found when we remove the daily stressors from our lives.

This year, our group was one of the most humble and strong groups we have ever had.  They were understated and kind.  Helpful and supportive.  Grateful and generous.  It seemed that each woman’s personality and natural character lifted and supported the group as a whole.  One woman mentioned that she was starting to get tired on the hike, so decided to start a conversation with the woman next to her to take her mind off of the work.  That sparked an incredible story about travel and adventure that energized both ladies to make it to the top.  On another day, at the end of a long day, one woman’s energy burst and laughter made the ride home from the ferry feel like a breeze.  There are dozens of these stories from the week.  When we allow ourselves to be true and allow others to be themselves, we lift each other up without even trying.

6 days with these ladies felt like 6 years, and I mean that in the best way. It felt as if we were old friends, like we had accomplished and done so much together (it may be that we do A LOT on these trips), that we knew each other so well that we could make each other laugh with just a look.  Biking around these stunning islands, having conversations about our thoughts not our to-do lists, and playing with the whales, the seals, and all of nature brings you back to a place of joy and opportunity.  Every day feels like a new occasion to celebrate rather than time to just get things done.  For me, this acts as a reset button.

So THANK YOU to all the women who joined me this year and to Colleen Cannon, Jacqueline Stanford, Tracy Byrnes, and Women’s Quest for helping make this dream trip come true.

Beat the Bloat

The summer season is full of backyard BBQs, family vacations, and rooftop happy hours.  This invasion to our regular routine can lead us to consuming not only more food, but food that we don’t usually eat.  It also leads to us consuming more alcohol.  All of this leaves our bodies feeling groggy, sluggish, and bloated.

At least once a week during the summer, I have a client come in and complain about the “icky” feeling of his or her body.  They follow this up with a story about an extra slice of wedding cake or too much wine and a “What was I thinking?”.  These derailments of our regular healthy routines happen to the best of us.  Without a little splurge here and there, life would just not be any fun.  The good news is, you can jump back on track, and the sooner you do it, the better.

Bloat can be caused by a variety of things – overeating, consuming hard to digest or unusual foods, dehydration – just to name a few.  It can be as big of a discomfort as it is a blow to the ego.  Overeating usually leads to bloat of the stomach, leading to a visual distention or swelling of the abdomen while consuming irritating foods will produce gas in the intestine leading to the inevitable release of those gasses (that’s a nice way to talk about farting).  Both types of bloating can increase levels of inflammation in the body, potentially causing pain in the low back, and of course, it  can be embarrassing.

The first thing you can do to beat the bloat, is to start changing your habits ASAP.  Try these 4 things below to get your body back on track and back to it’s lovely, non-swelled self.

  1. Drink Water – Tons and tons (not literally) of water.  Water can help “flush the system” helping you decrease the water retention in your body.  Water and hydration is the main thing you can do for not just bloating, but for helping limit inflammation in general.
  2. Eat Mindfully – This means eat slowly and in portion sizes that are appropriate for you.  It takes about 20 minutes for your body to realize it’s full so will want to stop before you fill “stuffed”.  Eat till you are satisfied, not full.  The fullness will shop up a few minutes later.
  3. Eat your Fruits and Veggies – Yes, some of the things that cause bloat are fruits and veggies, but they also help “cleanse” the body.  So if you know you are sensitive to a certain vegetable (usually it is the hardy ones such as cabbage or broccoli), stay away from them.  However, leafy greens are little “fat grabbers”.  Most of the greens are fat soluble, so they utilize fat in our body to digest which leaves your digestive system feeling clean and clear.
  4. Move – Walk, jump, run, lift weights, laugh hard, it really doesn’t matter, just get your heart pumping and your systems moving.  Wake up your digestive and lymph systems so they can start processing that excess bloat and pump it right out of you.

Summer has lots of activities and events that take us a little off course of our usual healthy eating.  Jumping into the 4 tips above can help limit the amount of time you hang on to extra water, extra weight, and that uncomfortable bloat.

*Note – Bloating and belly fat are 2 different things, avoid reading articles that claim they are the same.  They are definitely not the same, however, following the tips above can help with both.

Class Review – July 2018

This year, one of the things I wanted to do is try new things in the fitness world.  I am always reading and researching and learning from the other therapists and trainers at my studio.  I also try to soak up as much knowledge as I can when talking to the great practitioners in my network, but I haven’t actually been out there to try what the other guys are doing in a while.

This month, Physical Therapist, Pamela Robichaud did the testing for me.  Pamela graduated with her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2006 from MGH Institute of Health Professions, an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital.  After completing an internship at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, she moved to Boulder where she has worked in both an acute care and outpatient setting.  Pamela’s strengths include but are not limited to the following: Low Back, Ankle Sprains, Foot Pain, Knee Injuries, Chronic Pain, Balance & Vestibular Disorders, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Brain Injury & Concussion.  She currently has her practice at Koa Fit Studio.

Mecha – Hybrid: HIIT + Core

by guest blogger, Pamela Robichaud

About a month ago, Brenna invited me to join her at Mecha for a resistance class.  Resistance is basically a group pilates reformer class.  You can read more about her experience on her blog and I definitely agree with her interpretation.

The owner of Mecha, Kate, was kind enough to offer me a few complimentary classes as a follow-up to my first experience.  As a Physical Therapist I am constantly keeping an eye on what our community offers when it comes to fitness options. I gladly accepted the offer as I have a goal this summer of trying something new each week.  I’m a long time fan of Pure Barre and it continues to be my steady go-to for strengthening. As a Physical Therapist, I have a good understanding of my body and safety which makes the loud music + fast pace of Pure Barre fun, safe, and beneficial for me. However, like I said, I’ve been trying something new each week this summer.  Boulder has so much to offer from swimming to group fitness to individual training and it’s fun to mix up my usual long slow miles on the bike and the run with an activity that awakens something new in my body.

Mecha offers many classes that address strength and cardio. I decided to try their Hybrid: HIIT + Core class  which is a combo of a HIIT work out and resistance training. I’d be lying if I said I incorporated high heart rate training into my exercise routine. Sure, my heart rate gets high when I ride my bike up a hill or do a little pick up when I’m running, but I rarely get to that very uncomfortable place. That place where fitness happens.  So, let’s see what Mecha’s Hybrid class has to offer.

I’m familiar with the check-in process and the facility set-up (for more see Brenna’s blog ). However, I had never been to the cardio room; therefore, when I arrived I checked in with the front desk person for guidance. She told me that we would be spending 25 minutes in the cardio room and then walk across to the resistance room, a place I know from the reformer class. She encouraged me to introduce myself to the instructor, which I did. The instructor told me how the cardio climbing machine works (aka VersaClimber ) and the proper posture for effective outcomes.  Other than that, there was no instruction or questions about injuries, fitness, experience or comments on safety. Again, I feel confident in my body awareness but the lack of instruction or communication makes me think that this class is not for everyone. Also, the class is done in dim light conditions, which is included in the online description. I felt secure in that setting but people with vision difficulties or extremely poor balance or sensation may be challenged.

We did our 6 minute warm-up on the VersaClimber. Each person is welcome to do their own pace, but the cueing was far from a warm-up. It was a “go for it” kind of cheerleading in order to reach a certain number of steps before moving on.  My heart rate was very high very quickly, but that’s fine. After all, that’s the point and the definition of HIIT. The instruction about the next circuit came while we were warming up and the directions were clear and easy to follow.

We broke out into pairs with one person on the stationary bike and one person doing planks.  We rotated at 13 calorie burns for 6 min. When the cyclist reached 13 calories on the bike (based on the bike not on heart rate or biometrics so fairly arbitrary), then traded places with the person doing forearm planks. We did this for 6 minutes.  We then switched to a combo of VersaClimber and bicep/tricep band exercises. This part was frustrating because there was no instruction about how to use the bands and perform a proper bicep or tricep exercise. If you don’t have a good understanding of how to perform basic exercises, this lack of instruction could be problematic and lead to injury.  Just as I was told, we moved over to the reformer room after 25 min of HIIT.

The combo was a killer workout. I felt very accomplished and very worked by the end of it.  That VersaClimber made for a severe case of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in my upper body, which I happen to love but it’s not for everyone.  Pulling up pants and lifting up my bag was noticeably difficult the next day. I was also more hungry for a solid day after the class which indicates that my metabolism benefited from the HIIT work out, which was the goal.

I’m not sure I’d go to this class 3x a week or anything but I’m curious to continue to throw a true HIIT workout in to my regime.  I want to see what some of Mecha’s other cardio classes are about. Next up will be either their straight HIIT class or HIIT circuit. It’s going to be a huge challenge.

Summary

Pros: A true HIIT workout and all the benefits that come with it (read more about that here) followed by core strength

Cons: These cardio classes are not for everyone given pace and lack of instruction regarding modifications for injury, expectations, etc.  If your fitness level is lower and you’ve never done group fitness, this is not the place to start. It could be a great goal, however, if you have good enough body awareness to keep yourself safe.

Nutshell: If you know yourself and listen to your body, go for it. If you’re apprehensive or have an injury you don’t understand well, then perhaps group fitness is not for you and you should considering consulting with a physical therapist and/or personal trainer for a personalized program or to address concerns or injuries.

 

 

Podcast, Episode 6 – Low Back Pain and the SI Joint with Katharine Hauge, DPT

Brenna Backe sits down with Katharine Hauge, DPT to discuss low back pain, and specifically, the role the SI joint can play. They cover why the SI joint is so important, how an imbalance can lead to pain or injury, and how to differentiate between hip pain, knee pain, and pain caused by the SI joint. If you have ever had low back and/or hip pain, you will want to listen to this episode.

Class Review – May 2018

This year, one of the things I wanted to do is try new things in the fitness world.  I am always reading and researching and learning from the other therapists and trainers at my studio.  I also try to soak up as much knowledge as I can when talking to the great practitioners in my network, but I haven’t actually been out there to try what the other guys are doing in a while.

So I have committed to trying something new each month and to write a review about it.  By no means do I pretend that these are objective reviews.  Think of this as more my opinion as a fitness expert (it does say opinionated fitness guru in the title).  Also, there may be things I don’t like that you do.  I am not here to debate, just stating my thoughts because my name is in the url.

Revo Physiotherapy – Yoga for Athletes

I have been watching the guys over at Revo since they first opened on the 29th street mall, before they moved into a shared space with Black Lab Sports.  I was intrigued by their use of a movement tracking software and they seem to be as obsessed as I am with good form.  I regularly saw videos of professional cyclists squatting and deadlifting with electrodes attached to their joints while perusing my Facebook feed.  Needless to say, I was excited to try their yoga offering for this month’s class review.

And this is where it went all wrong.  Maybe I had too high expectations, maybe I assumed too much, maybe I just came in with the wrong idea, but, man, I was disappointed.

I arrived 10 minutes early because I knew Revo’s facility was located in a warehouse set up and I thought I might have a hard time finding it.  It took a google business page to finally find which suite they were in (it was not listed on the website), but I didn’t find any markings on the building.  I did find a door with the Revo logo on it, but it was locked.  I waited in my car, assuming the instructor was just running a little behind.  7 minutes later, I saw another car come flying into the parking lot and go around to the back side of the building.  I decided to follow, hoping I still had time to join class.

I followed man with a mat under his arm to a door around the backside of the building and ended up in some office space.  Glancing down a hallway, I saw the Revo space in all it’s glory – there is a beautiful turf section that is huge, a nice, soft rubber floor section with weights, and just a ton of space.  I was green with envy.  “This is more like it.” I thought.  This is the space I have seen on social media.

I entered the grand space and saw no mats.  Ok.  Turned to the guy sitting behind a desk and asked where the yoga class was.  He pointed and I started moving in the direction, around a corner, and ended up in an artist’s shared space.  I followed voices into one of the artist studios to finally find the yoga class.  It was a concrete floor, with paint splattered everywhere, full fluorescent lighting above, and it smelled like paint.  I have to say, the art was very nice.  I just didn’t want to do yoga there.  And at this point I was late…and annoyed.

Now, take into account I was already in a bad mood at this point.  I decided to try to let it go and settle into the class, but it just wasn’t possible.  “Yoga for Athletes” should be renamed “Stretching for Really, Really Tight People”.  The class was disjointed and rigid.  We did not flow one move to the next, but held a “yoga-inspired” stretch for a bit, came out of it, and then listened to instructions for the next stretch.  And remember, the whole time you are doing all of this on a solid concrete floor.

During the whole class, I was just in disbelief at how this “yoga” class existed in Boulder.  Boulder has over 30 yoga studios within the city limits, not to mention classes and workshops that are happening at dance studios, city parks, and even libraries. The yoga talent that calls Boulder home includes Jeanie Manchester, Richard Freeman, Amy Ippoliti, Gina Caputo, and others.  We have the Hanuman Festival for Pete’s sake.

Normally, I write a pro and con section at this point in my reviews, but I think I have already said enough.  Yoga is suppose to be a mobility practice, a strength practice, and a body awareness practice (and so much more).  When you have a class of people (there were only 4 of us, but still) who have bodies that are tightened down by repetitive use and then have them move into compromising positions and are guided by a person who  doesn’t have a well-rounded approach to movement, you are going to hurt someone.

Ok, now I have said enough…

 

Class Review – April 2018

This year, one of the things I wanted to do is try new things in the fitness world.  I am always reading and researching and learning from the other therapists and trainers at my studio.  I also try to soak up as much knowledge as I can when talking to the great practitioners in my network, but I haven’t actually been out there to try what the other guys are doing in a while.

So I have committed to trying something new each month and to write a review about it.  By no means do I pretend that these are objective reviews.  Think of this as more my opinion as a fitness expert (it does say opinionated fitness guru in the title).  Also, there may be things I don’t like that you do.  I am not here to debate, just stating my thoughts because my name is in the url.

Boulder Movement Collective – Fundamentals

I was first introduce to Boulder Movement Collective and the movement philosophy of Ido Portal 2-3 years ago when a friend from NJ came to Boulder with the sole purpose of spending a week at the Collective to learn.  At first glance, it just looks like a bunch of people trying to handstand and moving around in similar movements to that of monkeys, but I am here to tell you, it is so much more.

I have been obsessing over the idea of movement vs. exercise for a few years now (There will be a whole other blog post on this) and I am always looking to learn and observe more movement, more teachings, and more ideas.  It seems we (meaning us as a society) have lost the core of movement, the heart of it, and I want to get closer and closer to it for me and my clients.  Ido Portal and the people over at the Collective have come up with a way to teach movement patterns in an intuitive and fun way.

From the moment I stepped through the door, I was welcomed.  Our instructor, Zack, was super friendly and inviting.  The other students also did not hesitate to approach me, engage me in conversation, and help me understand the movements we were working on.  The space is light, bright, and just generally happy.

I LOVE this kind of workout.  Crawling around on the floor, trying to move in creative and different ways, hanging, pushing, pulling, and lizarding.  You heard right, the lizard, its a thing.  We spent most of the time on floor work, moving in different ways, with a lot of time spent in a low squat, using our hands and feet and staying low to make our way across the floor.  It is one of those workouts where you hardly notice you are exercising because it is so fun and mentally engaging.  Our class was 90 minutes, and at no point was I looking at the clock and wishing it would end.  It was seamless, fun, and the sense of community was comforting.

Along with the floor work, we also incorporated some mobility work and strength work.  The strength consisted of pull-ups or chin-ups and pushups or tricep dips.  The focus was always on shoulder position and stability.  The instructor was constantly wandering providing feedback to each person.  However, since you are always working in pairs, you always have a 2nd set of eyes on your movements and you get to provide that for your partner as well.  It is nice to practice the movement and also watch it being performed.  It makes learning the movements easier.

Class ended with the lizard.  A low crawl across the floor (see video below).  I have seen this done many times and have tried to mimic it, but it is almost impossible till you have someone show it to you.  It was fun to do this as a class, you could really see the different levels of beginner to advanced student and it helps you progress your movements and make them more fluid.

Cons: They only have 6 parking spots and my class had over 20 attendees.  So you have to park down the street.  Unfortunately, they are also doing construction in the area so it made this scenario even a little more inconvenient.  However, I did get a little extra jog in going back and forth to my car.

I would also warn that those with injuries and limitations should talk to the instructor before class.  We spent a lot of time on our wrists and in deep knee bends.  Zack assured me there were modifications, but you should definitely be proactive and give him the heads up.  If this type of movement hurts you, this may not be your thing right now.

Pros: Fun!  This class is so engaging on many levels, which to me, equals fun.  It makes you think, move in different ways, test your boundaries of movement, and sets you up for success.  More than once during class I thought “There is NO WAY I can do that!” and overtime, Zack broke down the move to where I could do more than I thought.

Here is a little glimpse into some of the movements:

 

Stop Stressing

STRESS.  Everyone has had it, felt it, been overwhelmed by it, failed at overcoming it, and have had it rule moments in their lives.  High stress can lead to an array of health problems including obesity, heart disease, and depression.  And just to add to the irony, when we worry about what our stressful lives are doing to our health, it makes us more stressed (my blood pressure is rising just writing these words).  How do we stop this cycle?

The stress we feel in our daily lives springs from multiple factors.  Stress can rise due to poor eating habits, environmental toxins, anxiety or worry, high pressure situations, our relationships with other people, our financial security and many other things.  Due to this multi-front attack on our stress levels, we need to have a defense that is just as layered.

We need to be able to prevent, combat, and recover from stress to help us lead healthy and more manageable day-to-day lives.  Below are suggestions of some easy things you can add in to help reduce your stress levels and avoid stressful situations in the future.

Prevent Stress

  • Daily Calm – Spend at least 5 minutes each day in a calm and quiet state.  This doesn’t have to be a full meditation session, just a few minutes for you to focus on your breathing, let you thoughts float in and out without reaction, and allow your heart rate and nervous system to settle down.  This is just as important as brushing your teeth or getting a workout in.
  • Eat Well – Poor food choices are going to lead to a crash and burn feeling in your mind and body.  Nobody can stay calm in stressful situations if they are already fighting their bad mood.  Keep blood sugars level, eat right, eat at consistent times, and keep yourself hydrated to avoid moodiness, headaches, and exhaustion.
  • Set Yourself up for Success – If you look at the calendar for your week and you know it is going to be stressful, don’t drink a glass of wine, sit on the couch, and begin to worry and get apprehensive.  Get your toosh up and set yourself up for success.  Think about going into a stressful week the same way you would think about facing a strong opponent in a match.  Prepare.  Get whatever you can get done ahead of time, rest up and eat right (put the wine down) so your body and mind are strong.  Go over the most challenging parts of your week and think about ways to de-stress those situations.  The days and weeks are coming whether you are ready or not.  Get prepared so you can be your best.

Combat Stress

  • Breathe – During a moment of high stress and anxiety, a couple breathes can go a long way.  When you start to feel overwhelmed, stop, and take control of your nervous system by controlling your breathing.  After a few moments, you will have more clarity and be able to approach the situation calmly.
  • “Not Right Now” – Have a hard time saying “No”?  This can lead you to feel out of control of your life.  Even though we know we can’t do something or we don’t have time or don’t want to do something, we still feel the pressure to agree to do it.  It is a mistake made over-and-over.  If you have a hard time saying “No”, try the more friendly and polite version of “Not Right Now”.  It will get you out of the things you know you shouldn’t be doing anyway in a subtle, cool, dare I say, charming way.

Recover from Stress

  • Learn from your Reactions – If you are feeling bad about the way you handled the last stressful situation you were exposed to, take some time to review what happened and learn from it.  What triggered you?  Where was your head space?  Was it the person, time of day, the fact you went out the night before?  Try to find what caused you to move into a high-stress situation and take note of those triggers in the future.
  • Active Relaxation – It sounds counter intuitive.  Active and Relaxation?  What I mean by this is be PROactive in your recovery from stress.  Make sure there are gaps (big ones) in your busy schedule where you can give yourself some space to recover from stressful days, weeks, or events.  Plan vacations, a nice dinner, or some time at the spa.  Or just make sure you take whole days, or at least mornings, off from your stressful schedule. “Downtime” will not just appear, you need to make it happen.
  • Be Grateful – Sometimes when we are caught up in the stress of life, we forget to look around and see how blessed we are to have so much abundance in our lives.  Make sure to take the time to enjoy everything you get to do each day.