More than a cup full of love.

I'm sure you've heard the quote, "You can't pour from an empty cup" or maybe "You can't love anyone until you love yourself"? Either way, as cheesy as it sounds the concept is important to reaching wellness goals, quite frankly, any goals. Self-care, self-love, pampering, listening to your body, whatever you want to call it, taking care of yourself is the only way that your life as a whole will make sense and make you happy. 

I have talked about this concept many times but its because its where I keep having to return to and is what really makes a difference in my everyday life. When I fall off my healthy habits pathway, in mind, body, or spirit, its always when I've neglected to check in with myself and make choices based on what I need, not what I want. This happens when I choose to push through and ignore feelings of frustration, stress, tiredness. When I choose to procrastinate and then cram to finish something before a deadline. When I stay up late, not getting the 7 hours of sleep that I know I need. These things happen all the time, however since I've made myself aware of them, they are happening less frequently. Now I choose to take a relaxing bubble bath when I am stressed or need to relax. I meditate and use deep breathing to bring my stress level down a notch, even if just one little notch. I no longer open a book, my phone or my laptop if its getting close to my "lights out" time at night. Individually these things are not miracle workers, but collectively and done on the regular they keep me from exploding from a days/weeks/months/years of pent up frustrations. 

I liken this to watching a pot of water on the stove. As the heat rises and stress increases, the water starts to boil. If you ignore it it will eventually boil over. If you can begin to notice what happens in your body before this boiling over point you can take a moment to use something from your Stress Less Tool Kit to help bring you back into a more balanced state. This tool kit is not a product Im selling (although... mental note), it is a kit you are going to start making for yourself. It should be filled with things you enjoy both big and small, that also bring you wellness and rejuvenation, not just calories and chemicals. 

Your kit will be different but here is what mine currently looks like:

  • Multiple Herbal Tea Bags - Twinnings Peppermint & Yogi Kava Stress Relief.
  • Essential Oils with relaxing and calming benefits - Chill Pill, Grapefruit, Wild Orange, Rosemary (Rosemary is my favorite).
  • Lemon Balm Liquid Extract - I put a dropper full in water or tea to help calm the nervous system.
  • Reflexology Ball - Right now I just use it under the ball of my foot to promote stress relief.
  • An inspiring or funny book - Currently, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg & Born Standing Up by Steve Martin 

I keep these physical items in a pretty zipper pouch and now even seeing the bag starts to relax me :)

Non-physical items in my tool kit are specific meditations and breathing exercises, taking a walk, going to water, reading outside, taking my shoes off and walking in grass, listening to podcasts or YouTube interviews, listening to my favorite music, cooking healthy meals, journaling, doing yoga, taking a nap, taking photos, writing, playing with my pups. The list continues to grow the more I look for healthy stress relievers. The only way to find these is to experiment by swapping the normal "unhealthy" stress reliever with something new. If you like it, add it to your tool kit. Very slowly you will start to crave these rejuvenation habits when you are feeling stressed out. Go ahead and get crazy. Instead of filling my cup full of self love, I am stocking up enough self love to fill up a well, a wellness well if you will ;)


Nutrition Baby Steps - Get Rid of Fast Food

While writing my post explaining my Nutrition Baby Steps, I really wanted to elaborate on each each but knew that my post would become way to long to digest. So I thought I would take some time with each step. 

The first step in my Nutrition Baby Steps is to ditch the fast food. As stated previously, there will be occasions in which you need food and the only option is to eat at a fast food establishment, however this is not what I am referring to. What I am referring to is the habit of regularly eating fast food for your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I know that there are some healthier options these days but most of these meals still have a large amount of calories and fat, with very little fiber. High in fat and not so high in fiber usually results in the food moving through you rather quickly, causing an upset stomach and not providing you with much nutritional value. Additionally, sometimes these "healthier" options really aren't that much healthier. For example, most of the salads from McDonalds have just as many calories, if not more, than a double cheeseburger. 

Furthermore, because fast food establishments have to serve food in such large quantities, for such a low price, you can pretty much guarantee that the quality of the the food is not that great. Cheap ingredients, filled with who knows what, does not make for a healthy staple in anyones diet. 

What to do instead:

  • Gas Station Breakfast - Cliff Bar and a banana or Yogurt w/ almonds and a banana.
  • Gas Station Coffee Drink - Instead of a sugary coffee drink mix equal parts Muscle Milk with plain black coffee. This provides your caffeine with some flavor and loads of protein.
  • Grocery Store Lunch - 1/2 lb high quality lean lunch meat (turkey or chicken) to make lunch meat roll ups and carrots with hummus. Or stop at a store that has an awesome deli counter or salad bar. Just be careful of creamy dressings and stay away from heavy foods (think mac n cheese and fried foods).
  • Quick and Easy Dinner - Instead of pulling in for a burger and fries, make yourself some scrambled eggs and chicken or turkey sausage. Breakfast for dinner :) Another option is a rotisserie chicken and quick steamed veggies OR a part of a thin crust frozen pizza loaded with veggies and a salad. 
Here is an example of lunch that I grabbed from a grocery store on the way to the beach. Works the same for a work week lunch too, just leave out the beer :)

Here is an example of lunch that I grabbed from a grocery store on the way to the beach. Works the same for a work week lunch too, just leave out the beer :)

If you must eat fast food:

  • Take a look at the restaurants nutrition information and choose wisely. Look for meals high in protein, low in fat and preferably with some fiber. If a salad and a burger have similar nutrition then pick which ever one you would like at the moment. Just remember that heavy foods make you feel heavy and lethargic, so keep that in mind.
  • Places like Subway and Chic-fil-a tend to have more healthier options, but that doesn't mean everything is healthy. Again, look at the nutrition information. 
  • Use your Lose It App. There is a place to look up nutrition info from this app which make these decisions a little easier. 

Why a gym membership isn't your answer.

At most gyms, especially the big box gyms, once you purchase your membership no one cares if you continue to show up. Gyms will make their money whether you show up or not because they are not invested in your results. Ultimately, you will have to get to a point in which you exercise because you are investing in yourself, but everything in life becomes easier when you have someone that is invested in your success. This is why teachers and coaches exist, to help individuals reach their goals, and in turn providing value by helping you to succeed. Even personal trainers have coaches, in the form of our own personal trainers, nutritionists, lifting coaches, yoga instructors and even business coaches. This is because we understand the value that having a coach can bring to our lives and businesses.

If you have been working towards a health and wellness goal but not making much progress, it may be time to recruit some professional guidance. We hire coaches for things like our finances so why not for our health? Who cares how much money you have if you don't have your health? Change your mindset from "How much will that cost?" to "What will I get from this investment?".

Well, when it comes to personal training, here is what you will get:

  1. Motivation that leads to consistency.
  2. Education that leads to better decisions.
  3. Knowledge that leads to efficient exercise.
  4. Fresh ideas to prevent boredom and get better results.
  5. Someone to correct your form and prevent injuries.
  6. Someone to vent to when no one else will listen (and in some cases a good friend).

If a personal trainer isn't in the budget other options include:

  • Find a friend with similar goals that will support you and call you out when you start to slack.
  • Join a running club or a triathlon club.
  • Use apps like MyFitnessPal and Lose It! to help you stay on track
  • Purchase a Fitbit or pedometer.

Please understand that I am not saying to get rid of your gym membership and to no longer bother going anymore. What I am saying is that a gym membership should be a tool that you can use but should not be the only tool. Investing in yourself will not only enhance your well-being, it will allow you to thrive in all areas of life.

Work on yourself
Work on yourself

Everyday Ab Workout - Level 1

No matter who you are or what your fitness level, a strong core is a must. Most aches and pains, and injuries stem from having a weak core. Every movement starts with your mid-section so it only makes sense to make sure that it can handle all of the movement we do on an everyday basis, let alone with sports and fitness activities. Here is a workout that is aimed at beginners, but it will challenge everyone if done correctly. It focuses on quality of movement, not quantity. It takes about 10 minutes to complete so it is a great option to every morning.

Subscribe to my Mint Condition Personal Training YouTube page for other workouts and Quick Combos to add to your workouts.

If this is waayy too easy, here is an Everyday Abs Level 2!

Mini Morning Yoga Flow - Morning Movement

I started the #MermaidYogis yoga challenge on Instagram at the beginning of this month. Here are the first 5 poses that can be used as a mini yoga flow for your Morning Movement!

Wake up and get moving!! Your mind and body will thank you!!

Awesome Arms Quickie Workout

As I was taking a peak at the new Mint Condition YouTube Channel, I realized that it was lacking some upper body combos. I have used this one multiple times with clients this week. This Quickie Combo that can be used as a short workout to get your metabolism revved up or as a warm up for your already planned workout. This combo starts with a push up and then combos a core stabilizer and a downward dog. Due to the slower pace and the big stretch, this combo is great for first thing in the morning! It works your chest, triceps, shoulders and core, AND helps to get you inverted. Inversions (any move that gets your head low and your body high. Think headstand, downward dog, and shoulder stands) are great for your core strength and your balance but they are also great for your BRAIN! When you flip upside down you actually reverse your blood flow, using gravity to bring more oxygen to your brain. More blood to the brain can provide more focus, relaxation, and/or energy. Additionally, inversions do wonders for your immune system by helping to flush out your lymph nodes.

Adding handstands at the end is just a fun way to burn out your shoulders and get upside down. I grew up walking on my hands so do not feel that you have to be able to hold one. If you are a beginner, keep working on the downward dog and build up your shoulder strength. Maybe I will do a post on working up to handstands soon!