living intuitively

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Posts tagged fitness motivation
32 L E S S O N S
Images by Abbey Armstrong Photography   Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Abbey Armstrong Photography

Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Age is irrelevant. Ask me how many sunsets I’ve seen, hearts I’ve loved, trips I’ve taken, or concerts I’ve been to. That’s how old I am.
— Joelle

Coming up on 32 trips around the sun. Thirty-freaking-two. That shit’s bananas, yo.

Absolutely W I L D.

I’m not old. I’ve just been young for a very long time.

I am fully committed to improving with age. Learning and evolving and polishing and refining myself in every single way - and ACCEPTING myself in the process. Loving myself through the evolution. That last part is key, yeah??

It’s about not resenting your current status/situation. Not bullying yourself through it. Not wishing it were otherwise. Just simply telling yourself, “Okay cool, this is where we are. I recognize that. I accept that. And I know I have so much more to give. So LET’S DO DIS.” Basically…”I see where I am, but I know where I’m going.” High five?! HIGH FIVE.

In honor of my 32nd birthday (or princess day, as I like to call it, because everyone should feel like royalty on their birthday) I’m sharing 32 lessons I’ve learned thus far.

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  1. Too much discipline can be as harmful as not enough.

  2. Gratitude is THE BEST way to get back to good when you’re stressed/sad/pissed/bitter/anxious/uncertain. It’s a magical salve!

  3. Love is an infinite resource. There is always more where that came from, so keep tapping into that resource and sprinkling that shiz everywhere.

  4. People care more about how you make them feel than how many degrees/talents/accolades/achievements/possessions you have.

  5. You don’t have to explain yourself.

  6. Let your intuition reign supreme. Save yourself time and regret and don’t ignore it/silence it/intellectualize it. Especially when it comes to the next point, which is:

  7. When it comes to relationships, someone’s potential is irrelevant if they’re not pursuing it. And as previously stated, honor your intuition.

  8. A messy start trumps no start.

  9. Minimalism is undervalued, in pretty much all areas of your life. This plays into the next lesson:

  10. Quality over quantity. With clothes. With friends. With business ventures. With home decor. With exercise hours.

  11. Your body is significantly more intelligent than you can even imagine. Don’t try to outsmart it. Which corresponds with the next few lessons:

  12. Your biography becomes your biology. Your body reflects your stresses/traumas/life choices.

  13. Adopt a holistic approach when healing your body.

  14. Get on the same team as your body. Don’t try to resist/fight/shame/bully it into submission. No matter how you abuse it, it still strives to keep you alive every second of every day, with every heartbeat. Now that’s love! Recognizing its loyalty to you is a game changer. Instead of wishing for a thigh gap, express thanks for those strong quads.

  15. Live intuitively, particularly regarding your health. Your body instinctively knows what it needs. Once you learn to tune into it, you’re set. Try not to intellectualize your fitness and nutrition. Don’t follow a certain regimen just because it’s the latest fad, or because a social media guru recommended it, or because your bestie glowed up with it, or because you want to look a certain way. Every body is different (what works for me might not work for you), and your body’s requirements fluctuate daily. So try to clean your palate (minimize the processed foods in favor of foods in their natural form), pay attention to what your body tells you after a meal/workout, and adjust accordingly. Once you vibe with your body, you’ll be blown away by its intelligence. Whether you listen or not, it’s constantly communicating what it needs for you to look and feel your best. Let it be the boss.

  16. How you feel matters far more than how you look.

  17. Confidence is K E Y. If you OWN it, it doesn’t matter what you look like, or how much you know, or how talented you are. And since we’re all works in progress, let confidence bridge the gap from where you are and where you want to be (with your body, your business, etc). Fake it ‘til you make it, if necessary, which leads to:

  18. Your thoughts are mind-blowingly powerful. Like the quote says, if you knew how truly powerful your thoughts are, you’d never think a negative thought. So get on those daily affirmations: “You is kind, you is smahhht, you is impohhhtant.”

  19. Nature is the best therapy. Instant energy re-charger and soul restorer.

  20. Energy rules the universe. It all comes down to energy. This isn’t hippie talk, y’all. Don’t believe me?! Even Albert Einstein says so: “Everything is energy and that's all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

  21. Your biggest act of kindness to the world is getting right with yourself. When you’re at peace and solid in who you are, it’s a ripple effect: you radiate love and acceptance. And this world desperately needs more love and acceptance.

  22. It’s always worth an ask. Whether you’re asking for a date, a promotion, or an extra side of hot sauce - you’d be amazed what you can get if you just dare to ask.

  23. Save yourself time and sanity and don’t try to do it all (STILL learning this). Your time and energy are worth money and are finite resources. Know when it’s worth it to DIY, and when it’s better to outsource. This plays into:

  24. Stop the glorification of busy. Stop considering an impossibly-packed schedule a badge of honor. The truly successful people know how to best invest their time and energy to maximize their strengths and yield the greatest results. They also understand:

  25. Re-charging and reflection are essential, for your productivity, sanity, health, and creativity. Inspiration usually strikes not when you’re actively/aggressively luring it, but when you’re taking a breather.

  26. Normalcy is an illusion. Everyone is “weird” so own your weirdness. Your uniqueness is your superpower.

  27. Feel your emotions, don’t repress them. What you resist, persists. If you ignore/deny/shove them down, they’ll just fester and pop up eventually - in magnified form. The trick is to feel them and let them move through your body without wallowing. Emotions are emotions - they’re not good, they’re not bad. They just…are.

  28. You can appreciate others’ beauty without diminishing your own.

  29. There are multiple types of intelligence; don’t judge your intelligence or others’ by one definition. Some people are masterful musicians (sound smart), or brilliant logisticians/mathematicians (number/reasoning smart), or natural athletes (bodily-kinesthetic smart), or gifted linguists (word smart), or…the list goes on. So the next time you feel tempted to judge someone for mistaking you/you’re, consider how you’d feel if someone assessed your intelligence solely on your calculus skillz. Appreciate and play to your strengths, and honor and acknowledge others’.

  30. Everybody has a story to tell. Stay interested in others.

  31. You never know what life has in store. Do your best to enjoy the ride. Celebrate the highs. Cherish the “minor” moments. Appreciate the tough times for the lessons they teach and the strength they impart. Stay jazzed on life and never ever become numb to its beauty.

  32. Balance is the key to life.

Let’s never stop learning.

xx,

-w-

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There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.
— Sophia Loren














B O D Y as B O S S
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What’s my goal weight? I don’t have one. I will not be defined by a number. My journey is about feeling strong, confident, and healthy.

I've had some people reach out lately mentioning they've noticed a change in my physique, and demanding to know my current regimen. First of all, thank you. I appreciate the good vibes.

Secondly, the honest answer is: living intuitively. Practicing what I preach. Letting my body call the shots. 

Fall in love with taking care of your body.

What I mean by that is, I listen to my body and act accordingly. I eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full. My appetite has always ebbed and flowed, so I've made a conscious effort to honor the fluctuations. Sometimes I want to eat everything in sight, sometimes I could go all day long with only one snack in my system.

When you ditch the diet mentality and allow yourself to eat what your body wants, and there are no “good foods” or “bad foods” it acts like reverse psychology: now that you can have it, you don’t really want it.
Same with exercise - let your body move how it feels like moving, not in the way that will burn the most calories. Don’t let the anticipated calorie burn dictate what workout you do.

When I do eat, I eat what my body craves: fruit and veggies. No, really. I really and truly have always loved fruits and veggies. That's just my palate, man. Some people naturally have a six pack. Some people can belt it like Beyonce. We all have our blessings, and mine is I naturally love to eat like a bunny. If your eyes are rolling into the back of your head right now, I get it. But trust me, there are ways to make nutritious food taste good to even the strongest veggie-averse taste buds. So who knows, maybe one day you'll drink the carrot juice (I'd say Kool-Aid but that's kind of the OPPOSITE of nutritious, ya feel?!). If you follow me on Instagram, I share some of my favorite concoctions and recipes. Give them a try!

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Focus on your health, not your weight.

And although I truly love the taste of fruits and veggies, I love more how they make me FEEL. That's a major motivator for me. And for the particularly open minded, I recommend following Medical Medium (@medicalmedium on Instagram). It's been a life changer for me. He's alllll 'bout dem fruits and veggies - especially fruit - and explains what various kinds do for your body. I strongly strongly suggest checking him out if you have any persistent illness/condition - everything from insomnia to rosacea to asthma to acne to aches to...ANYTHING. If you don't feel 100%, he will get you there. Though I have yet to follow his full detox protocol (basically pounding a smoothie every day with certain superfood ingredients) I do drink fresh celery juice every morning. I'll do a post on this later.

Eating well is a form of self respect.

I also let my body dictate what movement I get in. That means I've been working out less than EVER, and when I do - I check in with my body to see what I feel like doing. Some days I feel like working legs, so I'll hit those. Some days, I feel like I need a good cardio HIIT sesh. Others, I just want to focus on upper body. And many days - the most I get in is a simple walk. THAT'S IT. If i'm feeling exhausted, then I let my body recover. I'm now living in an alternate universe where my self-admitted workout-hating sister works out more often and consistently than I do. Whaaaaat?! Never saw that one coming!

Fitness has been a focus of mine for as long as I can remember. What that means is...I have to be careful about not stagnating - mentally or physically! What I've found that helps is I'll set an interval timer on my phone (I use the app Interval Timer) for about 25 mins and do various moves for a minute each. For fresh moves, I follow and bookmark workouts on Instagram from @alexia_clark, @sandyrxfit, @taralynemerson, etc. I try to share fitness inspo accounts every Friday on my Instgram stories, so if you're needing some inspiration, I got your back!

The most consistent workout I do is Pound, which I teach at Gold's Gym every Tuesday at 5:30 PM. If you've never done it, it's a full-body, drum-inspired cardio workout using weighted rip stix. It's a BLAST. When we're not squatting or lunging (which is 80% of the class), we're working abs/booty. It's ahhhhmaaaazing. We also take it up a notch by incorporating plyometrics (jump moves). It definitely helps keep me fit. Plus, there's just something about losing yourself in the beat and jamming out like a rock star. Come try it out!

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The last thing I want to say is...I truly accept my body at all sizes. It's been a journey getting to that place but once you do...it's liberating and intoxicating and so so wonderful. I no longer see my body as something to conquer and manipulate and dominate. I see it as an ally. In my opinion...that, rather than any muscle definition or size, is the ultimate goal.

xx,

-w-

W A L K it O U T
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Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

A few years ago, I read a health and fitness article which made a pretty bold claim: Walking is the best thing you can do for your body. It listed the following benefits you usually hear associated with walking: decreased blood pressure, increased circulation, improved blood pressure, decreased joint paint, elevated mood, etc. 

Sure, all good things. But really? Walking is the best thing you can do for your body? Exaggeration much? Turns out..no. It's actually pretty dang incredible for you.

Get this: Walking is the NUMBER ONE form of exercise for which our bodies are designed. Say whaaaat. Not squats. Not crunches. Not running. WALKING. Walking is the most natural movement for us. Not only does it generate the aforementioned benefits, but studies keep finding more and more. Here are some more:

  • Reduced body fat and body weight. (Turns out, it's truly effective at reducing belly fat. Hollaaaa!)
  • Improved glycemic control, especially if you walk 30 minutes after eating
  • Boosted memory and creativity - musts for me!
  • In conjunction with the previous benefit, it sparks ideas and solutions. (My best ideas/solutions usually come when I'm out walking my dogs.) 
  • Increased lymphatic flow, which helps flush toxins from the body. (YES PLEASE!)
  • Reduced pain (It's low impact and can even help offset joint pain and arthritis by keeping those muscles warm and limber)
  • Improved sleep (particularly if you walk outside during the day, which helps regulate your circadian rhythms)

And if you really step to it and get moving, it can be an even BETTER workout than jogging! Once you near that threshold, it's actually easier to break into a jog than it is to maintain that brisk walking pace. 

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Some tips on amping up your walk:

  • Incorporate weights: ankle weights, wrist weights, weighted vest, light dumbbells, or a baby :)
  • Add in intervals: play around with varying inclines/speeds. Note: If you jack up the incline while on a treadmill, keep it hands free! If you cling to the sides of the treadmill, you're technically cheating.
  • Take a hike! A hike is a fantastic way to squeeze in some extra booty work

Working out places stress on your body. This is a good thing, because your body's reaction to the stress is what makes it stronger and faster. However, if you're in a hyper-stressed state to begin with (mentally/physically), then this can do more harm than good. Especially if you OD on the the workout/don't let your body recover. Walking is an excellent movement option if you are:

  • Wanting active recovery (especially if your muscles are sore!)
  • Easing into exercise and don't want to jump into anything too strenuous
  • Recovering from adrenal fatigue and need to mellow out for a bit while not losing your endurance
  • Are needing stress relief
  • Trying to fit both exercise and meditation into your day, yet keep falling short. Hello, moving meditation (it's a thing!)

Your walking pace, intensity, and length of time are completely up to you, depending on your individual goals/needs. A ten-minute walk 30 minutes after eating can be just as comparable as a 45-minute walk. When I walk my dogs, I turn on my tunes and zone out. It's my release time, my me time, my reflection time. I'm not trying to make a certain time or cover a certain distance - I'm there for the mental benefits. 

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So decide what you're in it for, and go for it!

Here are some helpful resources:

http://theshawnstevensonmodel.com/benefits-of-walking/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-walking-most-underrated-form-exercise-ncna797271

 

xx,

-w-

 

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MOVE YA BODY
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Let's play a game of true or false. You in?  Okay, true or false:

  • You've ever felt less than motivated to work out
  • You've ever forced yourself through a workout, hating every minute but determined to get that summer bod on lock
  • You've ever talked yourself out of exercise and talked yourself into Netflix instead
  • You've ever blasted yourself for being lazy...yet somehow that tough love failed to translate into a regular fitness regimen
  • You've ever critiqued your body and wanted to change it yet...the thought of doing something about it leaves you feeling hopeless/overwhelmed so you just...don't
  • You've ever been too exhausted to work out because LIFE

If you answered "true" to one or more then...welcome to the human club!!! I feel you. I'm a driven and disciplined person and yet...there are days i realllly don't friggin' want to work out.  Like really. And the more I try to bully and convince myself I need to, the less I want to. I always feel better after I do, but overcoming that initial hump is brutal, amiright?!!

Want to know some tricks that have been game changers for me?!! They trigger such a mentality shift for me, and work every single time, whenever I'm hurting for motivation.


               Simply focus on M O V E M E N T


That's it. Forget about aesthetics and trying to look a certain way. Forget about forcing yourself to lift as heavy as last time because you're so consumed with progressing. Forget about burning a certain number of calories or achieving a certain number of steps. Forget about leg day and chest/back day and working a certain muscle group. JUST MOVE. 

Go for a walk (I love walking my dogs and zoning out to music - it soothes my soul like nothing else). Do a Fitness Marshall dance video on YouTube (total blast). Do a few yoga vinyasas. Take the stairs at work. Stand up every 10 seconds at work (more on this later). Eliminate the pressure on yourself and just focus on simply moving. THAT'S IT. [Re]discover the joy in it.

Next:


Grant yourself permission to quit after 10 minutes


If you're lobbying hard to convince yourself you need to go to workout but you just don't wanna - then tell yourself all you have to do is ten minutes. That's all. You can quit with dignity after logging 10 minutes. You can actually get an excellent workout in (hello HIIT!!! hello lifting heavy for low reps!!!) in that amount of time. And IT'S JUST TEN MINUTES. That's about the time it takes you to shower, or eat a snack, or start getting sucked into the social media vortex. JUST TEN MINUTES. You've got this!!!

If you need workout inspo, peep Alexia Clark on Instagram (my fave!) for ideas for quick but effective circuits. What I love about Alexia is her variety of workouts. She posts at least a couple of workouts daily - via both her feed and stories.

Or message me, and I'll happily shoot you a quick workout to do!!  If you choose a cardio machine, make the most of your time by avoiding steady-state cardio (unless you're just focusing on movement - then by all means, you do you!) and incorporating intervals by adjusting time/resistance/incline/speed throughout those ten minutes.

 

xx,

-w-

 

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography