Many of you know bits and pieces of my story... I’ve struggled with anxiety & depression most of my life. #worldmentalhealthday
And the only things that have truly & consistently helped me, are EXERCISE, FOOD and MEDITATION.
These three things have become the centerpiece of my life now, because they ARE my “medicine”.
I’ve always been athlete, a mover in my body. And since the age of 6 yrs old, I knew that movement would always be a vital part of my life, my creativity, my passion, my existence.
I was also in the slow reading group in 1st grade, I had tutors and special class accommodations through high school, I was told I was mentally slow and started to believe that I wasn’t smart enough. I know now that I’m smart as hell and sharp as a knife, but back then, having a different learning style in a high pressured college-prep boarding school, didn’t exactly fly.
I went to a doctor in college who told me that the ADD & anti-depressant medication he was prescribing me, would “help me run faster”. Lol. I know, I’m shaking my head as I write this too... but I was 20-something and thought I’d give it a go, since I couldn’t quite get a grasp on my issues with lack of motivation, focus and feeling down.
After trying a handful of different western modalities... my father, who also used to struggle with depression, suggested I start looking closer at the foods that I ate.
His cure for everything is to drink a big glass of water! lol. And he’s right!
After years of abusing my body with crappy, low-grade, nutrient deficient foods... my athletic performance really started to take a nose dive and my depression was sneaky. It would take me down hard when I least expected it.
So I started experimenting with different foods. I realized I was lactose intolerant, I cut out frozen & pre-packaged meals. I started going to farmers markets for fresh veggies & fruits.
I became my own guinea pig and began reading all that I could about different diets and how they support both mental & physical functioning.
I began studying exercise science, meditation and imagery healing. I started journaling every day about how I was feeling and tracking all the details. I dove deep into the life-changing benefits of breath practices... AND... I found Yoga 🏻.
I immediately began to recognize that my mood, my energy, my focus, my athletic performance, my confidence... were ALL directly related to the foods that I ate, the amount of exercise I was getting and the mindful, self-care I was gifting myself.
I’ve literally cured myself through holistic health practices and am SO grateful 🏻.
And now, in my 30’s... here I am... educating, leading and guiding others to look closer at the foods they eat, encouraging them to get moving in their bodies and slow down to find their breath! Full circle, huh, lol.
If you’re struggling with mental illness, at any level, mild or severe. Reach out. Ask for help. Pick up a book. Go for a run. Talk to someone about it. Don’t sit there by yourself in pain.
You’re not alone!
#mentalhealth #worldmentalhealthday #holistichealth #meditation #fitness #exercise #
👣👣Happy Feet 👣👣- Ankle Strengthening & Rehabilitation Exercises:
Our feet & ankles do SO much work for us every day. Don't forget to give them some love too 👣💟! Try these ankle strengthening exercises at home:
1) Alphabet Drawing: Extrinsic muscle movements to strengthen the ankle and calf muscles. Slowly draw the alphabet with your ankle and toes, A-Z. A simple range of motion exercise good for recovering from an ankle sprain and supporting overall healthy motion.
2) Sock Grabs: Strengthening the very deep, Intrinsic Ankle muscles by grabbing the sock with your toes, picking it up and releasing. Try to wrap every single toe around the sock, hold 5-10 seconds for 10x reps.
3) Plantar Flexion w/ Thera-Band: Pointing your toes away from the body. Add resistance w/ a thera-band to increase ankle and toe strength. Choose a speed that is comfortable for you, perform 10x consecutive, at an even tempo, then hold for 15 seconds, repeat 3x sets/ x10 reps.
#fit #fitspo #yoga #strength #rehab #woodhallwellness #bewelltoyourself #toes #happyfeet #ankle #healthy #training #prevention #everydamnday #practice #commitment #patience #motivation #inspire #wellness #move #mobility
See full video on Andrea's Instagram feed: 📸Instagram.com/woodhall_wellness/ & my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/woodhallwellness/ (link also above)
The Importance of Core Strength Training is highly undervalued. It’s not just about looking good in a bikini, core training is an essential element of the wellness lifestyle, injury prevention and aging gracefully. Without core strength we are actually putting our bodies at a great disadvantage by not setting ourselves up for optimal performance in our daily activities. There are endless ways to begin incorporating core strength and conditioning and it won’t break the bank or steal away your time.
The area of the body, commonly referred to as the “core”, is your midsection, a dynamic set of muscles that involves not only the front abdominals but also your back, your glutes and the entire area that connects to your spinal cord helping your body support your spine. The core includes the traverse abdominis, (TVA), erector spinae (running down the mid-back), obliques (side waist) and your lower lats (below shoulder blades). These muscles work as stabilizers for the entire body. Core training is simply doing specific exercises to develop and strengthen these stabilizer muscles. A movement that works your core is going to work more than one muscle group, and you’re going to see results much faster.
As we initiate activity, the core plays a huge factor in stability and spinal protection. Simply put, all movement starts from the core. If any of these core muscles are weakened, it could result in lower back pain or other related compensations where larger muscles are forced to take over, leading to overuse injury. Keeping these core muscles strong will improve your posture and support your other exercises like running, walking and swimming.
Our waistline is made in the kitchen, so in order to lose those extra layers we need to modify our nutritional intake and start exercising the whole body. Getting to the core of transformation requires a combination of fitness and nutrition. Success in one does not exist without the other. They go hand-in-hand, success in one cannot exist without the other. Find a nutritionist that will breakdown the basics for you and begin to incorporate that into your daily intake. Although it takes aerobic activity to burn abdominal fat, core exercises will strengthen and tone the underlying muscles. Improving your core strength by introducing instability and stabilization exercises into your workouts is the first step.
Try these Instability & Core Stabilization Exercises:
1) Table Top Tuck & Reach:
2) Bosu Ball Squat:
3) Plank Hold:
I invite you to join me for a private fitness training session or group boot camp to see what great things will come from some dedication and consistency in the gym. I look forward to seeing you soon to offer you fitness tips and core exercises you can do at home! I hope you consider including core exercises in the mix to help you reach your fitness goals.
Holistic Fitness Trainer @ Woodhall Wellness
Try this at your next workout...
-To strengthen your posterior chain, strengthen back stabilizers, correct postural weaknesses, a great move for general strength and conditioning and retrain your body mechanics to move properly through a very common move that can create low back pain if done incorrectly. The semi-deadlift is an important foundation for the rest of your lifting career.
-Start with low weight and medium reps.
-Neutral Spine (no exaggerated extension of the hips, a.k.a = no anterior tilt, a.k.a = no duck butt 😉)
-Load the Hamstrings
-Engage your Posterior Chain (hams & glutes)
-Slight bend in knee
-Lead with the chest
-Hinge at the Hip
-Release down to the point where your low back starts to round (this is the extent of your hamstring flexibility)
*DO NOT let your lumbar (lower) spine flex over or round
-Lower bar to ground with flat back
-Pull up with the Hamstrings (constantly keep tension on the hamstrings so the low back doesn't take over)
-Squeeze the Glutes
-Try 10-15 reps to start then you can slowly add weight but form is key. Don't rush your progressions until you've nailed your technique
*It takes 300-500 reps to learn a new technique. It takes 3,000-5,000 to untrain and correct an improperly learned technique #fitness #fitspo #fitgirls #fittips #gym #deadlift #posture #form #getstrong #befit #fit #healthy #sweat #getit #fierce #girls #women #lift #train #tiu #tiuteam #wellness #movement #carmel #monterey #woodhallwellness
Yoga is the dance between my thoughts that ground me and forces internal reflection. Yoga is my breath before the sadness and after the anger. Yoga is the release and letting go of the fear while embracing my strength. Yoga triggers the cleansing of my toxic patterns and shines a new light onto the unknown. Yoga is the meditative trance that helps me accept life's process. Yoga is my expression of self love.
We're all fighting battles in some way or another. Find your unique strength within the chaos. You can't give up on yourself, even when others do. You are worth fighting for, every day. Never settle for anything less than your wildest dreams...
Balanced Body Training
I absolutely love this article, '8 Big Changes I Had To Make Before Teaching Yoga,' by Shannon Brady, as it truly shines a light on what it means to be a teacher of movement. And not just a teacher, but a guide and a compassionate support system for your students/clients. Offering motivation, reassurance, sharing your knowledge, being invested in their growth and actually caring about where your students are in their movement practice by tuning in to what they may need in each moment. Maybe it's a specific alignment cue, a modification when they're struggling or even the 'OK' to take a rest. Realizing that your students are their own teachers as well, is kind of mind blowing to experience. Let them check in and listen to themselves so they can hear what their own bodies are communicating. It's OK for teachers to be quiet and not feel the need to fill space with mindless chatter. Let the silence do it's own teaching.
I'm not a fan of forceful communication. I often have friends/family/acquaintances ask me, "do you yell at your clients to get them to do what you want?" I have to laugh because that's a very narrow view of what a Personal Fitness Trainer and/or Yoga Instructor is. It would be ideal if they would experience a session with me, as they'd soon realize that my approach to fitness and wellness is more about building them up than shutting them down. It's more about the journey than about the end results. It's more about mindfulness than proving your worth to me on the sand. It's more about your mind and self-talk than you realize. And with that, a healthy balance of mind & body communication is key. Yes, you need to work hard and push yourself outside of your comfort zone to gain the changes and results that you seek. But along with the sweat, pain, discomfort, struggle, there is so much internal growth and awareness that is happening and still so much more that needs to happen. Becoming in tuned with your own body, surprising yourself with what you're really capable of, building internal confidence, enjoying movement, having FUN in your body... why else are we doing any of this if we're not enjoying some aspect of the journey. Understand that you are a delicate yet fierce machine that needs consistent attention and support. These are the tools that I strive to instill in my clients.
And be a friend and mentor to your students. It's so important that they feel welcome in your class, offering a safe space for them to let their guards down. When they allow themselves to become vulnerable, is when the real shifting begins. Also realizing that being a teacher and a leader, you don't have to know everything. I think my students can connect with me more deeply when they too realize that I'm not perfect. I have my own struggles no matter what my body looks like. Perfectly-Imperfect, I like to say. We're all learning along the way and doing the best we can with what we have.
-Blog written by, Andrea Ford w/ Balanced Body Training
Find orginal article here: http://www.doyouyoga.com/8-big-changes-i-had-to-make-before-teaching-yoga/
This is great video from Runner's World that shows 5 exercises every runner should be doing that will not only help avoid injury but will increase your ability to run faster!
Click the below link to see video:
Not So Fastwww.runnersworld.comThe Body Shop: Not So Fast - Slow down the release of these five simple moves to train your body to run faster. The Body Shop: Don't Get Hurt
1) Calf Stretch: More forceful push off
2) Hamstring Stretch: Prevent overuse of quads during propulsion
3) Squats: Increase strength in the core and the large muscles around the hips
4) Double Leg Pelvic Tilt: Release low back tightness
5) Forearm Plank: Build tall posture & maintain strong abdominals
6) Dips: Strengthen upper back muscles to keep shoulders back
See full article here: http://www.runnersworld.com/getting-started/the-6-best-exercises-for-new-runners?page=6
Watching the 'Big Sur Marathon' this past weekend was so inspiring!
As I've never ran a marathon myself, I began to wonder how these mega-athletes recover from such a feat?
Post-Race Recovery Tips:
1) Resting for 3-7 days post-race allowing muscles to fully recover
2) Train Wisely (Prepare your muscles for the race-day-grind)
3) Roll Out on a Foam Roller
4) Eat Right (Protein Rich Foods & Water)
5) Ice Soak
6) Low Impact Exercise (Swimming & Cycling)
"As with training, the trick to full muscle recovery is finding what works for you. Each person's body is unique and may react differently to various post-race routines. It’s up to you to find that winning combination—and run with it!"
Read Full Article Here:
..."six days a week, ideally for 50 to 60 minutes at a time. But while hours of exercise a week will surely help you create a calorie deficit, that's not the only reason Michelle wants her clients to find time for a workout almost every day. "We're setting up habits and rituals," Michelle explains. "Think about the last time you had to psych yourself up to brush your teeth." In other words, when your workout becomes just another part of your day, you're more likely to do it without a second thought... If the idea of almost-daily hour-long workouts sounds exhausting, Michelle assures you that it won't feel like that. She recommends you break up your workouts three "hard" days of exercise, such as Tabata or interval training, along with two moderate days and one "passive," or light-exercise day. "You don't have to train like an Olympian all the time, but it's [about] building in those habits." http://www.fitsugar.com/How-Many-Days-You-Should-Exercise-Week-34581115
"Within one cycle of freestyle, a swimmer is required to precisely complete upward of 15 distinct movements within the span of two strokes. As good as most athletes are at multitasking, that's still a very complex series of movements within a very short period of time. This complexity of movement can lead to a lot of different kinds of problems with the way a swimmer breathes and swims... Maintaining balance during the breath is all about consistency. Ideally, your rotation during breathing and non-breathing strokes should be exactly the same. This makes it easier for you to keep your body balanced in the water. This will help you reduce your stroke count, leading to more efficient (and usually faster) swims."
"Protein is crucial for the regulation and maintenance of the body and plays a role in blood clotting, fluid balance (hydration anyone?), hormone and enzyme production, and cell repair. Aiming for an intake of at least 0.55-0.77 grams/lb (aim for the upper end of the spectrum during times of heavy training and racing). Which means that if you weigh 130 pounds, you’ll want to aim for approximately 72-100 grams of protein a day; a 195-pound runner will need to aim for approximately 107-123 grams/day."
1] Recognize that caffeine is both a stimulant & addictive...don't be too hard on yourself, it's all about baby steps 2] Decrease caffeine consumption gradually (nothing happens overnight, nor is it healthy to go cold turkey) 3] Water down drinks that contain caffeine (sodas/sport juices) 4] Switch it up, do coffee in the AM & Tea in the PM (Green Tea is a mellow substitute) 5] Ask yourself if you really need that extra cup or are you pouring that 2nd/3rd glass out of habit? 6] Go from a Large cup to a Small cup 7] You have choice in all aspects of your life. It's up to you to make the right one for yourself. http://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/101/move-more-drink-less.aspx
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