Yoga Beyond the Physical Limitations

YogaJulieThere comes a point in exercise — whether it’s yoga, strength training, running or whatever you enjoy doing — that we reach a point of physical exhaustion. What fuels you to keep going? Maybe it’s be a mantra, an inspirational quote, remembering the reason you started in the first place… whatever it may be, there’s a reason you keep coming back.

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When I started yoga a few months ago, I was such a newb. I always loved yoga because I’m naturally pretty flexible from dance, but I soon learned yoga is about WAY more than flexibility. (Note: I THOUGHT I was flexible until I saw the ways some people are able to bend their bodies…. Holy cow.)

I never understood why people were so obsessed with yoga, honestly. “Yeah. It’s a good way to stretch, but it’s not even really a workout,” I used to think to myself. Kind of like when I never understood why people were so obsessed with their dog until I adopted Cocoa.

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And like I never understood the obsession with animals until I met a giraffe.

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Yes, I’m a weirdo.

But, like what’s listed above, it’s one of those things you have to experience to understand.

How did my perception of yoga change? I found a fabulous yoga studio that challenges me physically and mentally. But you know what? It’s not solely a physical practice for me anymore. Obviously it challenges me physically (still waiting for the day I can hold a headstand/handstand/arm balance and be “at peace” like devoted yogis claim). But it also challenges me mentally.

I use my practice to connect to the universe. Honestly, I’ve never felt stronger in my relationship with God than I do right now. I set an intention for my practice — gratitude, grace, acceptance and I flow with it (quite literally).

So, what keeps me coming back to my mat?

Gratitude, strength, wisdom, peace of mind, mental clarity, JOY, peace, love, positive energy, the challenge, the ability to focus on the present, a room filled with people who are trying to better themselves, the rush of feeling things I’ve never felt before (physically and mentally), the ability to FINALLY love my body for what it’s able to do rather than how it looks, to honor God and to better myself.

Don’t let the fear of being inflexible scare you away from doing yoga. Trust me, if my dad can do it and love it, so can you :-P. As one of my instructors told me, there’s no such thing as a “good” yogi. Just when you think you’re good, someone comes along and makes something you struggle with seem effortless.

And yes, taking yoga classes at a studio is a bit more expensive than the free ones that come with your gym membership. Trust me, I get it. But unless you have a wonderful instructor at your chain gym that challenges you in the ways I’ve learned above (which I’ve never run into in all my time there. Generally that’s not their purpose because they’re looking to serve the masses and people who consider yoga just to be “stretching,” at no fault to them), it’s worth it to try a studio!

I see it as an investment in myself: the more I learn to understand my body and the way it works; the more I practice gratitude, self confidence, love, joy, grace and understanding; the better I’ll be able to serve others I’m in relationship with, especially my future personal training clients.

We’re all on this journey separately, but together. Humans are wired to crave a deeper connection beyond anything the physical world offers. I’ve found connection to the only One who will ever truly satisfy through yoga and meditation.

 

I hope you will, too. 🙂

Unplanned Rest Day: How do I Deal?

Today was a HUGE step in the right direction for me! Here’s the story:

I was house sitting this weekend and didn’t get much sleep, plus I’ve been working out on top of it all. On Monday, I could barely see straight and ended up taking a SIX HOUR NAP in the middle of the afternoon (red flag #1). So, Tuesday rolls around. I woke up feeling slightly refreshed, but knew I had a workout on the books.

Here’s where the change in my mindset comes in:

Old me would’ve said: “Just push through it. You don’t need to rest. You’re going to blow up into a Beluga whale if you don’t go to the gym.” (lol)

Isthisreallife

Balanced Julie said: “You need to realize that you’re probably doing too much. When even the THOUGHT of working out sounds miserable, and you can’t imagine gathering the strength to push through a workout, PLEASE give your body rest!”

I started noticing myself slipping into old habits of overexercising and being addicted to exercise, which I wrote about here.

As you know, overexercising is in my nature. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because I’m a 100% kind of person (in everything!) With food, I’m either eating ALL THE THINGS or not eating enough. With exercising, I’m trying to do my own workouts on top of teaching classes, when in real life my classes should suffice (two total body weights classes and a boot camp, currently) with maybe a day or two of cardio or targeted weight training added in.

Sometimes we just need to listen to our bodies and give them rest when we need rest. Am I going to gain 40 lbs. if I don’t workout for one day? No. Two days? No. Three? No. You get the point.

It’s all about balance and quieting that voice in your head that tells you that you absolutely NEED to be working out, when your body is telling you absolutely NOT! More change actually happens when our bodies are resting and repairing themselves, along with many other key points:

  • Our muscles build themselves through rest! We NEED IT in order to see the changes we want. Alternatively, if we’re overexercising, we can actually reach a plateau in terms of progress. No rest = no repair = no results.
  • The body adapts to the stress that training requires. Weight training especially is stress on the body, so just as we need rest from stress mentally, we need rest from physical stress as well.
  • Overtraining can lead to exhaustion; trouble sleeping; lack of motivation to do ANYTHING, especially going to the gym; and in some cases, lack of menstruation in women (amenorrhea).

So, today I will be doing nothing that involves any kind of activity.

restdayAnd I am starting to be OK with that 🙂 

Of Possible Interest:

I’M MOVING

Come Saturday, I’ll be all moved into my new condo with this gal! Brunette Girls

[Saturday night… I wish I could share the rest of the hilarious pictures and videos. I love my friends haha]

Get used to her pretty face because I’m sure you’ll be seeing it a lot around the blog (which isn’t a bad thing… she IS a babe.) 😉

I spent the weekend house sitting near my new condo and we painted my room on Saturday!

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I decided to go with “concrete gray” walls, and I’m decorating with mustard yellow and white accents 🙂 I’ll be sure to upload pics once I’m all moved in!

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By the way… I went to a spin class on Saturday and let’s just say that was completely unnecessary. I’ve painted my room in nearly every house I’ve lived in, yet always seem to forget what a WORKOUT it is! Holy cow!

Side note: Target, aka a woman’s holy grail, is my JAM! Once I upload the pics of my finished room, I’ll include details about where I bought everything (Target, Target and Target). I could seriously decorate for a living. Housewife, heeeeey! 😛 I have my eye on this storage bench because it perfectly matches my pillows, but I don’t know if I can pull the trigger yet. We shall see.

After a weekend full of rest and fun workouts, I was back on track today teaching my Body Works class and also completed this back and biceps workout:

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I’ve also decided to leave out the “fat loss” title of this 12-week workout plan. While my goal right now IS to lose some fat, I don’t want to give off the impression that I’ve gone back to my old ways of caring only about appearance.

This decision was sparked by a comment I received from someone asking me why it seemed like I was going back to my old ways. My response in my head: WELL DAMN. It does seem like that, doesn’t it? (Old ways meaning disordered, only caring about body image, etc.)

Here was my response to her:

I’m still accepting and appreciating my body 🙂 I’ve just made a goal to get in a little bit better shape since at first I was stuck bingeing, then I wasn’t eating enough, and then went back to bingeing. Now I’m just trying to balance it all out and figure things out the healthy way 🙂 I’m accepting my body the way it is in the process, and loving it every step of the way (which is a way different mentality than I would’ve had before– focusing solely on looks and not how I felt or fueling my body properly.) Now, I’m fueling my body properly, loving it how it is, but still striving to improve my health and fitness. Thanks for your concern!

Again, I’m still a work in progress and my NO MEANS do I have everything all figured out just yet. Who knows, maybe I never will. But that’s why I have this little space over in my corner of the internet… to share my struggles, share things that make me happy (working out is one of them, which is why I’m sharing my workouts for 12 weeks), and help others live a healthier and happier life overall. I hope that helping YOU also helps ME, as I write to learn and learn from my own writing.

Thanks for reading 🙂 This was way longer than I expected! But my heart it so full of gratitude for you all. And it also happens to be my one year blogiversary! Dawwww 🙂 ❤

The Root of Emotions and a Shoulder Workout

RootOfEmotions

“No one has direct power over your emotions except for you.”

I’ve been told this many, many times, but it’s not exactly comforting to me. What if someone is rude to me? What if I’m criticized? What if everything seems to be going wrong and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to control it?

These are all outside factors that have the power to affect us internally. But here’s the key: only if we left it. 

We have no power or control over what happens to us; what others say about us; the words that come out of another person’s mouth, with or without malicious intent. All we have control over is how we react to it. Ultimately, we’re responsible for our own emotions. No one has the power to make us feel sad, happy, guilty, worthless, inadequate, etc. Those emotions are rooted within.

Think of your emotions as a tree. The fruits of the tree are the emotions that you outwardly produce. These emotions stem from deep down in the root of the tree — your heart, your soul, your values. That’s why we’re more likely to talk bad about others if we feel bad about ourselves. Alternatively, we’re more likely to give others compliments and fill them with joy if we’re internally happy.

This is why it’s so important to spend time on self care — giving ourselves love and nurturing ourselves. We can’t take care of anyone else if we’re feeling down about ourselves.

Sometimes (actually most of the time) as I’m writing these posts, it’s like I’m speaking directly to myself. There have been a lot of things going on in my life lately that I’ve let steal my joy and happiness and who I am at the root of my being. I’m producing some rotten fruit because I’ve let outside factors affect the deep-seated roots I’ve worked so hard to build over time.

Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with our lives, we need to focus on what’s right with our lives. Negate any negative emotion by replacing it with a positive:

“Joe said I don’t produce good work.” –> “I’m well able to create great work. I am talented in what I do.

“I look fat today.” –> “My self worth is not defined by my appearance. I’m going to focus on the way I love others, my passion and ways I can contribute to make others’ lives better.

“I’m spinning my wheels because I’m taking on too much.” –> “I’m blessed by all the opportunities in my life. Is there anything I can get rid of or spend less time doing so I can have more time to care for myself?

These are easy to say, but you actually have to believe these positive reinforcements in order for change to happen within. And the more you repeat these, the more you will start to believe them. It may take time, but eventually the truth will seep down into the roots of your soul and you’ll begin to produce healthy, beautiful fruit on your branches. 🙂

PHEW!!! That was a deep one.

Do you feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders? Not for long ;-)… Physically, at least. Day 5 will leave your shoulders burning and looking sculpted in no time!

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I hope you take some time for yourself today. In the end, you must love and take care of yourself in order to do the same for others.

Love you guys. MEAN IT!

Day 4: Arms and Abs

Hey, lovelies!

I’m not feeling too hot and it’s a busy day here at the agency, but here’s day 4 of the program, as promised!

On the sets you’re performing 10 reps, challenge yourself with heavier weights. Also, the cardio can be done on ANY machine, just do 30 sec. at high intensity (about a 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10) and 30 seconds medium intensity (4 or 5 on a scale of 1-10). For example, I did this on the Arc Trainer this morning and put my resistance at 45 for 30 sec. and 15 for 30 sec. (the resistance went up to 100). I was a super sweaty mess by the end!

armsandabsday4Happy, happy Thursday!

 

One-Word Survey + Leg Workout

Happy hump daaaaay!

Can you believe it’s already Wednesday? This week is flying by. Before I know it, I’ll be all moved out of my house and into my condo with my friend Bailey!

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My plans to stay in Orlando have officially been extended. I always pictured myself living elsewhere and even planned to look for work out-of-state when I graduated in December, but God has me here at this time in my life. Don’t know exactly why yet, but I’m going to trust His plan. Can’t argue with the Big Man Upstairs, can I?

Speaking of Florida, shorts season is upon us! (It’s coming soon enough for you too, northerners.) Either way, it’s time to shape and sculpt the booty and the legs with day 3 of the 12-week fat loss challenge! What better time to work our lovely lady (or male) humps than hump day ;-)?

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Annnnd for some Wednesday trivia… Here’s a little survey I found! I used to love surveys back in the day and I still do. The rules for this one? Answer everything in one word. Ready…. GO!

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk

2. Your hair? Natural

3. Your mother? Amazing

4. Your father? Wise

5. Your favorite food? Mexican

6. Your dream last night? Weird

7. Your favorite drink? Water

8. Your dream/goal? Happiness/Joy

9. What room are you in? Office

10. Your hobby? Fitness

11. Your fear? Moving

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy

13. Where were you last night? Gym

14. Something you aren’t? Energized

15. Muffins? Nope

16. Wish list item? Heart rate monitor (oops… three words, one item)

17. Where did you grow up? Orlando

18. Last thing you did? Meeting

19. What are you wearing? Jeans

20. Your TV? Untouched

21. Your pets? Adorable

22. Your friends? Awesome

23. Your life? Changing

24. Your mood? Sleepy

25. Missing someone? Family

26. Vehicle? Toyota

27. Something you’re not wearing? Necklace

28. Your favorite store? Grocery!

29. Your favorite color? Mint

30. When was the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Lastweek (lol sorry for cheating!)

32. Your best friend? Far

33. One place that I go over and over? Gym

34. One person who emails me regularly? Grandma

35. Favorite place to eat? Season’s 52

Now it’s your turn! Answer 1-2 of the questions below, or if you’re a blogger, take the whole survey! Do we have any similar answers? Any completely different?

Love you guys!!!

Making Decisions + Chest and Abs Workout

Hi friends!

I have a great chest and abs work out on the books today, but before I get into that, I wanted to share a little conversation my dad and I had last night.

He diagnosed me with “paralysis by analysis.” In other words, I think about things WAY. TOO. MUCH. And he’s right. I sit there and weigh the pros of cons of literally EVERYTHING and it almost paralyzes me from making decisions. I always knew I was indecisive, but didn’t really know why. I think it was sort of an “AHA” moment for me — sometimes I need to just stop thinking and start doing. If not now, when?

Speaking of doing, here’s the work out that I have on the agenda for today! It’s day 2 of my 12-week fat loss plan and I’m super excited for today’s workout. I must admit, ladies, there are lots of “perks” that come along with training the chest, if you know what I’m saying 😉

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One thing I love about this plan is that I have my workouts planned out before I head into the gym, so all I have to do is show up and do it. NO THINKING REQUIRED. Yay!

I’d also like to share some things that are making me super happy lately: my girlfriends :-)! We had an absolute blast at the Winter Park Art Festival this past weekend. I tell ya, I appreciate art SO much more now that I’m older. Drag me to any art show between the ages of 5-18 and you can guarantee I was either napping, “too cool,” or pretending to be disinterested. Not anymore! Here are some highlights:

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