Get Outside and Put Your Feet in the Dirt!
The season is changing and it’s time to stop hiding behind your computer, get outside, and plan something fun! I dare you to do something you haven’t done before. Hike a mountain, try surfing, host a picnic in the park! Summer is about making memories and getting outdoors to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us. Me? Well, I’m heading to Hawaii in August! I haven’t been there since I was about 20 and you bet your boots I’m in for some high time adventure fun! Now is the time to take off your shoes, put your feet in the sand or the dirt, and let the rhythms of the planet sink deep within your soul. Allow nature to work its healing and energetic magic on you to allow you to connect and feel joyful.
Get in the Zone
Check this out. We talk a lot about working out, but how about “working-in?” When was the last time you took the time to reflect and replenish your energy stores? We spend so much time expending energy throughout the day and often forget to take the necessary time to regroup, breathe, and prioritize. All it takes is 5-10 minutes a day to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with yourself. Silence your phone, put away the computer and get into some meditative Zone 1 exercises to reconnect with your breathing.
Get into a slight, easy squat position, breathe, and imagine your feet are rooted into the earth. Feel the vibration of the planet and become unified with the energy that surrounds you. Allow the power of the earth to envelope and love you. Inhale deeply as you scoop the energy; lift up from the dirt at your feet, feel it flow into your legs, and breathe as it travels up into your pelvis, then up along the vertical shaft of your spine, and up to the top of your head. Receive this healing earth energy and connect with all you’re thankful for.
Stretching has got to be one of the most effective and beneficial forms of training and we so often rush through it to get to the “real stuff”. Truth is, the benefits of stretching are innumerable and allow your body to heal and repair itself. Complete these stretches gently allowing your body to feel the immediate benefits of loosening up and stretching it out!
- Lateral neck stretch. While sitting or standing, tilt your head to the side as though you are pouring water out your ear and use your hand to give a gentle tug. Reach your arm opposite side of the stretch towards the ground. Hold for 20 seconds per side and repeat 3x.
- Pec Minor Stretch. Using a Swiss Exercise Ball (the large blue ones), place your arm at a 90* angle onto the ball and press your shoulder firmly into the ball. Keep your body square as you rotate slightly to the opposite direction, feeling a secure pec stretch. Hold for 20 seconds per side.
- Upper Abdominal Stretch. Is your core feeling sore after a kick ass Ascend Body workout? This stretch is absolutely perfect for targeting your upper abdominal muscles. Do a very gentle backbend over a Swiss Exercise Ball. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3x.
- Hamstring Stretch. Depending on your body’s particular imbalances, you may find your hamstrings are super tight! Lie down flat on with a small towel under your lower back. Using a stretch strap, slowly pull one leg towards your head while flex ing your toes towards your nose. Hold 30 seconds per side and repeat 2x.
- Hip Flexor Stretch. Start by trying an easy variation by putting one knee down on a mat and keeping the opposite leg at a 90* angle. Squeeze your glutes and gently push your pelvis forward until you feel a stretch at the front of the hip. Hold 20 seconds per side. Repeat 3x.
- Thoracic Mobilizations. Place a vertical foam roller directly behind the heart, clasp your hands tight behind your neck, and let your wings (bent arms) fall out to the side using gravity to help weigh them now. Now, relax as much as you can over the roller. Focus on opening the spine and opening the heart. Hold 1 minute.
Drink Plenty of Water
Yes! It’s warmer and the days are hotter. Are you getting 1/2 your body weight in oz. per day of good clean filtered water? Your body is 75% sea water, so make sure you are staying hydrated. Of all the things I teach, it’s the most simple, and yet most important. I recommend finding a portable glass or stainless steel container and figuring out out how many containers full you need in order to reach your daily quota. Remember, if you exercise, you will likely need to drink more. If it’s extra hot, you may need even more! Don’t forget to add high quality sea salt, as sea salt has up to 80 minerals that your body uses for it’s vital functions. It’s nature’s gatorade!
Focus on Fresh Food
We teach a type of nutrition at Ascend called metabolic typing which allows us to map out a diet rich in fresh, local, organic foods. Your metabolic type, for simplicity’s sake, is your individual macronutrient ratio. It is unique to you and will be different from mine and everyone else’s! It’s our job to help you identify what your body’s specific needs are. Your macronutrient ratio needs will change depending on the amount of stress you are under and also on the season. Summer has just arrived and bodies tend to want lighter, brighter foods. Just think of the difference between a winter squash and a summer squash. The summer squash’s skin is thinner, the meat is lighter, and thus tends to feel lighter in the belly.
My homework assignment for you is to notice the following: Do you want more protein or less? Does your body crave more green vegetable or fewer? What about fruit? How much is too much? Start paying attention to what your body craves and you’ve already started mapping out what you need to fuel your body effectively.
Sync up Your Sleep
Whether we like it or not, we are creatures ruled by the sun and the moon. Yes, we can cheat nature and pull all nighters for a school or work project, drink some caffeine, or turn the lights up brighter when it’s 11pm, but I assure you, you can’t get away with this forever. And, as someone who once suffered from adrenal burnout, trust me, it’s a long road to health once burnout happens. Let’s spare you from it!
We are ruled by our circadian rhythms and when in sync, we rise with the sun. We focus by placing our eyes softly in the sun and when it goes down, we are ready for bed. Early to bed, early to rise. It can take a few weeks to get in sync, but when you do, your workouts will be better, your fat loss will be more efficient, and your energy levels will skyrocket.
Move and Exercise Outdoors
After reading last week’s blog, I hope you understand that cardio is not the answer to fat loss. While it is the answer to heart health, spending hours running on a treadmill is not nearly as important for fat loss as many people have been led to believe.
Clients often ask, what kind of cardio should I do? Before assessing goals, body type, and relationship to other workout factors, I often ask, what do you like to do? I haven’t had one person say they love the elliptical. I mean, really love it, for real. They do it because they think they need it, maybe because it’s what’s there for efficiency’s sake, but not for love. Find out what you really enjoy because that will keep you coming back for more in the long haul.
Think about what you can do outside in the sun, the breeze, and good ol’ Bay Area climate! Try going for a long walk, a hike, a bike ride. Breathe some fresh air and have some fun. Do something different!
And, if you’re looking for some outdoor workout inspiration, don’t forget to join us Sunday July 17th at 10am at Golden Gate park (FB event listing coming soon)!