Listen Up!

Auditory Acuity of self.

I’ve been around the health and fitness industry a long time, which means I’m getting old, but it has allowed me to personally commit all the mistakes I see patients come into the clinic with.   For the purposes of this article, let’s call the health, fitness, and food industries the wellness industry. The only constant about the wellness industry is that it’s always changing.  Information evolves, trends come and go, and maybe something we thought was “healthy” turns out to be false.  Your circumstances play a significant role in how you apply the information and methods available, which like the topic itself, is in a constant state of flux.

So how do we navigate this chaos?  Start by understanding that it’s a journey.   Be ready to try various methods of self-care, nutrition, and exercise knowing that you’re going to fail and frustrate yourself with things that have worked so well for others.  You’re not everyone and you have to find what works with for you AND your circumstances with wherever you are in your life at that time.   Don’t give up, keep trying new things, keep learning, keep discovering, and push on.

Now I could write a novel covering each of these industry topics, but I want to focus on exercise for this post and more specifically listening to your body.  I have been SO bad at this the past few years and it has been costly.   Low back pain, rib pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, waking up every day with some sort of ache or pain and continuing to mindlessly train and push my body past its limits.   This affects how comfortable I am when I work, when I do recreational activity, and when I’m spending time with my kids.

Why? Unless you’re a professional athlete, isn’t the purpose of exercise and training to better your life outside the gym?  Aren’t we supposed to train to build ourselves up not break ourselves down?   Sure, there are going to be workouts and training sessions that push you to your limits and you’re going to be sore and beat up but that should be the exception, not the rule.   I wouldn’t want to see that go away and I don’t think it has to for you to still maintain an effective fitness routine, improve and push yourself to be a better version of your current self.    Intensity and pushing the limits is a critical part of any successful training program.  However, in my opinion, depending on your circumstances (sleep, stress, nutrition, self-care, age, recovery, etc) we must pick and choose our battles.

All too often I have a patient present after starting a new training program that they’ve been going 100mph at since day 1 and their body finally hits the brakes and things start to deteriorate.   Learning to decipher when your body is telling you to slow down because of mental fatigue vs physical fatigue can be tricky.   But if you’ve gone into training 4 days in a row, maxed out your heart rate every session, lifted as heavy as possible, ran as far and as hard as possible, done zero mobility, had no body work done, ate horribly, slept poorly, then chances are that is your nervous system telling you to take it easy.  The reason this warning is so critical is as the window of fatigue widens, so does the vulnerability for injury.   When it’s broken down it sounds like common sense, but when we are in the heat of the moment surrounded by peers and coaches we tend to push it all aside and go through the motions.

One approach that I’ve really been gravitating towards lately is identifying an intended stimulus prior to working out.  Before beginning I take stock on how I’m feeling and try to match my training stimulus to that.  How recovered do I feel?  Do I have any pain or stiffness? How did I eat this week/weekend? How much did or didn’t I sleep?   If the grading on all those questions are positive, then I may attack that workout with full intensity and really push it.    If I feel like I’m falling short on a few or all those topics, then I’ll scrap what was planned and reprogram for what I can handle.   If the scaling or changes you need to make is going to significantly change the workout in a class setting, then you may need to attend an open gym or workout from home that day.  Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re going to succumb to peer pressure and put yourself at risk for injury or burnout.  But if you can make a few small modifications and still be in your class or group setting then go for it, you’re not going to be letting anyone down!

Start practicing this week.   Take stock of your overall wellness that day or week and come up with an intended stimulus for your training.  Quality movement is going to be the foundation for longevity and nothing derails a training program faster than injury.   I’m still learning from my mistakes and I’m looking forward to continuing my journey, now with more acuity to what my 33-year-old body is telling me.

 

Yours in Health,

Dr. Crane

Stop Drop & Roll

Self-Talk : What you Tell Yourself Directly Impacts your Health

We read it all of the time, the person you spend the most time with is yourself.  We obviously know this to be true, but if we get deep for a moment, you actually realize you are with yourself EVERY moment of your life.  That is a lot of time together.  In that time you spend with yourself you are likely “talking” to yourself, consciously and sub-consciously.  What you say can have a profound impact your health.

In the past year I have a worked a lot on negative self-talk.  I often found (and still find) myself telling myself something seemingly innocuous as “gosh Amy you sucked at that workout today, you are the slowest runner on the planet” to something more obvious like “wow, you probably do not need a desert today you are looking hefty.”  This kind of nonsense seeps into our brains and takes up unnecessary space.  What we tell ourselves continuously, we unintentionally start to become.  If I tell myself I am the worst runner then I likely begin to avoid running.  If I restrict myself from desert based on some self-imposed critique I begin to deem yummy food as “bad” and will probably propel myself right into a binge in the future.  It is a slippery slope but we have the power to change.

I challenge you to change the narrative.  The next time you want to put yourself down apply the “stop, drop and roll” theory – yes it is that drastic!

  • STOP – ask yourself, would I tell my best friend this? Would I say this to my child, my parent  and would I say it OUT LOUD?  Would I tell ANYONE this, other myself this?  Likely, if you are at this step, the answer is a hard NO.  We can be our own worst enemies and it is time to be more kind to ourselves.  So if you would not say this to someone else, do not say it to yourself.
  • DROP – change the narrative. Drop the negative for a positive…right then and there. Find something kind to tell yourself.  Instead of harping on how slow you are, give yourself a high-five for making to the gym, getting out of bed that morning or heck, congratulate yourself for brushing your teeth.  Just change the narrative.  Instead of calling yourself hefty focus on a characteristic you do like that day.  Wow my hair looks great or I love this outfit or I smiled at that person on my walk.  ANYTHING kind is better.
  • ROLL – roll the things that may not be where we want into real change.  If I am slower than I would like to be how can I improve on that?  If I want to feel better in my skin what steps can I take to get there?  Recognition of want to change can be the catalyst to start the process.

Yes, we all have bad days.  We have days we do not feel on our game for one reason to another but we are doing our best.  We can recognize these “bad days” and give ourselves a nudge towards change.  Happiness is not a constant.  It is a moving target.  If you acknowledge that it is ok to accept things as they are on this day AND remind yourself that you are working towards a better tomorrow, your health goals and lifestyle improvement really are in reach.  Decide where you want to go and pat yourself on the back along the way.  Change takes time and a lifetime of reinforcement, giving yourself the strongest foundation is a great start!

 

-Amy Moser, Nutrition Coach

nutrition@uptowncore.com

The Power of the Present

The Warrior Way

Breathe in.  Breathe out. Right here.  Right now. Begin again and again, all throughout the day

There is a definition of a “warrior” that exists out there in the world which I love and has helped shaped who I am and how I show up in this world.  No, it’s not the Rambo or Atomic Blonde kind of warrior. This definition of a warrior comes from the work of Angeles Arrien – an anthropologist and best-selling author of books such as The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary.  

Her definition of a warrior is showing up present, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  If you are hearing this definition for the first time and are like “Whoa!” – I know the feeling. Or maybe your response is more like “What does this even mean?  Or how do I begin to show up as a warrior in my life?” – well, these were my questions as well.

The Warrior archetype is one of leadership.  We arrive into and harness our leadership skills by staying in our power; by showing up and choosing to be present; by extending honor and respect; and by being responsible and accountable.  It’s also about making compelling invitations.

For me, showing up and choosing to be present wasn’t natural.  Instead, choosing to be aloof or acting intimidating through being narcy or sarcastic.  Being a natural-born leader was also not in the cards. So upon hearing this definition, I knew it would be something I would have to work on constantly and develop and grow into over time.  

So where do we begin?  For me, it starts with my physical body.  If you read more about my story here, you learn how in discovering my body, I discovered my soul.  Engaging in physical connections to the body that we love doing and bring us joy is one part of this equation.  For me, I find these connections to the body through CrossFit, tennis, paddle-boarding and yoga. The other essential ingredient to showing up physically is eating healthy, delicious and nourishing foods.   

In moving my body and fueling it with nourishing foods, I’m able to engage better with my emotional and mental bodies.  There are also practices and tools, such as breathwork and meditation I practice regularly, that aid in my ability to show up fully present.  In doing so, I’m less stressed, in less fear, worry and excitement and I’m not burning up energy foolishly. This benefits me most in my work life and in my relationships.

Last but not least, is being spiritually present.  This is the most intangible of the ways we show up and choose to be present.  For me, I have found direction and connection to being spiritually present by harnessing and developing the power of purpose.  This not only has meaning of the heart, but also a mission of service. It’s the compass in which I direct and align my physical, mental and emotional bodies.

So why live the Warrior way?  It’s about freedom, and the ability to choose and lead from my heart.  It’s about how I make the most of this time I’ve been given to live on this earth.  It’s how I stay emotionally connected and resilient during times when I am being tested the most.  And it’s about how I stay buoyant, focused and attuned to the power of gratitude, especially in a sea of chaos and demands.  

If you are seeking ways to be more of a Warrior in your life, I strongly encourage you to schedule a free assessment here.  In our assessment we will explore what is present and missing in showing up and choosing to be fully present in your life. Possibilities of developing and mastering practices of the Warrior include, but not limited to:

  • Physical Connections to the body that bring joy and that you love
  • Food, Cooking and Nourishment
  • BreathWork
  • Meditation
  • Purpose

I look forward to hearing more about your story, someday soon.

 

-NK

 

Meal Prep Hacks!

Would you consider yourself more of an organized planner or a last-minute, go-with-the-flow type of person?  I am definitely an organized planner and like to be prepared for the things I can. One reason why I like to be prepared is because I really dislike being hangry!  I always have staple foods in my freezer, fridge, pantry, vehicle, work drawer, and purse. Yes, purse. I get hungry frequently and am prepared to combat the low blood sugar and hanger with a quick snack.  Meal prepping is another thing my husband and I do to be prepared. With meal prep, our breakfasts and lunches are ready to go for the work day and dinner is either prepped and ready to heat up or cut up and ready to throw on the grill or in the oven.  This saves us so much time and we are able to enjoy other things during the week.

Here are some meal prep hacks to help you feel more prepared for the work week/weekend and maximize your time doing the things you enjoy.

  • Make a grocery list and look up a couple recipes if you are craving a specific type of meal
  • Cook foods in bulk.  Think protein sources, rice, potatoes, roasted veggies, egg bakes, oatmeal, etc.
  • Invest in a crock pot or instant pot if you don’t already have one or the other. Prepping made easy and fast
  • Get some good storage containers that fit in your fridge and in your lunch bag
  • Prep for ~3-4 days at a time.  Food will stay fresh and you will have more time to relax and enjoy other things around meal times
  • Always have staples in your pantry, fridge, and freezer (jasmine rice, eggs, whole grain pasta, frozen veggies, nut butters, olive oil, potatoes, canned tuna, frozen chicken breast or sausage, oatmeal, frozen fruit, protein bars)
  • Keep plenty of spices and healthier sauces on hand to add some flavor to your meals
  • Balance your meals.  Think a protein source, carbohydrate source, veggie, and healthy fat source.  This will keep your blood sugar stable and your meals tasty
  • Put a few days worth of meals together in containers and label them. Ready to grab and go
  • Make it a date.  Schedule your meal prep time and put it in your calendar. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes and sometimes 2 hours.  Regardless, it will save you more time during the week

With these hacks, meal prep will be easy and a huge time saver.  Your mornings will go smooth and you won’t have to think about what to have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner because you will be prepared. Throw on your favorite tunes or tv show in the background and get cooking!

 

Be well,

Coach Janna