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Two Free HIIT Workouts I Use with My Clients

Hey, guys!

I probably seem like a distant memory at this stage with this blog.  I hope you are all well and as cliche, as it sounds, I cannot believe that it is nearly April!

I am still working on things and pursuing other projects both personally and professionally.  I have a new coaching site and blog that you can check out and follow on Instagram.  It’s still early days, but it’s one of a couple of projects I am putting time and energy into behind the scenes.

I just spent nearly two weeks sick as a dog with the flu/cold/bronchitis/stomach trauma.  Good times! :/

Every single time I get sick like that, I am reminded how much it depresses me when I can’t exercise and have little energy.

Being forced to rest and take time out always makes me ponder how I used to be so unhappy before I made taking care of my health a top priority.

With the seasons changing and better weather on the way, people are looking for new workouts.  Or emailing me because for people I know I am the “on-call/go-to” when it comes to looking for a place to start feeling better.

I thought I would share two free HIIT workouts I use with my clients.

I am a big fan of getting in 3-4 HIIT  workouts per week for whatever your fitness and health goals may be.  One of the great things about HIIT is that it is scaleable.

What is an all out effort for you, might not be for the person next to you, but you get out of your workouts what you put into them, and these two workouts give you an opportunity to challenge yourself, have fun, and add some variety to your usual workout schedule?

They also require little to no equipment and space, so if you’ve got 30 minutes, you’re ready to go!

I hope everyone is doing well and keeping their spirits high in these transitional and challenging times in the world.

Believe it or not, despite the negativity out there, the past few months have reminded me that we are all responsible for our hustle and that our voices and actions can make a difference.

Be well and let me know if you try these out (or PIN them for later!).

Two Free HIIT Workouts I Use with My Clients

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If you like this workout you should check out my workout programs curated by me through Booya Fitness!  

How is spring going for you so far?

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Is your body positive selfie empowering?

I have become increasingly immersed in the body positivity community over the past year.

I started to get interested in following Instagram and YouTube personalities who promote happiness at any size and self-love — I think it’s utterly fantastic.

I believe we do need to expand the reductive definition of what is beautiful, but having said that, do we, from a feminist perspective, need to stop objectifying our bodies regardless of how proud we are of them?

I stumbled across a fantastic podcast by Lindsay Kite, Ph.D. that covers this topic beautifully.  Kite and her twin sister, Lexie, are the founders of the organization Beauty Redefined and her podcast  “Empowerment in the selfie age – an interview with Lindsay Kite” is a must hear for anybody out there looking for a different perspective on body positivity, sexuality, and feminism.

Photo: www.beautyredefined.org

There’s no doubt that body positive social media posts spark very divided conversations, but nonetheless, they are important conversations to have.

Lindsay Kite explains on her podcast a belief which is that many women who post nude and lingerie selfie photos online may help them ultimately they feel like they “have to show their body to prove that they value their body — to show that other people’s bodies are acceptable.”

Kite also contends that self-objectification –  the obsession with what our bodies look like inside our minds – is the thing that is hurting us.

That self-objectification is, in fact, the thing that is reinforcing our body shame.

She further explains:

We need to be very critical about what is being labeled “empowering.”  This culture that we’re living in will give women “power” for showing their bodies.  It will give them money, followers, likes, magazine photo shoots, and fame — women who have risen to extreme fame because of the way they present their bodies online.  You can see how that feels like empowerment — and a lot of people think that’s true.  However, from a feminist perspective … that “power” can be taken away as quickly as it’s given, because it is being determined by a culture that only values women’s bodies as objects.  

-Lindsay Kite

What exactly does empowering mean?

As defined by Merriam-Webster, to empower means to promote self-actualization or influence.  

Interesting.

Influence is the power to change or affect someone or something.

And the definition of self-actualization is the process of fully developing and using one’s abilities.

So really empowerment is the promotion of the process of using one’s abilities and power to change or affect someone or something.  

I don’t believe that showing bodies in and of itself is a bad thing.

If bodies are a form of our consumption, then, yes,  I think all bodies have a right to be promoted and seen.  

But, this often becomes a ‘chicken and egg’ conversation.

If it’s the obsession of what our bodies look like inside our minds that hurt our self-image, then it is most certainly stemming from the influence of bodies seen day in and day out in the media.

To that effect, are women showcasing these selfies for body diversity the best chance we have at a silver lining of capitalism, patriarchy, and exploitation?

Kite suggests before you post an image as a statement of feminist empowerment that you ask the following important question:

Who determines your power?  If it’s coming from the outside, it’s probably not real.  Showing and sharing bodies online isn’t ever going to get us there.  You’re still pre-occupied with your looks, and you’re still feeding off external validation.

So, the important question:  what does empowerment look like?

Being able to accomplish what you want to achieve and having self-efficacy brings empowerment …most women are not happy with themselves and judging and defining themselves based on what they think other people think about them.”  

The bottom line:  We have to set goals for ourselves that yield actual feelings of accomplishments outside of what other people see when they look at us.

My last question is this:  Is there a way that external validation can encourage internal validation in a healthy manner?

I say there’s nothing wrong with feeling happy and comfortable with yourself nor is there anything wrong with posting photos on social media.

The central questions of this post are strictly these:

1.  Are pictures of nude and semi-nude female bodies at any size just a continuation of the general objectification of women?

2.  How, as women, can we create a shift away from external validation to create lasting feminist empowerment and ultimately reject the notion that what a body looks likes should ever matter in the first place?

Is your body positive selfie empowering?

Please listen to this podcast; it is a 40-minute conversation worth having.

To learn more about Beauty Redefined, you can visit Lindsay and Lexie Kite’s website www.beautyredefined.org to find out more about body image “resilience.”

How do you feel about the body positive selfie movement?  What’s your take on “empowerment”?  What does it mean to you?

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How to identify toxic relationships and attract healthier connections

How To Identify Toxic Relationships And Develop Healthy Connections

You know that saying, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are?”  I used to think that was such a bs thing to say.

Do you want to know why?

For years, I surrounded myself with some very toxic people.

I know how it feels to be on both sides of this issue and, frankly, neither situation is healthy.

This post is going to help you determine if the people you surround yourself with are toxic or uplifting, and how these different types of folks impact your overall happiness.

Identifying a “toxic acquaintance”

First, a toxic relationship doesn’t have to be with somebody who necessarily pushes you to do unhealthy things.  A toxic acquaintance isn’t an entirely toxic person either; it’s their toxic behavior that can be detrimental to your personal growth.

It isn’t easy to determine whether or not an acquaintance is toxic.

For example, I had a toxic boyfriend for nearly two years before I started to realize (with the help of a great psychologist) just how toxic his behavior actually was.

It was nearly another 18 months before I finally broke off all communication with him, moved out, and moved on.

Take a moment now and think about the people you surround yourself with — even family members.

Think about your relationships objectively for the time being.

Is there a person in your life whom you’ve started to dread being around? Or an individual who makes you feel completely drained after you spend time with them?

If either of these sound familiar, it is possible that you’ve got ties to a toxic acquaintance (or relative).

If any of this sounds familiar, it is possible that you’ve got ties to a toxic acquaintance (or relative).

Five traits of “toxic acquaintances.”

  1. They have distinct narcissistic tendencies.  Not sure what I mean by this?  Do they talk more than they listen?  Does everything have to center around them?  Do they interrupt you?  One up you?  Belittle your problems?  If a person in your life is doing this, they are struggling with narcissistic tendencies.
  2. You are directly affected by their drama and behavior.   Toxic people tend to live from crisis to crisis.  There is always something happening to them, and when there isn’t something there, they’ll create it.  When you’re friends with a toxic person, you are expected to nurse their wounds and listen to their carrying on.  Often a solution is offered, and often it will be responded to by a direct refusal of even considering your advice.  Toxic people are full-time victims and view themselves as never at fault for what’s happening in their life.  As such, they are not responsible for trying to make their situation better.  If this sounds like somebody you know, you’re sadly fighting a losing battle.  Until that person acknowledges their victim mentality and narcissistic ways, they will continue to refute any and all of your advice.
  3. They lack empathy and support for others.  Toxic people, though they seem to bounce from crisis to crisis, will find other people’s problems trivial at times.  They will use their experiences as a reference point for the circumstances of others around them.  Not sure what I mean?  Take the following, for example, “I don’t know why she’s complaining about, it’s not as if she was with him as long as I was with my ex.”   For a toxic individual, they cannot separate their experiences (and outcomes) from the experiences of those around them.
  4. They are controlling.   A toxic person is not only controlling in the sense that they want you to be available whenever they need you or they question your loyalty to them.  When you’re with this person, you can’t think for yourself or challenge their opinions without automatically having them discount your opinion or belittle it as being “silly” or “ignorant.”  All of this happens without any consideration of your point of view.  Are they overly critical of you and yet, fail to be able to accept any constructive criticism you have offered them?  Any aspect of an attempt to control the relationship is a sign of narcissistic and toxic behavior.
  5. You’re exhausted after being around them.  Healthy relationships require a certain amount of giving and taking.  Toxic acquaintances tend to be takers and exhibit little give.  If somebody in your life leaves you feeling drained, after you’ve been in their company, ask yourself when the last time was that person asked you how you are feeling.  If you can’t think of one, it’s time to consider the possibility that this person might be toxic for you.

How To Handle Toxic Relationships

If you’re like me, you like to see the good in people before you accept other people’s “warnings” about them.

Over the years, I’ve had people come up to me in a public place and ask me, “why are you friends with ______?”  I would be put off by this, naturally.

There’s nothing wrong with being a compassionate and accepting person — those are terrific qualities. Unfortunately, toxic people (consciously or otherwise) prey on folks with those qualities.

About the ex-boyfriend I mentioned previously, I went on to discover over the ten years before our relationship that he had left relationships with previous partners either on medication or in therapy as a result of his mental abuse.

Unfortunately, some people are master manipulators, and it can take months (even years) for their reign of control over you to show itself.

If you feel that any of the five descriptions I’ve provided are present in any of your current relationships, you don’t have to scrap the relationship just yet.  There is still some hope.

Three steps you can make to try and mend a “toxic relationship”*

  1. Be honest with them about how you’re feeling.  This one is a bitter pill to swallow for most people with toxic behavior issues since they rarely accept responsibility for their role in anything.  However, as an enlightened person with toxic behavior issues, if it weren’t for the people who cared enough to call me out on how my behavior was affecting them, I wouldn’t have been able to change my ways.  The bottom line is:  If they aren’t willing to take your feelings into consideration or make you feel bad about trying to have a rational conversation, you’re better off with them out of your life.  Wish them well, send them love, but move on for your sake.
  2. Use ‘I-statements’.   While studying interpersonal communication, I took a class that centered around conflict resolution.  One of the most memorable things I learned during this course, was the importance of using  ‘I-statements’ when confronting others regarding their behavior.  I-statements are an assertion about the feelings and emotions of the person speaking.  They let the person listening know that this information is about the speaker.  An example of an I-statement would be, “when you tell me I’m oversensitive, I feel belittled.”  In that case, the speaker is owning the feeling of being belittled rather than blaming that feeling on the recipient by saying, “when you tell me I’m oversensitive, you make me feel belittled.”   If taking ownership of your feelings and using I-statements while you attempt to salvage this relationship isn’t given the appropriate consideration then, again, you’re better off without this person.
  3. Seek the help of a professional.  I only advise this personally if the relationship is worth saving.  If you absolutely must try everything to help the toxic person see where you’re coming from in an attempt to save your relationship (this is mostly for spouses and relatives) I would advise seeking out a mental health or personal development professional to see it through. It does require that both parties enter the situation with an open mind and willingness to work things out.  If this approach doesn’t work, this relationship (and individual) are most likely beyond repair.  Protect yourself and wellbeing and move forward.

* I must stress:  If you feel threatened or in danger, never attempt to handle the situation on your own.  

How to attract healthier connections

Now let’s discuss acquaintances and friends who lift us up and make us feel inspired to be the very best version of ourselves we can be.

These are the people we can go to when we’re down, inspired, angry, frustrated, and anything in-between.

It can be difficult as an adult to befriend these types of people, but it’s not impossible.

Five traits of positive people (they’re not always obvious)

  1. They are kind to others.  They don’t have to like everybody they come in contact with, but regardless of their personal feelings, they are always kind and considerate to others. An admirable quality.  If you’re somebody who struggles with separating connection and kindness, this is a type of person you need more of in your life.
  2. They make friends with other people with ease.  As we get older, it becomes more challenging to develop (and maintain) genuine friendships.  When I connect with new people, I often find myself (and the other person) saying, “I feel like I’ve known you for years.”  Discovering people you can connect to in ways that feel unforced and comfortable is an amazing thing.  We all need more people like this in our lives, right?
  3. They are present and listen to others with intention.  Have you ever been out with a friend and realized they’re attached at the hip to their phone?  I mean, we’re all guilty of expecting a call or text that may overlap with a coffee date or get-together, but there’s nothing worse than being with another person who isn’t fully engaged in your quality time together.  Whenever possible, I try to turn my phone off while I’m with others or leave it in my bag.  If I am waiting for a text or call (which, living in a different country than my friends and family is often for me), I will let the person I am with know, “if I’m checking my phone it’s because I’m expecting a text from a family member, I will keep it as brief as possible.”
  4. They don’t take you (or your time) for granted.  Okay, there’s always going to be unexpected things that happen in life, and occasionally plans may have to be broken or rescheduled.  It happens to the best of us.  However, if it’s continuous, that’s another story.  Positive people and acquaintances will not take you or your time for granted.  They will appreciate the time you’re both making to maintain and evolve the relationship.
  5. They encourage you to take (calculated) risks.  We all need to break up with our comfort zone occasionally.  So, it’s best to surround ourselves with people who give us that positive nudge we need to take a plunge into something new.  Not every idea you ever have will be one that a positive thinking friend will back 100%, but you can be sure they will have your best interest at heart when they share their two cents.

That’s a stark contrast, isn’t it?  Some of this information may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people spend years surrounding themselves with people who don’t encourage them without recognizing it.

When you spend any length of time with people, you can tend to not pick up on how the relationship is evolving — or going nowhere.

Being able to see the other side of something gives you a different perspective than you could ever have if you had never challenged it.

Sadly, not all connections we make with others in life meet our (or possibly theirs) needs.  When this happens, it’s best to save what you can and walk away from what you can’t.

Free your life up for those who will support and encourage you.

Can you think of a time you were in a toxic relationship?  Do you consider yourself to be a positive person in your relationships?  Have you ever experienced toxic behavior in yourself?

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Happy Monday and start and day 8 of my February Daily Intention Workout Challenge!  I hope your first week of February was a great one.  We’re into week six of 2016, and I know I keep saying it, but wow — time is ‘a flyin’!

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

Mahatma Gandhi
Ahh, Gandhi.  You cannot argue with the wisest of souls.  Let’s face it, many of us put our health below the number one spot on our “list of priorities”.  It’s crazy, right?  Without our health, it doesn’t matter what else we have.
Health should always be our priority.  I’ve been there (and I still struggle) when we don’t make it our priority, the universe finds a way of making it so.  Don’t believe me?  What happens when you don’t sleep enough?  Your body will not go on without necessary rest, and you crash.  What happens when you fuel your body with junk food?  Your metabolism becomes your worst enemy; your body cannot supply you with useful energy, and you crash.   What happens when you’re stressed out?  Your cortisol levels skyrocket, you can under or overeat, and you (say it with me) crash.  
When our health is compromised only then do many of us make bargains to take care of ourselves better.  After a bad hangover, we swear off drinking.  After a bad cold from killing ourselves to meet a demand, we swear to work on our life/work balance.
So, since we’re becoming such radical thinkers, today’s intention is health.
Do you eat and move mindfully?
How do you practice self-care?
Do you make decisions that will improve your health or hinder it?
Let’s break the cycle of nurturing our bodies and minds only after we’ve depleted them of their essential needs.  Make healthy choices now.  Ask yourself the question “how will this choice/action improve my health” every single day.
I’m not suggesting you should stop enjoying your life, I’m proposing that you make enjoying your good health your priority.

Today’s Daily Intention Workout.  Day 8:  Health

Daily Intentions Workout, #AlphabetWorkout

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Daily Intentions Workout Challenge

What’s one healthy choice you made today?

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Everybody loves to hear this, right?  One change that could help you conquer your weight loss struggle, once and for all?  The one small change that I did that helped me lose weight, and it didn’t require me to cut out any major food group OR do a single extra burpee.

Here it is.  It’s not award winning psychology, but it works.  One small change for lasting weight loss.

I know, I know.  You hear this/read this ALL the time, huh?  Stop obsessing about the number on the scale.  You know why you keep being revisited by this mantra?  You keep being haunted by this because you NEED TO FORGET THE SCALE AND MOVE ON.  Period.  I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know somewhere inside of you.

For instance, that regular scales only dictate a single mass reading and don’t include the parts of you which are fat, muscle, or water.  OR that your weight can fluctuate due to the simplest of things like stress, illness, or hormonal changes or that most scales aren’t entirely accurate.  OR maybe, just like the scale can’t measure your muscle mass, adipose, and water precisely– it also can’t measure your worth as a human being.  

Do you want to know the real secret to measuring weight loss?  Believe that you are losing the weight.

I’m serious.

Just that shift in your thinking will make things happen.  It has been proven time and time again.

As a coach who works with people on weight loss and fitness journeys, I ask them to take their lives seven days at a time and “believe they are thinner or stronger.”

And just like you’re probably saying to your computer or phone screen right now, “bitch, please” — just hear me out.

This practice has worked for people — I have seen it happen with my eyes.  This personal cognitive approach to their body image not only made them happier but also improved their ongoing weight loss results.

We create our reality.  Our minds are VERY powerful, and just a simple misfire upstairs can make you see the world around you differently.  I won’t get all quantum theory on you right now, but I will say this, you are absolutely 100% a slave and victim to your thoughts.  If your thoughts are defeatist and stagnant, then guess what? Your reality will be too!

Reflections of your thoughts are stronger than what’s there.

I know this sounds too good to be true that all you need to do is believe yourself to be thinner.  It probably sounds easier said than done.  Well, it is easier said than done, but, then again, it isn’t.  To “believe you are thinner” you need to have a few things working in your favor.  Making the decision to change your thoughts toward any goal requires a solid framework to keep you in check.  Here’s a guideline to help keep you motivated and progressive during your weight loss journey!

Have realistic expectations.  Losing weight is super frustrating, but what can make the process so much more painful is how we visualize it and expect it to be.  If you have a habit of being a black and white thinker (like I’ve been MOST of my life) you want those results right away.  You must keep your eyes on the realistic prize.  It has taken me literal years to come to grips with the fact that my body just isn’t going to look the way I want it thought it “should look” no matter what I do.  I am what I am, and knowing what the best version of me is has helped me make peace with it.  Thinking forward, please be real with yourself.

Set small goals for yourself.  You may lose a significant amount of weight the first week or two of your program, but alas, this is not the norm.  Have you ever heard the saying that “if you set smaller goals, you will accomplish more”?  Well, it’s true.  Again, this ties in with having realistic expectations.

By setting smaller goals, you will be able to tackle a larger goal in smaller-to-swallow bits, and I can’t tell you how much better this is on your mental attitude towards weight loss.

Reward yourself every single day.  Most of the time, people say to you to reward yourself only when you’ve reached a goal.  I think that taking control of your health and wanting to feel better about yourself deserves daily recognition.  I’m not suggesting you celebrate every evening with a margarita or buy yourself a new pair of shoes each day, but you can be kind to yourself and recognize your strengths and beauty each and every day.  Take a little more time on your walk home or getting ready in the morning for work.  Simple things that you may have failed to allow yourself in the past.

sorry. had to.

Which brings me to my last point

Address yourself today.  One of the things that keep people from reaching their weight loss goals (and most definitely in keeping their weight off) is the lack of addressing your issues in the here and now.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, losing weight isn’t a magic solution.  You will still be you mentally and emotionally, just less of you physically.  

Let’s face it, losing weight is a journey that requires so much more than increased cardio and balanced nutrition.  So please, please, PLEASE start to address the feelings, issues, and relationship you have with yourself right now while you’re losing the weight.  It’s one of the most surefire ways to keeping the weight off and staying healthy for life.  

Most of life feels like mind games, and, well, it pretty much is.  There are plenty of times where giving up seems like the only sure thing out there, but you can get the results you want if you keep an active mind, a compassionate heart, and a determined body.

Remember, the only person standing in your way — ever — is you.

When it comes to weight loss or fitness goals, do you believe that your thoughts dictate your progress?  Have you ever been a “slave or victim” to your thoughts?

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