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Month: June 2015

Improvement, Day 3: Fueling The Soul

I think most of us can agree that if our soul feels full, then we feel content. If it’s the slightest bit emtpy we start looking for the next thing we think will fill the void. Humans are creative. We use food, alochol, weed, late night television watching, romance novels, and . . . in order to fill whatever void is missing from our soul.

Let’s dive into some possible Fuel For The Soul options, so we don’t try to fill the soul with more emptiness.

  1. Music: My family and I recently ate dinner at a friends home. In the background of our conversations, through the laughter and occasional screeches from our children was this serene music.  Our friends said it was Lemongrass, which they followed on Pandora. The very next chance I got, I went on my Spotify to find the channel. There’s just something invigorating about Lemongrass. I listen to it when I’m working, cooking, playing with the kids – it’s good stuff. This music will definelty fuel your soul.
  2. Gut Helpers: It’s hard for the soul to feel good when your gut doesn’t. Plant-based fiber will get your system working. Fennel tea aids digestions (bloating, gas, etc…) and is loaded with great vitamins and minerals, apple cider vinegar aids in normalizing acidity, and ginger eases mentrual cramps, nausea, and can be used to help break down high-protein foods such as meats and beans.
  3. Podcasts: Comedy. Health & Wellness. Fitness. Fiction. Story Telling. Science. Spirituality. You name it, there’s probably a podcast for it. So, whatever area sparks your soul, check out some podcasts on the subject and it may just have you feeling just a little better. [My go-to podcast is The Rich Roll Podcast]
  4. Essential Oils – Trust me, I was just kind of into it when I first started reading about oils. Then, I went to my parent’s house for a family vacation and was caught off-guard when one day my feelings went from being really bothered, to blissful. I took in the essential oils my mom had “on” and did a couple yoga moves. Before I had time to process anything, I was a new person.
  5. Movement: a bit of movement can go a long way. With movement, the blood flows, edorphines are released, and you just get rid of stuff. Being a runner, I tend to use my running as a means to renew and rejuvinate myself, but as of late, I’ve been revisiting my old yoga practice due to some injuries. My head space can become clear while practicing yoga, just as it does while running.

Do you have any go-to’s to fuel your soul?

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Improvement, Day 2: Time

There’s 60 seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours in a day. 365 days in a year. 10 years in a decade. How many decades in a lifetime? The years each one of us lives, is largely dependent on how each one of us, independently, lives our lives. From food, exercise, matters of the mind, etc… they either take away from the seconds we have left or add to the the life we are living.

Time is all we have, so why shouldn’t we just make the most out of every second that we are alive? Here are some suggestions on how to make the most out of your day(s):

  1. Pieces of happiness: Identify the thing that makes you really happy. Once you know what that is, do you think that you are able to incorporate that happy piece into your first minutes of waking up? If so, try and see how it feels. Doing something you find joy in right in your waking moments can set the tone of your day. For example, I get up and kiss my kiddos & husband right away and then set off on a run or gym visit. My family makes me really happy and exericse makes me even more happy.
  2. Problems/Hardships: Are there “things” in your life? Things that chip away at your soul? Is it a short list or a long list? Are they approachable? Solveable? Can you think of some options that may help soften or dissolve the problems? Maybe it’s the strain of caring for a relative. Maybe it’s not being able to spend more time with your kids or husband. Maybe it’s struggling with paying the bills. Believe it or not, there are people out there that want to know what you are struggling with and want to help – whether it’s passing along an idea, tip, a hand, an hour, a doctor’s visit, healing time, a job. If you can open yourself up to facing the issues that are holding you down and open to yourself coming up with some sort of resolution or compromise then you will open yourself to the those in the world who want to help and the things that can help.
  3. It only takes one moment… to last a lifetime: Instead of your day being bogged down with stresses and upside down attitudes, try to MAKE one moment a day, a moment that will last a lifetime. Maybe it’s dancing and giggling with your kids, a soulful bike ride, hike, run, swim etc… Maybe it’s an embrace with your lived one that lasts that one extra second, the one that makes you both understand and feel the love without saying a word.

Share your time below and watch your second, minutes, hours, and days grow with happiness.

image Making the most out of “my” time and getting some early morning workout and work done before my kids get up and my husband heads to work. 🙂

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Improvement, Day 1: love

“ugh. I don’t want to wake up. I feel fat. My head is foggy. I want to stay in bed. Ugh.”

I hope that no one wakes up saying or thinking any of those things. Those words are uninspiring, unmotivating, and pretty depressing. If those thoughts do creep into your mind, let’s think of some other things to say, i.e. “The sky is beautiful. I want to get after this day. It’s a beautiful morning. I feel healthy and strong. I can’t wait to use my body and mind today.” Our mind is powerful and can change the course of our day – within ourselves on a cellular level and outwardly as to what we project to the world around us.

Let’s start today off with love. If we acknowledge the love in our heart and for ourselves, the love will flow from us to those around us.

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Improvement

Do you go about your daily routines questioning your fitness? Your health? Being a mother of two, a life-long runner, a personal trainer, and a coach I still ask myself those questions. Even with all of the experience in fitness that I have, I am still trying to find ways to make my fitness routine stronger. I became plant-based and gave up alocohol because I did question how healthy I was living.

So, I guess I am saying that no matter where you fall on the spectrum of fitness and health there is always room for improvement. Losing 100+ lbs. is going to be a greater challenge than dropping 5 lbs. or keeping any extra weight at bay but it can be done, nonetheless.

Over the next three days, I am going to further explore this improvement that we all have within us and we will go on a journey together to better our own health.

Day 1 begins Monday….

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How Kombucha Saved Me

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I am pretty sure that Kombucha has saved me from an adult life of alcoholism. I’ve never been a big drinker, maybe a bit in college, but not after. I actually broke up with my college boyfriend because he drank too much. I married a man who is straight-edge and has never had a drink in his life. Addiction runs strong and passionately through half of my family. From smoking, pain medication, alcohol you name it, it’s in there. My addiction is running and just exercise in general. It’s healthy, but definitely an addiction nonetheless. Knowing and understanding addiction has always made me a bit on the cautious side when it comes to alcohol.

Drinking used to be fun and light-hearted in social situations, but in the last couple of years I’ve noticed a change in its effects on my personality. One drink and I’m in a bad mood and snarky to my husband. The days following one drink, I’m cranky and lethargic. The sad part, is that I didn’t even realize that it was happening until the last time – this past New Year’s Eve. Leading up to that night, I had many nights when I craved a hard cider. It was a craving that was more intense than the pregnancy cravings I had with both boys combined. A few days into the New Year, I expressed my feelings to my husband and being the straight-edge guy he is, was psyched to have a teammate in this particular corner.

Being gluten-free (due to celiac disease) is easy. Being plant-based is fun and easy. Being an adult who doesn’t drink alcohol is… well, I imagine it will be hard. I haven’t actually had to defend my “no thanks, I’m good” position yet.

However, a few months ago I started drinking Kombucha. Before I had my boys I loved it, but it’s not recommended for pregnant or nursing moms so I gave it up – no biggie. When my alcohol revelation popped up, I remembered how I loved Kombucha. One night, I craved a hard cider and instead I bought a Kombucha. The tasty bubbliness eliminated any craving I had and so my new, healthier addiction began. I can now visualize myself enjoying a good brew of Kombucha at our 4th of July block party, instead of a hard cider or other form of alcohol.

Honestly, I’ve seen the negative effects of alcohol too many times and I’m sure others have seen more than I have. But to experience those negative effects on top of witnessing the effects in others, is enough to give it up all together.

So, my kids exhaust me at times, my work is too much sometimes, my husband works a lot, but it’s nothing that a little yoga, mediation, and Kombucha can’t fix.

Peace. Plants. Love. Kombucha.

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What Coaching Has Taught Me

Coaching taught me these things:

  1. Be Patient
  2. Be Yourself
  3. Read/Study Everything You Can
  4. Trust Yourself
  5. Inspire
  6. “Listen” with your eyes and ears

If you are a new coach, read on my friends. This past spring, I coached highschool track & field for the Portland Waldorf School. It was a learning experience like no other. So much so that I think everyone should coach at some point in their lives. I’ve coached in the past, as a young 23 year-old in RI and the second time as much more experienced version of my former self, in San Francisco.  Both groups of kids were completely open to me and my approach. I loved every second working with them, but life took me down other paths and now I’m in Portland, OR 13 years after my coaching journey began.

Coaching this season was actually a surprise. I had told the AD earlier in the year that I’d love to help the PE department or running teams in any way, as it’s my love and profession. Little did I know that the head coach would get fired and the assistant would quit, leaving me as the first option for coach. I thought I’d be walking in to the same excited, welcoming environment like my two previous experiences but it was quite the opposite. The kids wanted their old coaches and so did most of the parents. My first several weeks as coach was HARD, to say the least.

Having over 20 years as an athlete, plus the addition of multiple certifications, I knew what to coach, but it was how to coach these sensitive, yet extremely talented young student-athletes that had me stumped. I knew I didn’t have all the answers so I sought out some of my favorite coaches and asked them a bunch of questions over FB, text, email, and phone. I also got one of my new, track geek friend, Sam Smith, to help me coach a couple days a week. My husband’s high school track coach, Dave Counts, gave me lots of great info, but one thing he said that stood out was, “find a way to connect with them aside from giving workouts.” Being a writer and a lover of good lyrics, I choose to share a quote or lyric at the beginning of each practice. It was fun for me and I think the athletes liked it too. My  high school coach, Mr. Croughan, was my main support system. I remember in one phone conversation, after a trying week, that I said “I need to prove to them that I’m a good coach.” Mr. Croughan replied, “Well, if you want to prove it to yourself, that’s fine but you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone else.” Once I let that sink in, everything seemed to “click” with every athlete. I wish that I could’ve recorded the transformation somehow.

Through workouts, visualization, my quirky quotes/lyrics, pasta party, t-shirt making, laughs, sweat, and incredible performances, we ended the season with every athlete PR’ing and four female athletes qualifying for states – individual and 4x100m relay. It was exciting to be their coach because they were just so excited, focused, and determined. I helped get them there, but they made the choices to come to practice, to work hard, to become mentally tough, to give it everything they got and more. Watching them this season, I can see that they will honestly tackle every opportunity that comes their way in life.

The day before our track awards, my family and I were spectators at Pre Classic in Eugene. First, AMAZING! Second, after winning the 200m Justin Gatlin said something like, (loose quote) “I just did what my coach told me to do. Coach is always right. But if something goes wrong, it’s his fault.” The crowd laughed, including myself, but it also made me realize that that’s the way I had approached the season – trust my coaching and if it doesn’t work out, blame me! Luckily, the season felt successful with PR’s and happy faces, so no one needed to blame me for anything!

A week after all the meets, practices, and festivities ended I came across this quote by the legendary Amby Burfoot, “Coaches don’t make athletes. Athletes make coaches.” After all the ups and dowins the season brought, in the end, the athletes made me a better, stronger coach. I’ve had a good share of jobs, from owning my fitness business to being a health educator and honestly, I have never worked so hard in my life. Knowing that this small group of athletes wanted to be the every best, made me work 10x harder than I ever have in any position I’ve ever taken. So yes, the athletes do make coaches.

Cross country is next on the agenda!

Be well.

 

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