The term ‘metabolism’ is used to describe all the different chemical reactions that occur within your body in order to sustain and maintain your life.
They can conveniently be divided into two sections.
● Catabolism – This describes the process by which molecules are broken down to obtain energy.
● Anabolism – This describes the process by which compounds are synthesized in order to feed and build cells.
In slightly more technical terms you can break the function of your metabolism into three different groups:
The Resting Metabolic Rate, or ‘RMR’ – Looks at your body in a resting and awake state, and the amount of energy that is needed to fuel all bodily functions in this state.
The Thermic Effect of Activity, or ‘TEA’ – Refers to the rate at which you burn through calories when exercising or being active throughout your day.
The Thermic Effect of Feeding, or ‘TEF’ – Is used to determine the number of calories required during the eating and digesting of food.
So, as you may have gleaned from this, one of the leading roles your metabolism plays in your body, is the digestion and conversion of foods into energy. Which is why your metabolism is such an important consideration when we talk fitness and health! You may often hear people expressing a desire to ‘speed up’ their metabolic rate (or total energy expenditure), in order to help them achieve their fitness goals. The reason for this is two-fold.
Firstly the rate at which your metabolism functions directly affects the rate at which you burn through calories when resting or participating in everyday activities. So the faster your metabolism, the more calories you will be burning, simply through standing up and walking to your refrigerator!
Secondly the faster your metabolic rate, the more energized you feel at any given time throughout your day. This means you will have more fuel powering you through your workouts so you can push that little bit harder for that little bit longer!
People with slower metabolisms tend to have less energy and put weight on easier than people with faster metabolisms. Unfortunately, the reality is that having a slow metabolism may be something your parents have passed down to you. Don’t let that put you off though, there are numerous healthy and effective ways in which you can amp up your metabolic rate.
Here are 5 Tips for boosting your metabolism naturally:
Get Your Heart Pumping First Thing – A fantastic way to kick start your metabolism from the moment you wake up, is by jump starting your heart and lungs into action first thing. Even just a quick 10 minute HIIT sesh, or simple cardio workout, will be enough to stimulate your metabolism into action. Exercising first thing also works to wake up your digestion system so that it ready to start working on your breakfast. If you are starting off with a simple workout, of less than 30 minutes, then drinking a glass of water beforehand should be enough to get you through, so you can enjoy a nutritious breakfast when you are done.
Drink Water – Get yourself into a habit of drinking a glass of water first thing each morning. Not only will this help combat potential dehydration, and help wake you up, it will also flush through your digestive system stimulating your metabolism into action.
Don’t Skip Breakfast! – Breakfast is the time in which you ‘break the fast’ of the evening before. It really is an important meal, because it provides the energy foundations from which you will set about tackling the rest of your day. If you skip your breakfast, you are much more likely to fade on an energetic level, as well as potentially make poorer food choices as your day progresses. In relation to your metabolism, breakfast is essential in starting off the digestive processes, which in turn is an essential element to firing up your metabolism. So don’t skip your breakfast and make sure you opt for healthy, protein-rich foods that are low GI, to maximize on your energy potential.
Move it – High-intensity cardio is the most effective way of raising your resting metabolic rate. The fitter you are, the faster your metabolism. So incorporate some cardio into your workout routine as often as possible, to help stimulate your metabolism and increase its overall efficiency.
Build It, To Boost It – The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolic rate will be. Every single muscle contraction in your body, no matter how basic, requires energy. This means that simply by sitting upright or scratching your nose, you are burning through calories. When you are using a muscle (your biceps for example), all the muscle fibers contract to create the movement. Each and every muscle fiber involved in the movement requires energy. The more muscle fibers you have, the more energy you will expend! So by building up your body’s lean muscle mass, you are helping to improve the function of your metabolism.
Regulate Your Sleep – Making sure you get enough sleep each night, without overdoing it, will go a long way in ensuring your metabolism is functioning at its optimal level. As a general rule adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Any more than this and you will likely find that you feel lethargic during the day, which is often a sign that your metabolism may be getting a bit sluggish.
Natural Thermogenics – Thermogenics work to increase your basal metabolic rate, which not only provides you with energy, it also increases your fat burning efficiency. Though thermogenics are a large part of pre-workout supplements, there are many more natural alternatives. Green tea is an excellent example as it is naturally rich in caffeine as well as being rich in antioxidants! As Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf discuss in this interview, your diet plays a leading role in your metabolic rate. Avoid eating highly processed foods, trans fats and simple carbs that will have a negative impact on your metabolism, and instead, opt to eat fresh food that will help stimulate it. Some foods are believed to have more thermogenic properties than others.
Examples of metabolic boosting foods include:
● Lean Beef
So don’t let an inherited slow metabolism get you down, there are plenty of small lifestyle changes you can implement to help boost your metabolism so that you can burn fat efficiently and gain the most energy from what you eat!
When I first started to enjoy exercise, not just do it because I knew it was important for my health but actually look forward to working my body to the point of exhaustion, I did it because I loved feeling myself grow in strength, stamina and endurance. I appreciated the aesthetic changes in my physique as well as my enhanced flexibility and agility.
I craved each workout because I could feel the changes in my physical body as I worked to carve and shape a healthier version of myself.
Yet as my life evolved from here, I started to recognize how other aspects of my health are equally as important. I began to practice meditation as a way of not only calming my thoughts so that I could relax but also to enhance the strength, flexibility and endurance of my mind and my mental health.
Meditation has opened up my world in so many ways, or more accurately, it has helped me open up and become more mindful of myself and the world around me. Mindfulness is a key aspect of meditation and one which I am now working to implement into all the other areas of my life.
Exercise being no exception. Which brings me to today’s blog; Why mindfulness should play a key role in your workout.
It may be common sense that you are better off paying attention when you are trying to say, bench press 200 lbs, as opposed to being off with the fairies! Though that could be fun, too! However, there is a difference between paying attention and being mindful.
Mindfulness involves drawing your awareness into the present moment and being aware not only of your surroundings but also of your body, breath and mind as you work to move through different exercises.
It is the witnessing and observation of your internal and external environment happening in the present moment.
This technique will enhance your workout experience in many ways, including increased body awareness and an appreciation for movement, a deeper connection with your breath and the role it plays in exercise, as well as cultivating a healthier and more accepting body image.
Increased Body Awareness
Ever been at the gym, pumping iron, or slogging it on the treadmill and realized that your mind has been miles away?
If I am honest, it has happened to me many times!
The problem is that the more familiar you are with an exercise, the more likely you are to allow your attention to wander off and your form is likely to suffer for it. Having correct form while practicing an exercise not only ensures you gain the most out of each movement, it also helps protect your body from injury.
When mindfulness is incorporated into the practice of exercise, the experience and understanding of your progress can move beyond the atomic motion and be taken all the way down to a cellular level.
You are no longer simply bending your elbow and working against a resistance. Instead, you can feel into the different muscles and tendons that are contracting and relaxing in order to make the movement possible. You create an awareness of the muscle fibres that are being stressed, in order that they can repair themselves to be stronger and more resilient than before.
Incorporating mindfulness into your strength training expands the benefits outside of the physical realm to incorporate numerous psychological benefits as well. Not only does your enhanced awareness of body and breath help protect you from injury, it also enhances your bioenergy, enabling you to experience more fluid movements and foster faster muscle recovery and healing. As Chris Kresser mentions in his podcast, mindfulness is an important element in supporting metabolic reserves and preventing adrenal fatigue.
Through applying mindfulness into your strength training, you are able to really experience your body as a flowing energetic force, instead of just a solid physical object to be manipulated and moved.
This understanding of the energetic body, which is referred to as the ‘pranamaya kosha’ in Ayurvedic terms, helps us to better understand limitations within the body, and ways with which to work to strengthen and overcome them.
Improved Body Image & Self-acceptance
There is nothing wrong with exercising as a means to enhance your body aesthetically. Just as there is nothing wrong with taking pride in the results you achieve through hard work and perseverance.
Yet in this modern day, with mainstream media, magazines, and movies constantly presenting us with ‘images of the ídeal body’, many people can fall into a habitually abusive relationship with their bodies. This abuse takes shape internally with negative thoughts each time we look in the mirror or step onto the scales.
Through cultivating mindfulness in union with enhancing our physical fitness, a healthier perspective is formed. We start to develop more of an appreciation of our own unique body and what we can achieve with it, as well as an increased awareness and understanding of all the phases we move through, both internally and externally.
Tips To Cultivate Mindfulness Into Your Workout
Mindfulness in itself is a technique that involves bringing your focus, attention and awareness into the present moment. In doing this you become aware not only of your body, how you are breathing, moving and feeling but also of your mind and how you are feeling emotionally. By drawing your awareness into the present moment you are able to form a deeper connection with the experience of exercise, with all the benefits it provides.
Here are some tips to help you cultivate more mindfulness into your workout:
- Switch off your phone – Having your phone near you is asking for distraction. Receiving TXTs, calls or notifications from social media sites are only going to pull your attention into the digital world, even if only for a moment of two. Attempting to multi-task (and we have all been there!) will prevent you from being mindful of yourself as you exercise and your workout will suffer because of it.
- Opt for silence – Though listening to music can be motivational and enjoyable when working out, it does tend to distract the mind. Try opting for silence, or listening to music without lyrics so that your mind is not tempted to sing along and trail off in thought.
- Tune into your breath – Your breath works as an anchor for your mind into your physical body. It is a key tool in present moment awareness, because when you think about it. it is always happening right now! Breathing also plays an integral role in exercising and can be used to help tap into energetic reserves so that you can push that little bit further.
- Internal & External Environments – Use this time to really connect with your physical body. Acknowledge how it is feeling today and remember that it is normal to have the occasional ‘off day’. Mindfulness is about observing the internal environment without judgment or criticism. It is not about comparing how you feel today to how you may have felt 5 or 10 years ago, or even how you felt last week. Just tuning into the different sensations you are experiencing in each moment.
Just as you tune into your body, have a sense of what is happening around you. Take note of the other people and how they seem to be feeling. Pay attention to the temperature of the air, the time of day, your surroundings. Use this awareness to help anchor your focus into the present moment.
- Acknowledge Discomfort – A good workout requires pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, which means it is likely you will experience a little discomfort. Being mindful of this sensation for what it is, a necessity in growth and development, will help you lean into the experience instead of retreating from it.
- Don’t Forget To Stretch – Your warm-down is a perfect way to really move your body with intention. Feel the rewarding stretches as they move your muscles and aid in recovery. Give your body the TLC it deserves!
So who’s keeping you accountable?
So many times I hear that what people are really missing is the accountability piece. But what I sometimes also hear in their voice is a sense of defeat that they need that.
WTH?!! Are supposed to be made of steal and completely self sufficient?
NO!! As I say, it takes a village!
I’ve been in fitness and wellness for a long time and even I need coaches….lot’s of them. For my own fitness goals, my spiritual practices, areas of interest, etc. It keeps me fresh, learning and growing…..and that is what feels great. Someone to hold my feet to the fire in the areas that i want to grow and flourish.
Who is supporting you? We’d be honored to do so.
Check our 21 Day Challenge and get YOUR accountability and fitness and nutrition success map now!
It’s only $99 Through Monday at midnight!
Successfully achieving any goal often results in that rewarding feeling of accomplishment, yet it feels even more satisfying when our goals lie in the area of self-improvement!
Being able to look in the mirror and seeing a healthier, happier version of ourselves looking back?… Well, it just makes all that time and focused effort worthwhile!
When we are able to implement positive change in our health, we not only look and feel better for it, there is also a rippling effect that spreads out into the many other areas of our life.
Our social lives, family lives, work lives and even the way we enjoy our own free time is enhanced by the improvement in our physical health and our mental wellbeing.
The reason I mention our mental wellbeing here is because there is a symbiotic relationship between our physical body, and our emotional mind.
Have you ever noticed how when you are feeling sick and run down, you might start to feel a little low or even negative? Or in reverse, you might be really excited and happy about something and even though you are exhausted or a little unwell, you seem to muster up a burst of energy?
This is actually explained well through the Ayurvedic principles of the ‘koshas’, or layers of self. This principle views each of us as being comprised of 5 layers. There is the ‘annamaya kosha’, or physical layer, the ‘pranamaya kosha’, or energetic layer, the ‘manomaya kosha’, or conscious mind, the ‘vijnanamaya kosha’, or higher/intuitive mind and the ‘anandamaya kosha’ which is our connected/spiritual layer.
Basically these principles of the koshas shows how in order to work at our optimal level, we need to focus from the bottom up, because each layer impacts on the next. So in order to support ourselves in achieving our fullest potential, we need to firstly work on ensuring our bodies are healthy and running smoothly.
So how do we achieve this? Well firstly you need the intention, or the desire for change. Then, and perhaps most importantly, you need goals. (This is where you are at now!)
“Goal setting is one of the most important skills taught to athletes in order to help them achieve optimal performance.” – According to Alan S. Kornspan, in ‘Fundamentals of Sports and Exercise Psychology’.
Having goals to work towards, enables you to focus on the steps that need to be done in order to achieve the results you’re after. The meta-analytic procedures described by Hedges and Olkin (1985), indicates that not only will goal setting improve your results, having a combination of both short and long term goals has been shown to have the greatest effect.
A long term goal will usually require time, planning and effort. It should be an achievable goal, yet one that will require focus and determination.
A short term goal (or goals) are similar in principle yet are more achievable in the shorter term. These are really important to have as they help you recognise the progression you are making, as well as give you that feeling of achievement which will help motivate you on.
So now you have the goal setting down. You know what you are working towards.
But what else can help you get there? The answer: accountability.
Accountability is also a leading factor in the potential success of you achieving your fitness goals.
Researchers from Stanford University conducted a study in 2007, between two groups of people who were all given the same exercise program. One group were given weekly calls to ‘check’ on their progress to help make them accountable, whereas the other group was not. The results indicated that there was a 59% increase in exercise participation in the group receiving the calls.
Another similar study conducted at the Virginia Polytechnic University, showed that after 24 weeks, the group who received the calls still had 63% continuing to exercise, compared to only 4% from the group who didn’t receive the calls.
Of course receiving phone calls is not the only way to keep accountable for your progression. A workout buddy (or buddies) is an excellent way to help motivate you and keep yourself on track. In fact as Mark Sisson says in his blog ‘How To Use The Buddy Effect To Achieve Your Health Goals’, people are not only much more likely to achieve their goals with a fitness buddy, it also adds a little fun competition that keeps your exercise time interesting and enjoyable.
Then there is also ‘self-accountability’, or answering to yourself.
This is finding ways in which you can help keep yourself on track and accountable for all the decisions you make along the way. Do you skip your workout sometimes? Do you go for a second helping of dinner? Or do you get up and at it?
Here are some great ways of keeping yourself accountable:
Progression Diary – Perhaps up until now a diary hasn’t been your thing? Or perhaps it has… Either way, being able to keep track of what you have done and how you feel about it is a great way to not only stay accountable, but it also enables you to reflect back on what obstacles (emotional or physical) may be hindering your progress.
Motivational Notes – Placing motivational notes around your home, to help encourage and support yourself can be a really inspiring way of staying focused on your goals. A great suggestion is placing positive affirmation next to your bed so it is one of the first things you see each morning. This will help you start your day off on the right foot!
Get Rid Of Temptation – When it comes to food and drink, if you can see it you will want it. So if it is not in your plan, try and get it out of your home. Fill your cupboards with healthy, wholesome food and drink that will support you on your new path towards a healthier and happier version of you.
Prepare Your Environment – Having an environment conducive to exercise will help motivate you to be active. You can put your exercise mat in plain sight (near the T.V!?), and place motivational photos of yourself, or others that inspire you, around your home.
So, if you are serious about implementing positive change and working towards a healthier, fitter and more capable version of yourself, then you need to be serious about setting specific goals and keeping yourself accountable along the way.
At the end of the day, it is you who is responsible for yourself. You have to make the ‘good’ choices. No one else can make it happen for you!
As they saying goes ‘You won’t necessarily get what you wish for, but you will get what you work for!’
So recently we’ve been talking a lot about INTENTIONS vs Resolutions.
About 6 months ago I started seeing a new mind-body coach named Steve and we began doing a lot of deep cathartic work together. My whole career I’ve been blessed with amazing mentors and Steve is becoming one of them. I believe in soaking up and learning as much as I can from those who have a wealth of knowledge to share. Not just book knowledge, but life knowledge and spiritual knowledge. I promised myself I’d do this exploration with Steve for a year and assess the results. So far, it’s amazing!
Steve holds my feet to the fire and helps me grow into unchartered territory and sends me home with homework and things to practice.
He asks me to text him after I’ve completed something that in the past, I’ve struggled with. “Are you doing your homework?!” he asks me.
See, I’m the stubborn type. If you think I’m just working out like a maniac, meditating and doing everything I Should do. You are wrong. Sometimes I’m on the short bus and need a fair amount of nudging.
What I’ve been doing is saying yes, following through and doing the things I only ever wish I’d follow through on for myself. Especially on subjects that have held me back. Together, we are going after them with vigor! Steve has a way with me. I Like the way he encourages me. It’s not with a judgmental stern attitude but one that is firm but loving. And the homework he sets up for me is attainable.
Sometimes little steps get the biggest results
It’s about the marathon, not the sprint
Small course corrections can make the biggest difference and by not setting myself up for failure, it’s been a great way to build self esteem and a deeper trust in myself. Step by step, day by day i’m doing things that lay a foundation in the areas that have been problematic in the past.
You can do this, too.
What a difference a promise can make. When we promise and make a commitment to others, we do it for ourselves. The simple act of stating that we WILL do something can cause us to actually do something. Aligning ourselves with our integrity and truth and having our fellow friends hold us to it. We don’t want to let them down, so we don’t let ourselves down.
I know it’s not an easy thing for any of us to really stick with our promises, especially when life gets in the way. That delicious piece of cake at the birthday party, work got busy and you had no where to get clean food, you want to go to the gym but your tired – you’ll go tomorrow. Life is always happening. There is never a “good” time to start sticking with the things you want to do for your life. The only time is NOW. It’s what we’ve got.
Actions follow intentions
What are YOURS?
Personal responsibility and taking care of ourselves is paramount. We can have others teach and guide us, but at the end of the day it’s YOU following through for you. No one can do it for us! The more we eat in alignment with our metabolic type from good clean sources, exercise and listen to our body, take time in nature to restore and pay conscious attention to our thoughts – the more energy we have for all the FUN stuff we want to do. Pretty exciting right!
Surround yourself with like-minded people who are going to hold YOU to the fire and help you to go the extra mile when you are tired, support you when your mind and negative thinking are trying to get the best of you.
Here’s your homework
— Make a list! Who are the top three people whom you can set intentions and make them a promise and they will lovingly hold you to it.
— Make a list! What are the top three things you want to accomplish with your fitness and health in 2017 and you are really ready to put the juice behind those three things (notice I said three, not ten)?!
Imagine yourself one week, one month, one year into BEING this person who follows through!
How good does that feel?! DAMN GOOD!
How does it feel to follow through with the promises that at one time you let mow over you and NOW you are really doing them. Step by step we rebuild integrity with ourselves as our accountability partners keep us on the path to being the best we can be. The most alive and authentic versions of ourselves.
Be THAT person.
It takes a village! I encourage you to make a list of your top three fitness and wellness intentions / goals and your three support people. Call them now and get your goals out of your head and breathe life into them by sharing them with your support people or support communities.
Here at Ascend our 30 day Fitness and Nutrition Challenge is meant to do just that!
6 steps for successfully creating and getting to the groove of your intentions:
(The first 3 of 6)
Hey hey good morning!
Can you remember a time that you accomplished something, but it was incredibly hard?
The whole damn thing was just… hard?
Has there been a time you can remember accomplishing something and it just flowed? It wasn’t “easy” per se, but you just felt good, invigorated, and alive?
This second thought represents a change in attitude as opposed to a forced change in behavior.
Resolutions are a change in behavior, which feel restrictive to me. Hard. Boring. Like forcing myself to do something I know I should do, rather than something that I choose to do or want to do.
As promised, I’m sharing my map for creating a truly successful New Year that is not about resolutions, but what I prefer to call “setting intentions”.
Here’s the first 3 of 6 for your map:
—- 1. Get into the airstream –
Getting in the airstream is the first step toward fulfilling your dreams because it is what you are in-tend-ing, what you desire.
As Deepak Chopra shares with us; “The classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads declares, ‘You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.’”
What is the airstream?
This airstream is a place of neutrality, where everything you want can manifest because you are not pushing against or pulling anything toward you. Careful! It’s not about controlling specifics. It’s about allowing, shifting and opening to something new.
Getting the most out of what you’re wanting or intending for this year can be achieved in part by simply relaxing and aligning with the flow. The easiest way to do that is by developing a meditation practice. True meditation is not about relaxation, though it can be relaxing. It’s certainly not about effort, though it does take focus and a real precision of mind. There are so many different meditation techniques. Don’t fuss. Just choose one that suits you and practice finding the airstream.
<I’ll post one for you to practice soon.>
The airstream is a place in between wanting and desiring or pulling toward you, and not wanting or pushing against or away from you. It’s in the middle. It feels like being guided down a current or river where you have access to energy that is much bigger than your own. To me, it feels like I’m jumping into an airstream or energy stream. A meditation practice helps you ride the current and allows you to guide it at the same time.
—2. Be Where you are —
“That which you resist, persists”
Accepting and loving who, what and where you are is the most overlooked practice that there is when people are intending or looking to make change. This is especially true if the subject has some “heat” to it. The practice of acceptance and and even self love is the key to transformative change.
For most of us, the big things we want to change do have heat to them. We’ve wanted them to go away or shift for a long time. But we often forget that the first place to start when we desire this big change is with true acceptance of everything that IS in this moment. You don’t have to stay here long, but you do have to practice it until you get it.
Look at your feet. Be where you are. Practice truly accepting the thing that you want to change right in this moment. Breathe into it. Love on it. Don’t go anywhere. Be still.
For me, when asked to practice acceptance, it always sounds like someone is trying to trick me into eating a teaspoon of medicine at which I cringe, but that has not been my experience when I actually try it.
We often want to retaliate with statements like; “How can I be in total acceptance of this thing I hate?!! I’ve wanted these thighs to go away for 20 years!” “You want me to accept and even love that I don’t feel athletic and even hopeless? N-O- no! We say, I won’t do it.
And so we stay stuck.
Look at it this way. It takes a lot of energy to push a boulder up a hill. And that is what you are doing when you are not in a place of acceptance and even love with the thing you are trying to change. Some of us can will our way through things, but it takes significantly more energy and struggle.
For some, the idea of acceptance may trigger more fear and despair because it sounds like a guarantee that the thing we are accepting will never change. Actually, it doesn’t work like that. Not if you practice.
It’s all irony, I know. Love and acceptance shifts the energy of that thing so it can transform through the fire of desire. In Tantra, we call that force of creative power “Spanda”.
Coming from a place of love gives you access to power. If we are not railing or pushing against anything, suddenly possibility opens and we have access to a new inner strength and power with the ability to do more, create more, and be more!
<<I’m going to post a guided meditation for you in the few days to practice this, so hold tight this is a very important step.>>
This stuff takes practice!
—3. Make a vision board —
Some might say this is the first step but really it comes later after we have found the place of love within ourselves. Once we have achieved acceptance and self-love and ignited a new place of power within, we can come from a place of play, of joy, and of non-restriction. My mentor used to say to me;
“If anything were possible, what would you want to see happen?”
Do it on a big piece of cardboard with painting colors and pictures. Get your hands dirty. Play like a child. Let yourself dream.
OK! There you have the first three of six! Practice and let me know how it goes.
We’ll be launching into some awesome stuff this coming Saturday for our BE GIGANTIC 30 day New Year’s Challenge.
Join us at Ascend every Sunday at 6pm for a Meditation and Sound Journey designed to help you go inside. We will have Mindfulness topics each week to compliment the practice of cultivating mindful awareness in your daily life.
Joanna Sullivan is Ascend’s newest addition to the team. She works with Sound and Frequency to teach mindfulness for stress in the home. Sound works as a tool for entering into relaxed, present states of Flow – the moment when Brain takes the backseat and we allow our most creative and compassionate selves take center stage. She does one-on-one Soundtable Sessions to help us reach those states with more ease on a daily basis.
Learn more about Joanna and her work at www.bringharmonyhome.com
Arrive: 5:45 – 6
Mindful Topic and Meditation: 6 – 6:15
Sound Journey: 6:15 – 7
Please arrive in time with consideration of one another, bring a pillow or mat to sit or lay, blankets available for warmth.
Round out your weekend and start your new week fresh with a Sunday evening Sound Journey at Ascend.
I went to Bali for an adventure and some yoga, not to have my vagina steamed. But, steamed it was. Bali is everything you (probably) ever dreamed up, and so much more. The charming village of Ubud is the place that comes to mind for most people when they hear about Bali. While Ubud doesnʼt have beaches, and there are many exciting and adventurous experiences to have all over Bali, Ubud is an anomaly in the middle of Indonesia.
Asia is my favorite continent, and Iʼve explored most of it, either through living locally or through traveling. And never have I come across a place like Ubud. For the people of Ubud, being happy and healthy, as in genuinely happy and healthy, is more important than anything else. Being grateful, taking care of themselves, and spending quality time with friends and family far outweighs anything material. Every single morning, the Balinese, young and old alike, perform an inspiring ritual, which is very laborious to prepare. They express their utmost gratitude to their gods, as they believe it will allow them to live in harmony and live a balanced life. We might remember to be thankful on Thanksgiving, but they do it daily, as it is part of who they are. In the mornings, I quietly watched as the woman of our compound gave offerings to the gods, prayed deeply about everything, small and big, that she was grateful for. She then blessed the house, the swimming pool, our motorbike, our shoes, me. I, in turn, felt grateful as well, it was hard not to. The Balinese believe they are blessed, and in believing so, they are in fact, blessed. Beyond their amazing and inspiring mindset towards life, they take care of their bodies in a way Iʼve never seen in the Western world, or for that matter, even the Eastern world. To say they eat healthy is an understatement. Everything they eat has a purpose, and itʼs purpose is how it can boost or maintain their health. Their diet is pure and simple and clean and beautiful and so delicious. I felt as if I was living within the “foodporn” hashtag. I didnʼt even have to try to find healthy food, healthy food found me.
In Ubud, you will also find a commitment to relaxation, but not in a generic made for a postcard way. In a way where itʼs woven into the fabric of their culture. Everywhere you look, massages and body treatments of every kind are offered. The people who are offering these services believe this is an important part of your livelihood, because itʼs an important part of theirs. Believe me when I say, I tried every kind of service, each one better than the last. Which is how I ended up getting a vaginal steam bath. It is exactly what it sounds like, and feels even more amazing and cleansing than you can imagine. The craziest thing is that these services were not only incredibly cheap, but I never once got the feeling that anyone was trying to rip me off, which I have often felt in many countries around the world.
There are so many other things to love about Ubud. The yoga classes are incredible and inspiring. You donʼt even have to try to find beauty, because is exists everywhere, both in the landscape and in the people. You cannot help but to radiate happiness in such a place, as the Balinese do. And now you have a rainbow of reasons to go and see for yourself. Why not!?
This amazing experience, among many others, has inspired me to help others get out there and see the world. I want to help you see the world without breaking the bank! I don’t believe travel is for people who have lots of money to burn. I believe travel is for everyone who wants to grow, dream, learn, be inspired, LIVE, and so much more. Why Not Adventures, my travel business, grew from a hobby and a passion. Domestic or international. Short or long. All the details or just a few. Tailor-made. Creative. I can save you money and time planning your next adventure. Iʼve heard time and time again that while itʼs fun to go on a trip, itʼs not fun to plan it. In fact, if itʼs planned well, itʼs very time-consuming and can be a stressful process. Thatʼs where I come in. I can do all the research for you, so you donʼt have to, while most likely saving you money. I can give you as much or as little guidance as you want. Tell me where you want to go, what you want to experience, and I can help get you there at the best price. I can plan you the grandest adventure and all you have to do is pack (I can even tell you what to pack!).
Over the past 15 years, I’ve traveled as far and wide and frequent as possible. I’ve collected unforgettable experiences from all corners of the globe. I’ve met and friended people that have changed my world view. Travel has absolutely transformed my life for the better. Each new opportunity, asking myself, “Why Not?” Let’s chat about your ideal trip, because I make adventures happen! Where do you want to go?
Learn more at http://whynotadventur.es/ or find me on Facebook at Why Not Adventures.
Been working on this for you guys after 2nd chakra / Water / Salt workshop….Food and the watery quality of feelings
Habit and desire:
When doing a detox or making changes to your diet it is sometimes easy to get too focused on what you can’t have, what you are taking away and eliminating-making it easy to forget what you are giving yourself and the amazing things that come from that.
I believe it is super important to focus on what you are giving yourself instead of what’s being taken away. A simple shift in perspective gets us there.
The simple YES list in our meal plans is easy. Contained within that list is good quality proteins, fats and carbs. Look at your plate, see if all three things are there and start to identify the ratios; notice how your energy levels shift when you move those rations around, notice how long you last between meals, and check in with yourself to see if you feel satiated.
As I mentioned, the AVOID list can get long. No sugar, no gluten, no booze, no processed foods, on and on. Let’s take sugar as an example. If you are taking sugar out of your diet, what are you giving yourself in return and what meaning do we give that substance?
As Cortney mentioned in her part of the workshop last Saturday, if you are looking beyond just sugar, but at the deeper meaning of that form of “sweetness” where else are you getting it, or lacking it in your life? Am I fulfilling my need for sweetness through processed sugar because I’m not experiencing it from other places- through hugs, touch and quality time? And am I nurturing myself with the sweetness of self love and appreciation, a moment of silence to acknowledge that which I’ve accomplished and done well?
Where is the sweetness in your life and where are you getting it?
Removing a substance or food from your diet without identifying why you desire it might trigger backlash and self sabotage. Restriction without understanding the cause of the desire and giving yourself something to replace that desire, usually ends up in a balls out relapse. Putting people on the never ending yo-yo diet.
With sugar, when you pull it out I want to encourage you to give yourself something back. What would I give back to you? The fun answer is fat! I’ll trade you that croissant for a small stack of delicious crispy bacon any day.
But really, many of the things you enjoy, although not in alignment with our bigger goals, must give you some sort of pleasure. And that pleasure is what we are trying to distill out. A glass of wine after dinner, a piece of chocolate before bed, for me a kombucha or two in the afternoon. What is the pleasure here?
Let me share a personal example. That kombucha in the afternoon marks when I have some personal time and a break before heading into a meeting or to meet up with my next client. So it’s more than just a kombucha, it’s the meaning I associate with that kombucha.
When contemplating the notion of eliminating something from my world , pulling something away for the sake of investigating a habit, I ask myself, what does that thing MEAN to me? What does it signify?
I believe it’s important to ask yourself what certain foods or drinks MEAN to you?! And encourage you to dig a little into this one.
If you just snatch it away from yourself without investigation, in a way you are robbing yourself of the meanings and feelings that you equate to it. In my case with the kombucha it’s about getting some quiet alone time. It signifies a moment to myself, a pause in the day and a tiny reward, as the fizz and gently yeasty smell is reminiscent of having a nice cold beer.
If you do choose to eliminate things from your world what can you give yourself to get the same feelings, and/or meanings without participating in the same old habit?
What would fill (feel) me up in the same way?
The experiment of choosing something different is the Tapas (link coming). What physical, emotional, spiritual things I notice from that experiment is the Spanda (link coming).
Get curious. Get creative! How can you get those same needs met with something different? Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a food or drink item, as it’s frequently not an equal exchange. In my case, It’s about getting a sense of quiet alone time and a pause, not trading kombucha for tea or some other beverage per se but getting clever about a new habit that will really give me that pause i’m looking for.
I’ve been experimenting with giving myself quality kefir water which has way less sugar than kombucha, stopping by Dolores park on my way home and sipping it slowly while putting my toes in the grass. This small shift actually takes up less time than stopping by the store to buy kombucha and ultimately feels more rewarding! Another swap I’ve been experimenting with is drinking filtered water with essence of orange in it and being present by reminding myself of why i’m giving myself that thing, not just doing it to do it but really stopping to honor and enjoy it.
A conscious pause.
Can you share? What are you giving yourself in place of the things that you’ve pulled out. What do they mean to you and how might it be more rewarding?
I’ve lost 3# by cutting out the kombucha already…that’s not my goal, that is a nice side effect.
Frequently the things that you give yourself are actually silently stealing away the thing that we think we are actually getting. They are a short term bandaid that can become a long term habit. For example, you drink booze to relax and unwind but end up waking up at 2am because your body goes into a sugar crash giving you less sleep and time to recover. You have a coffee in the afternoon to keep you going, the caffeine keeps you up too long and you end up even more tired and exhausted.
I was working with a client around these same ideas when it came to her that having a couple of glasses of wine before bed was something she wished to shift.
Now, before we go further, I want to express that having a couple of glasses of wine is not “bad” at all! Again, I encourage you to eliminate the “good / bad” cycle from your thought process as it keeps us stuck in a pattern where shaming can become commonplace. It’s about the curiosity of that habit and whether or not it is serving your grander desires, rather than just the short term ones.
We got curious about what the wine was about. Sure, it’s fun to get a little buzz before bed, but upon further investigation, we discovered that what the wine meant to her was finally getting some alone time. The kids had been put to bed, the husband was playing on the iPad and she had some peace and quiet to refuel herself, kick her feet up and relax. And who doesn’t deserve that?!
Wine equaled personal time, peace, quiet, time to refuel and silence.
We all need it, but how can you find it through a more sustainable source?
Until you investigate the habit, you don’t know whether or not it is serving you. This is the fun part!
Taking the judgement out of habits so you can explore them gives you all kinds of information about yourself that you might blow right over had you not dug into this brave adventure we are all on right now!
So with a little exploration and curiosity, we came up with a list of things that might give her the same results without drinking wine.
This is where practice come in.
For her, music was high on the list. Kicking on some Miles Davis at 9pm and putting her feet up, relishing the moment and being conscious of what she is doing became the substitute for the wine and wildly more satisfying for her in the long term.
When asked how it was going she replied “listening to music, and reading in the backyard sunshine – these are both working! I went from a glass or two of wine every night to no alcohol at all, and I’m not missing it. “
None of this sticks if you don’t pay attention to the results of your experiment. There is so much juice there! So much information that your body and mind are trying to share, least you listen.
See if you can release habits of short term pleasures over long term rewards.
In other words, that delicious cake tastes great for about 5 minutes, but that jog you took can help you gain momentum for an entire week.
My teacher Jay says, when a habit it is ready to fall away it is like low hanging fruit from a tree, easily plucked. You aren’t up there with a ladder and shears tittering on one leg breaking your neck to get the damn thing down. You barely touch it and it falls away. This is when you’ve gotten all the juice out of that habit, you’ve gotten to know yourself on a much deeper level. You’ve honored the habit and thanked it for the pain it’s given you and….all the depth and reward.
Pay attention. Do something different. Be good to yourself!
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)!
Are you looking for a fitness and wellness community where you are encouraged to thrive?
Are you ready to learn, grow and work with the most amazing holistic fitness team in SF?
Are you looking for consistency and stability without clients becoming just a sales number?
We’ve got you!!
Ascend Body is a San Francisco based, holistic gym offering personal training, nutritional and lifestyle coaching, and massage therapy. We have regularly scheduled community group outings and workshops and are passionate about empowering our clients to live active, well-balanced, joyful lives. And, we’re excited to announce we’re hiring!
We’re searching for a part-time (20 hours/week) Head Trainer to manage our close-knit family of wellness practitioners! We’re looking for someone who resonates with our holistic vibe, loves learning and contributing to a supportive, collaborative environment, and is motivated by personal and professional growth.
If you’re a motivated self starter committed to transforming lives and having fun in the process, or if you know someone who seems like an awesome fit, let us know!
You’re not just a Head Trainer. You’re the person responsible for the ins and outs of our studio. You will coordinate community programs, oversee trainers and quality of fitness programming, manage client accounts, and maintain the quality of Ascend Body by upholding studio values, mission, and ethos.
You’ll instruct small group personal training sessions and also lead 1:1 training sessions as needed. All fitness sessions are tailored to each client’s personal wellness assessment, so you’ll prepare and deliver comprehensive fitness programs based on predetermined goals while motivating and inspiring! You’ll also be responsible for frequent client follow-up and reassessment to track and monitor progress toward goals.
Approved Personal Training Certificate
Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
Highly organized with an adept ability to balance multiple priorities
Strong written and verbal communication
Commitment to our mission: to teach passionately, inspire positively, and guide our clients to the highest possible level of strength and radiant health. Breathe, sweat, smile.
Collaborative, inspirational, and motivational ethos
Administrative work (MindBody preferred)
Ascend Body isn’t your typical, mainstream gym and we’re looking for someone with a holistic approach to exercise and wellness; you must believe in and live by a mind/body approach to cultivate sustained transformation.
Ideally, we’d like someone who is open and willing to work alongside CHEK practitioners. Although CHEK certification is not required, it’s important that you’re open to our methods and Ascend Body’s vision. All of our trainers and practitioners are upbeat, have positive attitudes, and love to inspire others with a natural talent for working with clients.
2 years of personal training experience required, preferably within a holistic wellness/fitness setting
High School Diploma or GED
Advanced training certifications and commitment to ongoing development
Willingness to pursue C.H.E.K Holistic Lifestyle/Exercise Coach certifications
Pay Rate: $30-$45 per-hour commensurate with experience and qualifications.
Earn commission for enrolling new clients and receive performance-based bonuses!
The more you bring to the Ascend Body table, the more money you make.
Continuing Education and Mentorships. You’re surrounded by a wealth of knowledge surrounding holistic wellness.
Sound awesome? Complete the following questions and email your answers with an attachment of your CPT Certification and resume to shane@ascendbodycom
1. What do holistic fitness and integrated wellbeing mean to you?
2. How do you cultivate these practices in your own life?
3. Are you open to taking the Holistic Lifestyle Coach Program Level 1?
4. List 3 examples of how being part of a team or community has affected your life.
5. Why do you feel you would be a good fit for the Ascend Body Team?
6. How do you interpret our mission, which is to teach passionately, inspire positively, and guide our clients to the highest possible level of strength and radiant health? “Breathe, Sweat, Smile.”