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Info Session: One-Year Curriculum to your Self-Sustainable Fitness

Ever since I created Richmond Wellness, my mission has been to teach what I’ve learned to my clients so that you know how to move your body, how often, and how to fuel it best. I’ve wanted to make it personally sustainable for you – so that one day, you won’t need me but for a resource to bounce questions off of. 
I’ve created a curriculum to do just that – to help you to create movement and eating habits that work for you and that empower you with a greater level of health and fitness. 
Truly, you’re about 90 days away from a radical life change. Whatever it is you’ve been dreaming of – more vibrancy and energy, easier movement in day-to-day life, a higher level of fitness and mobility, a sharper mind, greater creativity, and the confidence to not be concerned with how you look in public – no matter what you’re wearing. 
Realistically, the entire process of lifestyle change, done right, takes about a year. From there, you keep on growing, but you’ve got a lot of great habits in place that you’re feeling great about. 
If you invested a year of your life to figure out how to master yourself and your fitness in order to enjoy it the rest of your life, would it be worth it? Would it be worth the investment to give up countless hours, days, and weeks of fretting over the scale or tight-fitting clothes? 
I’m putting together an information session so that you can learn more about my curriculum and my process and explore whether it’s what you’d like to, and are ready, to do. I’ll be sharing a date and time soon. In the meantime, is this something of interest to you? If so, would you let me know? It will help me to propose a day and time to hold the session. The session will be $15 to attend and will last 90 minutes. You’ll leave with valuable information and some tools to get you started (or continued) on your own fitness journey. 
And remember: fitness isn’t just physical – it’s mental and spiritual as well! This curriculum will inspire you to dig deeper and really figure out what’s going on that’s been holding you back from the health and fitness you desire. 

A Little Bit of My Story

I was thinking the other day about how I got started in the fitness industry. I’m training for a marathon again this summer with my boyfriend (it’s his first! And my 6th) and it has me feeling nostalgic, I suppose! 🙂

So, I wasn’t always athletic. In fact, I never played any sports in school outside of gym class. I was a statistician for the track team one day in sixth grade .. which was cool .. but not very athletic, haha.

I started going to the gym after I graduated high school. My goal was to finally feel confident in my skin, and I thought that having a tighter, more athletic body would do that for me. So, I embarked ..

I started with 2 days at the gym per week, then 3, then 5, then 6. I could run 10 miles on the treadmill. I lifted weights. But I STILL had not reached my goal, so – I was UNFULFILLED.

Then, I ran my first 5k. I got so inspired by curiosity of what my potential could be running outside. I progressed from the 5k distance to 8k, 10k, and a half marathon (13.1 miles). Upon finishing my first half marathon in 2011, I set my sights on the beast: the full marathon, 26.2 miles.

In this same timeframe, when I began my official first marathon training, I was in a place where I was seeking what I’d like to do with my life. (Sounds dramatic, and to me, it really was, and is!) I’d considered starting a bakery because I loved to bake for the runners for our long runs on Saturday mornings .. but I could not in myself justify making sweets for everyone (because not everyone was training for a marathon and running 18-20 miles). I then thought I could start a “healthy” bakery with “better” options, but at the time, had trouble justifying paying more for a smaller amount of coconut flour versus enriched white flour, so, I tabled that idea as well.

Then, it came to me one day on a bike ride (tip: movement inspires creativity and productivity): I can be a fitness coach!

And so the journey began.

The thought came to me to be a fitness coach/personal trainer because I saw the PARALLELS between fitness principles and life principles!

In my own fitness process, I learned SO MUCH about myself, and not only that, but also, how to master myself – how to steer my own life as I could steer my own fitness! 
Thus the concept of mental, spiritual, physical fitness was born. 

The fitness journey will change your life. No matter where you are on the continuum, there are things to learn and so many more benefits awaiting you than simply a healthier, fitter body! Yes, ease of movement is wonderful – it makes it feel better to move and so we want to do it more, so our productivity improves, our relationships improve because we can be more present, and more .. Fitness is quite honestly the gift that keeps on giving. goal setting, diligence, perseverance, accountability, community – these are all things that I’ve learned in the process! They are such dear gifts to me.

How about you? What have you learned about yourself and about life so far in this journey?


Foods that Cause Fatigue

You’re probably aware that there are foods that make you sleepy.

You likely know a number of these but may be surprised by some of them:

starchy carbohydrates such as:

  • cookies
  • cake
  • candy
  • white bread
  • white rice
  • enriched white pasta
  • donuts

And other foods:

  • turkey
  • cherries
  • dark chocolate

The reason that the vast majority of these foods cause fatigue is the glycemic index. The glycemic index, or GI, of a food is a gauge for how the body reacts to certain carbohydrates. The higher the glycemic index of a food, the greater affect that food has on your blood sugar levels. Wider fluctuations in your blood sugar levels increase the amount of fatigue you experience.

For example: white bread has a GI of 70, whereas wheat bread has an average GI of about 55. Gatorade has an average GI of 89, whereas unsweetened apple juice has a GI of about 41. Pretzels have a GI of about 83, whereas popcorn has a GI around 65. A baked potato has a GI around 111, whereas a sweet potato has a GI around 70, and a yam, 54.

The lower the number, the less of an affect it will have on your blood sugar levels and your energy.

For sustained energy and metabolism all day, choose carbohydrates that are higher in fiber, lower in sugar, and less processed. Choose whole grains including whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, bran, and whole-grain cereal over white pasta, white rice, or sugary breakfast cereal. Eat sweets infrequently.

Check out this article from Harvard Medical School and this article from nutritiondata.self.com for more examples.

If You Sweat More, Do You Burn More Calories?

Good question, right? We’re in the thick of summertime and the heat and humidity is high. If we’re active or even just out and about in it, it can feel like we are burning more calories and using more energy. But are we really?

Well, no. Sweat is not a gauge of how hard you are working. Your body sweats as a mechanism to cool you down, so it’s really only an indicator of how hot your core body temperature is. Hotter core temperature does not equate to more calories burned.

Your threshold for sweat is unique to you – and variables include the number of sweat glands you have, your fitness level, and your hydration level.

The real question here is “How hard are you working?” Exercise intensity, rather than the temperature of the environment you’re doing it in, is the variable for calories burned during exercise.

Not to mention, as your body becomes more conditioned, it takes a higher intensity of exercise to raise your core body temperature and produce sweat.

You may sweat more with a more strenuous workout, but sweat alone is not the indicator of a more effective exercise session.

Of course, with higher intensity exercise, you want to be sure that your body can handle the increase of intensity, as well.

I teach and coach my clients through a progression of working from where you are today, making sure a good, solid and stable foundation is laid in your body before increasing exercise intensity. This is to avoid injury and promote sustainability. Fitness is a lifestyle that has many forms, and it’s always better when you can do exercise with “the long haul” in mind.

What’s NOT Serving you in your Goal Accomplishment?

What is NOT serving you in what you REALLY want? 

I think it’s safe to say that we ALL want to be light, happy, energetic, and fit. Then why don’t we ALL do the things that produce that? 

Well, it’s all the other “stuff” that can get in the way, particularly when we are looking at exchanging habits for healthier ones. 

“The new Game of Thrones season came out.” “My other fave TV show is on.” “I am tired.” “It was a long day at work.” “I don’t feel motivated at the moment.” “I’ll do it tomorrow ..”

Our world contains a plethora of options for what we can do to fill our time. The defining question stands: “What will take me to what I REALLY want?”

“INTENT reveals desire; ACTION reveals commitment.” – Steve Maraboli

Surely it takes some extra energy (‘oomph’) to get the new habit ball rolling. But, once, rolling, it’s SO much easier to maintain habits you’ve created rather than constantly be at the place where you’re trying to incorporate them into your lifestyle. 

Making a firm commitment (“I WILL do this, or else!”) helps to eliminate the deliberation in your mind of whether or not to do what it is you want to set out to accomplish. 

As an example, the person who decides they want to run a marathon and then actually SIGNS UP for said marathon, now has a greater amount of commitment in the game.

I see this same type of commitment when a client comes in and invests their money in personal training with me and then feels compelled (accountable) to come in one the scheduled days and times we have established.

Figure out what’s NOT serving or working for you. Then make a qualified decision whether you want to continue devoting time, money, and energy to it. 

Figure out what works for you. Rather, begin to figure out what works for you. What works for you may not work for someone else – you are unique and it will be most beneficial to you to know how you can help to motivate yourself to follow through the things that you decide to make a real commitment to. 

If you’re in a place where you really want to make a commitment to your greater health, fitness and wellness, once and for all, let me know! Let’s have a conversation about it. 

Eat these Foods for Energy

Do you find yourself getting tired at certain times of the day, or have you been sensing a blanket of fatigue about you in general?

You probably know that certain foods have the ability to cause fatigue. Sugar and caffeine can give you a quick rush, but are often followed by a hard crash.

Did you know that there are a handful of natural foods you can choose that can energize you and help you through your day?

Energizing foods:

  • Water – dehydration can be a root of fatigue
  • Coconut water – packed with nutrients and B vitamins to help energize you
  • Chia seeds – help with hydration as well as contain protein and fat to sustain you without a crash
  • Bananas
  • Quinoa
  • Green tea – The combination of caffeine and L-theanine gives you energy without the jitters. Bonus: Research suggests that green tea boosts brainpower as well, which may come in handy when you’re down to the wire at work.  Take the time to brew the tea yourself because store-bought varieties often have lots of added sugar.
  • Oatmeal
  • Almonds
  • Beans
  • Whole-grains
  • Trail mix
  • Lemon juice
  • Cherries
  • Beets

Of course, the list goes on. I wanted to keep it (fairly) simple for you.

How can you incorporate these nutrient-rich foods into your nutrition this week, particularly when you tend to get tired?

How to Get a Flat Stomach

Ah – the “holy grail” of fitness – that flat and/or muscular stomach. How many articles are published and marketing materials slathered with how you can get that flat tummy or six-pack?

Here’s the breakdown: for a tighter midsection, the abs are just like any other muscle group we exercise: the muscles must become stronger and larger and the fat that lies over them needs to decrease.

Sounds simple, right?

Simple? Yes. Easy? Well, that depends on how you define “easy”. Read on ..

First off, genetics do play a role here. It’s real. Genetics indeed do play a role whether you can get a flat stomach or “six-pack” abs. However, two types of exercise can help: strength training and cardiovascular exercise.

The stomach can be a hard place to tame because it’s the area of the body that it likes to store fat. So, those individuals that you see with flat or muscular abs have a very low percentage of body fat.

Does that mean you should give up the dream? Well, no. Keep the vision, but be intelligent and wise about it. Your flat stomach or six pack will not come overnight, or maybe even in a month (depending on where you are). But, over time, as your overall body fat decreases from consistent and diligent exercise, you will see results.

Take your wins along the way. Rejoice in greater strength and endurance, easier mobility, smaller pant sizes (and smaller clothes overall) before getting frustrated that you aren’t where you want to be already. Focus on what’s going right and you’ll sustain energy to keep at it.

Finally, realize and accept the fact that your nutrition plays a MAJOR role here. (You can’t work out like a beast, eat like an ogre, and expect the results you’re aiming for, if you’re going for lean and muscular/toned). Combine strength training and cardiovascular exercise within your routine, and make the conscious food choices that are healthier for you and your midsection!

If you’re in a place where you want to explore what this specifically can look like for you and your unique life variables, reach out to me! I’d love to have a conversation with you about it.


The Power of Commitment

How many times have you made a commitment to do something and absolutely stuck to it for at least a certain amount of time? Sure, I bet there are other times where maybe you dropped the ball. But I’d be willing to bet that for every dropped commitment, you’ve got 2 kept commitments on your record.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of commitment over this weekend. What does “commitment” mean, what does it look like, and how can it help you in your health, fitness, wellness, and other goals or aspirations in life?

First: What is it? Merriam-Webster defines commitment as such:

  • a :  an agreement or pledge to do something in the future (a commitment to improve conditions at the prison);
    • especially :  an engagement to assume a financial obligation at a future date
  • b :  something pledged (the commitment of troops to the war)
  • c :  the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled (a commitment to a cause)

Let’s use the definition to agree that a commitment is an obligation or duty that has been decided upon.

That being said, we can commit to SO many things in life, many of which that help us, and others that don’t. Some of these are spoken, and others nonverbal.

Here are some personal examples of commitments I’ve made recently: I am launching a challenge in August for a plank each day – I have verbally and in text agreed to do this. I’m committed to getting up at a certain time each morning. I am committed to training for a marathon this November and doing each training run (as I am physically able to.) I’ve nonverbally committed to keeping my car clean, inside and out. I’ve also nonverbally committed to being organized as it makes my life easier and decreases my stress.

Our commitments stem from our values. The two main ingredients of the commitments we make are:

  1. What we value
  2. Our belief in our ability to carry out the agreement or what the commitment requires of us

Basically – we make commitments in the areas of life that matter to us the most – and in the areas that we believe that we can uphold these agreements.

How many times have you made a commitment to do something and absolutely stuck to it for at least a certain amount of time? Sure, I bet there are other times where maybe you dropped the ball. But I’d be willing to bet that for every dropped commitment, you’ve kept 2 other commitments.

Focus on the positive.

If you would like to commit to exercising, eating healthier, taking quiet time out for yourself, or anything else that benefits your health and wellness, you’ve got to make it a high enough priority that you decide that it’s worth the diligent action and energy required, AND you’ve got to believe that you can stick to it. (I’ll share more on this in the coming weeks – because making too big of a commitment too quickly can be detrimental! Stay tuned!)

Let’s keep it simple: What is ONE THING you can commit to doing for your health, fitness, and wellness for just this ONE WEEK?

TIP: Start small. It’s always easier, both physically and emotionally, to add to, than to backtrack.

Reach out to me if I can be of help in creating a plan for you to start: from wherever you are today towards where you want to be.

And, check out my new video series – “Minute to Win It” – one-minute clips for your winning mindset for the day! I hope that it inspires you to action towards your desired results.


Why Cooking at Home is a WIN

Happy Friday to you!

I wanted to share today – I made a really delicious (and nutritious) dish for dinner last night at our house – a peanut Thai recipe!

I was thrilled that I could put as many vegetables and as much protein (grilled chicken, in this case) in it as I desired!

I used to be a complete minimalist when it came to making food. Truth is, I still am! I don’t want to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen, unless it’s Thanksgiving or another major holiday.

That being said, I’ve expanded my horizons of what I have found to be “easy makes” in terms of food – and I’ve really been enjoying it! I did spend an hour (from start to finish, including clean up) making the Thai dish last night – but I made so much that we have 2-3 days’ worth of food, prepped precisely how we want it – with no added salt, no extra oil, and nothing else that we don’t want!

Do you find it difficult to carve out the time to make meals for you and for your family? I can tell you from my own personal experience – cooking at home can actually save you time.

Think about it – each time at a restaurant takes time to order, to wait for their preparation of the food, to pay for it, and more. And when you order from a restaurant, do you really know the nutritional value of the food you’re paying for?

What if you could take one or two times per week and make 1-2 different dishes that would last the week – portion them out into meal servings to easily reheat after a long day when you’re tired?

Healthy eating at home can be very easy, it just takes planning.

Don’t get me wrong – I love dining at a restaurant for a date night, but I do so for the full experience – not just because I want the food.

To learn more of the published benefits to eating at home, check out this article! You save money, time, you know precisely what went into the preparation of your food, you can better control your portions, and much more!

Have a great weekend, and make some good food! 🙂

The Best Way to Lose Fat

Something everyone wants to know – “What’s the best way to lose fat?”

Well, I apologize in advance – there is no simple one-size-fits-all easy answer.

However, let’s explore this question!

Every individual responds differently to different training modalities. That being said, “activities that incorporate many muscle groups and are weight bearing use more calories per minute and are therefore better suited for fat loss than non-weight-bearing activities that do not use many muscles.”

You’ve probably heard that low-intensity exercise (think: walking) over a period of time will burn fat. While fat does account for most of the energy expenditure during this type of exercise, when taken to a moderate versus a low intensity, fat will only account for 50% of the energy used (a majority of the other 50% is carbohydrates/glycogen in the muscles).

Here’s the catch: You don’t necessarily need to burn fat during exercise with certain types of workouts – high-intensity emphasized here – the calorie expenditure lasts far longer than the workout itself. Basically, you burn AFTER you work out.

“Much of the fat from adipose tissue (as opposed to intramuscular fat, which is primarily used during exercise) is lost in the hours following exercise. Moreover, the amount of fat lost after a workout depends, in part, on the exercise intensity during the workout. Following high-intensity exercise, the rate of fat oxidation is higher than it is following low-intensity exercise.” (Read more from this article I referenced here!)

You can perform a greater intensity of work if the work is broken up with periods of rest – making interval training a great way to perform high-intensity work and help decrease body fat percentage.

In the end, “Both strength training and endurance exercise have been shown to decrease body fat percentage. However, aerobic exercise appears to have a greater impact on fat loss than does strength training (Ballor et al. 1996; Dolezal & Potteiger 1998; LeMura et al. 2000). A combination of endurance and strength training results in more fat loss than either exercise regimen alone (Dolezal & Potteiger 1998), possibly because clients who perform both activities spend more time exercising.”

So – my personal recommendation, which is backed by my experience with my clients as well as my own personal experience, as well as the research above, is to do both endurance and strength training.

A balanced, fit individual, is one who performs strength workouts as well as cardio workouts – whatever those may look like, be it intervals of jogging/walking, sprinting/jogging; or performing prolonged endurance cardiovascular exercise (steady-state running or walking) AND strength training.

If you have any questions for your personal health and fitness journey, I would love to hear from you! Reply to this email and let me know your thoughts/challenges. I’d love to help you create and follow a plan that takes you to the results you want for the time you invest in your exercise. I want you to be and feel confident in your own body and what you’re doing to keep it so!

Have a great rest of your day!