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  • Reframe Your Thought Pattern From Scary! to Exciting!

    As of tomorrow, Summer has official begun, and the living is easy! I love these early days of summer when everything seems promising; the plants are in bloom, the sun feels amazing and nourishing on my skin, and the longer days give me hope and energy, making me feel like it’s possible to achieve all my dreams and retire in the south of France. Why not harness this energy, ride the wave of summer and try something new? Life is lived at such an intense pace (physical, emotional and mental), and we often find ourselves stuck on the hamster wheel. It’s not the worst thing, it can make us more efficient, but if it’s out of fear of unfamiliar territory, we’re ....

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  • 7 Surprising Ways that Stress Affects Your Health (And What You Can Do About it)

    Image via Unsplash While there’s a great deal of debate about why women are more stressed than men, there’s no question that stress is taking a toll on women’s health. Here are seven surprising ways that stress may be impacting your wellbeing: 1. Weight Gain
    Maybe you’re familiar with the way stress makes you look in the fridge every five minutes and leads you to the drive-thru line a little too often. But do you understand why stress seems to go straight to your waistline ? Chronic stress increases the levels of a hormone called cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.” Elevated cortisol increases your appetite, reduces ....

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  • How to Hold Yourself Accountable

    Need help holding yourself accountable? Get an individualized coaching plan and system for understanding your own triggers with the Elm City Coach Health Coaching Program. Learn more here . I’m not going to sit here and claim I’ve reached every goal I’ve ever attempted. Because I haven’t. In fact, I’m still struggling with some things. What I’m going to do is outline steps I’ve taken when things HAVE worked out for me because I have accomplished some cool things: New York City Half Marathon, La Grande Classique Paris/Versaille, Tough Mudder, yes, these accomplishments are fitness related, but they’re still pretty ....

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  • SUCCESS STORY: Shelby Phipps

    "Hi! My name is Shelby Phipps and I’ve been with Elm City Coach for eight months. Elm City Coach is important to me because it gives me a balance in my life, and I like being a part of the community. I keep coming back to Elm City Coach for the trainers and for the information that they give. The results I’ve received have been a weight loss of 25 pounds and gaining a real sense of nutritional balance in my life. The best thing about working out Elm City Coach is the personalized attention you get as a client. If someone’s on the fence about working out with a personal trainer I’d say that they should at least try it for a short period of time, ....

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  • If You Don’t MovNat® Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

    Looking to get started in MovNat® and develop your own Natural Movement® practice? Get an individualized fitness plan and system for training your unique body with the Elm City Coach Training System. Learn more here . Life is so tight these days, it’s nearly impossible to find the time to workout. Then, if you stack up all the components your workout “should” have: flexibility, power, endurance, strength, balance, coordination, agility, fluidity, high intensity intervals, stress release…it gets overwhelming. You might not even know where to start. Katy Bowman’s book, Movement Matters, is where the idea of stacking ....

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  • Social Support is Important for Dealing with Life’s Stress

    Need help finding a fitness community that likes what you like? Try our group fitness training system for individualizing your group workouts . Learn more here . Do you ever wish Monday wouldn’t come, or you could just watch Netflix all day? It’s cool y’all. I do too. We all do. Stress is no stranger, but it seems there’s one thing in particular that we can do to help decrease its effects and it involves getting out rather than staying in. Studies point to the importance of social support for maintaining both mental AND physical health, and the results are that this is due to how effective social support is at increasing resiliency to stress. ....

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  • [CASE STUDY] How I Lost 7 pounds in 1 Week

    Need help getting out of a dietary rut? Get an individualized nutrition plan and system for understanding your own body with the Elm City Coach Nutrition Coaching Program . Learn more here . We’re always looking for ways to get healthier and fitter… …and maybe even lose some weight doing it. I must admit I had put on about 10 excess pounds between April 2016 and Jan 2017 and I couldn’t get them off. It’s funny because as a personal trainer I hear this all the time and here I found myself dealing with the very same issue so many of our clients come to us to work through. I was still considered healthy and fit by ....

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  • Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free and Delicious and Fluffy Pancakes

    Food Focus: Buckwheat
    Buckwheat is actually a seed, not a grain, so it’s suitable for those of us following a Gluten-Free diet. It also doesn’t feed yeast and is therefore acceptable for those of us on a Candida diet. Buckwheat is a very good source of manganese, a mineral necessary for building and maintaining strong bones; making collagen, a structural component of skin; controlling blood sugar; and protecting against free radical damage. It is also a good source of copper, magnesium, fiber and phosphorous. Buckwheat contains rutin and quercitin, both beneficial in promoting health. It is also a high quality protein that contains all eight essential amino acids. ....

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  • SUCCESS STORY: Madeleine Fejos

    "Elm City Coach is important in my life. I haven’t been able to workout much in the past two years because I’ve been injured, and this is the first class I’ve been able to do and be active since then. It’s helped me try to get my life back to what it used to be before I was injured. I’ve been loyal to Elm City Coach because it’s really working for me. I’m able to get a workout without aggravating my knee too much. I feel I’m gaining my strength back, and it’s been very rewarding. The services at Elm City Coach have been really great for me because they are so personalized, and specially having and injury. That’s been ....

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  • Is Personal Training better than Group Fitness?

    Most people recognize personal training as the best way to reach fitness goals safely, effectively, and as quickly as possible. So why are so many people looking for group fitness classes? I’ve owned a gym in New Haven for the past 5 years and I’ve been a personal trainer for over 10. It’s my job to make sure every member who walks through our doors has the best experience possible and looks and feels better as a result of their time with us. Not everyone has the means or the need for private personal training sessions. Some people need to maintain their fitness. Others just need motivation or accountability but aren’t looking to reach a performance goal or ....

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  • Establish Habits that Turn Reality into Dreams

    Spring time fitness in New Haven means Rock to Rock, road runners, biking, hiking, even outdoor farmer’s markets. It’s a time of beginnings; the world wakes up from hibernation, and we feel a renewed sense of hope. We feel more energized, refreshed and ready to get out and be part of the world. But do our bodies feel it too? If you haven’t kept up with your health and fitness this winter, your body may be struggling to keep up with the changing season. Transitions are hard enough as it is, let alone trying to make a new start when you feel sluggish and discouraged. But that’s why we started a health and fitness center: to help our clients establish ....

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  • How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise When You'd Rather Binge Watch Netflix

    As a New Haven gym owner, I get to talk to people from all walks of life and everyone has their struggles, but some people overcome them more easily than others. What makes the ones who are successful from the ones who aren’t? Our fitness center specializes in natural movement and health coaching so we get to work with our clients on the lifestyle choices that affect their happiness. We work, every day, with people just like you who want to stop binge-watching Netflix (or their equivalent) and start a new exercise routine. We all hear the stories about the woman who lost hundreds of pounds after being housebound for a decade; the veteran who lost both his legs in battle and ran his ....

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  • Success Story: Lydia Mandell

    "After working out at traditional gyms, I decided to try Elm City Coach for the individual coaching and group training. I wanted to get myself on a regular exercise routine that didn't hurt my body; I wanted an individualized, revisable plan that worked with my body instead of against it. Since starting the program I have increased strength, stability and flexibility; I am having more fun exercising; and I am showing up for myself and being consistent with my workouts, which has been a challenge in the past. I used to focus simply on losing weight and not notice the other benefits of exercise. My focus now is on overall health and wellness. The best thing about having a coach is ....

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  • Why A Power Nap A Day Will Transform Your Life

    Lunch left you sluggish, and your brain is foggy. All you want to do is fold your coat into a pillow, curl up under your desk, and examine your eyelids for 20 minutes. But you’re too busy and far too productive of a person to take a nap. Right? Better think twice! It turns out that a 20-minute power nap is exactly what top players from the NBA to high-level execs, even Google employees turn to for a re-charge. According to Dr. Sara C. Medick, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, naps can improve stamina and motor skills: “…without a midday rest, we are not able to perform at optimal levels throughout the day. In fact, our performance falls apart. Napping ....

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  • Staff Spotlight: Michael Brungard


    Tell us a little about yourself.
    My name is Philip Michael Brungard but everyone calls me Michael. I'm a gemini. I mainly train calisthenics, kickboxing and parkour. I've been skateboarding for a long time and started parkour to help with falling but also liked it for playing with my kids. I started coaching kids in skateboarding and kickboxing and eventually moved up to adults at Renzo Gracie's West Haven where I also had the opportunity to train with pro MMA fighters. Then I started teaching youth soccer during spring and fall seasons with my son.
    What most excites you about working in the health and fitness industry?
    The most exciting part of working in health and fitness is seeing ....

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  • Benefits of Chewing Your Food, Not Just for Weight Loss

    What we eat is important. There isn’t much to argue about that point regardless of what your goals are. But I argue that how we eat it is more important than just what we eat. Ok, eating a Big Mac mindfully is not more beneficial than wolfing down a grass-fed steak. But, I don’t consider a Big Mac to actually be food, so we’re going to have to get on the same page: quality is first, of course. There’s no way around that. So, all else being equal: our food is food, nothing is processed, food is as nature intended…It’s not enough for health. We can’t inhale a garden salad grown in our own back yard with olive oil pressed fresh and true, ....

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  • Cultivate a Healthy Relationship with Food

    Food is powerful. It impacts us on a level that runs much deeper than our physical well-being. What we eat can reconnect us to precious memories like childhood playtimes, first dates, holidays, our grandmother’s cooking or our country of ancestry. Our bodies remember foods from the past on an emotional and cellular level. I love the phrase: “our issues are in our tissues” and truly recognize that our immune system is in our digestive tract. Understanding how interconnected our bodies are, I can’t help but internalize how eating beloved foods connects us to our roots and has youthening and nurturing effects that go far beyond the food’s biochemical make-up. ....

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  • Food Focus: How to Cook Beans

    Beans, or legumes, including peas and lentils, are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Beans are found in most traditional cultures as a staple food, offering grounding and strengthening properties that enhance endurance. They offer a highly usable, highly absorbable source of calcium for the body. A very inexpensive source of high nutrition, beans can be rich, delicious and satisfying. Lack of sexual energy is often due to overtaxed adrenal glands and kidneys. Beans are known for strengthening these organs (ever noticed the shape of a bean?) and can help restore vital energy as well as sexual energy. Beans have a reputation for causing digestive distress, but this is usually ....

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  • The Importance of Eating Right Especially For Growing Athletes

    I didn’t grow up watching a lot of sports, but something my mom always loved was tennis and basketball. I know it’s not tennis season, but I never watched a lot of football or basketball and this is my connection to the wonderment of how professional athletes maintain their physique and fitness levels to such a high degree. Take those tennis players, for instance. On the professional stage, tennis is not just a sport that features strong groundstrokes and quick footwork; it also involves tons of endurance. It’s not uncommon to see Grand Slam matches last anywhere from an hour to almost three hours, even. At Wimbledon in 2010, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut even went ....

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  • Kickstart Your Fat-Loss in 21-Days

    I am so excited because February kicks off our invite to all New Haven area residents for the first Elm City Coach 21-Day Fat-Loss Challenge of 2017! It's hard to take of weight. It's simple, but it's hard. The first week is kinda nice. You start seeing immediate results and motivation comes naturally. But then week two rolls around and the weight loss isn't as rapid. Week two actually feels like month two and this is never going to end. Then comes week three. Recipes come hard, cooking is tiring, and all you want to do is eat a large pizza for dinner. Not this time! Elm City Coach is here to hold your hand. Accountability is the key to 10 lbs of weight loss in 21 days. You can do ....

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  • Sugar Cravings are Your Own Health Coach

    I recently started an extremely restrictive diet. I’ve been struggling with chronic sinusitis and respiratory issues for a few years now and it was getting to the point where I couldn’t get in a solid workout without an asthma attack. I’m a fitness professional, so that’s been pretty rough for me. But I finally got an accurate diagnosis, which I’ve suspected for some years but couldn’t pull the trigger on my own because the lifestyle changes are so difficult. And…I wasn’t 100% sure I was on the right track. Anyway, turns out I was and now I’m on the mend, but there’s something important I wanted to share with you all: ....

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  • Running your first 5k? Toe the finish line prepared.

    Race day is getting closer! Alright so you’ve been logging some miles the past couple of weeks and it is time to start thinking about race day. First things first, try not to stress about it! It is highly unlikely that you’ll be the only one on that starting line for the first time. When I was in high school two of my classmates passed away after being involved in a car accident. One of them was a fellow teammate of mine and our track team ended up starting a memorial 5K race in their honor. So many people signed up for the race in order to rally together and show support for those who needed it. Many of those people had never run a race before and while the event was for a ....

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  • Do I really Need Supplements?

    I am excited to announce, after diligent research, we have made the life-changing switch to providing Shaklee products as the preferred supplement line for our clients. You may be wondering why we made the change: Changing brands can literally change your life. Studies have proven that just because you take a supplement doesn’t mean your body can absorb the nutrients listed on the label. In my experience you can’t short-cut quality. Shaklee product quality, and the science behind it, is unmatched in the industry. All ingredients go through the most stringent screening process in the industry, well beyond pharmaceutical standards set by the United States Pharmacopeia ....

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  • Why Weight? Diets Don't Work

    You can’t turn on the TV, drive down the road or go to a party without being confronted with America’s hottest obsession: weight. Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions and millions luring you to try the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution—your shortcut to a thinner body. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on diets as early as nine or 10 years of age. Our culture touts diet pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix ....

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  • New Year, New You

    A lot of people begin the New Year by making resolutions. We’ve all been there. We take a vow to lose weight, exercise more or spend more time with our family. We start the year with great intentions, but then we quickly relapse into old habits. Why is it so hard to stick to those New Year’s resolutions? I recently listened to an awesome podcast about interviewing. There were a few points to take home, but the one that has stuck with me most profoundly is a three-part analysis of motivation; some people feel as though they need to do something: lose weight, make more money, be a better parent. These people work out of obligation, extrinsic motivation…some people want ....

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  • Planning Ahead

    Happy holidays everyone! I don’t know about you but this time of the year always gets super busy for me. I am the kind of person who makes a “to do” list nearly every day. Sometimes I do not get to everything on my list, but I’m organized for the next day and know what I need to get done. Then there are those who don’t like to plan out their day and live on a whim. When it comes to running your first race I would recommend preparing a bit. Preparing for a race can take the same consideration. One needs to consider things like the climate you’ll be racing in, what you’ll be wearing and the time of day. You also need to make sure you eat the ....

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  • Want to Get Healthy? Take a Nap!

    How often do you hear someone say, “I had a great night’s sleep last night!” or “I feel refreshed and energetic!”? Probably not very often. Feeling sluggish seems to be the new normal. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, it is the new normal: most Americans are sleep-deprived. But not getting enough sleep may be causing more trouble for you than just that pesky drowsy feeling: it could be seriously harming your health. Why aren’t we sleeping?

    Centuries ago, it was common for people to sleep 8 to 9 hours each day. But now, only about 25% of Americans get 8 or more hours of sleep. The reasons we are not sleeping are many. We ....

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  • Run Your First 5k in New Haven, CT

    Hey there! Just in case you do not know, my name is Lauren Harte and one of the trainers at Elm City Coach in New Haven, Connecticut. I received my personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in 2012, have a love for all sports and thoroughly enjoy leading an active life. I joined the Elm City Coach family in July 2016 and it has been a pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful community of people. I ran track all through high school and for two years in college. I used to be a sprinter – and I was quite quick if I do say so myself. The picture you see here is actually from one of the final track meets I competed in college. I set my best ....

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  • Mango Cream Recipe

    Mango Cream Recipe Prep time: 10 minutes Serves 4 Ingredients:
    1 mango, peeled and diced
    1/4 cup orange juice
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 tablespoon agave nectar (optional)
    1 cup organic whipping cream or carton of soft tofu or large ripe banana Directions:
    Process the first four ingredients in a blender.
    Blend for one minute, or until pureed.
    Pour puree into a medium bowl.
    Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. If using tofu or banana, whir in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.
    Fold whipped cream, tofu, or banana into mango puree, using a knife to swirl in a marbled effect. ....

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  • What is the proper way to do a Push-Up?

    What is the proper way to do a Push-Up? You can think of a push-up as a plank that is moving through space. By keeping your body in a plank position, even while performing a push-up from your knees, you are developing core stability, shoulder stability and upper body strength or endurance. Start with your hands directly below your shoulders. Align your body in a stable plank position: shoulders in line with your hips, hips in line with your heels. Pull your body to the ground without breaking plank position. Push the ground away from you to come back to the start. Repeat. Push-ups can be dangerous if you’re suffering from shoulder instability or dysfunction or a spine ....

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  • How do I know what weight I should be using?

    How do I know what weight I should be using? This is a great question. Using the appropriate weight in your resistance training program is necessary for achieving the results you’re looking for. If you use a weight that is too light you aren’t going to see results. If you use a weight that is too heavy, you risk injuring yourself. So, let’s talk about how to choose. Any solid personal trainer will start his or her clients with a fitness assessment. Regardless of whether you’re working with a coach or trainer or not, you should establish a baseline for yourself. This will give you an idea as to where to start. You want to evaluate yourself based on your ....

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  • Mmm... chocolate

    Chocolate is the only ingredient that is its very own food group.
    Well not really – but it seems as if it should be. Powerfully comforting, creamy, delicious – many people eat chocolate at least several times a week. Which begs the question… Is Chocolate Good for You?

    The answer is both yes and no. Chocolate has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, sexual malaise, fatigue, hangovers, anemia, depression, memory loss, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, and more. It also helps release that feel-good neurotransmitter – serotonin – in the brain. But eat the wrong kind and you’ll get loads of sugar, calories, and junky ingredients. ....

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  • What are some of my rules for Cheat meals?

    What are some of my rules for Cheat Meals?

    No Cheat Meals! I’m kidding…kinda. ;) If your diet needs a cheat meal it means you’re depriving yourself and not listening to your body. Cravings are here to tell us something: a) your body needs something you’re not giving it or b) your body’s addicted to something you are giving it. Either way: it needs to be addressed, not ignored then binged on. I’m not really down with short-term diets. I understand the desire to fit into a dress for a specific event, or to look boss for your class reunion, even to outperform the competition, but none of those events should “crammed” for. They ....

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  • 7-High Protein Breakfast Alternatives to Eggs

    There’s no denying my most powerful breakfast is a couple eggs with two cups of cooked greens and this works for a most of my clients too. But there comes a time when we need a break from the egg. I’ve poked around, done a bit of sampling and I am happy to provide you with 7 High-Protein Breakfast Alternatives to Eggs: Meat and Veggies Cook 4 oz Ground meat (turkey or beef) in butter or ghee w/ chopped carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Cook up 2 cups of leafy greens and you’re good to go. I recommend having the meat prepared in advance so breakfast can be quick; all you have to do is heat it up. (22g protein) Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cook 1/2 cup oats with 1 cup ....

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  • How Can I lift Weights and Not Get Bulky?

    I often hear concerns about bulking up with resistance training. “If I lift weights will I get bulky?” I think the answer lies in understanding what adaptations your body makes when you work out, because after all, that’s the point of working out: adaptation. There are two points to comprehend. 1. You are what you eat. If you don’t want to look like a football player, don’t eat like one. Seriously though, all I mean is that hitting the weights will bulk you up only if you give your body the fuel to bulk. So, keep your diet sparse and lean. Most women would do well with 1,500 - 2,000 calories per day depending on their body type, weight loss goals, and ....

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  • Three Keys for Lifelong Health

    There is a lot of health and diet information out today. We all talk about it, but rates of disease are rising. What used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes is now called Type II diabetes because so many of our children are suffering from it. Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, MS, some truly debilitating diseases are becoming commonplace yet we know more now than we ever have about disease states. Why are getting sicker still? I have some ideas, but I don’t want to dwell them today. I want to cut right to what we can do to support our longevity. 1. Walk and do mobility drills every day. Try to vary the distances and terrains you walk on. Don’t park in the same ....

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  • Is it inevitable that you gain weight when you age?

    Is it inevitable that you gain weight when you age? As we age our bodies go through some natural changes. Unfortunately for us, weight gain is often a result. The easy answer to today’s question is, yes, weight gain is inevitable as we age…but it doesn’t have to be. As we age our muscle mass decreases. We’re not exactly sure why this happens, but it does. It may be because our muscle cells are less able to regenerate and they die off and the ones that are still around are weak. So, what we can do is build up the weak ones, promote their growth, and support ones that might be likely to die off against that. How do we do this? EXERCISE! Building muscle ....

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  • What's the best way to get an obstacle course started in my back yard?

    What’s the best way to get an obstacle course started in my back yard? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all that awesome back yard courses people are posting on the net these days, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Even with just a small patch of grass or asphalt you can put together something simple that can challenge you as your competency develops. If you can dream it, you can do it ;) The course I’ve got in this video just requires a 8’ x 2” x 4”, three spot indicators (I’m using Dots from PerformBetter.com, but sidewalk chalk, tree stumps, car tires…anything that isn’t going to slide out from under ....

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  • What is the proper way to do a Kettlebell Swing?

    What is the proper way to do a Kettlebell Swing?
    If you’re looking to get a total body workout that is fun, challenging, dynamic, functional, and practical, kettlebell training is worth your time. In the space of a living room you can get a solid workout in 10 minutes, but there are some safety measures to recognize. If you can’t guess on your own that swinging an iron object between your legs risks injury, you shouldn’t be considering this tool. If you do have some common sense and a desire to learn train with kettlebells, read on to learn the foundation of all the basic lifts. The Kettlebell Swing
    There are two general schools of though when it comes ....

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  • How to Train for a Tough Mudder: Part 4 - Couch to Tough Mudder; Hit the Deck

    When I first started obstacle racing the first thing I thought of was crawling under barbed wire. Hitting the deck, diving into a military crawl through mud was simply a given. Tough Mudder has given us fire, live wire, and drowning to fear, leaving a little t-shirt snag in the dust as the least of our worries, but none the less: crawling is a basic skill that must be mastered in order to coast through even the most advanced of courses. There are two crawls that should be staples in every training program:
    The Knee/Hand Crawl
    Or simply, crawling. Get on your hands and knees and GO! The skill in this technique relies on one’s ability to maintain stability in the trunk while ....

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  • Can I Workout While Pregnant?

    Is it safe to workout while pregnant?
    Pregnancy is an amazing time, but as a first time parent it can be really scary. What’s safe? What’s right? Am I going to harm my baby? Is my body going to change? Will it bounce back? All of these questions, and more, are legitimate. To be honest, I can’t answer them for you. You need a team on your side and an assessment. Personally I had a group of midwives (we used Birth and Beyond out of Madison, CT), my own research, experience as a personal trainer, and the most supportive spouse anyone could ask for. So, I’m writing to you from my personal and professional experience, but as always: Listen to your ....

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  • How to Train for a Tough Mudder: Part 3 - Couch to Tough Mudder; Get Over It

    Obstacle course racing is all the rage these days. New ones are popping up all over the place with paint, smoke, mud, zombies…you name it and chances are someone’s thought of it. I’ve even found one that combines physical obstacles with mental ones. Ha! Anyway, if obstacle course racing is something you’re considering, or even if you’re relatively seasoned, there is one skill that most all of us, unless we’re American Ninja Warriors, can stand to develop: CLIMBING.
    The skill of climbing is something at which we, as humans, should be quite adept, but chances are you don’t go around swinging from tree to tree and, especially if you ....

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  • What is a Tempo Run?

    What is a Tempo Run?
    When you’re run training, there are different ways to vary your program. Once you’ve built up a solid distance base, it may be appropriate for you to start experimenting with variations on speed. You should always start your training session with a warm up. Warm ups should be general at first, simply elevating your body temperature, pumping blood through the muscles that are about to work, and preparing you mentally. Your warm up should then progress into more training session-specific movement patterns. With a run session you could simply start with a brisk walk. I like adding in some arm circles and preparing the upper body and shoulder girdle ....

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  • How to Train for a Tough Mudder: Part 2 - Couch to Tough Mudder; Run for Your Life

    In the first segment of this blog sequence we talked about Mindset, how I came to run my first Tough Mudder, and the steps leading up to my training. In the next 6 segments we’re going to speak individually about the movement skills you must master if you want to succeed at a Tough Mudder. The first pattern that should really be mastered is running. Building up a strong running base is going to make everything else easier. My experience tells me you should absolutely be able to run the distance the race is covering, or slightly under. If you can comfortably run 8 miles, you’ll be fine in the Tough Mudder though you may choose to walk at some points. If you’re ....

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  • What is the difference between Plyometric Training and Resistance Training?

    What is the difference between Plyometric Training and Resistance Training?
    Q. It should first be understood that plyometric training is a form of resistance training. Any time you are adding a load to the work you’re doing it’s resistance training. Bodyweight training is resistance training. Weight training is resistance training. TRX, ViPr, Kettlebells…all resistance training, and plyometric training falls in there as well. When we think: resistance training, we usually go directly for weights, but this is only part of the picture, as stated above. There is a continuum from 1 up to about 20 repetitions. Training along that continuum will expose your ....

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  • The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

    I want to share an excerpt from Kristin Neff’s book, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.
    “One key to understanding mindfulness lies in distinguishing awareness itself from the contents of awareness. All sorts of different things arise within the frame of our awareness— Physical sensations, visual perceptions, sounds, smells, tastes, emotions, thoughts. These are all contents— things that come and go. And the contents of awareness are always changing. Even when staying perfectly still, our breath rises and falls, our heart beats, our eyes blink, sounds arise and pass away. If the contents of awareness didn’t change, we’d be ....

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  • What’s a good circuit for core strength?


    What’s a good circuit for core strength? It’s not just about what you do but how you do it that matters. That being said, try this combo: ?Foot/Hand Marching
    How to do it:
    Start in a table-top position, hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips. Elevate your knees 1-inch off the ground. Simultaneously lift one hand and the opposite foot from the floor. Place them back down and switch sides.
    What to watch for: keep your abdominals engaged and your neck loose. ?Alternating Tripod Transitions
    How to do it: Start in a deep squat. If you need to, keep your heels off the ground. Shift your bodyweight to one side, placing that hand on the floor outside ....

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  • How to Train for a Tough Mudder: Part 1- Couch to Tough Mudder Mindset

    When I signed up for my first obstacle course race, Tough Mudder had just started to make it’s mark in the US. It sounded a little crazy, but I appreciated that it focused on teamwork and completion rather than competition and 1st place finishers. Even though Tough Mudder isn’t timed there was still a part of me that wanted to “do well” and finish with a good time. So, I guess it isn’t that competition is inherently wrong, I believe there’s a competitive nature to all of us in some way, but what matters is how we race. Overcoming obstacles by moving efficiently can make all the difference between a race you’re proud of and a race ....

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  • Core Strength, Plank Variations: The Proper Way to do a Perfect Side Plank

    What is the Proper Way to do a Side Plank?
    Posture is always key when looking at movement technique. Everything has a proper position and begins with the upright stance. From there everything is possible, even poor posture. When you are planking, side or otherwise, you need to establish the upright stance, in this case while lying on your side: Ears in line with shoulders in line with elbows in line with hips in line with knees in line with ankles. Chest is lifted, chin is tucked, abdominals engaged, but not restricting. You need to breathe! Glutes activated. watch the video to see what I mean (link to youtube) Support your entire self with your entire self. Find a ....

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  • Gettin' Out: Mystic, CT

    I love New Haven for a whole host of reasons. One of them is how easy it is to get out of town. This summer, like most summers, we got to take some family guests to Mystic, CT. We didn’t go to the aquarium. I think that in and of itself is its own story. We just visited the town and hopped a little boat ride. I thought it would be nice to share some of the fun things to do in Mystic: Paddle the Mystic River:
    www.paddlemystic.com 15 Holmes Street, Mystic, CT 06355. Paddle boards ($30 for the hour), Kayaks ($25 for the hour), even bikes are only an hour drive away. You can get a paddle board lesson ($50) and they’ve got the “nicest launch on the river”. ....

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  • How to Squat: The Natural Way to Squat for Fitness and Health

    Guys, There are actually a few things you need to keep in mind when squatting, but the most consistent is this: Keep your knees in line with your toes. Other things you’ll hear are: keep your back flat. I talk about it in my Facebook video, but if you’re lifting atlas stones you have to round your back, so take everything you learn with a grain of salt, but if we’re talking about every day, healthy body, move and live for longevity, yeah, ok keep your back flat. But, you’ll notice if you watch a little kid sit in squat his back is not always flat. Under heavy load, though, it better be. You’ll hear talk of abdominal bracing. This is only ....

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  • Secret Ingredients

    Last night was date night. My wife and I went to one of our favorite restaurants in town. We’ve been going there for 6 years. It’s one of the first places we dated and we’ll be back, for sure. I’m not writing to speak ill of one of my favorite restaurants. No, this goes much deeper than that. I learned something last night and I want to share it with you. Now, you need to know that I’m preparing for a cleanse. I’ll be following a nutrition program that eliminates all the major dietary toxins: alcohol, caffeine, dairy, wheat, and soy and then of course, packaged, pre-processed foods. I’ll be using non-Gmo, vegan supplements to support my ....

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  • How to Train for an Obstacle Race

    You probably found this blog because you want to run your first obstacle course race or you want to out-perform your last one. Either way, I’m happy to help you along. Obstacle course, OCR, Obstacle Race, whatever you want to call it, it’s popular and a pretty awesome way to test your physical fitness while having a blast. I started running obstacle courses in 2001 while training in the military. These “O-Courses” were not the same as you see across the country on 5k or 10-12 mile courses for weekend warriors. These were all-out, fast-as-you-can, getter-done-in-a-minute type deals. They were tough…but they were fun. When I started personal training in ....

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  • What can I do to address my knee pain?

    Knee pain, like all pain is nuisance at best and can be debilitating and warranting a replacement at worst. There is so much information out in the world about knee pain and how to address it. I’m not a physical therapist. I’m not a doctor at all. I consult with PTs and orthopedists and physiatrists and I observe, practice, and study human movement. I respond to my clients based on what makes sense to me and what has worked (or failed to work) on myself and them. First thing’s first: my information cannot be construed as medical advice. Please do not take it to be. What I hope to do with these little blogs and Q&As is invite you to listen to your own body so ....

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  • What are some stretches or strength exercises for lower back pain?

    Low back pain is one of the most common complaints among adults with about 80% experiencing pain at some point in their lives. It is the most common reason for missed days at work. It occurs in men and women equally, and in spite of all we “know” these days its prevalence is increasing. So, it’s no surprise that folks are searching for relief. I think it’s important to note that a few exercises found in a blog are not going to cure your low back pain. I think the majority of our problems, and low back pain is no exception, are systemic. So, quick fix solutions won’t do the trick, but maybe, just maybe, they can alleviate pain long enough to start ....

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  • Navigating the Heat

    Summer is an awesome time of year: the sun is out, it’s warm, in addition to all the indoor activities we enjoy we now have access to a whole host of outdoor activities as well. But there are some precautions we need to heed and navigating the heat is one of them. It’s important to understand what happens to your body when it overheats. Both hight heat and exercise cause our body temperatures to rise. In an attempt to cool itself the body sends more blood to the skin. This leaves less blood for the rest of the body, including our exercising muscles, so the heart rate increases in an attempt to circulate more blood. This alone can be a dangerous situation if one isn’t ....

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  • Does Drinking Caffeine Have Any Effect on My Workouts?

    I got really excited when I saw this question. I very much enjoy coffee (I’m French and my dad has a coffee farm in Brazil) but it doesn’t really serve me. If I drink it too regularly my sinuses get inflamed, I drink less water, my anxiety can increase to a point of irritability, and I’m more likely to want a glass of wine at night to wind down. I’m not currently drinking coffee, I’ve opted for a lovely iced green tea in the mornings and I feel great, but I do enjoy a nice espresso or pour over and I’m sure one day I’ll be drinking coffee before pulling back again. Coffee is not the only way to get caffeine however, and that is the ....

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  • Gettin’ Out: The TCB Trail

    Across the Country, according to www.railstotrails.org, there are more than 1,900 rail trails with at least one in every state. A rail trail is a walking, biking, running, blading, even equestrian trail that has been built where railroad tracks once stood. Even New Haven has one: The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail that takes us up to the Mass boarder. Rail trails are wonderful because they are often relatively flat or only involve slight inclines. The Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (formerly the Northern Central Railway Trail) runs from Ashland, Maryland up to York, Pennsylvania and passes through lush forest along Big Gunpowder Falls. The Northern Central Railway operated from 1828 ....

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  • Why is it good to work out when stressed?

    The right kind of exercise elicits a hormone response that can relieve stress. If you overdo it however, you can actually increase stress to the body. Exercise IS stress. It’s a matter of the appropriate dose. Everybody is different. The appropriate dose for you in not necessarily what is appropriate for me, but you can use some guidelines: Exercise to no more than 80% of capacity. It’s a good rule of thumb to follow. If you’re unfit or recovering from injury or illness decrease that to about 65-70%. If you’re fit and currently exercising you may be able to increase that to 90%. You have to train how you feel, but be sure to err on the side of caution. ....

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  • Staff Spotlight: Lauren Harte

    1. Tell us a little about yourself. I've been in Connecticut for the past four years and have enjoyed every minute of it. I completed my master's degree at the University of New Haven and was fortunate enough to be offered a full time job shortly thereafter in New Haven. I'm always on the go and love to be busy. I am not the type of person who is content just sitting inside watching TV, especially if the weather is nice - I'd rather be out and about with family or friends. I love to travel, explore different places and have new experiences. 2. What most excites you about working in the health and fitness industry? I love helping people and I believe working in the health and ....

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  • At Home Bodyweight Workout

    It’s Summer! The kids are running around and you might be chasing them or you might be lounging in the hammock with a Pina Colada. Either way it might be harder to find time for yourself let alone designate time to get to the gym. So, here is a 15-minute workout you can do at home even with the kids running around: Warm Up
    [Start with the first exercise for the set number of repetitions then move directly into the next exercise for the set number of repetitions, etc. without pausing.] [A] Perform 5 Deep Squats then Quadruped (to) Deep Squat (to) Quadruped 5 times then Crawl 4 steps each side forward and back 3 times then Tripod Transition 1 each side 5 times ....

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  • Time Management

    I don’t really wish for more time in the day anymore (though an extra day to the weekend would be nice). But I do feel completely lost sometimes. I wish things came easily or fell into place the way I dream them to, but success isn’t accomplished by wishes. Some people seem to accomplish their tasks effortlessly. How do they do it? They manage their time. These are the “secrets” that have been shared with me so we can jumpstart our productivity. They say that the secret to managing your time well isn’t working more hours. It is about prioritizing the important things and learning to use the time you have more efficiently and effectively. The secret is ....

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  • Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle with a Social One



    How do I balance a Healthy Lifestyle with a Social One?
    Society is against us. We’re told constantly about the importance of healthy living while simultaneously being sold the newest lifestyle convenience or substitute “food”. But, healthy living and having a social life do not need to be mutually exclusive. Most of our clients enjoy supportive activities with their friends: hiking, swimming, walking, book clubbing, going to the theater, dancing, playing basketball, etc. All of these activities can involve unhealthy food or drink choices but they don’t have to. We don’t HAVE to indulge when our friends do, but as I’ve said before, willpower only ....

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  • Food Focus: Raw and Cooling Salads

    I love summer, y’all. I know I said I love spring a few blogs back, but let me tell you about summer! Early morning outside play is great, it’s easy to get fresh air, our farm share is back on and my goodness I’ve never tasted vegetables so fresh in this country. It’s just so easy to get an abundance of fresh veggies. Have you noticed a craving for more fresh and raw foods? They have a cooling effect on our bodies. The lightness and high water, fiber, and vitamin content work together to cool us down during these warm summer months. Because we get so much energy from being outside in the fresh air and sunshine, we also needs less dense, high-energy food. So, ....

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  • Should I take supplements?

    Honestly, probably. The chances that your diet is balanced, made exclusively of whole foods, uncontaminated, and appropriate for your body, lifestyle, and goals is highly unlikely. Modern society simply is not established to support optimal functioning. But that doesn’t mean you can take just any old supplement you find at Stop and Shop. The supplement industry isn’t regulated, so there’s no guarantee that what the label states is what you’re actually getting. You could be getting more or less or something completely other than what you’re purchasing. You’ve got to talk to a trusted professional who can recommend you a good supplement. Based on ....

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  • Gettin' Out: Sleeping Giant

    I love New Haven, I really do. There are so many great things about this place: Arts and Ideas (June 10- 25th), the restaurants, the proximity to the city (New York), Providence, and Boston, 3 hours to ski, and this past Saturday, for the first time (!) I took a hike up Sleeping Giant. I know, I can’t believe I haven’t hit those trails until now either. A jog to and up East Rock was always so much more practical, but this was great. A bunch of clients, Carolina, and I took a couple hours to explore the hill with our families. My Lindsey and Ludo shared in the fun and so did a couple husbands and other kids. It was a gorgeous day. We stopped for a photo op’ and a little ....

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  • What and how long before a workout should I eat?

    It really depends on you and your goals. For most people, eating a well-balanced meal comprised of healthy choices 1-2 hours before a workout is a pretty good idea. You will have had time to digest your food before getting to sweating. It’s more important to eat a solid diet all day for consecutive days than it is to worry about meal timing unless you’re an athlete, bodybuilder, or fitness competitor. For us average jane and joes simply avoiding unhealthy choices and eating the right portion sizes is enough. All that being said, if you do feel like you might need to eat something before a workout conventional science says a combination of quick and slow burning sugar ....

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  • Kettlebell, Kettleball, Kettlewhat…?

    It’s k e t t l e b e l l, and it’s a training implement resembling a cannonball with a cast-iron handle. Part of what makes the kettlebell so awesome is the training response it has on your body. Proper Kettlebell training has the ability to simultaneously increase your strength and endurance. This is not usually the case; traditional programming says you “can’t” train both strength and endurance at the same time (unless you are an absolute beginner). With kettlebell training you can progressively increase the resistance while performing total-body cyclical movement as is required to perform “cardio”. You can train both strength and endurance, ....

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  • Can I perform strength training every day?

    I don’t recommend performing strength training 7-days per week. I think 5 or 6 days is the max because it’s not during workouts that we make gains, it’s during recovery, so if you’re never recovering, then…what have you got? You should definitely perform some type of training most days and strength training doesn’t have to be excluded. Some of those training days are going to be structured and some of them might be unstructured. Some of them are going to be high intensity and some of them are going to be low intensity, but you should make sure that they’re balanced against your lifestyle, your goals, and your needs. If you’re highly ....

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  • The Art of Sit, Breathe, Drift, Come Back i.e. Meditation

    There are a lot of different ways to meditate. You can pop in a cd, download an app, go to a class, take a retreat, sit in silence…Personally, that’s what’s working for me these days, sitting in silence. I use that word, “working”, lightly, but it’s true. I’ve tried a few different meditation…styles? Maybe they’re styles, I’m not sure; I’m no expert. Actually, I’ve always thought, man, if I could just meditate, I’d have the cure-all. I think my promotion of this meme expresses that’s absolutely NOT the case. I have a long way to go, but what I hope to express to you in this blog is, that’s ....

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  • Is Your Fitness Functional?

    Kettlebells, TRX, DVRT, Battle Ropes, Sled Pulls, the list goes on and you may not even know what half those things are, but throw one of those toys into a workout and you might hear your trainer touting the awesome benefits of your “functional” training. Most exercise programs out today claim to be functional. So, chances are you’ll have said, “yes” in response to the title of this post. But I’m willing to bet that you’re not 100% sure about that answer, because the question isn’t complete: Functional for what?… We don’t often think about that second part, do we? We think: I train bodyweight so I can master my bodyweight. ....

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  • Do You Move Naturally?

    When I first started observing my son’s, now 2 years 9 months old, movement I was captivated by the fact that he seemed still to move as if he was in fluid. His head and arms floated through the air as they took in their surroundings, making sense of their new world. Just thinking about it encourages me to try moving as he did…When is the last time you looked at the room around you and observed all of the elements of each object before passing on to the next? Try it. And notice how your head moves as you do. I’m not saying that we should move through the world in such a dream-like state, the above is just an exercise in perception, but that’s what so often ....

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  • Gettin’ Out: Richmond, VA

    Well, Spring Break in New Haven has come to a close, but I was lucky enough to Get Out with my fam this year and take a quick trip to Richmond, Virginia. This was my first time to the city. Although there were distinct signs of Confederacy support, I found the city relatively inviting. Richmond is clean and there’re some great organic eateries (including Burger Bach, where we went for dinner, and where they cook their greens in apple cider vinegar and take pride in their multitude of house made french fry dipping sauces). I was happy to partake in Richmond’s craft brew pride and even enjoy a sunset around our hostesse’s back yard fire pit, situated evenly between the ....

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  • STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Marannie Rawls-Philippe, Programming Director

    (1) Tell us a little about yourself. I am second oldest in a blended family of 5 kids. I am also one of over 60 grandchildren. (2) What most excites you about working in the health and fitness industry? I love hearing about our members' small wins: "walking up the stairs isn't as hard any more", "it no longer hurts to pick up my child", "I feel confident in my body". I also love connecting with like-minded people who just want to learn more about themselves and how to care for their bodies. (3) What do you like to do in your free time? I love spending time with Lindsey and Lucien. It doesn't matter what we're doing, but playing in playgrounds, watching HGTV, or dancing to Pitch ....

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  • The Flying Trapeze

    Fear can easily disrupt our ambitions and personal growth. We often make excuses to avoid confronting our angst and apprehensions, all to avoid that scary placed called “transition.” However, the state of transition enables transformation, realignment, and progress. Transition allows us to evolve while making peace with the past and accepting the unknown future. Without transition, we would be stagnant. “Sometimes, I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments, I’m hurdling across space between the trapeze bars. Mostly, I spend my time hanging on for dear life to the ....

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  • Should You Workout When Sick?

    Everyone’s been getting sick lately. So, when a client told me she’d be interested in knowing when to work out vs. when to rest, I thought it must be on the minds of others as well. You all know I took the week last week. Now, a week is a long time, but I had to do it. I kept hoping to see clients then having to decide the night before that, no, I shouldn’t come in. Now, work is one thing, but in my field work and working out go hand in hand, so, where do we draw the line? You may have heard: if it’s above the chest, you can workout. If it’s entered the lungs, don’t. Basically, if you have low-grade symptoms: sore throat, cough, runny nose, congested ....

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  • Why Obstacle Course Run?

    Spring is so here. I don't care if it snows again. It could snow feet and I still wouldn’t care because I know it won’t last long. …I’ve totally jinxed us, haven’t I? Well, my declaration made it past editing, so it is what it is! The point is…SPRING y’all, SPRING! And what that means for me… is obstacle course season. I love obstacle courses. They coaxed me (in part) to the Marines. They attracted me to MovNat. They are just fun, silly, effortful expressions of our true nature. I was born to move. I am a mover and I was put on this earth to help you all do the same. And you know what? I can help you like it. No, I can help you LOVE ....

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