Motion Lotion

Man if you have even a little bit of a sense of humor that title has endless possibilities for ridicule. It’s a good thing I’m aware I do these things to myself.

I love movement, I don’t think I could do what I do if I didn’t. I like to lift heavy things off the floor, and sometimes over my head. I want to still be doing my thing when I’m in my 80’s, and I know movement plays a roll in the goal.

I also know that quality of movement begets quantity in the long run. Hear me out.

Exercise and movement are good for all the parts- muscles, bones, joints, heart, lungs and brain. When we move we almost always feel better. But one could argue that some movements are better then others. On top of that, it’s not the shiny objects that tend to give you the most bang for your buck.

I’ve had to learn the hard way (IE by beating up my own body) that going hard and fast all the time is going to wear you out sooner. At 38 I deal with a couple of chronic issues that I may have been able to prevent if I’d allowed myself to slow down more often and listen instead of drown out what my body was trying to tell me. I am grateful that I did finally listen before something as serious as surgery was thrown out there, and I will do EVERYTHING I can do avoid having any kind of procedure done.

So what does that look like? This puzzle has MANY pieces, so today the one I’m going to share is walking and tomorrow it’s hip mobility exercises.

Walking- Yes, you read that correctly. Get outside and go for a walk. 10, 15, 20 minutes. Use your arms, turn your face towards the sun. Listen to your favorite song or a podcast. Listen to nature. Breathe through just your nose (inhale and exhale). Can you do it? Give it a try, it’s harder then you might think.

Walking is a form of “cardio”. It’s not high impact or high intensity, and that’s the point. Running, biking, jumping, and rowing all have their place. All of them can be hard on your joints when done for an extended period of time at a moderate to high-intensity. So instead of doing one of those 5-7 days a week, add in some extended periods of just walking.

We have been conditioned to think that if we aren’t working HARD, breathing heavy and breaking a sweat that we aren’t doing enough to make a difference. That my friends is where we’ve got it all wrong. Our bodies spend an exorbitant amount of time in fight or flight. That is our natural stress response, and unless you’ve been living off the grid for the past few years, there’s a high likelihood that you’re running at a high frequency more often then you should.

Exercise is a stressor, walking is a way to utilize movement while not tipping the scale too far in the stressed-out direction. So if today isn’t snowing, raining buckets, or so windy you’re questioning whether or not you’re in Kansas anymore, get outside and take a walk. With the dog, with your kid, by yourself. Whatever it takes. And if that’s all the movement you get in today because life has other plans for you then congratulations. You can check the box and keep on moving right along.

SG

Why is healthy so HARD???

A question I have not only asked but that I get asked by clients on almost a weekly basis. Why is living a “healthy” life or making healthy choices so hard?

As with everything in this space, that is a very broad question with a rather nuanced answer but here are three reasons that stand out to me being the biggest reasons why.

  1. It’s easier to be unhealthy. Sound like BS? Depends on the person but really, our life of quick accessibility and immediate gratification have made anything that takes even a small amount of effort an inconvenience. Health is a life-long journey. It ebbs and flows, and it requires constant tweaking. Discipline is necessary in order to maintain any progress that has been made, and if we’re being honest discipline isn’t sexy. It isn’t fun. Modern life has made it EASIER to be unhealthy.
  2. Being healthy/ making health a priority is EXPENSIVE. Take a look at any menu- what is the most expensive vs. the least? When you’re in the store, is organic produce and pasture raised meat more expensive then the normal produce and pre-packaged stuff? Then look at what comes out of the freezer, canned and boxed areas. That stuff is pennies on the dollar by comparison. How about medical care? I have MANY strong feelings as it pertains to our healthcare system (95% them are not fantastic) but follow the dollar signs. Even the way fitness is marketed- what does a Peloton cost? How about a boutique gym membership? All of the things that point to making healthier choices usually come with a price tag. Are there free options out there? Of course there are! But they aren’t nearly as sparkly.
  3. Change. Is. Hard. Period. The way we are hardwired (as humans) we don’t like change. It’s uncomfortable, it’s challenging, and in order to see results we have to put effort in for an extended period of time. That doesn’t not correlate with the current world we live in, but this isn’t a new phenomenon. Making New Years Resolutions has been a joke forever, and yet people set themselves up for the same failure every year. We’re going to start on Monday, or after we do this, or after that happens, and then we don’t do anything at all because #hard.

So am I here to defend the above reasons and tell you that your health is not your problem and that it should be made easier so you can make the changes you need to make.

If you think that you don’t know me very well.

I’ll say it again (I’ve been saying this for months) YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. Nobody elses.

In rebuttal to the excuses commonly used above I will encourage you to consider instead-

  1. Instead of focusing on how hard it is, look for easy wins. You’ve heard this before but instead of taking the elevator (if you actually go anywhere these days) take the stairs. Or park in a further parking space instead of right up front. Go outside and take a walk if you have a break instead of scrolling social media for 10 minutes. Pack your lunch instead of eating out. Read a book instead of zoning out to Netflix. You don’t have to make huge choices all the time to see progress, the little things become the dial movers with consistent practice.
  2. Yes, health is expensive. But being SICK is more expensive. Buying better quality anything will cost you more up front. Better food, better supplements, better beauty products, yes it adds up. But if you want sticker shock- google how much a heart bypass surgery costs ($20,000-$30,000). Cancer treatment ($5000-$70,000 depending on treatment). Insulin for the rest of your life ($200-$500 per month depending on insurance coverage). Sure Medicare will cover some of it, but even the best insurance plans leave people broke from paying for treatments to illnesses that can often be prevented by taking care of your health. That doesn’t mean you have to overhaul everything about your shopping list and life all at once. You might go broke if you try to do it that way (especially right now). But when you run out of something, replace it with a healthy alternative (things like personal beauty care products, home cleaning products and laundry soap). Don’t buy things that you know trigger you to over-indulge. Invest your money in the dial movers one at a time. Something is almost always better then nothing.
  3. Instead of focusing on the Hard, focus on the Wins. As I mentioned before, we aren’t wired to like making big changes in our life. We get set in our ways, and once that happens See Ya Later Alligator. Instead of looking at how far you need to go, sit back and acknowledge how far you’ve already come. I’m a big fan of rewarding yourself for progress (the trick is finding a reward that isn’t going to set you back and trigger other negative habits or feelings) so find something that will bring you joy to reward your progress. Also, when you mess up or don’t perfectly execute something shake it off and keep going. The number of times I’ve seen people (and at times done this myself) throw in towel after one small mistake is enough to make me pull out the small amount of hair I have. As I said before, the small things add up to become the big things. Celebrate the victories no matter how small they seem and keep moving forward.

So let’s wrap this up… Why is “Healthy” hard? Because it benefits way more people for it to be hard, not easy.

It’s up to you grab the bull by the horns and decide for YOU what being healthy means and what YOU are willing to do to get there. Start small, be intentional & gradual, and celebrate the wins regardless of how unremarkable they may seem. “Healthy” is a challenge, but it only has to be as hard as you make it.

You’ve got this, I have the utmost faith in you!

~Sara

The Mom Health Crisis

I think that title is a bit dramatic, and maybe misleading BUT, I want to talk about it so let’s go.

The maternal health crisis is not the one to which I am currently referring (though that is a BIG problem that we as a nation need to address) what I want to talk about here is being a mom and putting our health last because we are managing all the other humans and all the other things ALL DAY LONG.

Somewhere along the way, it was narrated that as a mother we must do ALL the things, be self-sufficient, never get sick, be happy, be nurturing, and love the hell out of our kids, ALL THE TIME. Oh, and at the same time just be ok with being exhausted, burned out, and maybe just sad/angry/miserable because that is what motherhood is all about.

Sister-Mama-Friend, I’m not about this life. If any of what I just wrote above resonates with you it’s time for you to not be about it either.

I read somewhere (probably on Pinterest) something like “Mom’s don’t get sick, we don’t have time for that shit” and it’s true but it’s also wrong. There are jokes galore about the “man cold” but seriously, why is it that when we hit our wall it’s just expected that we’ll suck it up and keep at it because it’s just what we are supposed to do?

I’m going to raise my hand right now and say that I have been guilty, on numerous occasions. I have to be knocked down so hard I cannot physically leave my home in order to stop. Or, rather, that was me. Now (in this moment) I can tell you that when I need to stop, I stop.

Taking care of ourselves is NOT a selfish act. I’d argue choosing martyrdom over not taking care is a greater slight.

Before I go any further, I’ll be transparent and say I come from what would be considered a space of “priviledge” to say these things. I have a husband/partner that takes responsibility for the role he plays in our children’s lives and is an active participant in our daily routine. I have my own business and I make my own schedule. I am usually in command of how I spend my time (that isn’t an accident) so my ability to make my health and wellness a priority has been a non-negotiable as well as being part of my job.

But back to my point, Mom’s bust their butts all day and take care of everyone else before they take care of themselves. I’m not just talking about flowery “self-care” like bubble bath’s with scented candles, getting your nails done, or getting a massage (Personally I find that those hurt like a SOB and so while they are self-care and necessary they are NOT what I call relaxing). I’m referring to the act of consciously choosing to make our health (of which self-care is a part) a priority.

Raise your hand if any of the following sound like you:

  • Hit a wall by 3pm
  • Need coffee to get it together in the morning, or anytime during the day
  • Bloated and uncomfortable even when you aren’t pregnant, PMSing or just ate Chipotle
  • All the Brainfog
  • Tired as hell but can’t fall asleep at night
  • Little to zero sex drive

All of these things are common, and I’m willing to bet you’ve assumed most of them just come with being a mom. Common and normal are not the same thing, and everything on that list is a signal from your body that it wants you to pay attention. But we don’t because #momlife.

Well Mamacita, if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired I’m here for you. None of the symptoms mentioned above just disappear and go away. There is a reason your body is communicating with you through these symptoms (inflammation, auto-immune disease, food allergy or intolerance, hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue, etc) even if your primary care physician has told you everything is “normal”.

The road is often long, and sometimes it isn’t pleasant, but after the shitstorm that was 2020 I learned that if I don’t have a vested interest in my own health, then only those that profit from me being unwell will.

You keep fifty balls in the air at all times Mama, sometimes those balls crash down, and sometimes you need to put a few to the side so that you can take care of you and get them back in the mix. Taking your health and wellness seriously isn’t selfish, it isn’t out of your reach, and you and everyone around you will benefit if you decide it’s worth your focus. Take care, and we’ll navigate together.

Your fellow Mama in Wellness

~S

What the Health??

When you hear the word health, what comes to mind?

To you, what is the picture perfect definition of the word?

Do you fit into that picture?

Why or why not?

I got into the fitness world almost a decade ago because I saw for the first time that women could be strong as hell, lift heavy stuff, and not actually have to worry about getting “bulky” (Can you guess what I was told growing up???) But as most people do, I found the more I dove into different disciplines, the more that I saw being strong was such a small piece of a very intricate puzzle.

Health to me is all-encompassing. If 2020 taught me nothing else it was how much I value what I perceive to be “good health” and diving deeper into all the things I can do to tweak and maintain it.

It includes physical, mental, and emotional health, and deep dives into various aspects of each health pillar. I’ll go out on a limb and say I dive a bit deeper then the average human on these topics and I spend a decent amount of time “bio-hacking” on myself to figure out what works best for ME, and then what might be beneficial to the people that trust me as their trainer and coach.

Our bodies are BRILLIANT machines, and they are made to run as such when we treat them as such. Modern convenience and lifestyle has turned us into lazy, sugar-addicted, screen worshipping zombies. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I’m just as involved as anyone else.

In the same breath I acknowledge where I can be/do better, where I’m not willing to budge and where I know I need to do SOMETHING because otherwise it’s just madness.

My goal here is to provide insight and be of assistance to anyone trying to navigate health themselves while maybe not having a specific starting point. We ALL start somewhere, SOMETHING is better then NOTHING, and no two people are exactly the same so what works for you may not work for someone else.

Instead of all the screaming, polarizing and condescension that seems to go down on all the big social platforms I’m going to hang out here and see what happens.

Thanks for reading/ following along. I’m excited to wax poetic about our bodies, brains and feelings (I couldn’t come up with a third “b” word to insert there). If there’s something specific you want to hear about leave me a comment below.

Thanks!

~S

Moving back into Alignment

If 2020 has done nothing else, it has showed me quite clearly the importance of acting from your center.

Like anyone else my world was turned upside down in March of this year, and I have spent the past 7 months trying to piece it all together in a way that makes sense.

To be clear it is still murky, but at this point I feel comfortable in saying I’ve found level ground and that feels like one hell of an accomplishment.

The thing that I discovered was out of alignment was my values. The things that usually meant the most to me were no longer a priority. I was purely in survival mode, I was allowing outside sources to dictate my thoughts and in turn my actions. I was miserable, overwhelmed, and not coping well.

This led me to make decisions that in hindsight I would make differently, and while I cannot go back and undo some of them, I can choose to move forward from a place of heart or a place of panic and fear.

I know which one I choose.

I’ve hesitated to write/ post in quite a while. I haven’t wanted to come off as “insensitive” or upset anyone. I haven’t wanted to share what I’m thinking for fear of how I would be perceived. It’s been a pretty shitty way to live.

Many of my thoughts do not align with the mainstream media and the agenda of people with more power then I.

I’m so over it.

I know I’m not the only one.

I’m tired of being told to be afraid.

I’m tired of decisions being made for me that are presented as being “for the greater good”, but there is very little logic behind it.

I’m tired of lies, fear, and doomsday.

I’m ready to live my truth and values, so it is what I’m going to do.

I truly hope you do the same. Whether our “views” align or not, I hope you are able to focus on living the best life and situation for you and yours. At one time or another we were able to coexist with people that didn’t think exactly like we do, I’m hopeful that one day we might be able to get back to that.

Until then, choose to follow or choose to cancel, I’m not too worried about it either way. I’m going to keep doing me, keep trying to put good into the world, and keep loving on my kiddos and family because in the end that’s really what’s most important to me.

See you soon!

~S

Women and Weights- Part 1.

Once upon a time women were told that they shouldn’t lift weights because it would make them look like men and thus be undesirable. They wouldn’t want to be bulky, and they could get hurt. More “feminine” exercise was encouraged and anything that looked like “strength” training was il-advised.

Aren’t you glad we don’t live in that world anymore?? Oh wait…

It’s not as bad as it used to be, and with the rise in popularity of things like StrongFirst, CrossFit, The Titan Games, Girls Gone Strong, B!RTHF!T, and social media, strength training for women is getting some great press.

There are still those out there that preach that women shouldn’t lift more then 2lbs (which is laughable if you carry a purse or have children) but somehow that rhetoric still sells.

There are many reasons why women should incorporate strength training into their health and wellness routine, and this is what I want to chat about today. General aesthetics won’t be mentioned, so while that may be a motivating factor to get started I promise that by the end of this you’ll have more information at your disposal.

Before I dive in I want to be clear on a couple things-
The information presented is done so from time spent reading research/ journals and data collected by humans much smarter then I, as well as my own journey in the world of strength training both personally and professionally.
My goal in how this is written is for those that don’t want to read super complex data, but want the information in an easy to understand manner. I am happy to share any and all of my sources if you are interested in reading more. But for the sake of the scroll-averse I’m going to make this as easy to digest as possible.

4 Compelling Reasons You Should Be Strength Training:

More muscle= More efficient body at rest.

The more muscle mass you have, the more efficient your body is at rest. A pound of fat burns 1-2 calories per hour while a pound of muscle burns up to 6 calories per hour. (1) I’m not a mathematician, but I like those odds.
The quality of calories consumed cannot be dismissed, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. But for those that say they do cardio so they can eat… strength training is a better long-term investment.

Women begin to see a decrease in muscle mass at age 40.

For women, we begin to lose lean muscle mass at 40. To put that into perspective, that means you will lose 50% of your lean muscle mass by the time you turn 80. The magic number “40” doesn’t mean you can’t start strength training at any time, it simply means the earlier you start the more muscle mass you will start with when inevitable aging begins.

Weight training improves bone health.

This one requires me to get a little more science-y, but bear with me. Strength training stimulates osteoblast activity which are the cells that promote bone growth (3).
It is estimated that 80% of the 10 million people that live with osteoperosis are women, and that 50% of women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoperosis.
If that isn’t terrifying, a woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. (4)
YIKES!!!
Bottom Line, strength training makes your bones stronger so you don’t break them as easily especially as you age.

Being strong makes life easier.

Aside from being the Boss woman that can carry 25 grocery bags in one trip while also holding a baby carrier, when we are strong we simply FEEL more capable. It pisses me off when I can’t get the damn pickle jar open and I have to ask my husband. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does I get real annoyed. The fact that you can do more for yourself doesn’t mean you don’t need a man (unless that’s your jam, whatever floats your boat) but it will make your life easier and more convenient.
Another example I like to use is being able to play with your kids at the playground. Lifting them up and tossing them around, hanging from the monkey bars and jumping off a moving swing. You become a more active participant when you are focusing on what you can do and instead of what you can’t. Strength training helps you do all the things.

The journey to strength training can be intimidating, which is why many women choose not to pursue it at all. That is why for the month of March on my Instagram and Facebook pages I will be going over the “Big 4” movements that are the foundations of strength training.

I’ll also be following this post up with one that talks about how to get started on your strength training journey. Stay Tuned!

~S

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980962/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4066461/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2811354
  4. https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/



What Makes A Good Workout?

I’ll start by answering that question with another question- what is your goal?

That is my answer for several questions that I get asked on a frequent basis. To me it seems like that would be a logical response, but often I’m met with a look of confusion.

As a trainer I would define a “good workout” as one that left you feeling better then when you started, one that helped you get one step closer to your goals, and one that pushed you out of your comfort zone without making you it’s bitch. Let’s break that down shall we?

“A workout that leaves you feeling better then when you started”
This doesn’t mean that you weren’t challenged or pushed. What it does mean is that when you finished you had a sense of accomplishment and were able to walk out of the gym being happy you showed up.
Movement should be making you feel better, not worse. Discomfort is part of the deal, especially for newbies. PAIN is not, and it shouldn’t be celebrated.

“A workout that helps you get one step closer to your goals.”
Those (your goals) should be clearly defined from the get-go. Are you working out to lose body fat? To build more muscle? To run your first 5k or Spartan or Triathalon? Are you returning to exercise after major surgery or childbirth and you’ve just been cleared by your doctor? Do you want to be able to chase your toddler or take your kids on a family hike? Do you want to stave off health issues that have plagued your parents or other members of your family?
Working out doesn’t have to be purely aesthetic. To be honest you’re likely to have more success if that isn’t your only driving factor. But also having a why and setting up goals along the way will also set you up for the long term.. Movement and exercise aren’t just short term solutions. They are lifetime choices that can and will set you up for a better quality of life, or a not-so-good one. That choice is yours to make.
When you show up to wherever you get a little movement in ask yourself- is what I’m doing today going to get me closer to where I want to be? If the answer is “No” then I’d suggest asking yourself why you are doing whatever it is that you are doing in the first place.

“A workout that pushed you out of your comfort zone without making you it’s bitch”.
So this goes hand in hand with the first point, and I mention it again to say that if you feel like you have been through the ringer every single time you go to the gym perhaps you need to do a bit of reflection.
As an athlete I love a hard workout.
As a mom, business owner, trainer and person that needs their body to function in order to make a living I don’t dig them all the time.
As a woman there are times during the month that all I can do is show up and be gentle. If this is the first time you are hearing this, here’s a secret- our bodies are cyclical in nature. We feel that way on purpose, and if you are tuned into it, listening to your body will be the biggest gift you can give yourself.

Resistance training, weightlifting, boot camp, whatever it is you enjoy doing is meant to be challenging. That is what allows progress to happen. Soreness is part of the game as well. When muscles are worked in ways that they aren’t used to, they become sore as a result. But if you finish your workout and have zero energy to take on the rest of your day, or if you are so sore when you’re done that moving through your normal day-to-day is a challenge, I’d encourage you to ask yourself WHY you’re doing it. What are you gaining by feeling that way all the time? If that is the only measure you have to feel like your workout was successful, I’d encourage you to really give that some thought. If you are surrounded by people that think the same way, I ask you what other positive attributes are they contributing to your health and wellness?
I used to wear this mentality as a badge of honor, I thought I wasn’t doing nearly enough if I wasn’t miserable until my next workout. That was all fine and good, until it wasn’t. Until injuries overtook soreness. Until my ability to be a mom became more challenging because I couldn’t move. Until my body loudly stated that it had “ENOUGH”.

Listening to our bodies can be a humbling experience. For many of us we were conditioned from a fairly young age to just get after it, no matter what. What if instead we gave ourselves the grace and courage to instead do things that make us feel good and also help us to move better and live better in the long run? Engaging in workouts that help us as opposed to hurt us is one way to do that.

Ask yourself next time you’re ready to hit the gym- is this workout going to make me better or not? Then proceed accordingly.

~S